Just under seven years ago I competed in my first ever triathlon, the Mill City Olympic Triathlon in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. I finished the race in 2:33. My parents were there and I came in 4th in my A/G after getting my first ever road bike 1 month earlier. One of the amazing parts of that race was that I competed alongside Rick and Dick Hoyt. I hope you know the story of father and son who have competed in more than 1,100 races around the world all the way up to Kona (6 Times). Rick has cerebal palsy and their story is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_Hoyt; it’s also a book. This educated me early on about my core values of Passion and Love. But, also of respect.
So today during my 10th Olympic Triathlon and 52nd Alice Springs based Triathlon/Duathlon since February 2011, I was racing with Passion and Love for sport, health, and fitness. I was also racing for respect.
I didn’t know how the race would go. It’s been a big week of training with 27.9 hours of training split over 57mles of running, 257miles of cycling, and 9.14 miles of swimming. But Saturday was just massive with a 3hr25min ride in Z2 with my Cairns crew of Duncan, Nat, Chelsea, and Fiona. A ride that I have started doing to support our good friend Chelsea in pursuit of her athletic goals and relief from her 2 babies as a single mother.
After some recovery I headed to the pool for my first wetsuit swim; the water is 21 and the last week all swims were cut short as all I could think of was the cold water. The wetsuit was great and allowed me to focus on the workouts that included a 1K TT in 14:57, 1K TT w/ paddles in 15:02, and 1K TT w/ fins&paddles in 12:53. The 4.9KM Swim took 1hr29minutes. Thanks to Rob for his swim coaching, we love you mate.
After that I had some food and recovery before starting my 3hour run in the heat of the day at 3PM. The pace was awfully slow but I was just focused on getting through it. I headed west to Mt Gillen and ran up it. (well really hiked up it as I don’t have the strength yet to run up the 1,000’ mtn at 20%+ grade. Once at the top, I bushwacked along the ride to the Towers overlooking Alice Springs and then down the side of the mountain. (video on my facebook Kevin Patrick Coyle). I saw 2 kanagroos and had awesome pictures but the intensity was very low of 113HR/Avg since the rocks, spinifex, and bushes with the only path created by the constant flow of Roo’s.
Wifey Fi made an awesome dinner and we downed a bottle and a half of wine.
Olympic Triathlon Race Day: 2:11:12 (1st Overall).
Pre Race – Up at 5:30AM and I weighed 184pounds, down 12pounds in 3 weeks. I was clearly dehydrated from yesterday. Eat 2 pieces of white toast with vegan butter and jam. 5:45AM drink bottle with 200mg of ARO Caffeine. Gear together and head to ASALC. Set up my gear and get rego’d. My bike is put right next to Jennifer Collier, my sister-in law. Fiona wasn’t racing due to her varicose vein surgery a few weeks back. Mark Russell who I raced with at IMNZ only 5 weeks ago was the RD.
Swim 1.5KM – 22:09 – 1st out of the water– With Fiona out of action, my main competition was Sean Loader. He was in the next lane. Mark called it and we were off. We were side by side to the end of the 50m pool which I covered in 36.4 seconds on 1:13/100m. After the tumble turn I had a half meter on him. He held that for another 100m but then I started gaining on him by around 3s/100m since I emerged out of the water with a 50meter gap. This was my 2nd fastest swim in the pool after a 22:03 I did 1 year ago in my lead up to IMCairns. I did go 21:46 in Darwin back in 2013 but that was open water. And, if I compare this to yesterday’s 1K TT I went 7:15 vs 7:20 and 14:46 vs 14:57. My arms weren’t as tired and fatigued but motivation was running high.
T1 – I put Vaseline on my ankles but it was still difficult to get the wetsuit off. I finally got out without giving in much time to Sean who was at the rack as I was leaving.
Bike 40KM (40.03km) – 1:01:42 – 1st off the bike – This was my 5th fastest bike in an Olympic and for good reason. My legs were absolutely shot from yesterday. My goal was 270NP which would be 90% of FTP based off of Tuesdays test of 301Watts. I was there for the first half but it slowly retreated to 263NP on my 3rd best power. The positive here is that I finished at 87% IF (Intensity Factor) which is better than 83% that I’ve had the last 2 races but HR was very low at 129/avg which is in zone 2 or 83%IF. The lower HR was due to the fatigue and the inability to push hard on fatigued legs.
16minutes into the first leg I was 1:53 ahead of Sean having made up a minute in the first quarter. 30minutes later this grew to a 4minute gap. Only 2 minutes behind Sean on my first lap I saw my sister Jennifer in 3rd position overall with Jarrod another 2 minutes back on her. I was excited for this 5X Ironman Finisher with an 11:06PB at IMWA and had visions of sharing the win with her. Unfortunately I saw her at that same spot 30minutes later fixing a flat… she’s learned a few things today!!!
I thought the ride was good. I absolutely love this course because it’s 2 big loops with minimal turns and really keeps the speed up. You’ll see above it’s nearly perfectly 40km too! I’m pretty happy with the ride considering the state I was in.
T2 – On the butt to put on socks since it is a 10km run. It allowed me to quickly stretch out my hammy’s as well.
Run 10KM (9.70km) – 44:52 – 1st Overall – My 8th fastest time on the run. I’m still up about 6 pounds in extra weight from our holiday and cruise so that certainly didn’t help and my HR monitor didn’t work on the run either but I was happy with the pace and tried to be consistent here. My mile splits were: 7:31, 7:35, 7:25, 7:30, 7:26, 7:10. With an average of 7:26/mile that is not far off of the 4x8min Z3/Z4 efforts I’ve done the last 2 weeks. So, I know I was working hard and believed I was pushing harder than the bike which was a positive. I also started to push it with 1 mile to go which is why I pulled off 16 seconds on the last mile; I’m proud of that too.
I only passed 1 athlete on the run since athletes really get spread out on the figure 8 course and it was great to see Chelsea and Fiona who took lots of great photos.
Thank you to the volunteers and Mark the RD. I hope that I have earned the respect of those around me with today’s performance and that I want others to feel what I receive from this sport. That’s why I continued the tradition of running c/d laps in the opposite direction to cheer on my fellow athletes. I finished with a 5km loop run. And I want all of my fellow athletes to believe me when I say that I respect their pursuits. Although this is one of the many races I have won here in Alice Springs, I will never expect a win; I must earn it. In triathlon, anything can happen but if we look at Rick and Dicky Hoyt, all things are possible; especially in an Ironman. My sister would have won the event today but had a 30+ minute delay due to her flat tire; that’s racing.
In two weeks I will compete in my final Triathlon race in Alice Springs, the Tavis Johannsen Ultra. It’s a respectable distance at 2KM/60KM/15KM and a good test of athletic fitness. Stay tuned.