Ironman New York City – Trev’s Race Rundown

•August 15, 2012 • 20 Comments

I must be the only one that thinks IMNYC was a cool race.  For sure there are some major improvements needed, but man, lots of people ripping on the race for the same reasons I would go back.

Run course is too tough?? What the heck, people.  This is the same reason IMSG is no longer an Ironman.  We need tough courses in this sport.  Do you not find it ironic that for an Ironman, one of the toughest single day sporting events ever, people want easier courses? In ultra running, or other extremely tough sports, people are always looking for hard courses and thrive on completing those courses.  Why then, as Ironman athletes, are people complaining about tough courses?  You should be proud to finish those courses, not pissed off because it was too hard.

Here are a couple things about this race that I thought sucked.  Almost everything else I thought was top notch and well done for a big city race like this.

-Awards banquet…what was that, guys? That was embarrassing.

-Spectator unfriendly.  I think this really ruined it for a lot of people.  And if it didn’t, the awards ceremony did.

-I’m cheap, so shelling out $$$ all over the place for cabs and ferries got a bit annoying.  I’d probably stay on the NYC side if I go back.

-The finish line – I know Ironman can find a way to make that finish a little better.  Jordan Rapp had a great idea; put that thing inside a stadium somewhere and have the last couple laps completed on a track. That way you’re free to use amplified sound after 10:00pm and it would just be freaking cool for spectators who could watch their athletes finish the final half mile or so….or mile.  Shit, I’d do 4 laps of the track with people screaming, that’d be awesome!

One final rant here; I also ‘love’ how people who weren’t even at the race are ripping on the race.  Shuuush!!!!!

Anyway, I thought the race was great.  Maybe my judgment is clouded because I had a good race.  But anyone who went there, expecting to cruise through another Ironman like Florida or Arizona, obviously didn’t do their research before-hand.  There was plenty of information going around that would have told you that course was hard.  Which, like I mentioned earlier, should be a feather in your cap, not something to complain about.

Wheeeeewwwww. Had to get that off my chest.

As far as my race goes, I’m generally happy with it.  Very happy, actually. There are just a few things that I need to work on before I can win one of these guys.  I met the goals I set for myself and dealt with my ‘fears’ of the race really well.  Not really fears, but just simply some hurdles that were weighing on my mind in the days leading up to the race.  The two biggies were the heat/humidity, and the dive start.  Yep, the dive start.  I had never done a dive start in a race before, let alone from a barge that’s 4 feet or more off the water.  It wasn’t so much the actual dive that had me thinking, more so the worry of my goggles coming off or filling with water.  Which, I’m happy to say, only one of them did.  Another bonus, I didn’t get pink eye by swimming with one eyeball submerged in Hudson river water for 45 minutes.  Score!! 😛

Pro women start..I couldn’t find a Pro men start. All looks the same at this point anyway.

45minutes??  43 and change actually.   About 10 minutes faster than normal for the Pros.  I heard reports of Age Groupers swimming upwards of 20 minutes faster than normal once the tide really started to let the river flow.  Swimming is just one of those things where I need to improve the most.  My time was about 4 minutes off the leader, which is solid for me, but it’s still 4 minutes over the space of a 40 minute swim.  To have a fast swim quite simply sets up the bike ride so differently…riding with the leaders, instead of hoping the gap doesn’t grow.  Jordan, well, his swim is also a bit weak, but he’s just got the bike legs like nobody else I’ve seen so can play his own game on the ride.  It’s insane how fast he can ride a bike (and still run REALLY well).

My ride was not a ride I’m the most proud of.  I just kind of did what I needed to do.  No risks, no attacks, I was a little worried about the marathon and what I knew would be a hot, humid grind.  Normally I like to make a move on the bike, pick some people off late in the day.  I made one attempt to give it some gas and tried to get Stefan Riesen to come with me – aiming to put some time on Chris Macdonald and Pedro Gomes who I knew have some solid marathon times in their legs.  The reason I wanted to go with Stefan was simply because he was being crazy and riding his legs into the ground.  Having guys like that around you on the bike leg of an ironman is a huge advantage.  I’m not sure what he was thinking by smashing himself so badly, but he must not have thought much further ahead than Kilometer 150 of the bike.  He was definitely key in keeping our (Me, Chris, Pedro) bike times relatively fast while allowing us to focus on other things like fueling and hydrating.  It was still hard, I was riding WAY above my planned watts on every hill just to stay in touch.  The benefit to doing that was some fairly significant easy riding on the downside of the hills.  Even with the legal 10m gap when moving 50-60km per hour you’re still getting a slight wind break.  No doubt about it.  Chris and I took numerous turns up front, (Pedro, we need to talk about that one.  If we find each other together in Kona, you’re taking some time up front) but it was never long before Stefan came powering through again, out of the saddle, uphill in his biggest gear.

In the last 30 miles of the bike the sun really came out and I could feel the heat starting to hit us.  Right then I started pounding First Endruance EFS, Liquid Shot, water and electrolyte pills as much as my stomach could handle.  I definitely went a bit far in that regard as I puked up a fair bit of water.  But I had to do it.  I had only peed once, which is ok on a cool dry day, but on a hot, humid day…not so much.

Credit: Greg Bond

Getting that fluid in during the bike is the only way to do it.  Once you hit the ‘oh shit’ zone on the run, you’re never coming back from it.  The last couple miles of this bike course is a pretty solid downhill, which I love.  A bit of time to stretch the hip flexors, pee one last time, and think about how you’re going to run through transition.  All good.

