Swim (58:39): I am always amazed how brutal IM swim starts can be and this one was no exception. The first 800 meters was full contact football and I just tried to make forward progress without any major incident. After 800 meters, the swim thinned out and I found a reasonable group of feet to grab. From this point on the swim was just dead easy and went super quick. Before you knew it the swim was done and I was heading into T1.
|Exiting The Swim in my 2XU V:2 Wetsuit|
I continued on plan riding conservatively to the start of the loop. However, what was not in the plan was bombing down a rough road only to hit a pot hole and pinch flat my front tire. I almost lost it, and that could have been deadly, but I stayed upright and brought the bike to a controlled stop.
Flats have become so common for me recently that I could only laugh at the situation as I started working on the tire. A couple of older onlookers came over to see if I needed any help. I told them I was good and they started to ask me all kinds of questions. "What was your swim time?", "what kind of tires are those", "how come your tube color is red", "what are those wheels for".... I was exceptionally happy but I was also not concentrating on what I was doing. As a result, I incorrectly put in two tubes that both exploded. I took my time with the third tube and was able to inflate it without popping. I lost 15 minutes and I had watched 500 riders go by.
|Bombing Down The Descents|
I continued biking and I was making up significant ground as I passed hundreds of age-groupers. By the time I got to "The Wall" the crowds were starting to thin out. I watched as people grinded up this mini-mountain and I could only imagine the carnage that would be present on the second loop. I am so glad I had a 11-28 and I could not imagine people biking up this hill without similar gearing. I stopped at special needs and picked up an extra tube and C02 cartridge that I had put in mybag. Then I was off to the long-descent back into St George.
For this race I went went with an Zipp 808 front and Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc. This ended up being a big mistake as the front wheel was twitchy in the crosswinds and I had to descend on my bullhorns. Speeds on the St George descent can easily hit 50mph and because you are twisting and turning it makes it difficult to predict which way the wind is coming from. Nonetheless I got the bottom and all was good.
|On the only Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc|
In the last few miles of the bike I finally started catching some more age-groupers. It must have been a good group as it had literally been 50 miles since the last person I had past on the bike. It was frustrating to have such a good bike but to have it completed shattered with snafus. Nonetheless I was just happy to roll back into transition and start the run.
T2: As I got off my bike my first few steps were a little tense. My inner thighs felt like they were done and were so stiff and I wasn't sure I would be able to complete the marathon. Nonetheless, I toughed up, but on my shoes and headed out.
|Heading Out Of Town|
The run course did not disappoint and with the heat, wind, and sun, I decided that it was best to walk some key aid stations that were placed at the top of hills. It gave my body a chance to recovery and was probably the smartest decision I made all day.
Loop 2: I started the second loop of the run and was feeling good. My pace had not suffered much and my run form was surprisingly strong as I ran conservatively and enjoyed the day. If the day was going to get tough, I knew it wouldn't be until at least mile 18. That was a good prediction because when I reached the turnaround to head back to St. George I was met with a stiff headwind.
At mile 23 I stopped to dump some rocks out of my shoe. As I put the shoe back on I was immediately passed by someone in my age-group. Although I didn't know exactly where I was in the race, I knew there were only a few age groupers ahead of me. I decided that it was important to stay with this guy, and I committed to doing so.
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