Ironman Canada - Whistler, BCYup - it went well, as in really really well. <brag> I finished IMC in 9h 39min and 17sec, KQ, 4th place in my AG, 24th overall including the Pro field, which leaves me as 10th amateur overall if I did the math right. That's an IM PR on a course that Matthew Russell called the hardest Ironman course he had ever ridden. </brag> Mission iSUB9 is still out there - but not on this course and in this year.
2013 has been an interesting season. Moving from SF to NYC, living out of a suitcase, hip injury, lack of decent outdoor rides, no +M2 Revolution, arrival of the +CycleOps 400 indoor trainer, buying an apartment, running 57 times around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reservoir in Central Park, Rev3 Quassy, 3rd AG IM 70.3 Syracuse and finally sharing life full-time with +Nicole Dubois - the year had it all so far.
Whistler is a perfect venue. An abundance of housing options, restaurants, parking, etc combined with people that live the outdoors day in and out makes for a great race. I saw equal amounts of high end mountain bikes as I saw pimped TT bikes. On the run there was a section where folks were riding a terrain bike on BMX and MTBs. Good choice!
But let's cut to the chase:
3.45AM Alarm. Good night sleep comes to an end. Coffee, recommended by doctors worldwide for breakfast followed by a plain 'kaiser' roll (pun intended) and some nuts. 4.45AM wake up Nicole and get ready to drive the 5min to Whistler for the shuttles.
Athletes were allowed to take the shuttles, while poor spectators had to walk 45min to the swim start (room for improvement). iPod on - focus on. I arrived in T1 and all that was left to do was pump up the tires (CA_EN tyres) and get in line for the Port-a-John's (where did that name come from?).
There weren't enough - as usual.
But the lake was amazing. So clear, perfect temperature, beautiful setting:
|Photo credit +Nicole Dubois|
Despite my best effort to improve my swimming time, I didn't. Oh that is so frustrating! Argghhh!
OK, otherwise uneventful, although I thought it was pretty crowded for almost the entire first loop. <opinion>I am still a HUGE fan of the mass start. It's part of the game. SwimSmart may comfort people, but I am going to predict that it won't save lives. The number of events is far too small to draw any meaningful conclusion on that. Numbered buoys, etc. are all good and welcome, it makes sense, but keep the mass start.</opinion>
The bike was a lot of fun, mainly because I was able to make up lost ground. After looking for my bike in the wrong aisle in T1 I quickly caught up with Jessica Yin, who eventually came in 4th in her AG and scored a Kona slot!). From there it is a net downhill to the bottom of the climb up to Olympic Park where they held the Nordic events, which is a ~6 mile climb. Gary Rafferty was looking good on this climb. I truly enjoyed the climb and the vistas of the Olympic structures - so inspiring.
|Best cheering squad|
Superfast descent back to HWY99 and stepwise climb back up to Whistler for some cheers by the many spectators, the blue people and +Nicole Dubois.
After Whistler you have an 'endless' downhill - I almost couldn't believe how far it stretched. It's crazy long and you know that you have to come back up. Partly worried - partly excited I plotted the day ahead and concluded that this will play out well for me. Knowing that I am good climber, the only thing that I was missing right now were an extra 10lbs for the downhill!
Town of Pemberton was very lively and lined with spectators. What follows though is the dark spot of the course. A long ~20 mile Florida-Flat out and back. Me and 2 other guys in my AG were clearly working legally on this until we got gobbled up by this massive draft pack. This was TdF style peloton riding. I tried 3 times to break out in the front, only to be out-sprinted by someone who then would sit in front of me at a slower pace. Oh this was so frustrating. I almost lost my race MoJo. I know part of the problem was the course design, but a lot of people took advantage of it.
My solution was to sit in the back, a good 10m behind the last person, and try to not get a penalty. Did I benefit? I don't know. I know that I was capable of riding faster than most of the people (since I passed at least 5 of them earlier when riding solo), but I was now also saving energy. On the flip side, my HR dropped and I lost focus. In the end this was the decision I made to come to peace with the situation, I figured that I would roll up the field on the climb back to Whistler. Comparatively speaking I also wasn't taking advantage of the pack with a clear separation between me and them (Kudo's to pro female ahead of me who did the same). The frustration was fueled by poor marshaling - the penalty tents were empty.
But now back to the course, uphill for a solid hour+ or so and breaking clear of the pack within 10 minutes. Sad/funny that now we had a referee handing out draft penalties on the uphill! Naturally the same guys I was riding in close vicinity earlier where now back together - justice after all.
I really wanted to break 5 hrs on the bike, but it didn't happen on Sunday. Maybe it would have worked without the flat out-and-back in Pemberton, but who knows. In the end, this was a super split and poised me to do well on the run.
Swift transition into the running shoes and out on the run. 2 loops of mixed paved valley path and gravel. Very windy and partially shaded. An excellent run course. After St.George my definite favorite. Great job organizers. I struggled on the first lap and lost about 3x2 min having to stop at the bathrooms. Very frustrating. So I ended up passing the same guys 3 times, I wonder what they thought. It was fun with the out and backs to see the Pros, as well as the crew: Jessica, Gary, Adam and Jason.
Lap 2 was fantastic. I wasn't running nearly the pace I intended to run, but I clearly budgeted my effort well as I was passing people all the time. Of course some just came off the bike and were on lap 1, but at the turn around I got a good look at the folks in my AG. I hadn't figured all of them out, but had a pretty good idea who is in my AG and where they are.
The turn-around really marked the beginning of the best racing I have done so far I think. I was running a good clip and just on the edge of going too fast. This is the first IM where I didn't drop my HR towards the end. Slamming coke I was able to pass even the guy that I thought I could never pass - and unlike other times I passed people I must have done it with such dominance that none responded.
That put me on the final mile well clear of the next competitor and only 30s behind #3 (which of course I didn't realize). I was able to enjoy the finish line, greeting people, smiling, stopping for +Nicole Dubois and finally doing a silly move across the line.
|Still featuring Pro Time|
Very excited about my performance and the outstanding results from my fellow +M2 Revolution team mates:
Jessica - going to Kona
Gary - IM with a newborn!
Adam - first timer
Jason - looked strong on the run
Walter Lee - last official finisher
You rocked it, eh!
|Doing a practice swim|