Facebook. Love it or hate it, sometimes it can give you a pathway to something incredible. And today for me, that was being able to ride with Professional Triathlete Pedro Gomes in his final preparations for IRONMAN Boulder.
10 days ago, I saw a pop up on my feed about the “Lemmon Crusher/Mount Lemmon x2” hosted by Pedro. At 35 years old, Pedro has seen success in triathlon he was on the Portugal Olympic Team for London although didn’t make the final cut, he saw more success in long course winning IRONMAN Sweden and Challenge Vitoria. Multiple other podiums and 16 sub 9’s with 3 of the fastest marathon splits, this guy is talented.
2X on Lemmon is daunting. 7hr15min or riding, 114 miles, and 13,216 of climbing (close to 50% of Mt Everest).
This was a local bucket list item and I knew I could do it, but how good could I be. I have a ton of admiration for Professional Triathletes; a sport built on passion to see just what you are capable of. I mean with a $40,000 prize purse at Boulder, Triathletes aren’t rich, not even close. They must first be successful, then build a brand, take on coaching, gear, products, etc. This is not the NFL or MLB jn because our events are 8 hours long and cover 140.6 miles. And that’s sort of the appeal; the why as to why I love this sport. Because most triathletes, like Pedro, are awesome friggen people and just cool people. To have the opportunity to ride with one made my year so it was up to me to do my best and hopefully give some GUMPTION as to why I showed up.
That being said, Pedro is competing in IRONMAN Boulder, USA the same day I am competing in IRONMAN Cairns, Australia. Having seen what many Pro’s due through Strava, like Aussie Tim Van Berkel, I knew that 3 weeks out, I should still be working at quite a significant level and this is the first season I have ever done something this Epic 3 weeks out from an IRONMAN. Again, there was no way I was going to give up this opportunity.
So for the last 19 weeks I have been training on average 17 hours per week with 2 weeks over 21hours. I completed my first ever 50mile ultra coming in 15th of 70 and am sitting in around 179 pounds which is historically my best weight fueled mostly by Plants. Last week and 4 weeks ago were my traditional Big Day Outs of 3.8km swim, 5hr trainer ride, and 2hr run all at race pace. They have gone quite well hitting really good power numbers and this week was a recovery week.
Up at 4:30AM, 2 muffins and a monster for 920 calories. Drove the 50minutes from Sahuarita to Le Buzz Café near the base of Mt Lemmon. Met Pedro and some other people that made the trek from Scottsdale. (NOTE: Our home in Sahuarita is on free offer for Professional Triathletes and Age-Groupers who are looking to check out the incredible training here in Tucson and have a training camp! PM me on at viper30ma on Instagram or Kevin Patrick Coyle on Facebook, or comment below. Seriously!
The full moon was falling and ahead of me was the Mountain. One of the best hill climbs in the world. 3-6% grade mostly continuous for 26 miles from the desert bottoms of 2,500’ to the lung deprived 8,000’ and higher. Amazing views and changing vegetation. It’s a must.
This was the first time on my road bike in at least 6 months and probably much more since I’ve only ridden outside maybe 5 times this season. 85% of my riding over the last year has been on Zwift. Pedro’s wife Carolina graciously was a sag wagon volunteer (thank you so much!). I put some Gatorade bottles in and 2 RedBulls and not much else. (Note, the RedBulls did nothing for me, I needed 4 cans of coke which have proved their worth over this season).
The 6 riders in the group headed off to the base and then Pedro held an “easy” pace all the way to the top. For me, this was high zone 2 (55min) Tempo (51min) and threshold (16min). It was not easy and I was sort of happy someone flatted early on. I stayed right behind Pedro to the side and tried to stay clear. My buddy Tommy who I have met through Strava and who I raced with in Flagstaff, St George, and Tempe had his TT and was having a good go. We stopped at the Sag half way though at Windy Point. Then we headed to the Ski lodge.
Later I realized, this was a major highlight on the day because I finished within 12 seconds of Pedro, we both set PBs (Tommy was just behind me) and I finished 370 out of nearly 8,000 that have done this same route.
My garmin pretty much died when we all regrouped at the turn off. But that 2hr30min effort claimed to be 156TSS which is half of an Ironman intensity and I would agree with that. (My powertap wasn’t working). I ate some potato chips, a muffin, and was even given a layer to wear on the way down since it was now 50F and cold.
We regrouped at the bottom and took off again.
I was within sight of Pedro for 5 miles but had decided on the first climb that I would do what I could do on the 2nd go.
I again went up to the Ski Lodge, this time mostly solo and had a slugfest of a time on the final pitch but ended up at the Cookie Cabin
where we all gathered and I got to ask Pedro some great questions such as what his TSS would be for the day (300, an IRONMAN stress day which makes sense and that I expected), that Carolina is a trained Chef who makes most food for Pedro from scratch. That if he qualifies for Kona, he can share the 10person house we have within walking distance of transition. That he is doing Boulder and then Lake Placid. That he’s trained by Jesse from QT2 Systems out of Boston who graduated from the same school I went to, Northeastern University. Humbled, Honest, and Kind.
At the bottom, Pedro had finished off with a run while I went to the store and bought an Arnold Palmer, Oat Choclate Milk, and a Clif Protein Bar.
I made dinner for my wifey of waffle fries, vegan tex-mex burgers, and drinking a 2013 Toscana vino de Italia.
The next best part of the day was talking to Tommy about him registering for IRONMAN St. George. Somehow, I didn’t pay enough attention to the Priority entry. Regardless, I AM IN!!!!
June 9, 2019 – IRONMAN Cairns, Australia
October 12, 2019 – IRONMAN World Championship, Kona, Hawaii
May 2, 2020 – IRONMAN St. George, Utah
June 20?, 2020 – IRONMAN Ireland
When I was a kid I was very independent and “could play with lego’s by myself for hours” as my Mom has said. I tried baseball, soccer, football, track & field, swimming, ski team (high school), crew team (college) and I wasn’t very good at any of them. But, on my own, I would rollerblade or take my GT Timberline Bike around for hours. Looking back, I was an independent-endurance athlete. I am thankful, always to Trevor, who got me into running in 2008 and triathlon in 2010. Looking back, it was obvious what I would be good at. I’m grateful and thankful that I have Passion and Love for a sport that has given me so much, like my wife, Coach Sydney, travels around the world, people I call Brother and Family living in Australia, and most recently coaching my 60year old mother to half marathons and duathlons.
THIS SPORT is for ANYBODY. I don’t care what your background is, YOU CAN DO THIS. Give it a go. See what you are capable of. It’s friggen AWESOME!!!