3:55am Wake up call and Breakfast:
-3 slices of Udi's GF toast with PB and Jelly
-2 cups of coffee with coconut milk and sugar
-18oz of water with 2 scoops of Ultragen
-1/4 peanut butter power bar (at 5am)
-1 cappuchino powergel (20 min before swim start)
-Additional 24 oz of water (3:55am - 6:45am)
Kept the breakfast lighter than my Wisconsin breakfast to avoid a repeat of stomach distress during the swim. Erin and Jimmy picked up Byers from down the road then came back to grab me to drive us down to transition at 4:45am. We proceeded to body marking and dropped off special needs bike and run bags. We loaded up our bike nutrition bottles onto our bikes. Next I dropped a couple extra gels into my bike and run transition bags, and moved my bib from the bike bag to my run bag, as we didn't need to wear it on the bike.
My old Felt had me paranoid about bars and saddles slipping, so I brought the bike over to the Shimano mechanics in transition just to double check the bolts on the stem and seat post. Good to go. Pumped up to 115psi. Now that everything was set there was about an hour to kill before the cannon sounds at 7am. Athletes lined the fences inside transition, mostly quiet and focused, not a whole lot of talking it was pretty quiet for having over 2000 athletes and volunteers roaming about like ants.
I went to drop off my morning swim bag, grabbed my Tyr Torque, goggles, and swim cap then headed to the ART tent and laid on the grass for a while. I heard the Cannon for the pro men, the crowd was about 400m away from where I was on the other side of transition, but I could hear them buzz and the helicopter blades chopping as it flew by. This meant it was 6:30am and time to get my ass in gear. I loaded up at the sun screen station and added globs and globs of Vaseline to those chafe susceptible parts.
SWIM: I took the first 200y out with the pack and tried to find a nice quick pair of feet to follow. I relaxed into a nice rythm for most of the first 1.2 miles out to the turn, gradually making my way right. I may have been out a bit too fast for my own good, as we approached the turn I began to be passed, and had trouble holding onto any bubbles as they went past. I stayed controlled though, and stuck to my plan easy out, and picked up the stroke rate a bit on the way back to the pier. The water seemed a bit choppier on the way back. Here I was able to grab a couple different pairs of feet for a few minutes at a time which helped bring me in. There was a lot of contact around the first and second turns and a good portion of the way back, as I was swimming right next to each buoy as opposed to angling my way in on the way out.
For a while after the turnaround, I was swimming stroke for stroke next to a woman who breathed opposite myself. So we were face to face about 12 inches apart every other stroke. Her goggles must have been knocked off... because she had NONE. Now that takes balls (even if you don't have any), to swim (at least) 1.2 miles in the super salty and choppy Pacific with no goggles. Im pretty sure she eventually swim away from me. Perhaps I took it too easy, but I didn't want to expend too much energy (to possibly gain only a minute or two) in the first hour of a 9+ hour race, only to blow up later. I came out of the water feeling pretty fresh in a time of 1:05:45.
|A bit crowded coming out of T1|
Rolling out of T1 I could hear a couple familiar voices yelling. I looked but couldn't pick anyone out of the crowds until a little further up the hill I saw Jimmy on the left side "GO DANIEL" with the iPhone out!
Got out on the bike feeling pretty well. I had no idea what time I swam, asked a guy in transition he said we were around 1:05. I was happy with that, 7 minutes faster than last time here. Kept the shoes on the bike in T1 chain in the small ring.
The course goes right up Palani Drive, which is quite the climb right out of transition, so you had better be in your shoes soon after pushing off from T1. Half way up the hill the course takes a right headed South on the Kaukini Hwy where we make a quick couple mile out and back before turning again onto Palani and finishing the climb up to the Queen K Highway.
Glad to be out of the water and onto the bike, a sport where I can actually begin making up the ground (water) that was forfeited in the swim being swum over, grabbed, passed, and serving as a human punching bag in the ocean.
|Saw my support crew on the way up Palani. Thanks!|
Aware of the official making his rounds I was careful to drop back when passed. On the uphills I would even warn a couple guys to be careful where they ride and that the official was making his way up the field. However, I don't know if it is a European thing, or just smart tactical racing, but on several occasions little groups of 4-5 riders would pass me, each of them immediately cutting over during their pass as opposed to gradually cutting back in to the right. Each time this would happen I would be literally 2 inches from the guy's rear wheel and forced to drop back, soft pedal and often times breaking, or moving left towards the center of the road to stay out of the draft zone, but then risking "blocking". Frustrating to say the least.
All of a sudden I hear "1862, next penalty tent". I look over and there is the motorcycle with the official showing me a red card. I was in disbelief, and totally pissed at myself. I knew he was there and was being careful to be 7 meters back. I didn't drop far enough back, or pass within 15 seconds, so guilty as charged. I didn't say a word. I just put my head down and picked up the cadence. Right then and there I instantly thought, great, now I have to make up this time. It was probably about 15-20 miles to the first penalty tent.