Onto the run I was in 15th place.  Chris, Pedro, and Stefan got through T2 quicker than I did. I took a bit of extra time to put on some over the shoulder arm coolers (dorky things, but they help), some normal shoe laces instead of elastic (I’m going back to elastic next time), my UltrAspire run belt, and loaded up the pockets of my jersey with electrolyte pills in a bottle.  It didn’t take long to get past those guys, but it took another 7 miles before I started to catch the guys upfront. Into 11th, then a while later, 10th, 9th, 8th (Twelsiek, Bell, Brader) all came at once around mile 10.  I think catching Paul Ambrose at mile 13ish was when I moved into 7thFrom there onward I didn’t really think about catching guys, the gap was large enough to not care about the clock.  It came down to doing what I could to stay cool, hydrated, and slog the heck out of the hills and stairs.  Stairs in an Ironman!  Lots of stairs, wow.  Not only were they stairs, but they were stairs at the top of a 1 mile climb in the open blazing sun.  That was by far the most difficult part of the run for me.  But at the same time it was really awesome.  So many people out lining the course.  It was a bit of a shock to hear that much noise, having come from 15 miles of relative quiet.   But anyway, on the first flight of stairs to get up to the George Washington Bridge I took it two steps at a time.  Ummm, I’d like to know what made me do that.  It was stupid and could have easily caused some face-on-metal, or hamstring cramping issues.  Next flight of stairs, one at a time, much safer, then down some stairs while leaning on the railing, making sure I didn’t trip.  Over the bridge for a mile (very very cool).  More stairs, up and down, steep path down through a small area of the city where there was a decent crowd out-and-about, then finally on the river for the final 9 miles of flat!! Ha, flat.  No.

I didn’t really know how far back I was.  Pedro’s coach, Jesse, gave me 8minutes to 4th, but other than that I had no clue who was going strong.  For some reason I was just kinda in my own little world.  I really didn’t think about anything at all from mile 16, until I finally saw Bert Jammaer at mile 21.  I’m trying now to think about what kept me moving through those 5 miles, but I’m coming up blank.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t think.  Literally blank.  I do remember seeing a nearly LIFE SIZE poster of Mckayla Maroney exactly like this picture. <<<  I wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t constrict my diaphragm enough to make a sound.

Once I passed Bert for 6th I caught a glimpse of Cliff English, TJ’s coach, taking splits.  That got me thinking TJ was not far away.  Sure enough, 5 minutes later I made that pass to put me in 5th.  At that point I could have been satisfied.  Top 5 was my goal, I couldn’t see 4th place and the finish was only 4 miles away. Even with 2 miles to go, on an out-and-back section in the park I saw 2nd, 3rd, and 4th going the other way.  A quick back-split to the turn put me at 1:30 behind 4th with 2 miles to go.  That’s a sizable gap, and he was still running.  But in the words of Teddy KGB: “Kids got Alligator blood. Can’t get rid of him”  Or, “At least I’ll respect myself tomorrow morning.”  (He actually said, ‘Respect is all you’ll have left in the morning’, and it was Matt Damon’s character that said “At least I’ll respect myself in the morning”.  But Teddy KGB is so much cooler in that movie so I always use the ‘Respect is all you’ll have left in the morning’ bit no matter what the situation is).  Note, there’s a swear word or two in this video.  Random aside, sorry.

Not much further down the road I caught another glimpse of Marcus (4th) as he turned a corner, and the gap was already down to 1 minute.  Soon, at mile 25, I could see him at the top of a hill I was just about to start…40 seconds to the top for me.  Then slight rolling terrain and he was coming back quickly.  Finally the pass.  He didn’t put up a fight, which is fine by me.  I had pretty much emptied the tank to get that spot and the idea of sprinting after 8.5 hrs of racing is not appealing.  Regardless, I checked back numerous times to make sure.

All in all, Jordan cleaned the floor with us on the bike.  But having him there to run a 2:59, helps make my 3:01 look pretty solid.  This is just one of those courses where you can’t compare times of other races.  It’s its own race.  My take away from it is a huge confidence boost.  I ran well at IMAZ last year, but those conditions were ideal.  To run strong at the end of what is by far the hardest Ironman run course I’ve been on (yes, harder than IMSG) is just great.  Throw in that crazy humidity we had, and Kona seems like no problem.  Knowing you’ve done it, is so much better for the confidence than knowing you could do it.

Huge thank you to Paulo Sousa and the Triathlon Squad.  Not everyone likes what Paulo says, or can even deal with what he says.  I’ve had a hard time reading some of his emails now and again.  He’s to the point, and often makes you feel like crap.  But trust me, if you can handle his crap tossing, and read the emails like he’s trying to help you (he is), he’ll make you a better athlete.  Come join us in 2013!!

And of course many thanks to my awesome sponsors.  My incredibly supportive family, but most of all, my amazing wife who I get to share this awesome sport and life with.  We took a calculated risk to commit to this sport almost 4 years ago, it’s been a lot of work and worrysome moments at times, but the past couple years have definitely made that risk seem more like something we would have been stupid not to do.  CHEERS, everyone, to further improvement and some big wins down the road!

Ten Terriffic Things Thursday – TTTT #13

•July 26, 2012 • 3 Comments

In celebration of how great it is to be back home, training hard, in the Okanagan, this week’s Ten Terrific Things are dedicated home.

1) Loonies, Toonies, and different coloured money (and spelling with more “u”s).  I like that I don’t have to come up with a special container to keep a small amount of cash dry while I’m riding. Cashiers tend to recoil at sweat-soaked  dollar bills, and there have been numerous times in the US where I was near tears b/c all I needed was a drink from a vending machine but the damn thing kept spitting my dollar bills back out. Toonies have a much lower rejection rate! And it’s also makes for fun surprises. E.x.: “Crap! I only have change. No wait, I have $12… in change” 🙂

2) The Okanagan Valley. We are from an incredibly beautiful part of the world, and it is way too easy to take that for granted. We take pictures when we travel, but often fail to do so at home! Tisk tisk. Here are some from a recent ride we did, from Kelowna to Vernon and back.  Note the vineyards, and cherry/apple orchards in many shots.. YES we grow these things, IN CANADA 😉

3) Silver Hills Gluten Free Bread. It’s made in the interior of BC, it tastes GOOD, and you can get 2 for $7.00 at Costco.

