Getting to a race and setting up is a big part of Ironman. Going with friends and experiencing Ironman is the best part of Ironman.
This year, my big race for the year is Ironman 70.3 St. George UT. Pasadena Tri Club had 13 racers this year. St. George is a small city in the red rock canyons about an hour and a half north of Las Vegas. The city is quaint and suburban. The course is tough, I mean tough. Hilly, long climb on the bike. Hilly, no shade run. And the weather is predicted to be brutal: 88F, with winds.
I carpooled with a couple friends Gregg and Tiff. We left on Thursday 6am early and reached St. George by 2pm (one hour time difference, so about ~7 hrs drive).
Preparation comes on many fronts. These are the specific questions rolling through my head this week.
The Body. Did I do the training and getting the fitness into the body? Is my swim stroke feeling good? Have I put in the time and energy to make this happen? How come I can’t sleep this whole week? Will all the running in February and March pay off? Will my gut stay with me through the heat?
The Mind. Am I ready to do this? Will this kill me? I’ve done this race before, what am I worried about?
The Gear. Is my new bike all dialed in? DI2 charged up? Garmins all charged up? How come my new power meter seems to be off by 50W? My goggles are crappy and foggy.
The Logistics: Where are we staying? Who’s driving? When are we going? How much vacation days am I burning?
The Weather: Forecast is 88F and windy. The wind gusts can make a choppy swim. Winds can make headwinds on the bike harder. Heat on the run will be a death march.
The solution is to start with the little stuff and keep building. Make dents on the big stuff step by step.
I pack several days ahead. I focused on one aspect: Run stuff, then swim stuff, etc. Keep throwing stuff in the pile. Push the pile into the bag. Keep adding things that I forgot. Lip balm sunscreen. Cooling towel. Contact solution. Extra contacts in transition Go get that thing when you think of it and before you forget. Check out that water bottle. Charge up that gizmo right away. Grab that charger. Count out nutrition pills. Pre-pack pill packets. Scoop out powders into bags. Overpack and then edit your choices once you’re at the race site.
Enjoy your time with your friends. and shop!
Learn new things about your friends. Chit chat on a road trip is priceless. Shopping at the Expo is great. I got Zoot board shorts 50% off. I got Ironman t-shirt with my name on it. I got a new Ironman gym bag 50% off, which Blue / Green matches my backpack. Then, shopping at local cool bike shop Red Rock Bicycle Shop. I got new bada$$ Specialized kit.
Preview Swim at Sand Hallow
There was so much water in the reservoir this year, that the sandy beach is gone, under water. The trees are under water. The flintstone rocks are under water. Ominously, there was a warning about “Swimmer’s Itch is active”. Apparently, there’s nothing to worry about. Only 6% of the population has allergic reaction to the small parasite. But, we had a nice swim in the lake. It had warm spots and cold spots. The cold spots were really cold. While we changed out of our ROKA wetsuits, we saw two red snakes slithering through the rocks.
Bike check and Snow Canyon recon
On Friday, we took a short bike spin to make sure all the gear is in tip top shape. We rolled over to the St. George Temple (LDS). We drove the 2nd half of the bike course. Snow Canyon is jaw-dropping amazing red rock. It’s a steep climb through the canyon and then a long descent back into town.
We dropped off our bikes at T1 at Sand Hollow. It was bike envy time, looking at all the excellent TT bikes.