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Race Result

Racer: Alex Rochette
Race: Ironman Brazil
Date: Sunday, May 29, 2005
Location: Florianópolis, --
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 10:48:00
Comment: Broke crank... 15 mile one legged drill. :(

Race Report:

I was not sure if I would be able to race in Brazil until the last minute (for various reasons) but I somehow ended up there...

Except for some worrisome signs concerning my swimming (see my postings), I felt strong and ready to race. Unfortunately, a series of mechanical incidents stood between me and a good performance - the worst being my crank falling apart and forcing me to do the last 15 miles of the bike course on one leg. After that, I took it easy in transition and then on the run: my race became a long training day. Although frustrated, I feel that I had made good progress and I estimate that, on a good day, I would have been able to produce at least a sub 9:45 Ironman on a windy but flat course - obviously, this is easier said than done.

Anyhow, here are the splits - in parenthesis, what I believe could have been:
Swim: 1:15
T1: 4:15
Bike: 6:01 (5:15-5:20 w/ windy conditions - ???)
T2: 4:30 (1:30-2:00 - ???)
Run: 3:21 (3:05-3:10 - ???)
Total: 10:48 (9:40-9:55 - ???)

Swim. My swimming sucked. The waters were rough but I should have been able to do better than that. I rethought my training afterwards, introducing longer swims to my schedule. Anyhow, it was kind of a double triangle in the ocean: go out and turn around a buoy, come back and run on the beach to a timing mat, then go out again for another buoy. The start is on the beach and you have to run then dive in the water. The first 300 yards were epic... kind of like swimming with a school of gorillas. Seriously, South Americans swim free style like others would swim butterfly. ;) I made quite a few mistakes sighting the right line and found myself swimming alone most of the two "loops". On my defense, there were waves and we were swimming facing the sun (only brief glimpses at the buoys). I looked at my watch when exiting the water: 1:15. I was a bit disapointed since I had hoped to break 9:30 and being 5-10 minutes slower than hoped was clearly not helping.

Transition 1. Nothing special... we had to run a fair amount on the beach so the time is on par with what I expected.

Bike. My goal was to clock 5:00-5:10. This is a two loop course. From Florianopolis to Floripa, and back, twice. The wind was only slight at the beginning but it would pick up later on to about 30 maybe 35 mph. I felt good, nutrition went down well, my HR right on target. The roads were somewhat smooth but there were joints in the road so every 200-250 yards you'd get a good shake from it so I'd regularly check my fuel bottles to make sure that everything was in place. It didn't bother me to much... only my left aerobar broke 10 miles into the race. Dang. No big deal but since my shifters are on the aerobars, I had to hold it in my hand for the rest of the bike leg. On top of the obvious - shifting was a pain because I had to keep my thumb on the shifter to remain on the big gear - it also made things complicated for grabbing the bottles at the aid station. Frankly, I didn't mind it too much except that it was a mental drain: steering was not as easy in the wind, etc. (Not mentioning: what if the second aerobar snap?) Anyhow. I was making good time. Things got more difficult on the way back because of the head winds but I was passing a lot of people. Second loop, lots of people made some mistakes with their pacing/nutrition (I presume) and I started to pass a lot more folks. My second half of the bike leg is always my strongest so it was a good sign. Heading back in the (strong, now) headwinds I was starting to think about the run, mentally rehearsing my transition routine, getting in the calories and the fluids in. That's when the worse happened... my crank fell apart. S**t! I kept going on one leg until the following aid station... I still had 15 miles or so to cover and I was hoping for some technical support. The volunteers (thank you!), contacted the support vans. I drank and ate waiting for the mechanics to come over but after about 10 minutes it was obvious that it was not going to happen. So? Well, I kept going on one leg. I was going 8-9 mph, against the previous 21-22 mph and it was very frustrating to have all the people that I had passed in the past few hours pass me back. Gee. After 1:15-1:30 of one legged drill, I reached the second transition. I gave my bike to the volunteers warning them about both the aerobar and the dangling left pedal and walked through the transition. My split was about 6:00. I estimate that I lost north of 45 minutes and that I would have been able to ride a 5:15 or so (sounded good to me with the wind). My cycling was not yet where I want it to be (5:00 split) but I had made very good progress on this front. Key learning: I was able to keep my HR between 145-150 without too much trouble. I applied this piece of knowledge at IM Lake Placid.

Transition 2. I took my time. Sat, drank. Changed socks. Then my new buddy Mark came along (it was his first Ironman-distance triathlon and he was having some issues with his stomach) and I asked him how fast he was going to run. He said 3:30 which seemed fair to me (since none of my goals were reachable at that point, I was not going to kill myself...) and off we went.

Run. The race was now a long training run for me. I chatted with Mark for the first 5km and we ran at a very pedestrian pace. I am not sure exactly since the kilometer markers had me all confused (I have only raced with mile markers) but something like 8:00 mile or so. After those first 5km, Mark generously sent me on my way telling me that he was alright but would have to walk a fair bit. So hear I went: half mulling about what had happened on the bike (I can't believe it! I had the bike tuned a week before the race...), half trying to make the best of the circumstances. I trotted at a reasonable pace keeping my HR under 150: a long training day. There is one big hill on the course (that one run twice) but other than that, it's fairly flat. I made it to the finish line in 3:21. I believe that I could have gone 3:10 and maybe 3:05 but it's very difficult to estimate (had I gone harder, I might have blown up later... who knows). My running is fairly strong: I hadn't proved it yet, but in my gut I knew it was there.

Overall, my goal of hitting 9:30 wouldn't have materialized no matter what due to the winds but I believe that I could have gone 9:45. Until next time...

Recovery. I didn't feel too strained after the race. I took two days off, then two days with one hour bike rides, then two days with two hour bike rides in the afternoon, followed by 3 miles/24 minutes runs. I felt good.

Next steps. After IMBR, I intended to turn my focus to short course races: Triathlon Nationals and Duathlon World. But I was now thinking: 1/2 IM Eagleman next week at Full Iron pace for training and getting a slot for IM Lake Placid. And then race IMLP at the end of July. That's a tougher course but I should be alright.