4) This conversation between Trevor and a lady who was admiring our bikes at a water stop during our ride today:

Lady: “So are you sponsored by Blue?”

Trevor: “Ya we are.  Have you heard of them?”

Lady: “Are you kidding me? I love their beer! Do you get free beer?”

5) George Strombolopolous. He hosts a very good show where he interviews interesting people and asks intelligent, insightful questions. I am always happy to get back the land of CBC and Strombo. Here is a funny clip where Allan Hawco explains some “Newfie speak” to him.

6) Kalamalka Lake. Okanagan Lake. The fact that we are surrounded by huge, gorgeous, natural lakes with clean clear water and best of all – open water swimming (and sometimes tubing)!!

7) Goon. It was pretty vulgar, with lots of swearing, but it was also a hilarious parody of minor league hockey, and the main character was fantastic. A must watch for Canadian Hockey fans – unless of course you are offended by vulgarity, swearing and fisticuffs.

8) Coffee. BC’s independent coffee shops are the bomb. We like really rich, dark coffee and not having to order an americano with 2 extra shots, or a shot in the dark (coffee with added espresso) to make it taste good is very refreshing. In Kelowna, we are big fans of Jo Bud’s Coffee House off of Lakeshore.

9) Mission Creek Greenway. Just a 5 min run from my parent’s house, this recreational area that follows Mission Creek for over 16 km is a runner’s paradise! The path is wide and multi-use for 13 km (marked every 0.5 km) then it becomes a bit more gnarly with stairs, and some good ups and downs at higher elevation.

10) The humour that comes with debit cards! For you US folks – we have different cards for Credit vs. Debit in Canada. It totally freaked me out when I got a US Visa/debit card and I could buy things with the same card without having to sign OR punch in a PIN code. Weird. Some have chips that you need to insert into the card reader, some you swipe… and well they never seem to be intuitive 🙂

2012 Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens – Trev

•July 18, 2012 • 3 Comments

Why did I start the post about a race with a picture of me on the bike, when we clearly swim, then bike, then run?  Honestly, I don’t know – I just did.

I had a decent weekend in Lake Stevens with another top 3 finish.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want the win, and was thinking I could win the entire day.  It wasn’t until the last 2 miles where I was pretty darn sure it wasn’t going to happen.  Oh well. It was a close race, and I raced hard all day.

I’ve actually got a bit of history with this race so it was fun to be up fighting for the win.  In 2007 this was actually my first race in the pro field, even though I was technically not allowed to be racing IN the pro field.  At the time (in 2007 to be clear), I was registered as a 25-29 year old age group athlete, but somehow when I went to the registration table they gave me my swim cap, my timing chip, and a high five for the Pro Field without checking my license.  Somebody messed up, but I didn’t say anything.  Lets have some fun in the Pro field!!  So yeah, I got my ass handed to me that year, I think I was 14th Elite…but first age grouper!!  I couldn’t find the results for that year so I can’t say for sure.

After that race, a friend of mine, and coach of Heather at the time, Clint Lien, asked me how fast I thought I could run a 70.3 half marathon run.  I distinctly remember saying – “If I could train specifically for 70.3’s I bet you I could crack 1:15”.  I probably didn’t run faster than 1:24 that year.  In fact, in 2008 I still only ran 1:21:48.  It’s been a very slow and steady progression to finally cracking 1:15 three times this year.  I believe I finally got to 1:18 in 2009, but only once.  Then 2010 was pretty similar if I remember correctly.  2011 though, down to 1:16’s.  Now, 2012, under 1:15 regularly with  1:13:30 in NOLA, 1:11:50 in Boise with short bike, and now 1:14:30 in Lake Stevens on a course that ain’t flat.

What’s the point in saying all that??  I guess just never give up, believe you can get there, and set some goals that you believe you can achieve.  Now looking forward, I’ve got to believe I can run 1:13’s and 1:12’s regularly. Ironman marathon times??  Heck yes I’m going to run under 2:50 soon.

Anyway, back to the 2012 race.  I definitely like the new Lake Stevens bike course.  A one-loop hilly S.O.B. with some real downhill cornering.  It’s the way a bike course should be, in my opinion.  None of this flat, out and back Galveston, TX junk.  All said though, the flat courses favor me a bit more than the hilly ones, so I can’t complain too much! 🙂

I love an interesting bike course, and LS has that…and it was made even more so by the pouring rain.  Lots of crashes.  If you crash lots in the rain, or corners in general, here’s a tip for you:  Don’t brake WHILE cornering, and don’t put all your weight on the front wheel.  Shift your weight back and out a bit. When it’s really slick, slow down before the corner, then turn.  If you’re still too fast in the corner, only use your BACK break *lightly* with your weight on the outside.  If you’re STILL too fast for the corner because you’re a machine that loves to take risks, straighten up the bike, then brake hard with the back brake and pray you don’t fly off the road.  But DON’T BRAKE WHILE turning or you’re going to crash!!

But don’t feel bad if you continue to crash. Even the best in the world crash.  While leading the Giro d’Italia.  On a straight.

Quick rundown of my race: I swam well, for me.  Out in 3rd with Chris Legh and Chris Bagg.  Only 2:30 ish behind Tim O’donnell.  He’s smashed me by 3:30 in the water alone this year, so I’ll take that as improvement.

