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Race Result

Racer: David Glover
Race: Ironman Utah
Date: Saturday, June 8, 2002
Location: Provo, UT
Race Type: Duathlon - Other
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 4:29:06
Overall Place: 14
Age Group Place: 2
Comment: A hot and windy day with a tragic ending...

Race Report:

The inaugural IM Utah race was held in Provo, UT (about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City) this past Saturday, June 8th. This would have been my 10th Ironman distance race.

The days leading up to an IM race are always very busy: registration, checking in bikes, dropping off special needs and transition bags (two different locations), driving the course (at least part of it - 112 miles is a long way to drive!), attending the mandatory pre-race meeting (missed that one!), catching up with friends, checking out the race expo, eating, sleeping, etc.

Up until race day, the temp. was in the high 80's/mid-90's with little or now wind. It's very dry there, too.

I should have realized it was a bad omen that as Steve Smith and I were walking from the swim-to-bike transition area to the swim start, we had to put on our goggles to protect our eyes from the dust storm that was kicked up by the wind. Getting into the water was a challenge as everyone was trying to move in two different directions as we dropped off our dry clothes bag the doubled back to the dock to jump in the water.

Once I jumped in the water, it wasn't clear where we were supposed to line up since the start buoy had moved. Because of the wind, I could not hear anything from the announcers. At about 5 minutes to the 7am race start, people just started swimming. What the heck! I never heard the cannon go off but I realized they could not stop the race so I just started swimming, too.

As the winds picked up, it was impossible to see anything from the wave trough. I rounded the first buoy after about 10 or 11 minutes. I could barely see the second and started swimming in that direction. It was tiring having to pop my head out of the water every few strokes to make sure I was headed in the right direction. Everyone was spread out (no crowding at all!) and there were times when I did not see more than 1 or 2 people in any direction (http://www.concentric.net/~jweinshe/swim.jpg). Just before the second buoy, a Coast Guard boat came by and announced that the swim was cancelled because all of the buoys had blown away and that we should head for the shore. We had come about a 1/2 mile too far. "Swim toward the sun," the Coasties said. So I did.

As I was trudging through the mud in chest high water, I looked around to see hundreds of swimmers coming out of the water all over the place plus many more hundreds of swim caps bobbing out in the lake. I climbed out of the water at around 54 minutes so I did not feel cheated by a short swim.

The rumors started flying immediately that several people had drowned (1 person did actually drown). We all had to walk across the timing mat to "check in." An hour later the race director announced a shortened bike course (~70 miles) due to high winds in the canyons that we would have ridden into. Since the bike was shortened, they correspondingly cut the run in half to 13.1 miles. A few minutes after 10 am, we started the duathlon (bike/run) as a time trial with pros going off at 15 second intervals followed by a steady single file stream of age groupers by number. I was race #393 so I started approximately 15 minutes after the last pros.

I hammered the bike from the start...I figured what the heck, I was trained for a full and would only be out on the bike course about 3 hours. My heart rate did not go below 175 bpm for the first 1.5 hours (my max is ~190 bpm) which is very high for me. I think the altititude (4,000+ feet) played a role as well. Course was "relatively" flat with high winds. Most of the climbs were false flats meaning you couldn't really tell you were climbing until you realized you were descending at a later point. The only way I could tell whether I was going with or against the wind was my gearing. It was a great feeling just blowing by folks and catching the lower numbers one by one. I ate mostly Gu plus a banana, some fig newtons and gummi bears. I had to stop at one point to tighten my rear wheel skewer as my tire started to rub. Luckily, no flats.

I finished the bike in a little under 3 hours and started the run. By then, it was getting very hot and there wasn't much shade. The run course was two out and backs (OAB) from the BYU stadium. Again, it was "relatively" flat but there were some small hills in the first OAB. Luckily the first OAB was longer than second so I was more than half-way done by the time I ran by the stadium to start the second. I remember passing a guy about 2 miles into the run who was sprawled out on the grass due to leg cramps. At about 3 miles into the run, I caught the lead age grouper and kept the lead until about mile 11 when I was run down by the guy who won my age group.

I drank water and Coke at every aid station and went through 4-5 Gu's. My quads and hamstrings felt like they were going to sieze up several times so I was afraid to pick up the pace. My heart rate stayed above 180 the whole time....again, that was very high and I expect due to the altitude and dehydration.

Finishing, as always, is the best feeling in the world. After all that had happened, I was thankful for only having to run a half-marathon. The pizza afterward hit the spot and I hung out in the shade waiting for friends to finish.

Overall, I think IM North America handled it the best way the could. Who can control the weather!?!?! The volunteers were great and the race went relatively smoothly besides the swim. I was personally disappointed in not being able to do a full, but at the same time thankful that everyone I knew made it through OK.