I love to write and I’m highly analytical. That means I write typically 2,000 words. I hope my Passion and Love of Life, triathlon, and travel emerge in my words.
IRONMAN 70.3 St. George, Utah: The Short(ish) Recap:
1.2mile swim: 30:13, 55.51mile ride: 2:26:11 (264 avg power, 277NP, 87.3%IF, 185TSS, 85 RPM, 3,150’ Ascend, 49.8Max MPH), 13.1mile run: 1:42:14 (168 cadence)
SWIM: I was a bit disappointed seeing 30:13 as I left the swim; I had gone 29:37, 4 weeks ago at 70.3 Oceanside but I was 16th in my age group both today AND 4 weeks ago. The water was cold and slightly choppy. I felt good and caught some drafts but I am weak in my upper trapezius that I need to remedy. But these swims have been faster than 70.3 Arizona of 30:58 so without any quality work, this is good. My legs prefer salt-water.
BIKE: I had intentions of holding 310 watts for the first 90minutes, that was my goal. But during the first mile, I knew I was going to have to work. My legs were fatigued from Mt Lemmon 2 weeks ago. But averaging just shy of 18hrs of training/week for the last 3 weeks and increasing my cycling CTL from 37 to 48 over the last 4 weeks, I didn’t get enough recovery, and I was not fresh. I felt no where near as good as Oceanside but still worked as hard as I could. I knew the course from the drive and caught the first pro female about 10minutes in. I would catch our mate Pete Coombe by 40minutes in and who I knew swam around 27minutes (1st a/g). My chain ring of 55-11 is what helped me continue to spin at 40miles per hour when others were coasting. One highlight was a guy passing me before Center St. I fell out of draft zone, then on the down hill as he increased pace to 45MPH, I spun up to 127RPM hitting 49.8MPH, and 451watts; nuts! So, I held 279Watts for 90min, 2nd best all-time with the first of 291watts at Oceanside. 60min power was 290watts (3rd all time with Oceanside at 296 watts). The course was beautiful and very honest. One loop, point-to-point. I saw very little drafting with only 72 people in front of me including ~40 Pro’s. I did see 3 people in a penalty tent and I was happy about that! I was a bit surprised about only picking up one spot in my field to 15th position on the bike but I weight 183 pounds. I have to get lighter. This was a watts/kg match today. The guys beating me are 20-30 pounds lighter than me!!!
T2: 90second pit stop (in the Pro’s loo) probably due to too much dairy (cheese pizza and ice cream) along with salsa and chips last night. Don’t you dare say it was the Champagne! Note: back to Pasta in 5 weeks at the Deuces Wild Half ironman.
Run: I knew this course. Climb the first 400’ in the first 3 miles right out of transition, then 6 miles of out and backs with ups and down up to 15% grade. So it was a 10mile race with cruising the last 5KM. My main goal was to run the whole thing non-stop. I saw a mate from Phoenix who I raced with before at mile 3. I kept thinking to Keep it light with a quick cadence and kept thinking the song “I’m gunna keep on running, I’m not gunna stop till I get to the top”, then I said well, the end that is! It was heating up a bit and I dowsed myself with water at each aid station and had coke and redbull each aid station. I saw Jo and Pete Coombe, and then Fiona 6 miles back at Mile 3.5 and my 9.5. I yelled wifey and got a high five. With 2 miles to go I had to run 7:30 or better to break 4:45. I said “Anything is Possible” and worked the best I could. On the final turn and seeing the large silver Ant, hearing the music, and stretching it out to a 7:08 mile after the last 7:07 mile, I hit the chute running 6:11/mile with a huge smile.
Summary: I lost 20 spots on the run finishing 22nd in M30-34 and was 122nd out of ~2,500. I was 2:46 faster than Oceanside on a way tougher course with a 90s pit stop and improved my ranking from 25th to 22nd in the IRONMAN 70.3 North American Championship.
It was a great day. We had our Aussie mates with Pete earning his spot to the 70.3 World Championship in South Africa and my awesome wife whose been doing tons of studying for her masters finished 19th/82 and 493/~2,500. (I qualified for the 3rd time but not interested in going to South Africa).
I love my wife, I love this sport, and I’m so thankful to be able to do this! All you drafters and cheats, Respect it!
The Lead up:
Thursday May 3, 2018: 550miles 9 ½ hours. Sahuarita, AZ – St. George, UT
We woke up at 5:30am; nearly 6 hours for me, but for the Masters of Physio in Rehabilitation student out of James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, my wifey Fiona Coyle got a sold 3hr45min sleep. We took the rest of the food out of the refrigerator and brought it to Priscilla, our 33’ Forest River Forester RV parked outside. I drove our Prius onto the dolly and Sydney (our 7 year old Husky/Rottweiler fur-child) headed right for the front seat to the Co-pilot position. One kiss of good luck to Fiona for the journey and road trip ahead of us. By the time we left Sahuarita, Arizona and got on Rt 10 heading North to St. George, Utah we had engulfed 3 doughnuts, a bagel with cream cheese, and I was half way down a zero-carb Monster. Sydney roamed from front seat, couch, and floor, while I sat in the same position for the next 9 ½ hours less 3 quick stops.