Bike: Rode hard for 25 miles, then Chris Legh rode harder for 25 more miles and dispatched me good, coming into T2 40 seconds ahead….I was 4 minutes+ behind Tim O’donnell at that point, but knew he had an Ironman in his legs 3 weeks ago so figured he’d fade.  If you’ve never done a 70.3 three weeks after an Ironman, let me just tell you it never ends well on the run.  For this reason I was still confident I could catch Tim.

Run: Nothing else to do but run hard.  I really did not expect Chris to run that fast.  I know he’s good and strong on hilly courses like Wildflower, but didn’t think he’d have sub 1:15 in him.  He proved me wrong and even put a few more seconds into me, catching Tim and taking the win.  Honestly, cool to see Chris take a win if you know anything about his history in the sport.  See the video below for some gut wrenching shots from 1997 (literally, in that I’ve heard he had gangrenous intestinal tract removed after). PS. First Endurance is WAY better than Gatorade.

Tim, well, he did crack in the last few miles, but still held on to a 40 second gap.  A testament to how good that guy is.  I don’t think we’ll ever see him at a 70.3 event 3 weeks after an Ironman again, now that he knows how much it sucks! 🙂

Next up Ironman New York City – August 11th.

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #12

•July 12, 2012 • 4 Comments

While my race at the European championships – IM Frankfurt – this past Sunday was one of the less terrific days I’ve had, and two Sunday’s before that (IM CdA), left me totally heartbroken, I still must say that when it all comes down to it, life is pretty damn terrific!!

I enjoyed Scott Jurek’s book “Eat and Run” on the flight over to Germany, and he says it well with “whether you get what you want isn’t what defines you. It’s how you go about your business”.  I’m trying to go about mine by accentuating the positives, looking at challenges as new opportunities, and remembering the big picture.

Yeaaah, I’ll ease up on the barfy, self-help, mantras from here on in, but it’s good to be reminded that the wonderful things in my life far far outweigh the disappointments.

To start my list of Ten Terrific Things this Thursday we have:

1) My Birthday! It’s my birthday today, and I am SO glad to be spending it with my family at home in the Okanagan. My brother Jeff, his wife Kathleen, and their 3 aweseome kids, Abbey, Sadie and Isaac drove out from Ottawa for 6 weeks out west this summer.  Kids that are like “YAY, it’s AUTIE HEATHER!!” everytime they see you = excellent self esteem boost!  I am having a great time playing.

  

2) A truncated race report from IM Germany… ready GO:

Swim fine, 50 min, close to the leaders. Boiling hot 24oC water with wetsuits. Worst ride EVER. No legs. Watts lower than most easy training rides. Swallowed my pride, tried to push thru the suck. Got passed by everyone. Must finish. Poured rain. Lots of crashes. Windy. Cleared up for run. Amazing spectators. Still no legs. Two porta-potty stops. Lots of cobbles which were tough to run on. Lots of people to dodge/chase on 4 loop course. Finally the finish shoot. No idea of my placing. The end.
Garbage bins full of ice to stand in, and athlete showers = bonus.

  

 

3) IM Germany as a race venue! This was the most logistically complex, yet well organized race I’ve ever done. ALL roads were completely closed, yet all the little towns had huge crowds of people out cheering, even in the pouring rain. There were cobbles, short climbs where people in devil costumes chased you up, Tour de France style, and crowds 10 people thick on the sides of the road. It was all incredibly impressive and I hope Trevor and I can both do more races in Europe next summer.

 

 

4) First Class flights! I was in first class on the way back from Frankfurt and I must say: WOW! I thought, okay, a bigger seat will be awesome, but this one let me fully lie down and stretch out. There was an 5 course meal with selections paired with wine, caviar, grilled fish with rice, swiss chard… a holder beside my seat for a rose. Endless sparkling water. It was mega deluxe. I had to laugh thinking of this skit from Brian Regan though. “Somebody bring me a goblet of something cool and refreshing!” 🙂

5) The European pre-race dress code, which = “who gives a shit?”. Full body compression tights/top at breakfast? No problem. 3 meals a day wearing various forms of spandex? Whatever.  It’s different than the tri peeps geeking out at home, where you feel like “tisk tisk, please, wear some normal clothes”.  Here I saw everything, and there was really the vibe that no one cared. Little kids swim naked in public pools, run naked thru sprinklers in public parks, and women go topless at the beach, so there is just more acceptance of the human body in general. I definitely dig it.

half naked kids playing in puddles – love how easy it is for kids to have fun!

6) A cool editorial article on the Wurteles in Triathlon Magazine Canada!

 

7) Cute thank-you cards from 9 yr olds. Kestrelle was monkeying around doing rather impressive acrobatics in a tree by our RV in Coeur d”Alene. She fell far and hard, smashing her little noggin on the asphalt. I gave her some Aqua Spehere K180’s (both her and her sister Sierra are pretty stellar athletes) and she wrote me this card as thanks:

 

8) Good Books. These are two of my recent favorites:

  

9) Canadian Long Distance Triathlete of 2011 Award.

 

10) Nature documentaries. I loved watching nature shows when I was a kid. I had a VHS tape of a National Geographic program called “Seasons in the Sea” that I would watch over and over. This mockumentary about “The Magestic Plastic Bag” is very well done.  Especially the earnestness of the announcer. Watch to encounter one of nature’s deadliest killers: the Teacup Yorkie:

FAIL

•June 25, 2012 • 26 Comments

Well, yesterday SUCKED. I’m sure you’ve heard snippets from the twitter-verse, slowtwitch etc. but I wanted to give you the run down as it really happened.

