Ironman 70.3 Wisconsin 2017 in Madison, WI
This was my first A race of the year coming off a broken foot over the 2016/107 winter.
I’ve been working with a coach 1 on 1 again this season – Scott Iott of SuperFly Coaching. I’ve been a Hammer Nutrition Sponsored Athlete again this year, working with PowerTap again this year, and racing for Team SuperFly.
With a broken foot most of the winter, I spent a lot of time in the pool and on the bike before returning slowly to running in mid January. My swim has steadily improved, and my biking it looking great lately.
I’m racing on the same set-up as last year, my new-to-me 9 Series Speed Concept and Zipp Super 9 disc wheel and Zipp 808 front wheel.
My target power for the bike was an aggressive, but well tested 270W, and target pace on the run was 6:15 pace assuming ideal weather.
I fuel with Infinit on the bike (about 300 calories per hour) and Hammer gels on the run.
The swim start was a rolling start with self seeded corrals.
4:30AM wake-up, after going to bed around 9PM. I went about the morning. I ate my usual breakfast of a bagel with almond butter, a banana, and a cup of coffee right away. Did my usual bathroom routine and headed off to set-up transition at 5:15AM for the 7AM race start.
After setting up transition I moved to the swim start and met up with a number of my fellow coaches, friends, and other SuperFly athletes.
It was a self-seeded rolling start, so I got in the second group and ended up getting in the water somewhere within the first 50 athletes I’d guess.
The rolling start was fairly smooth, but still the usual melee for the first 500m until things spread out. I was on some fast feet by then and stuck with them until the final turn buoy when the guy started to slow significantly so I overtook him.
I didn’t look to see what my swim time was, but felt good about it and think the intensity was right.
Swim time 29:25
It was a long run from the lake to transition. I stripped my wetsuit to my waist while running and had my cap and goggles in my hand by the time I reached my bike. I stripped the wetsuit the rest of the way, put on my helmet and sunglasses and exited transition. The rubber bands holding my shoes in place snapped while running to the mount line, which made a barefoot mount interesting, but I managed.
The first mile or so of the bike is a on bike path which is fairly narrow with some sharper turns. It was a bit nerve wracking cornering on a tri bike with others around on this path. Eventually we exited the path on to the road and I was able to get aero and start working in my power target window.
The roads were REALLY rough, I’d rank them as the worst road surface I’ve ever raced on – worse than Racine 70.3. Add to that the climbs only to descend into a tight turn, gravel on many of the corners, a non-closed course, and I think it this is one of the most challenging 70.3 bike courses out there.
Most of the ride I was questioning if I was going the right way. There were hardly any bikers I could see up ahead and none really around me. Around mile 19 Scott Iott caught me on the bike as I was catching a guy ahead of me. The three of us were riding really similar paces so we ended up forming a legal pack for much of the next 25 miles or so.
Due to the rough roads and the smaller water bottles they were giving us at the aid stations I couldn’t keep a water bottle in my BTA carrier. Without fail I’d grab a bottle and within 5 miles it’d be rattled loose from the roads, down hill, and hard cornering. This resulted in me being 1-1.5 bottles of fluids behind what I had planned to take in given the heat and normal training volume. I had no fluids on my bike for the last 30 minutes of the ride because of this and knew I was going to be in trouble on the run.
I don’t mind a challenging bike course, I’d ride this again, but with some good lessons learned this time around.
Ride time was 2:25:10
With a barefoot dismount I ran into transition, shoved the wetsuit aside from the guy next to me that decided my rack spot was his hanging rack (as was my bike spot his transition zone). Slipped on my socks and shoes and began running out of transition as I clipped on my race belt and put on my hat.
I felt pretty good starting the run and I’d say for the first 2 miles I was holding to my pace target and feeling good. Scott came out of transition not much behind me and we ran the first 2 miles together. I was chatting, he was not.
Between mile 2 and 3 I started to realize I was going to have trouble. I slipped in behind Scott and tried to take a mental inventory. The main thing I kept circling back to was how thirsty I was. At the mile 3 aid station Scott was already pulling away from me and I started making it a point to get as much water as I could while running through the aid stations.
All along the course (starting back on the bike) spectators and volunteers were telling me my position on the course. I knew I was sitting somewhere between 6-8 overall depending on who I believed. I couldn’t keep that out of my head and the pressure of maintaining that position was a lot.
I stopped looking at my watch pretty much right away on the run on feel. I tend to get less emotional that way and usually run better. By mile 4 I was in complete survival mode, I wasn’t thinking about good run mechanics, race strategy, pacing, etc. All that was running through my head was make it to the next aid station to get some water. Just keep running.
My pace was a steady decline throughout the run as I dealt with the heat, hills, and my dehydration. In the last 2 miles 2 guys passed me, one of which I learned was in my age group. I had nothing left to go with them though. I crossed the finish line and was completely spent and disappointed with my run performance. In hindsight I gave it all I had and maybe if I had more water on the bike I would have run a few minutes faster, but in general it was a brutal day on a very challenging course.
Run time 1:30:31
I’d race here again. There were some issues with parking communication, policing the transition, and general race hiccups but I think it was a good race and well run. I don’t blame the race organizers for the bad roads, that is on Wisconsin. I really like the rolling starts, it makes things so much cleaner for the front of the field, and I imagine a lot less stressful for the mid-back of packers. I love racing with friends and it was great to have so many SuperFly Atheletes out there. One of these days I’ll find my run form again in a long course race.
Total: 4:29:43 3rd in Age Group, 11 Overall