Ironman Danish’s Ironman WC Race Report…Part 2 Ready to Race

Part 2 of Ironman Danish’s Ironman World Championship Race Report…..

Race Morning Walk to Transition/Start

RACE DAY:  I woke up at 3:45 ready to go, I got up for an Ensure at 4:15 and otherwise relaxed in bed.  Between 4:45 and 5:15 I had the other two ensures and the cup of espresso.  Ben’s espresso really helped get me in and out of the bathroom at the condo and all I had left to take care of was a pre race pee, which I probably could have done in the water.  Duffy put sun screen on the back of my shoulders where we knew it wouldn’t affect the numbers at body marking.  We left the condo at 5:35 and were running a little late; well at least we had pretty much no time to spare.

Body marking was on the very far side of the Hotel at Transition, so getting their added time, but there was no line.  When I went to pump up my tires, some plumbers tape was stuck in the valve, so I had to deal with that, but not a huge issue.  I taped the power bars to my handle bars, the GUs to my top tube and the bike was ready.  I went to find Duffy and in my haste gave her my gear back pack.  I never applied more sunscreen or Vaseline.  I lined up to get in the water and was really thirsty for water.

SWIM:  I started the swim start mid line about two swimmers from the front.  The start was much more mellow then I thought.  The initial sprint wasn’t that bad and I quickly settled into my standard open water pace.  I stayed with the pack and it was pretty easy to just stay in the flow and watch the course markers pass by.  I looked at my watch at the turn around, 32 mins, I was on pace for a sub 1:05 which was my goal.  Unfortunately I ran out of steam slightly more than half way back home and lost a minute on the return trip.  There was definitely some great draft opportunities to pick up the pace on the way home, I just didn’t have more give.

T2:  If you are going to race the world champs, you have to play the game, I think I could have saved 30 secs or so if my shoes were on my pedals and I could skip the changing tent.  You can also run easier and faster bare foot then with bike cleats.  Our helmets were on our bikes which was different from IM TX.

BIKE:  The first part of the IM WC bike course is a bit crazy.  There is a ton of bike traffic on the course and there are lots of turns, man hole covers, steep hills and yelling crowds.  It was not easy to get settled into the bike until about mile 8 when you are on the Queen K headed out of town. Here is a video of me bombing around the “hot corner,” it was so hectic I didn’t ever hear Duffy and crowd cheering…

Once on the Queen K, I settled in pretty quickly and realized I was going to have to ride my bike harder then I have ever gone in my long brick training.  There were huge packs of bikes on the course, at one point I was in a group of at least 80 riders with 4 or 5 riders across.  At that point I realized drafting was going to be a huge part of the bike leg, and I needed a strategy.  About 10 miles into the bike leg, the Refs started to show up and didn’t flag anyone for drafting, but you could tell the field was compelled to at least try to figure out a way to not ride 5 wide.  I eased off a bit and slid to the back and left about 4 or 5 bike lengths develop on the guy in front of me.  There were probably 3 or 4 riders that did the same behind me.  I started to eat my power bar and watched things develop in front of me with the Ref on a motorcycling looking at the group that was still a solid 3 riders wide.  After about 5 mins I noticed the guy in front of me was slipping to more like 10 bike lengths from the guy ahead of him, then I looked behind me and there was no one; for almost half a mile.  I needed to get around this guy and keep in contact with the group, even with 5 bike lengths the affect of the draft was huge compared to being in the open.  Around mile 35 into the bike, things really settled into a routine.  I kept tabs on the riders in front of me and if someone was starting to let the rider ahead get more then 7 meters away from them, I would initiate a pass and close the gap.  The Refs were doing the best they could to flag people for drafting and about every penalty tent I passed had at least 10 riders waiting off a penalty.  After the left turn off the Queen K but before the right turn up to Hawi, I spent a lot of time closing down a large gap of about half a mile. I didn’t fully close the gap until about 1/3 of the way up to Hawi which was just about in time for the really strong headwind to kick in.  This is also where the Pros passed me headed the opposite direction.  Once in the head/cross wind, I had a bunch of riders ahead.  The wind was right to left, so I elected to stay on the gas up the hill and into the wind to maximize the draft in the passing lane.  I used a lot of effort in the passing lane, but I believe it was well spent to keep the pace up and maximize the benefit of the draft.  The turnaround at Hawi was uneventful and the descent down wasn’t quite as bad as I expected, but it was still a handful.  I was averaging around 40 mph on the 12 mile decent, and had 3 gusts of crosswind that made controlling the bike exciting.  I stayed in the aero position the entire descent, and passed several riders who were freewheeling (I kept the pressure on the pedals all the way down, but at a slightly lower effort).  Once at the bottom of the descent, the ribbon of riders ahead was long and steady.  I settled back into my routine of monitoring the 5 or 10 riders ahead of me, and if one was letting off the gas, I made the effort to get around him and close the gap.  At the start of the climb up to the right turn back onto the Queen K I picked up a Perform (as I did at pretty much every other aid station – which were every 7 miles) and the top was slightly unscrewed.  When I went to drink it, the top almost came off and as I went to save it I lost control of the bike and took a tumble (I was only going about 14 mph on the climb).  I quickly remounted the bike and got back in line, but I lost my Hammer Gel Flask which was a little less than half full.  About 20 miles later (about half way down the Queen K), I was really starting to run out of gas and had a little over 20 miles to go.  I doubled down on Perform and started to feel better pretty quickly.  As I was feeling better, I started to pick off a few more riders.  At the start of a small climb I was catching a guy ahead of me pretty quickly, but thought better of putting in the extra effort on the climb and eased off the pedals to settle in for the climb.  As soon as I eased off the pedals I heard a motorcycle coming from behind.  I should have immediately continued with the pass, but didn’t and got flagged for drafting.  Not a big deal, but lesson learned, never ease off the pedals if you hear the motorcycle, hammer down and make the pass.  I would have to clear my penalty at T2, so I pushed a bit harder for the remainder of the bike and into T2 with a 5:05:42….Here is a vid of me bombing into T2 knowing I had a penalty waiting me…

T2  and Run coming up next…

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