Sort version:

I was pulled out of IM Coeur d’Alene at mile 21 of the run (while in 2nd) b/c I rode another athlete’s wee bike back to T2 after my crank arm fell off and I couldn’t get any assistance.

Long version:

I was 3 min down from 1st – Meredith – out of the water, and managed to catch her at 40 mi or so on the far south end of the 2 loop course. She has this pesky habit of tenaciously hanging on, and it wasn’t until the second loop, heading out to the far turn  that I was finally able to open up a decent gap. I was happy with my race, how I was feeling, and stoked to be in the lead hammering the last stretch back to T2.

Then… my left pedal stroke started feeling kind of wobbly. Looking down I could see the wave washer and spacers had a rather large gap than they should. I thought “oh no, oh no, oh no this isn’t happening”. I stopped briefly to see if I could thump it back in (not one to carry a 10 mm allen key on my race bike) but no. It did seem, though, that it wouldn’t come completely off, so I got back on and kept riding – trying to keep even, inward pressure on the cranks. The drive side started pushing out, and rubbing the chain on the derailer to such an extent that it popped into the small ring. I un-clipped while rolling to tap it back in with my right foot, and that’s when, POW! the left crank-arm went flying off.

AAAAHHHHHH

A very kind athlete on his first loop (a single leg amputee for that matter), stopped to pick up my crank on the road and rolled up. He tried to help, had allen keys – none worked, and was the first person of the day to offer me his bike so I could get to the finish. I declined the very kind offer, and just asked that he send race support my way if he saw any. Other age-groupers also stopped and slowed down to see if they could help.

After about 5 min or so an Ironman race vehicle (not sag) stopped on the other side of the road to see if he could help, and that’s when Cristie Sym – who was not having a good day and was riding the other direction,  saw me and rolled over.  We exchanged a few choice words about our days and she was super encouraging “like you are still in this race, it’s not that far to T2, just take my bike”.  She took her shoes off, I squeezed my feet in and hopped on.

HA! riding that mini bike, with my knees in my face was the one humorous part of the day. It was so ridiculous I had to laugh. I was also pretty happy to be moving – albeit oddly. I didn’t just quit and give up and sit at the side of the road. I was offered help from another competitor, which I thought was fine, and I kept racing.

I rode as hard as I could and I must have looked quite the sight passing people. Apparently, after I stopped and messed around for quite awhile, Meredith had a 8 min lead, but I closed it back down to 6.  Yes hammering BMX style!  I had to stand for the one loong climb (ouch), and I had a pretty hilarious mini peddle stoke (one smart-ass individual even told me that my seat post was too low!)  The Di2 shifting was pretty sweet.  Thanks a million Christie. I’m totally gutted – that it didn’t work out for either of us.

I got into T2, 5:45 min down, and thought – okay I just have to do this on the run. At the end of the first loop though, the race director and official referee were standing there and they stopped me, held up a red card, and said that I was DQ’d for receiving outside assistance, and finishing the race on a different bike. I said that it wasn’t outside assistance, it was another racer that helped, I wasn’t trying to cheat, just finish. It all seemed so wrong, so I refused to stop and said that I’d finish and contest the call – which I thought was within my rights. To boos from the crowd, they took away my lead biker, and I just kept going.

Meanwhile, my husband, friends, family, my coach are all frantically calling one another, looking up rules doing all they can to help me out.

At mile 20.5 a golf cart rolls up and the head race course guy says that if I don’t stop and give him my timing chip, I will face a 6 month suspension (bye bye Kona etc). I said that that was ridiculous and the last I heard was that USAT rules said I should get a “variable time penalty” (e.x. 4 minute stand-down) not be DQ’d. I said I was totally happy to stand down for a 4 min penalty, but I wasn’t willing to stop and give up my right to contest the call at the finish.  He conferred more on his radio. I kept running.

He rolled up again and said that the officials were sticking firm and that I needed to stop. A 6 month suspension wasn’t worth it. I stopped, but I was so torn. I just kept thinking – I am going to be so crushed to have some this far and I don’t finish, and I find out it was a bogus call. (A good friend was pulled from the heinous waters at IM St. George this year by an official that said the conditions were too dangerous, but he could have kept swimming and finished his race, as did most of the field).

Luckily Trevor rode up, told me that the rule and the DQ was confirmed as a USAT rule. 5.2 and that Paulo said I needed to stop. So I got in the golf cart and got dropped off by the finish. I don’t like golf carts.

Now I need to clarify – the rule was a USAT rule, not something WTC cooked up. And the race directors and officials are all good people who were just out there doing their jobs. They didn’t want to have to take me off the course, but the rules are the rules. The heat of battle is not the ideal time to question their application & interpretation.

I’m not so sure about the 6 month suspension thing, but I don’t know how they would have got me to stop without that threat. Of course, the race wanted to save face and not deal with me at the finish.

I keep thinking things like: “if I wasn’t a giant on a mini bike, would anyone even have noticed?”;  “Ya, it’s a rule, but like half the drafting that goes on in races, you can’t call everything so why go to such great lengths to enforce that one?”

The worst part, was that I possibly could have single leg peddled in, or waited for ages for support with the right tool, and still finished with a respectable result, qualifying me for Kona and keeping  my season plan intact.

Yes, we are all responsible for knowing the rules, but I thought I knew the key ones, and I thought assistance from other racers was fine. When you are standing by the side of the road with your crank in your hand you someone offers you her bike so you can stay in the race – you don’t really think, “hm, might this be in violation of some rule?”

Both of these rules were stated as reason for my DQ:

“Each athlete must be individually responsible for repair and maintenance of their own bike. Assistance by anyone other than race personnel will be grounds for immediate disqualification. Each athlete should be prepared to handle any possible mechanical malfunction.”

