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Race Result

Racer: Rob Weitzel
Race: ChesapeakeMan
Date: Saturday, October 9, 2004
Location: Cambridge, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 11:34:00
Age Group Place: 3 / 25

Race Report:

RACE:ChesapeakeMan Ultra-Triathlon
DATE:Saturday October 9, 2004
LOCATION:Cambridge, Md
DISTANCE:2.4m swim-112m bike-26.2m run
19th male overall
3/25 male 35-39
Comments - Should've-Could've-Would've but.......

Pre-Race -

Going into this Ironman, my 7th, I felt that I was the fittest I've ever been in my life. I trained hard, I knew this course like the back of my hand, and I felt that with the relatively small field that this would be my time to really shine. My goals were simple, first and foremost was to break the 11 hour barrier, second was to break the 4 hour marathon barrier, and third was to take home some hardware. I knew that to exceed goal #1 goal #2 would have to be met, and to meet goal # 3 all of those would have to be met.
What I would find is that Ironman is a fickle beast, a beast that I have yet to tame in its entirety. When I think I have mastered one component of it the beast bites me. WHen I look at triathlon, and Ironman in particular, I think that arguably there are 4 elements that make up this event. They are the physical, mental, weather, and mechanical elements, all of which play to one another. I think that I experienced problems in every phase of this event both leading up to, and during this event.

I arrived in Cambridge on Thursday. I like to take my bike out for a nice shakedown ride beforehand. During this ride I heard a loud richocheting sound as if a rock had bounced off the carbon of my rear ZIPP 404 wheel. I did not notice anything funny until I gt back to my car, and my wheel was spinning funny and out of true. I did a quick check to find that the piece of carbon that holds two of the spokes in place on the hub had been sheared off. This was a catastrophic problem, and not fixable at this point in the game. Luckily I rode back to the packet pickup, and spoke to the folks at TRISPEED. They called back to their shop, and had their tech bring a new ZIPP 404 up. It was ready for me first thing Friday morning,and I can not thank them enough for loaning me that wheel. I dodged the first bullet.


Fog was the call of the morning. Thursday, and Friday it had been beautiful both days early in the morning, but race day brought in a huge layer over the Choptank River, you could not see the first buoy. This lead to a 2 hour delay in the start, this meant that the nutrition that I had taken in at 5am was questionable. This meant that the tides were going to start turning against us rather than for us. There was question as to whether they would be able to get the entire IM distance in.

SWIM: 1:46:22
The fog miraculously lifted, and the race went off sortly after 9am. This was a point-to-point swim, and I'd have to say the water was excellent, and roughly 70 degrees for a temp. I felt good, and my training dictated that I should be able to go at least 1:16, with a favorable tide even faster. My 2000m timetrials in the pool dictated that my first half swim time should have been roughly 37 minutes. I was concerned about jellyfish, but I had no problems with them. The route 50 bridge seemed to take forever to get to, once under that I began to get a serious cramp in my right calf. It was quite comical because it was so bad that my foot was locked straight out, and at one point I had to stop and almost "stand" straight up in the water to stretch it out. The yellow buoys seemed to take forever to get to, and it seemed like I was not making any headway. By the time I reached was was to be the midway point my watch said over 46 minutes had elapsed YIKES! At this point I'm wondering who attached the boat anchor to my ass because that is the only reason I could come up with for this crappy swim. At this point I began mentally going downhill. I was actually worried about making the swim cutoff, and I began telling myslef this was the last triathlon I'd ever do much less Ironman, aI even considered calling the safety boat over to haul my no good butt in. However I perservered, and made it to shore in what turns out to be my worst swim time yet, and I did not meet my goal of being the last bike on the rack as I typically joke about.

T1: 4:09

BIKE: 5:50:21
I have to do some serious calculating here to determine what it is I can and can not do. I determine that I can still make up ground on the bike, why not it is my strongest event. I go out strong, and immediately begin passing people, however people are very spread out over many many miles. I have to at least close the gap on the bike. The first 65+miles are relatively where I wanted to be. The headwinds seemed stronger than when I trained on the course, and the tailwinds were few and far between. At about mile 70, I began having severe pains in my trapezoids, shoulders, neck, that became excruciating. I could not stay aero for more than a minute or two. I was totally demoralized. Here, my strongest point was now being reduced to me riding upright and spinning. There was no way for me to maintain the 21-22 mph pace I was avg without being aero. I was very close to calling it a day again at this point, and contemplated pulling over and waiting for the SAG. I took a quick loo at my Livestrong bracelet, looked at the beautiful day, and the awesomw scenice setting of Blackwater, and I told myself that at the very leat I would have a nice easy spin the next 40 miles into T2. I figured my day would be over after that. My bike goal was to hit near 5:15, I figured with my problems I hit well after 6 hours. I had one other medical problem that I can not even begin to explain only to say that it had to do with my male anatomy, and it caused me extreme discomfort for the longest time on the ride until I somehow figured out the issue, and corrected it , but I was thinking that this problem was going to end my race and send me to the hospital, I'll explain this one offline if anyone wants to know the details.

T2: 3:36

RUN: 3:50
I quickly changed into my run shoes, I felt ok except my upper back, shoulders, neck and head were killing me. I figured I was toast though and that running a marathon was a joke. I stopped to take a quick pee before leaving T2, and then got into a rythmn. I figured that I would open it up with what ever I had left and if I blew up so be it. I did not think I would be able to hold the pace I was runnig for very long. It turns out I was very wrong! This run course was perfect for me, and my running training did not leave me wondering. I was running sub 8's for the longest time. This course allows the runner to see aide stations well off into the distance, not turns just open expanse. I was now passing people left and right trying to make up for lost time/ground. All systems still felt go as the miles clicked by. I learned something new this year about running that actually helped me tremendously. I was told never to look down at your feet becasue it shortens your running gate. Who knew??? Well with the open expanse, no turns I was able to focus and look far off into the distance, and was able to maintain a fast pace. How long would this hold?? The last 9 miles was almost totally in the pitch black. You could see the lights of the school stadium off in the distance but that was about it, you could not see runners in front of you, or coming towards you. This is where my run began failing. I know I could have run a 3:30 at least, but with the darkness, I was forced to slow down, and became very cautious,my gate shortened, and that was that there was nothing I could do, the 2 hour delay had done me in. As I was entering the track towards the finish Mike Tine was crossing the line. I was very pleased with the run and finish I was able to put together. My overall time goal was obviously busted by about an hour but that is the beast, my swim sucked, my bike was painful, but run pulled me through. While this was not my best IM finish it was not my worst, and I'll be back to try to tame this beast called Ironman.

I'll add that this was a great venue for a race, tough course (flat does not equate to easy), weather held up perfectly, the Hyatt was an awesome facility (very expensive), and the different transition areas did not wreak havoc on to many people except for maybe the spectators. I saw course marshalls on the bike and run consistently, and the swim course was well marked and assistnace was readily available if need be. The bike aide stations lacked a little (no bananas etc), but the best thing were the hot showers in the high school afterwards, that was awesome! Congratulations to all of the RATS that participated.....Thanks to the volunteers that stayed out later than thought because of the delayed start.