Unseasonably hot with temps rising into mid 90s; humid. Strong headwind last 15 miles of bike.
Very pleased with a comfortable 51′ swim. Went out controlled as I felt a bit tight and stomach was in knots, but settled into a nice pace and as I loosened up I was able to hop-scotch up a couple of groups. Pace was a nice rhythm pretty much throughout, with exception of 2-3 x 2′ surges where I moved up from one group to the next, and one 4-5′ steady effort where I rode the feet of another swimmer to the next pack.
Contact was minimal with exception of one obligatory double shoulder grab and sink of some guy that was just annoying the crap out of a nicely assembled group that was functioning smoothly. This demonstration of non-verbal communication seemed to induce proper behavior thereafter.
Swim training generally 10k yard per week; key workouts showed interval distances in the 50-200yd range, consistent with my bike interval workout principles.
Initial sensations were extremely positive and I could see that I would have a good day. Riding very quickly through the various age-groupers/pros that had come out ahead of me in the swim.
Due to the good swim and the quick first couple of miles, there was virtually nobody on the road in front of me. At abut mile 7 of the ride, I had just caught the Czech pro Vabrousek, and who was about a half bike length behind me and 10 feet to my left, both of us riding legally relative to each other according to the pro rules which allow staggered riding.
Imagine my amazement, shock, and livid disbelief when a race official instructed me to stand down for a time penalty. USAT has adopted new rules for the pros to lessen drafting, or legalized drafting in the form of pacelines, by requiring riders to stagger themselves….all very good in my opinion.
As I protested to the official that I was legal relative to Vabrousek, he concurred but indicated that I was not riding in staggered formation relative to the rider in front of me……about 300 yards in front of me!
My arguments that rules were intended to effect a fair race and not to find ways to arbitrarily penalize athletes, and that clearly I was not receiving any benefit from being behind a rider 300 yards down the road, fell on deaf ears to this master of indiscretion. I estimate I lost about 5 senseless minutes as a result of this blind application of the “rules.”
Rode very strong for about 70 miles, largely maintaining pace with two lead riders. Started to fade at about 80 miles, I think due to dehydration. Temps were well into the 90s and very humid, and I was having trouble (as usual) processing the Gatorade on the course–stuff makes me nauseous and gives me no performance buzz like Champion Nutrition and other more serious fluid replacement drinks.
Great crowd support out on the roads and a fun course.
Could see problems from the moment I dismounted. Hips were extremely tight such that I could barely move, and hamstrings were cramping…this has never happened to me before.
Headed out on the run to at least try but it was clear that my hips were just far too tight to run effectively. Decided to walk/jog a loop just to experience a bit of the course and was joined by Chuckie V with whom I enjoyed chatting.
Overall : Of course disappointing to not have the option to run. Dehydration a factor, but the hips issue will need some thought—have a couple of ideas, but don’t feel like hashing them out here.
Swim was very good, 2/3 of bike was very strong, and even with the penalty I outswam and biked some very good athletes, two top 12 Hawaii guys included.
Two guys outbiked me by about 10 minutes, something that would not have happened previously, but absent my uncharacteristic fade, this difference would have been less. Minus the ridiculous bike penalty, bike split would have been 4th fastest. Not stellar, but not so bad either I guess.
Overall, a stronger performance and more positive than my 2002 return to racing at IMC. Spirits are good, and I expect to race again.
More comments shortly on the venue, rules application, etc. Michael
Ironman Wisconsin will be the venue on September 7th.
Vineman 1/2 IM and Folsom Olympic Distance have served as tuneups for a follow-on to my 2002 return to IM competition.
My training for IMW has been very consistent and much less pressured than my last minute run at IMC 2002. It will be very interesting to see how all translates into performance. Although I do not feel pressure to have an end-all race, I do think that I will race well.
It will be fun to experience a new course in a venue that met with rave reviews in its debut last year