 “Forward Progress. Participants shall not make any forward progress unaccompanied by their bicycle. If a bicycle is rendered inoperable, a participant may proceed on the cycling course, running or walking, while pushing or carrying the bicycle, so long as the bicycle is pushed or carried in a manner not to obstruct or impede the progress of other participants. Any violation of this section shall result in disqualification.”

You can find the USAT rules here: http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/rulebook.aspx#Article%205

I can totally understand no assistance from people outside the race. It’s not fair if you have friends in a car rolling by with stuff, or someone pacing you on a bike while running, while others don’t. I always have a spare tube, and tools to deal with regular mechanical issues.

It seems totally counter to the ideals of sportsmanship; however, to disallow help from other athletes within the race. If my day was total shit, and I was going to DNF, I absolutely would hand off any gear to someone who needed it – especially if she was winning the race and got sidelined by an epic mechanical. It was super kind of Christie to give me her bike (and you could nit-pick the wording of the rule – since she gave to me, I was making forward progress on my bike). It was totally awesome that others stopped to try to help. That is good sportsmanship and it is a huge part of what makes racing cool. People are kind and generous and race with the spirit of – “lets help each other get’er done!”

I was also really touched by the tremendous support from other professional athletes who went to bat for me to try to convince the race to let me finish. It was pretty much a constant stream of tears last night, reading all the notes that everyone one sent me.

Yesterday, I went from winning, to second to a DQ. It was totally heart-breaking, but I didn’t give up.

Never give up.

Just try not to break the rules.

___________

This is an excerpt from and e-mail conversation that I had with folks from WTC after the fact. If we want to see this rule changed, we need to lobby USAT.

I want to be clear on a very important matter here ( one that does not seems to have clarity amongst most athletes) when you meet with relevant parties over the events of today.

 WTC is NOT the governance organization in the sport of triathlon.  We like Rev 3, Lifetime and all other event organisers are just that – event producers.

 ITU and the member National Triathlon Federations are the governing bodies and we as a sanctioned event adopt their Rules.  These were the Rules you ‘agreed to and signed off on’ when you registered two days prior to the event. It would be the same scenario when an athlete races in Canada – Tri Canada Rules are in place.

 An athlete is responsible for understanding these Rules.  It is the top item/ reminder on the Pro Rules posted on the promembership site:

IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events around the world are sanctioned by the different National Triathlon Federations of the hosting country. Ironman rules may vary slightly from event to event accordingly. Please refer to your event specific Athlete Information to ensure understanding and rule compliance on race day.

The only dispensations to the USAT  Rules are very well known in the case of WTC Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events – wetsuit, drafting zones.

 Any changes or interpretations to the USAT Rules which all athletes were racing under today – need to be addressed to the National Federation.  These are the same Rules all athletes race under at any sanctioned event in the US

If this USAT Rule is ambiguous to you (and others) – I would suggest you lobby your fellow US athletes to ask for change or further clarity  through the USAT Athlete Advisory Board in applying this Rule at US events.

Ta Da!! My sweet new Blue Triad SL

•June 22, 2012 • 6 Comments

Wham!

Bam!

 

Thank-you

Mam!

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #11

•June 21, 2012 • 3 Comments

I guess some people were a tad upset that I failed to post TTTT’s last week. Sorry guys! Team Wurtele was on the road for a couple days driving from St. George, Utah, to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and wifi just wasn’t happening.

We actually drove about 300 miles without cell reception and thought “WOW we’re really way out there!” When the phone still didn’t work in Missoula or Coeur d’Alene we twigged to the fact that it had just crashed. Darn, I was kind of excited that it was still so easy to get totally off the grid.

In honour of the amazing landscapes that we get to see traveling throughout North America, the first terrific things this week is:

1) Road Trips! Long hauls can be a bit of a drag at times, but the RV definitely helps with a place to eat, pee, and change for workouts. A helpful Idaho rest-stop guy directed us to a great place for a trail run (where Manah was also able to get some fresh air) and we had a fantastic ride along a quiet side-road in Montana.

 

2) Gas stations with nice long-handled windshield squeegees, and bug remover fluid. Summer driving through the prairies means hummingbird sized bugs. I am the scrubber queen while Trev fills the gas tank.

3) Nature documentaries. I love nature shows. I remember watching a National Geographic VHS tape called “Seasons of the Sea” over an over again when I was a kid. This mokumentary about the migration of the Majestic Plastic Bag is terrific. Watch to encounter one of nature’s deadliest killers: the Teacup Yorkie.

4) The bathroom in CycleMetrix! Jim’s whole shop here in Coeur d’Alene has some pretty awesome triathlon and cycling memorabilia posted about, but the bathroom is my favorite.

5) Math homework grad dress. In this day and age of ridiculous “reality” TV shows about stupid things like finding the perfect gazzilion dollar wedding dress – where the meaning of important events usurped by shallow, materialistic, gong-shows, I worry about what young girls are starting to believe. THEN, I see an article like this. Making your own grad dress from old math homework or shopping bags = pure awesomeness! You girls rock!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2012/06/01/calgary-lethbridge-homework-dress.html

6) Life Transforming Breath Spray! We found this at our friends place in Coeur d’Alene. Total Canadian wannabes 🙂 You too can succumb to the fantasy… Igloo and caribou herd sold separately.

