01 April 2013

IM 70.3 California

The race season is really off and running now with Ironman 70.3 California in the rear view mirror.  The Oceanside half ironman is generally considered to be the opening race of the season, and everything that precedes it is and early season race.  This was the third half ironman race fro me ever; the other two were the Wildflower Half Ironman in 2005 and 2006.  There were a couple other firsts as well for the race, I would be on an actual triathlon bike and not a road bike with a tri set up and the first WTC (World Triathlon Corporation) event that I had ever done.  The goal for the race was to score points for the 5150 series so that I could qualify for the Hy-Vee 5150 Championship race in September as you can use two 70.3 series races towards qualifying.

The pro fields were very deep with talent and it would be a great test for me against some of the best at the distance.  Coming into the race I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I was for Alcatraz a month earlier even though there were many more unknowns for me going into the race.   I did feel confident in my training that I could compete with everyone but in not having raced a half in so long I was less sure about pacing and the different drafting rules and the way the event is run.  I did my normal prep before the race but in setting up for the race I chose to just use the bags that the WTC provided for the race instead of using my own gear bag.  After setting up T2 with my run gear first I proceeded to T1 and set my bike up.  When I was getting my swim gear organized and ready I realized a little rookie error in using their bags instead of my own, I forgot to transfer my goggles over.  Panic never helps any situation, took a breath and thought of the easy solution and just started asking a few friends if they had an extra pair.  Easy enough fellow pro Kyle Leto had a spare pair and I was saved.  I have loaned pairs out in the past as I normally have a spare pair of goggles but you never know when you will need the help from someone else.  I got everything else set up and in no time we were off.

The swim felt incredibly easy in my 2XU V:2 wetsuit I got going quickly and settled in to what I thought was the front main pack.  After rounding the turn buoy it became evident that I was straggling a bit off the back and not in the group.  I picked up the pace but could not quite close the gap to the back end of the group down.  I got out of the water in a very quick time only 1 min down from Andy Potts, who is considered the best swimmer in the sport and was in a great position.

However after strapping into my Sidi T3.6’s and heading off on the bike it was going to be a very hard effort to close that gap.  A few guys took off and though I did try to stay with them I was not prepared to go that hard without paying the price later.  I did have some nerves early on in the bike and I was not getting in as much First Endurance EFS drink and Liquid Shot down as I would have liked.  Another group of three bridged up to me and after bouncing around with them and being thoroughly confused by what the gap between bikes was for drafting they got away.  Apparently the gap is much smaller than I think it is.  After about an hour, my stomach was a bit more settled and I started to get more of my first bottle of EFS as well as some solid food from my Enduro Bites bar.  At the 25-mile mark I was mixing it in with a few other guys and we proceeded to rotate around through to the finish.  I as very happy to feel as strong as I did on the hills on the second half of the course and thought I did pace the ride very well.  Entering transition with Ben Hoffman and just behind Trevor Wurtele was a good boost but there was still a half marathon to run almost entirely on concrete and that is where I was a bit worried.

I heeded Derick’s advice closely and headed out conservatively on the run as Ben and Trevor attacked the run much faster.  I felt pretty smooth and was moving well through the first lap of the run but could tell that my legs were starting to take a beating on the concrete.  Through the transition/finish area was a nice boost when I spotted Bri in the crowd and having the whole crew from 2XU out there cheering as well.  I continued to plug along but at about 10miles is when I could tell my pace had started to deteriorate and with each step the ground felt like it was getting harder.  I pushed into the finish in 23rd, not ideal for placing and points but it was a start.

I learned a lot during the race and about how I will need to approach and race at my next 70.3 at St. George, Utah.  Making the front pack, the drafting zone, how hard to push on the bike, and the importance of getting all my First Endurance EFS in are all things that I will be working on.  But first I will get to have some fun as I am only a couple weeks out from the first XTERRA of the year in Vegas for the West Championship.

I was able to pay Kyle’s kindness back in loaning me his spare set of goggles by picking up his helmet in transition, it always some full circle.  Check back for pictured in a few days! 

Nitty Gritty Details:
Clothing: 2XU Long Distance Tri Suit, 2XU Compression Calf Guards

Swim: 2XU V:2 Westsuit, borrowed Kyle Leto's Blue70 goggles and 2Toms SportsShield.

Bike: Pro Cycling Specialized Shiv Pro, 808's with Zipp Tangente Tubulars with Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex sealant, SRM Rotor 3D+ crank 53-39 Q-Rings, Sidi 
T3.6Rudy Project Wingspan helmet and Rudy Project Hypermask Performance w/Impactx Photolazer Racing Red Lens 
Bike Nutrition: 2-24oz bottle of First Endurance EFS Orange,  3/4 flask of First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot
1-24 oz bladder of water, 1/2 Package of Enduro Bites Fig & Dark Chocolate bar, 

Run: Colorado Running Company Inov-8 Road X-Treme 208 with 2Toms BlisterShield

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