137 days: Ironman 70.3 St George race recap – long version – part 2

I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013 – the day I run in Ironman Lake Tahoe. Only 4 1/2 months away! Raised so far: $5,717! Want to increase this total? Chip in a few bucks to one of our causes here, or find out how you can get involved by pinging me on Facebook or by dropping me a note.

Thank you to all that contributed to the RMHC and AHA matching funds challenge! $530 was donated to these causes, and matching donations were made this morning. Thank you for all of the generous support for these great causes!

Ironman 70.3 St George race recap – long version – part 2

On Monday I offered up the super-compact executive summary of my Ironman 70.3 St George experience: I shouldn’t have raced, but I did, and had an amazing time.

Yesterday was the introduction to the long version of the story, starting off with the time leading up to the race and our arrival into St George. To summarize the tone of yesterday’s post all I need is just one word: awesome. (full disclosure, the post itself wasn’t awesome… our impressions of St George were awesome)

Day before the race

Since I had already done the race check-in on Thursday, our day on Friday had a ton of flexibility. All I needed to do was drop the bike off at the first transition (T1) out at the lake. Because the course was already being openly discussed as difficult – perhaps too difficult for the tastes of some – I wanted to get a close look at the cycling and run courses. After waking up we headed out and drove the car over the last 30 miles of the course. The course was extremely difficult – the hill through Snow Canyon Park was a seriously long and arduous climb that didn’t even start until you’d already ridden 40 miles. Yikes! But it was also extremely beautiful.

Snow Canyon is a natural wonder

Snow Canyon is a natural wonder

More Snow Canyon

More Snow Canyon

... and even MORE Snow Canyon. Too bad I'll be climbing up a long, steep hill - will be too focused to enjoy this natural beauty.

… and even MORE Snow Canyon. Too bad I’d later be climbing up a long, steep hill – will be too focused to enjoy this natural beauty.

After a quick bite of lunch we went back to the hotel. Lauren hit the hotel gym while I prepped the Rocket Bike for race day. In order to check out the bike setup and get everything all dialed in, and to see how my still sick/recovering body would handle a little effort, I decided to ride the bike over the run course. The ride felt great, the body felt pretty good – I couldn’t really exert myself or take full breaths thanks to my still tender lungs – and the run course was, um, going to be difficult. It went straight up one side of a mountain, straight down the other… turn around and do it all over again in reverse. One thing was certain to me at this point: Saturday was going to hurt. But at least the views during the run were going to be stellar.

I got in a quick training ride on the raceday setup - this stretch of road is on both the bike and run courses, on a bluff overlooking the city. Amazing views.

I got in a quick training ride on the raceday setup – this stretch of road is on both the bike and run courses, on a bluff overlooking the city. Amazing views.

Most triathlons have the transitions for the swim to bike (T1) and bike to run (T2) at the same location. Due to the course layout and logistics at some races, however, T1 and T2 may be in separate places. That was the case for this race – T1 and T2 were about 30 miles apart. Due to the sheer number of racers, the Ironman events have you check in your bike the night before the race – having 3,000 racers unloading and setting up their bikes on race morning is a logistics impossibility. Bikes needed to be checked in by 7pm on Friday at the swim location, Sand Hollow Reservoir, about 30 miles northeast of St George.

With several hours left before the bike check-in deadline, we loaded up the Rocket Bike and made the journey to Sand Hollow. It was a bit of a zoo as hundreds upon hundreds of eager racers were unloading and tuning bikes at the normally sedate park and boat launch at the reservoir. We unloaded the bike, got it set up and put into transition without issue, posed for a couple of obligatory photos, and headed back out to scout out the rest of the bike course.

About 60% of the bikes are checked in - this is a view of T1. Millions and millions of dollars in carbon fiber are sitting here tonight, waiting for the storm to hit it in the morning.

About 60% of the bikes are checked in – this is a view of T1. Millions and millions of dollars in carbon fiber are sitting here tonight, waiting for the storm to hit it in the morning.

Posing with the Rocket Bike at bike check-in at T1 before I put it on the rack

Posing with the Rocket Bike at bike check-in at T1 before I put it on the rack

The bike is racked. Time to go eat!

The bike is racked. Time to go eat!

The first couple miles of the bike course coming out of T1 were going to be fast and flat. At mile 3 there was a bit of hill – not anything horrible, but since it was so early in the race you knew that it was going to stack up with traffic. This was followed by an extended, super fast flat stretch and some rolling hills, and just one more grinder of a climb. Yep… the first part of the bike ride wasn’t going to be bad. Not bad at all. Or so I thought… This is, however, as a fellow competitor would remind me later, St George… you need to earn everything out there on the course. There are no freebies.

We finished off the night with a little carbo loading at Buca di Beppo, a little wine to keep the edge off… a slug of Dream Water back at the hotel room… and multiple alarm clocks set to wake me up at 3am. Mountain Time.

Race day was going to start early for me!

This entry was posted in Ironman, Race Report. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s