Rev3 Cedar Point Race Report - 2011 Full Rev 140.6 Ironman Sandusky

Rev3 9/11 Remembrance
Ideally I would have liked to have been racing Ironman Wisconsin instead of Rev3 Cedar Point - nothing against Rev3 - but who can blame me when I live a block away from the start of Ironman Wisconsin.  Not to mention it would have be a no-brainer for friends and family to spectate.  Anyway, despite me best efforts at Ironman events this year, I have been saddled by disaster after disaster out on their bike courses, and the business side of me was screaming go to Cedar Point, hit the reset button, and set yourself up for a good payday in the Rev3 amateur series.  So Cedar Point it was. 

Swim (58:41): The swim was a mass-start for all age-groupers with pro men and pro women going off in separate waves roughly 15 minutes and 10 minutes ahead of us.  I wasn't too sure of the swim course because it was an awkard looping course, but the plan was not to lead the swim and I had hoped whoever was leading would know what to do.

Exiting Lake Erie
During warm-up I got a chance to walk thru the knee-deep muck that was present from a bombardment of 10-foot waves all week.  It was almost like quicksand and felt like stepping into the abyss.  I made a mental note as I watched the female pros go off and watched one face plant directly in it.  Ouch.  Then I heard the announcer say "45 Seconds Age-Groupers".  Well that sucks seeing as I am 200 yards out in the warm-up area right now.  So I b-lined it to shore - HR soaring as I did my best high-step impression.  I reached shore, dashed to the start, and then realized I still had plenty of time.  Well at least I was wide-awake and the throttle had been wide open.

So onto the swim.  The gun went off and we all started thru the muck.  It was a mixture of high-steps, dolphin dives, and akward strokes but clear water was near.  There was one guy who got away but I wasn't concerned.  I was not going to spike the HR to catch up so I just sat in a chase group of four as we worked from buoy to buoy.  We crossed the first lap and I had a chance to look at my watch - 27:20 - ok right on pace.  Lap 2 was more of the same, and the name of the game was energy conservation.  It was dead easy just how an IRONMAN age-group swim should be. I exited the water and I looked down to see 57:55 on my watch - perfect.

T1: Running into transition I was able to see that super-star age-grouper Jay McCurdy was also in the swim pack of four I was in.  He was my best competition and I knew that he would be a good guy to keep an eye on.

Bike (4:51:44): The Rev3 Cedar Full-Rev bike course was similar to Louisville and Wisconsin, but didn't have any major climbs.  The goal of the bike was just to ease into the bike and make the bike the easiest bike ride I have had all year.  99% of all age-group athletes swim way too hard, and then they bike way too hard, only to melt on the run.  There would be no melting today and I was firm in sticking to my simple rule of thumb - "if you can't smile then you are going to hard." 

One of the Few Climbs on the Course
So I set sail on the bike course passing the lead age-grouper within a matter of minutes.  From there I worked on picking off female pro after female pro.  I road extremely conservatively and this allowed me to consume a massive amount of calories - roughly 2000 by mile 80.  Amazing how well the digestive system works when you back off and keep a low HR.

The whole bike was rather uneventful and before you knew it I was rolling in back to transition side-by-side Jay.  We had kept each other in our sites the entire ride and switched the lead maybe 30 or so times.

T2:  I had now idea how big our lead was to third, but I knew that Jay was a fast runner and that was enough to worry about for me. There was no time to waste so I grabbed a one-pound bag of gummy bears, my garmin, and a red bull.  I cracked the red bull and slammed about half of it and exited the tent just ahead of Jay.

Run (3:08:20): The Cedar Point Full-Rev course consists of a relatively flat 2-loop course with little shade to escape the sun.  My plan was just to stay focused and hold a comfortable pace with good form.  Immediately  I fired up the Garmin and when it finally came online I was awarded with a sustainable 6:55 pace.

Now usually I have this "walk every 3rd aid station policy" due to overheating, but today I had no such luxury.  With Jay roughly 15 seconds back at mile 4 there was no time for walking and cooling off.  Instead I continued on at comfortable but aggressive 7:10 pace and just hoped I didn't melt.

At mile #7, I was relieved to know that I had roughly 52 seconds on Jay and I had over 7 minutes on third.  By mile #9 my lead had stretched to 56 seconds and roughly 7:30 on third.  I got to the turnaround and passed the final female pro in the race.  Splits were up to 2:20 on Jay and third was no longer a contender.

For nutrition I stuck to my miracle worker - cola - but later in the race it wasn't enough so I started adding Gatorade as well.  It was warm but it wasn't boiling out so a glass of water on the top of the noggin was all that was needed to keep cool. 

During lap two I was waiting for the normal pace creep that seems to always happen in Ironman Marathons, but it never came.  At mile 18-19 I had a little spot of maybe 30 seconds were I felt deflated but that quickly passed.

At mile #22 I got my final time check and my lead was down to 2:02.  I knew that unless I absolutely melted that the race would be mine.  Even though I accomplished all that I wanted to accomplish something about sub-9 still sounded nice so I threw out the untouched bag of gummies and set sail to try and bring it home.

At mile #25 I took one last look over my shoulder before I started the celebration.  Sub-9 wasn't going to happen, but I had a smile on my face as I executed the perfect Ironman-distance race of my life. I grabbed a US flag right before the finish and crossed the line in 9:02:38 as the overall amateur winner of the 2011 Rev3 Cedar Point Full Rev.   That 9:02:38 was good enough for 7th overall and would have netted me $1,750 if I had raced out of the pro field. 

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