Ironman 70.3 St. George UT – Race Report

Ironman 70.3 St. George UT: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run.

The short story is that is was a long, hilly, tough, windy, hot day Ironman 70.3. I was happy with my swim. I had some great times on the bike, and some other times. I had a death march run. Summary stats below. Gory details begin below.

My friends had all kinds of crazy stories. Rudy had his goggles snap in half right before the gun went off. Bill’s swim relay buddy Charles DNF’d for an injury in the water. Steve was plain strong, with long T1 (what’s up with that?). Tiffany powered through the winds. Bob finished his first 70.3 and was pleased to survive the swim. Ryan ‘let’ Lynda pass him, while on her way to winning her AG. Yas was strong too. Jonathan had a squiggly swim on his Strava. Alvin fought through his med complications and finished. Gregg placed 8th in his AG. Strong.

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8.00pm the night before. Ironman sends out texts and email that the wave start are earlier and compressed, only two minutes apart, due to forecast of high winds. Yikes. My start time moved up to 7:03am.

4.00am. After a restless night, the day started at zero dark early. Breakfast: banana, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cup of juice, bag of pills (Enduro-lytes, Anti-fatigue, Andrenals). Sunscreen, especially on the lower back and ears, arms, and face. Tri-shorts, morning shorts (already 70s outside). Put on timing chip on left ankle. In hind-sight I made the right gear choices: No tri-top for this race. I have a black tri-top and after a long day, it’s just too squeezey and annoying. So, I planned on a bare-chested swim. White cycling jersey for bike, with lots of pockets, and shoulder coverage for sun. White running shirt for run, with comfort and shoulder coverage from sun.

4:30am. Carpool with friends to T2 at Town Center. Don’t forget where Van is parked. Walk over and drop off nutrition at the T2, water bottle, goos, pills.

5:15am. Jump on bus ride to the T1. The quietest bus ride on any event, even the bus driver said so.

6:00am. T1. Potty stop: It was going to be a good day. Load up nutrition on bike: Water in torpedo bottle. Hammer Perpetuem in feed bottle. Goos and pills wrapped into the top of my bike. Turn on Garmin 810 on bike. Lay out bike shoes. Roll up socks. Helmet. Head Band. Sun glasses. Lay out bike jersey. Sunblock chapstick in pocket. Everything set. Roam around and take pictures with friends. Put on wetsuit, stuff goggles and swim cap into wetsuit. Pack up morning stuff and drop off bag.

SWIM. 7:03am. Swim start. Since the reservoir was full, it was a floating start. We walked into the water and swam out to the buoys about 100 yds from the shore. I gingerly swam out. It was cold water and put my head under, not too bad. Announcer says, “30 seconds!” Wait, what? I didn’t make it to the buoys before the blow horn started the wave. I hit my watch start and then just swam. I started smooth and slow. I had a good swim. My ROKA F1 with purple/amber lens were crystal clear. The backside of the swim wasn’t as long as last time. I barely touched anyone else. All kinds of different color caps passed. I got up the boat landing and met the wetsuit strippers. Wahoo. I gave one wetsuit stripper an unexpected hug.

T1. Not too bad considering I put on a cycling kit. I remembered everything and jogged out.

BIKE. Start was a gentle climb around the lake. There was some previews of the wind, pushing from the side. I didn’t feel like I had a lot of power in my legs, so kept the gears down and the cadence up. The climb out was 6-7%. After there was a flat section, around mile 5-10, I tried to start my nutrition.  I felt a little nauseous  and tried to clear my throat. I blew my nose a few times and then a couple dry heaves later, I burped a few times, and everything settle down. The steep rollers around mile 23, I hit my all time highest speed, 49 mph! I may have had a tail wind. I was definitely spun out. I looked around to make sure no one was too close and just tucked it in. Wahoo. The road was a fairly straight section and the road was smooth. So, I let it rip. That was the best moment of the day. Mile 27, I reloaded 2 bottles. Soon after, I heard a screw loose rattling somewhere. It was a c-clamp on my aerobar, holding the mount to the torpedo bottle and Garmin. I stopped briefly, asking some fans to hold my bike. I dumped out my tools from the bottle and tried to tighten the screw, but it was torx screw, damit. I took off and then just put the screw in my pocket and prayed that the other screw on the other aerobar held, otherwise I would be holding my bottle and Garmin. I had to listen to the c-clamp rattle for another 30 miles. The ride through town was fast. I hit 35 mph a few times on the rollers. The out-and-back at mile 35, Gregg and Alvin passed me. At mile 40, I loaded up on water again and took a quick pee stop. The climb up Snow Canyon was tough. I also felt my right cleat loose during the climb. The climb is 4 miles with 1000 ft, 6-10%. It gets progressively steeper until the top. I had painful cramping in my groin area. That was my first cramps on a bike. I almost tipped over. So, I stopped briefly and caught my breath. Of course Bob passes me right at that point. The winds were definitely picking up at that point. As I reached the top, and headed down to town, the winds were a direct head wind. Bummer. The descent was a lot more work than expected. As the road turned the winds turned into cross winds and really could push you around. During the final couple miles back to town, the road was really bumpy, I thought my aero-clamps would rattle free or my right cleat would rattle off too. Got to town same and sound.

T2: Quick and simple. Changed to a light PTC running shirt. Full hat. Cooling towel. Sunglasses and lip balm. Nutrition: Goos, pills. Quick potty stop. Slathered extra sunscreen on arms and neck.

RUN: Steep run out of town. I jogged and walked, hoping some life in my legs would show up. It was hot and windy. Mile 4 is 8% uphill. I walked more. At the top of the wilderness section, the wind was howling so hard, I couldn’t look up with losing my hat, cooling towel. My contacts were dried out and sandy. I ran the downhills on the out and backs, and walked the uphills. Except Lynda, everyone passed me on the run: Steve, Rudy, Bill, Jonathan, Was, Abel. I kept up my spirits today. No dark moments. My hydration plan was filling my handheld bottle with ice, then top off with gatorade. Ice in my hat. I drank a bottle every mile. Plus, oranges and bananas. I had weird pee urges, but nothing happened in the potty stops. I knew I was running a deficit on hydration. I kept up the run / walk until the end.

Finish. Felt good to finish. That hurt a lot.

Post-race: We cleaned up and then picked up dinner with friends and ate at Alvin’s rental house. It was really fun to share stories from the day and laugh about it all. Beers and Ice cream shakes from Iceberg Drive In. We stayed the night and left early Sunday morning to beat the Las Vegas traffic back to LA.

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