As we approached I started riding on the shoulder, and about 5 guys ahead of me cut over too. There were at least 30 riders in the tent, and probably another 20-30 came in behind me as I spent my 4 minutes in timeout. With about a minute to go on the stopwatch Byers rode by. These were the longest 4 minutes ever. I had a flash back to Wisconsin when I flatted. Wisconsin turned out alright, but this is field is filled with a different caliber of athlete who won't be pulled back in as easily, or at all. You're just standing there watching all the work you've just done re-pass you. I had my work cut out for me. I took advantage of this time to take a pee in the lava field, in a row of 10 other guys. A female official threatened to give us all another penalty for this unsanctioned bathroom break. Finally the watched showed 4 minutes and I pushed off.
I told myself to remain calm and stick to the game plan, but that is easier said than done. I gradually started making my way up the field, frustrated with the official, but mostly at myself.
|Bike Course Profile. Climb to Hawi at about mile 55.|
The cross and head winds didn't feel terribly bad, but they certainly were noticeable. This all changed once making the turn to Hawi. The winds seemed to be coming at us in all directions. An angled head and cross wind was coming off the ocean to the left/North East of us. Pace slowed here, I just focused on staying small and turning the pedals. It was often difficult just to take a drink, as the change in body position would catch the wind and all 140lb of myself would be tossed across the road.
I was looking for the leaders on their way back from the turn around. I saw Pete Jacobs riding solo a couple minutes off the front. This must have been just about the time Kienle flatted. I hit the turn feeling alright, had half a Larabar and was looking forward to the long descent. Those happy feelings of descent anticipation quickly went away. The compact crank was useless here, I might as well have taken my pedals off to save some weight. I could pedal at about 110rpm for 10 seconds, then I could do nothing more than tuck in and soar down the hill with a nice tail wind.
|Queen K on 10/10|
I conserved some energy here and took advantage of the tailwind to fuel up. It was smooth sailing until we made the left turn back towards Kona. A couple significant climbs (that I really didn't remember going down on the way out, or coming up in 2008) put a damper on the fun real quick. Small ring it was for a couple of these suckers.
I started grabbing Coke at a couple aid stations. and using as much water to cool myself as possible. I could feel my arms burning more and more as time went by. At about mile 95 I started to pay for my surges in wattage trying to make up lost ground. Finally got to the Airport and the Energy Lab and knew transition was only 7 miles away. Made the turn down to T2, took on some extra fuel and fluids, spun the legs out a bit and got the feet out of the shoes for the last minute. Bike Split ended up 5:13:59, 32 minutes faster than 2008 on a slower day, so I was alright with that.
T2- Came off the bike and was glad to finally be on my feet. Grabbed my bag and ran into the change tent. It was packed, I ran all the way to the end and got my shoes on and a volunteer gave me a nice sloppy layer of sunscreen. Put on my hat and bib and I was off. T2- 2:50
I felt 100% better than last time in Kona coming off the bike. In 2008 people were passing me left and right. This time around I was able to settle into a comfortable pace right out of the gates.
The first 10 miles felt comfortable and relaxed headed south on Ali'i and then back north past the finish line.
mile 1 - 7:03
mile 2 - 7:02
mile 3 - 6:52
mile 4 - 7:02
mile 5 - 7:00
mile 6 - 7:16
mile 7 - 7:13
mile 8 - 7:21
mile 9 - 7:08
mile 10 - 7:11
I starting going shopping at each aid station right off the bat. Water, Perform, Ice, Coke, Ice, Water. Ice in the cap and down the back, water on the head. Mile 11 includes the long hill up to the Queen K to finish the next 16 miles of the marathon. Every time I run hills I think of my 800 coach at Iowa, P.A.T. McGhee, "don't hit like a bitch", head down and hit your arms back.
mile 12 - 7:23
mile 13 - 7:09
mile 14 - 7:36
mile 15 - 7:39
mile 16 - 7:44
mile 17 - 7:30
mile 18 - 7:38
mile 19 - 8:21
mile 20 - 8:05
mile 21 - 8:23
mile 22 - 7:35
mile 23 - 8:01
mile 24 - 7:54
mile 25 - 7:57
mile 26 - 7:10
Mile 19 and 24 are some rough climbs with fatigue accumulating and coming out of a hot Energy Lab and back on the Queen K. At Wisconsin I hit every aid station except for the last one, and that last mile was the longest I've ever run. So I made sure to take in calories and fluid every single aid station up until the last one. After the last climb its pretty much all down hill to the finish.
All in all I was (pretty) happy with the my race. While racing 9 hours 41 minutes there were sure to be some glitches. I've yet to have that perfect Ironman... one day maybe. Talking to Andy Potts in transition after the race he said it was a slow tough day all across the board. Compared to previous years times were about 15 minutes slower. I nearly cut off an hour from my last race in Kona, but I still feel like I need to redeem myself on that bike course. We will take a year of some much needed shorter races and shoot for Kona in 2014.
29th Overall American AG