 

7) Journalists with a sense of humour. While bashing one of Canada’s worst musical exports is almost too easy, I still got a chuckle out of this:

8) CBC children’s programming circa 1985!! Those were great shows. It’s sad that they seem so slow now (bye bye attention spans) and that they’re so innocent as to almost seem creepy nowadays. We are all rather cynical, aren’t we? Remember the Friendly Giant and The Mighty Hercules (where the same cartoon cloud went by like 8 times as he descended from thy sky)?! My Canadian kid Sunday evening TV = Magical World of Disney, Fraggle Rock, and sometimes for a special treat we could stay up late and watch Beachcombers!!

9) Mr. Rogers. Our family did not have cable growing up, so I’ve never really watched Mr. Rogers (a.k.a. the American Mr. Dressup), but Trevor was a fan, and this mashup is pretty well done. We’ve been randomly singing things like “have you even seen a cat’s eyes in the dark, and wondered what they were?” all week. Yes!  Grow some things in the garden of your mind…

10) Ironman Coeur d’Alene!  This race was the very first Ironman that I ever did (2006, pic 1), and my first IM win as a pro (2008, pic 2). The whole area has a special place in our hearts.  I am really looking forward to the race this Sunday! The last pic is a little teaser of my super sweet new ride. Stay tuned for the big reveal…

 

How to ride a bike in your wetsuit – Boise 70.3, 2012

•June 17, 2012 • 4 Comments

A week late on this.  We’ve been quite busy.  Busy enough that Heather even had to skip her TTTT post.  After the race in Boise I drove back to The Triathlon Squad camp for a couple days in Saint George.  Smashed myself back into fatigue zone while packing up to leave for a couple months.  Heather and I then drove up to Coeur d’Alene where she’s racing the Ironman on the 24th.  Finally, one week later we’ve got an evening on the computer.  Ahhhhh, life is normal again. 🙂

Anyway….’Boise 70.3 minus 41.2′.  Some of you already know they shortened the ride to 15 miles due to cold, wind, and rain.  I also heard it was partly because some of the volunteers were just up and leaving their post.  Fair enough, it wasn’t a nice day and you can’t exactly force a volunteer to stick it out in weather like that.

There’s some great banter going on about this race on the Slowtwitch forum.  To be honest I haven’t even read any of it, I just heard from a friend about the folks spouting off about how wimpy it is to wear a wetsuit during the bike leg of a triathlon.  I just have to laugh. Think what you want, I’m sure most of the negative comments were coming from people who weren’t actually at the race anyway. First and foremost, it’s a race, and for me and 5 other guys in the Pro field (including the winner of the day, Matty Reed) it was the fastest option to get from point A to point B.

I have no doubt I would have been slower on both the bike and run had I tried to ‘man up’ and ride in 40-45F and raining, downhill, after swimming in a 55 degree lake.  In my mind, it was the best decision.

Oh, and sorry FinisherPix for not paying $28 per photo.  That’s crazy.  I’d have paid $13.50 if that helps price your future photos. 😛

Just a quick run down here, I won’t go into crazy detail about the race.  I had a solid day finishing 5th in a race format that doesn’t play into my strengths 100%.   Take out 40 miles of the bike ride and that leaves a lot of people with fresh legs for a faster than normal run.  I like to believe that one of my strengths is being able to run fast off of a hard bike, but even today my 1:11:58 was certainly faster than what I would have done with a full length ride in there.  I was happy with that run, only Matt Reed ran faster, and happy with the ride, but still rather annoyed with my swim.  I finished 2 minutes and 40 seconds off the win, but lost 3 minutes and 10 seconds in that first 25 minutes.  THAT is freaking ridiculous.  I’m hoping some more hard work, extensive lake swimming, and 50 meter pool time up in the Okanagan will help save me bit of time in the water. I’ll need it for IM New York City this coming August.

Boise is a cool race.  It has had it’s fair share of weather issues over the past 5 years, but I’ll definitely be back.

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #10

•June 7, 2012 • 3 Comments

In honour of a great weekend at Rev3 Quassy, Ironman 70.3 Boise (which Trevor is racing this weekend), and Ironman Coeur d’Alene (which I will be racing on June 24th), this week’s TTTT starts with:

1) RACING! Racing is incredibly fun, and it just so happens to be how we make our living. It feels really good to race well, to reach your goals, and to have people get excited for you (both during and after)!

  

2) Race tattoo removal with WD40! It really works quite well. Some initial hard scrubbing makes you think it’s no good, but then “poof!” gonzo. If applying poisonous chemicals, from a bottle that says – do not get on skin – to your skin bothers you for some strange reason, sitting in a sudsy jaccuzi tub (c/o your homestay family) for about 1 hour while pressing down on the tattoo with your thumb (in between bits of candle-lit induced stupor) also works well.

  

3) Aqua Sphere K180 goggles! I was a huge fan of the Kayennes (1st picture below) but somehow my face has morphed and I haven’t been able to get them to seal properly on my right eye-socket. I was pretty devastated, but the new K180’s came to the rescue! They are comfy, seal perfectly, look badass, and have a great field of view. I also prefer the thin double strap for flip-turns in the pool, and they have extra nose-piece attachments included in the case. Terrific!

  

4) This dude. Fixed gear, tack racing… minus some limbs. Total badass.

5) This cover of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I know it”.  This dude can sing. Nicely done!

6) My husband’s natural ability to be calm in the face of stressful situations. Completely hypothetical example: your ride up to a race takes a corner way too fast on rough construction, breaking the roof rack to which your very nice bike is attached, snapping its carbon fork, and launching it off the roof. No biggie. You go to a Blue dealer on the way and get it replaced. This same individual’s vehicle then breaks down on the highway and you get waylaid at a garage, have to stay in a hotel, and then rent a car to continue to your race.  No point in making it worse by getting angry, right? Ah. If only I had my husband’s temperament in hypothetical situations like that….

