Monday, April 2, 2012

LeadmanTri EPIC 125 Vegas

I like to think I have raced some challenging race courses in my short triathlon career. My first half iron distance was Wildflower. I've raced Ironman Lake Placid, Wisconsin and Kona. All these courses can undoubtedly claim a spot on almost anyone's "Tough Courses" list. On my own personal list, the Leadman Tri EPIC 125, definitely claims one of the top slots.

Had the race taken place on Friday it would have been a tough day even with temps in the 70s and little to no wind. With Saturday and a 10a.m. start however, came some high temps and some fierce winds. When I first learned of the 10a.m. start time I was stoked to enjoy a much more relaxed race morning. Come Friday however, I was really wishing we could get going early to beat the expected winds. As it turned out, even an 7a.m. start would have made for a hard day. The winds kicked up early and never let up, only strengthening throughout the day. Serious winds, those of the sustained 20-30mph type, with gusts into the 50s. In fact the evening new reported the highest gust recorded at 67mph.

Onto the race: 
The water was hovering around 60f in the days leading up to the race but I think the winds stirred it up a bit and left it in the high 50s making my "warm up" short and sweet. Soon after the gun it was clear that the chop in the water was going to make it a "swim for the hearty." Fortunately I was able to stick close to Maik Twelsiek and keep the stand up paddler in sight. I came out in 2nd a few meters behind Maiki.

Bike: 109.5K
Out of T1 Maiki immediately dropped me in rapid fashion. I knew I needed to maintain a high but manageable pace, and things began well.  My BH GC Aero was set up well and rolling flawlessly. I had planed on running a Reynolds Element Disc and RZR 92 up front, but in a game time decision , I opted for an Assault (46mm) front due to the wind.
Photo credit: Leadman & Slowtwitch
It was a good decision with the fierce cross winds. After 25miles however, I began to struggle mightily. I will not make excuses, it was solely due to my poor planning and lack of fitness. I opted to use a Torhans Aero 30 which was a great call, and a single downtube bottle with my PowerBar gels mixed with water. This was a MAJOR oversight on my part as I ran out of fluids early and often. Poor planning and lack of foresight is tough to overcome. Even more so, is a lack of fitness. I simply did not have it and on a course like Leadman, in those brutal conditions, there is no place to hide, you can't "fake it." I was utterly drained by the time I hit T2, well off the pace of my competition.
Apparently my brother and I both suffer from "High Arm Run" syndrome
The run course at Leadman is all uphill. Its also all on a walking/bike path. With these factors in mind, I knew there was little chance of making a wrong turn, and that I would have to ride the course the day before if I was to see it. So I opted not to do so. On race day, I was very happy I made that decision. Had I known what lay before me, I am not sure I would have had the gumption to make it out of T2. I was cooked dry and had very little left in the tank. Fueled predominantly by ignorance, I began the run, er... uphill slog to Boulder City. Cramping in my quads (again due to poor hydration and lack of fitness) began early and stayed with me for the duration of the run. My saving grace came in the form of a relay team member who caught me around the 5mile mark and set the pace to cling to for the remainder of the slog.
All the finish chute railings had been blown over at this late stage in the race.
Finish 4:59; 4th
It was great to have my brother there to see me race for the 1st time. 

All of us reveling in the pain

All in all it was truly one of the more testing and trying days in my sporting career. I knew coming off a long off season due to my injury I was not going to be in the best shape, but I was hoping some consistent training and a month back with the Squad would work me back into some reasonable degree of fitness. Clearly, my hopes were not confirmed and I have LOADS of work to do before Wildflower. Time to batten down the hatches and get to work.

I want to send a sincere "Thank You" to all the Life Time Fitness /Leadman Tri crew for putting on a spectacular race, serving up an incredible challenge, and doing it all with class, & top notch customer service. If you want a BIG challenge... There's a couple waiting for you in Vegas and Bend.

I would also like to thank my great support network of sponsors:
Zoot: The Prophet wetsuit battled the cold temps and kept me comfortable and riding high on the choppy waters of Lake Mead. The new TT is an awesome shoe! (even when you're worked!)

BH Bikes: My first race on the GC Aero left me only wishing I had more to give as the bike worked beautifully and was only slowed by the engine!

Reynolds Wheels: The Assault & Element was the right choice in those windy conditions and I was confident even racing the wheel I typically train on (Assault). Again, only the engine slowed the roll.

TRIBE: A big help is having a competently staffed and fully stocked Triathlon shop a phone call away. Thank you guys for all you do.

SPY Optics: The harsh desert sun and gale force winds were no match for the Screw. Comfortable, clear and good looking eyewear is HUGE! Not to mention the fact that they are so light I barely know they are there.

PowerBar: Had I been smart, my only change in nutrition plan would have been to bring more PowerBar Perform!

PVBC: Knowing my bike is tuned and ready is a big help.


1 comment:

  1. 4th on a suboptimal day isn't so bad! good to see you back at it! sounds like it was a crazy day out there!!