I decided to head the Flagstaff route instead of the Vegas route to go somewhere we have not yet been. By Flagstaff, Priscilla gargled 40 gallons of gas at 6.9miles per gallon up to 7,000’. Even in May, snow was still covering the 12,635’ Humphreys Peak, the highest in Arizona. To the East of the Grand Canyon we saw interesting land formations of many rounded mounds of multiple colors. Small ranges emerged and constant layers of various colors were prevalent. We continued North into the Navajo lands passing road-side stands selling Native Turquoise hand-made jewelry, blankets, and dream-catchers. Massive boulders and land slides continued to erode the passing ranges and ahead we passed through Marble Canyon. We drove across an amazing bridge that crossed the Colorado River; the Grand Canyon creator.
We climbed back up to 8,000’ into large ever-green trees and the natural scents penetrated the RV. Then, we descended back down to 5,000’, (just as Sydney puked on the floor from too many carrots, thankfully I was driving 😊 ), and the amazing rock formations and colors continued. I realized how beautiful this place was and something that completely gets missed in vast stretches of the Eastern United States where hundreds-of-feet high glaciers decimated the landscape in the last ice-age. Like Australia, we were where Sea existed many millennia ago. And layer by layer, you see the thousands and millions of years of existence. Colorado City on the border was a very strange town founded in 1985. Many of the houses were half complete, it was bizarre. But then we entered Utah. My first time since a cross country train trip back in 2000. Off to the south we could see Sand Hollow State Park lake where we would be swimming in the IRONMAN 70.3 St George North American Championship in just 2 days. Shortly after, we arrived at Temple View RV Park.
Sewer, Power, Slides, Awning, A/C, and then I went for a 3.1mile shake-out run. 1.3 miles up the road was the IRONMAN Expo and Transition. I needed this run. My form was already +10 since I only ran 3 miles yesterday and had 3 days off prior to that due to leg fatigue. I headed up the incline at 8:25/mile, Expo 8:03/mile, and then back at a 7:23/mile. (This mile felt very easy and made me realize how “easy” the Sandia Crest Marathon in Albuquerque, New Mexico may be this September in pursuit of a BQ (Boston Marathon Qualifier). Note, the course drops from 10,000’ down to around 5,000’.
We headed to the liquor store for wine and some Glenlivet Whisky for the RV. I made Fiona boiled fresh broccoli, white bread with the incredible Colavita Olive Oil, and white Rigatoni pasta with sauce. She had Riesling, I had Cabernet Sauvignon. Sydney licked the plates, because she puked, she didn’t earn a shot of Bailey’s.
Friday May 4, 2018
Up at 7:30AM. Bagel w/ Cream Cheese and out for a 24 min bike ride through town. Then, a 2mile run up to transition and back. Frosted Flakes with Almond Milk followed by the first of 4 Sprites. Cleaned the bike down with Polish, tightened the rear brakes, and prepped 3 new tubes for my carry box. My amateur wife didn’t grab a timing chip so we headed to T2 to drop off our run bags (there are 2 transitions) and she grabbed a timing chip. We saw our friends Jo/Pete Coombe from Australia and founders of my rear-disc “Wheel Science”; they came to our wedding 4 years ago and are also here for Pete to Qualify for the 70.3 World Championship in South Africa. After buying an IRONMAN Flag, Floor mat, and shirt from the Expo I heard a giant asshole. I overheard him talking to his mates saying “…yea, and if you get caught drafting so what, you might get a penalty and then it’s done.” It’s losers like this that soften our sport. Drafting is for the weak and the cheaters. Then, Starbucks for the best: Venti Chai Tea Latte with Soy Milk. We drove the second half of the bike course on fantastic pavement and then the 1,000’ climb over 6 miles into Snow Canyon. This place is incredible. I can’t believe we get to race through this! From the many different rock formations past Lava! Rocks and volcanoes up to the top, the climb with nearly 12% at the finish will be a challenge but worth it to fly down the last 8 miles into T2 at yet unknown speeds! Set up gear bags and then bikes on car and off to T1 with 2 Peanut Butter/Jelly Sandwiches on white.
While putting on the wetsuits for a practice swim Fiona noticed the 3rd place finisher female from Oceanside. Turned out it was Sara True, a 2X Olympian. We chatted to her and like many Professional Triathletes was gracious and humble. This area was far different from her Snow-Bound New Hampshire training grounds she was accustomed to! Once 550meters out I waited for Fiona and heard some Kona athletes chatting Sara up. After she took off I heard the guy say “Hey do you want to go draft off of a 4th place Olympian?”.
Back on the bike course which is awesome we hit up Walmart. Dinner would be chips with salsa (mild), Frozen Cheese Pizza, and Vanilla Ice Cream for desert paired with Champagne. Hot Tub rest followed by an hour in the Normatec’s.
Goal: Sub 29 Swim, Sub 2:30Bike holding 320 watts for the first 90 minutes and over 300 watts for the entire ride, and a sub 1:40 Run. I will try to focus and swim hard for the entire swim, absolutely hammer the first 40 miles of the bike at 310-340 watts. (My last FTP test was 317 but I reckon it’s back in the 330’s now). The run goal is to run the entire thing non-stop.
Half Marathon Vegas, Nevada (May 2018)
Deuces Wild Half ironman, Arizona (June 2018)
Las Vegas Half ironman, Nevada (August 2018)
Sandia Crest Marathon, New Mexico (September 2018)
Bartlett Lake Olympic Triathlon, Arizona (October 2018)
IRONMAN Arizona (November 2018)
Tucson Marathon (December 2018)