7) A rainbow making flip-book.  I used to love little flip books, where drawings became animated when you flipped the pages quickly, so insta-rainbow appealed to me. Big whoop, you say? These are my TTTT’s  so deal with it 🙂

8) The rare and wonderful event called: getting all 3 seats to yourself on a 5hr flight across the country. Ohhh yeahhh!

9) Walkie Talkies. They are handy, fun to have when you’re a kid, and if you own a REALLY big RV (i.e. not ours) they can be useful to help the driver and flag person communicate when parking. They also have an awesome name.

10) Having to say “over” when using walkie talkies. This blog post is over, over.

Rev3 Quassy 2012 – Heather’s Race Report

•June 5, 2012 • 9 Comments

The podium. Contrary to Sir Mix-A-Lot – little isn’t in the middle 🙂

So Rev3 Quassy is in the books, and it was a cracker of a race!

Rather than the boring old play-by-play, this race report is going to be a little session of fact vs. fiction.

Fiction: Pro triathletes jet-set around the country and stay in fancy places to do fancy races while their entourage of personal chefs, massage therapists, and psychic readers take care of them.

Fact:   Most pro triathletes fly coach on planes with the cheapest bike fees.  The generosity of homestay families make travelling across the country to race possible.

__________

Fiction: Homestays with 3 kids, and a dog are pretty much a total nightmare

Fact: Immersion in a normal family is a really nice way to chill before a race. It gets your mind off it, and keeps you from thinking too much. Kids and dogs are awesome (well some peoples’ kids and dogs) and meeting generous strangers who then become your friends is fantastic.

_________

Fiction: The lake, haunted by the aquatic monster Quassapaug, was really cold so we got to wear wetsuits.

Fact: Any lake named Quassapaug really needs a resident monster, but it was only sort of cold (69oF) so swim skins it was. I was fine, cold for a bit, but I felt that the cut-off was reasonable, and race-day weather was great, sandwiched between days of rain. Trust me, Trevor has made me appreciate the agony that comes from extreme sensitivity to cold water, but I am more sensitive to over-heating, and like non-wetsuit swims, so it worked for me. I think a combo of water temp and outside air temp should be used to decide wetsuit cut-offs.

_________

Fiction: I rocked the swim and stuck with the lead pack

Fact: I couldn’t quite hang with the lead swimmers, and swam in no man’s land between them and the main chase pack.

_________

Fiction: I put the hammer down on the bike with the sole thought of trying to get a big enough gap from the runners behind me

Fact: I rode my watts. I know that if I follow my plan, I will have one of the fastest bike splits and be able to run well.  What other people do is out of my control, so I just try to stay in the moment and not do anything stupid.

_________

Fiction: It was really annoying having press camera’s etc, in my face the whole time while I lead the race from about mile 5 of the bike, to mile 11 of the run.

Fact: The live race-day updates online from Rev3 were awesome (see below) but most of the on course press didn’t get the memo so they missed getting any sort of video of me on the bike. I actually went back out with a film crew between the finish and the awards at 1pm, to get mock race footage. Fiction: It was pretty fun hammering to look like I was racing, right after I finished one of the hardest fought races of my life…

Fiction: when I saw Mirinda on the out and back at mile ~6, I freaked out and pretty much figured that her catching me was inevitable

Fact: I aggressively dismissed any negativity, thought “Heather, you’ve held her off before, just RUN” and really stayed positive. I kept the pressure on and was happy with my mental place. This was a big accomplishment for me.

_________

Fiction: I ran with all I had and hung on to the lead, winning the race and beating Mirinda Carfrae by a mere 17 seconds!

Fact: I ran with all I had and hung on to the lead, until mile 11 or so. Then I ran with all I had to stay with Mirinda Carfrae, but couldn’t hang and she beat me by a mere 17 seconds.

_________

Fiction: when you say dammit at the end of the race, b/c you just couldn’t hang on to the win, no one will ever know

Fact: you can totally tell what people say right when they finish from video footage. Lip reading captures stuff for all time. Sweet.

_________

Here is the Rev3 race recap video. The women’s race coverage starts at minute 9.

Fiction: It is really awesome having people point out all the possible places where you lost 17 seconds and, hence, the entire race – putting socks on in T2, losing the aero straw on my TorHans bottle…

Fact: Yes the little things DO matter in a 4.5hr race, but imagining all possible fixes to all unknown outcomes and variables is of limited utility.

_________

Some serious mud in the finish shoot from rain the day before. Almost ate it a couple times!

Fiction: I am in such good shape I don’t get sore from racing.

Fact: It doesn’t get any easier, you just go faster. If you’ve raced HARD, a walker for the trip to the bathroom the next morning would be handy.

________

Fiction: Dunkin Doughnuts is awesome. See 2:25 in on video below…

Fact: Dunkin Doughnuts is not even close to as good as Tim Hortons (sorry New England), and Timmy Ho’s is decidedly underwhelming.

_________

Fiction: It’s pretty easy to do this for a living. Getting to the top of the podium is all talent and magic and it’s not like there have been many hard years of training behind everyone’s performances.
Fact: I would not have a career as a pro triathlete without a ton of hard work and support from loved ones, friends, and of course my AWESOME sponsors. Huge thanks to Saucony, Blue, First Endurance, Manitoba Harvest, Rolf Prima Wheels, Aqua Sphere, Iron Gear Sports, UltrAspire, CycleOps Power, Giro, Tifosi Optics, TorHans Aero Hydration, and Bonk Breaker.
_________
Last but not least, thanks to my amazing husband Trevor, my coach Paulo, and The Triathlon Squad. It’s so important to be surrounded by driven, positive people who are all striving to reach big goals!
Next up is Ironman Coeur d’Alene on June 24th. Looking forward to it!
 
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