Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Finish Strong

Getting prepped

After a full day at work on Friday I started my journey from Phoenix, AZ to Salt Lake City, UT. It was getting late so I stopped at the half-way point of my destination at a little casino in Mesquite, NV. The goal was to win enough money to cover the cost of my week long vacation. I lost twelve dollars. On Saturday morning I completed the last 5 hours of the 700 mile trip.

The race was on Sunday, but everybody had to be checked in and have all equipment dropped off by Saturday night. I got to my brothers house and placed his bike on my rack and headed up into the mountains to the race location in Heber City, Utah. When we took the bikes off the rack we discovered that the exhaust from my cars tail pipe had melted and destroyed his front tire and tube. With no extra tubes or tires we made our way over to the expo and bought a tube and a killer bright yellow race tire. As we were changing out the tire they kicked us out of the transition area. During the rush to replace a tire in .5 seconds we did not get to give it much care and attention. We just had to hope that he would not get any kind of pinch flat out there on the road during the race.

This race was different then what I am used to. 1700 swim, 25.7 mile bike, and 5.92 mile run. With a huge prize purse at stake and a $20,000 payout to the winners; 39 professional triathletes decided to come out and play. Another different aspect of this triathlon was the use of two separate transition areas. At first I was a little confused about the two transition areas, but it all worked out well.

The Swim

With snow on the peaks of the mountains I knew the water was not going to be very warm. After I stretched and drank a bottle of water I put on my wetsuit. I was freezing so I figured the wetsuit would keep me warm before for the next 20 minutes. WWI and WWII airplanes flew over the lake and did some cool tricks during the national anthem. It was neat to see and the planes got everyone pumped up for the race. The 39 pros entered the water and took off as soon as the Army shot off the cannon. Man they are fast.

Now it was time for the amateurs to start the death march down the ramp into the freezing water. I did my best to delay getting into the water but I finally had to take the plunge. The water was actually warmer then the air temperature so it felt pretty good. At first my plan was to stay in the back out of everybody’s way since I would only be swimming at 60%.

For those of you who don’t know I tore apart my shoulder last year. The doctors have told me that swimming over 60% will lead me right back to the hospital for surgery. I have been very conscious of this fact and stay to it even though it costs me serious time.

When we were told the race would start in one minute I changed my strategy and moved to the front. I figured I would have a better chance of avoiding being kicked in the head if I was at the front of the pack. It worked. The cannon sounded and I swam slow, steady, and smooth. I was trying to be as efficient as possible over the 1700 meters, but found myself starting to tire over the last 200.


I jogged up the boat ramp and had a solid transition. Not rushed, but no wasted time either. I felt good about it.

The Bike

Immediately after the exit of the transition area I encountered a big steep hill. I just did my best getting up and over it without wasting all of my energy. I knew that I would not see another hill for 24 miles. The only other hill on the course is the 1.5 mile “Hill From Hell” at the very end of the bike that ends at T2.

The bike segment was fantastic. It was one of the most beautiful rides I have ever been on. It was two loops through many pastures full of livestock, in a bright green valley surrounded by stunning mountains.

I made sure to stay well hydrated on the bike. I drank one bottle at T1, and two others on the bike. I made my way up the infamous “Hill From Hell” and realized that my good bike segment could have been a great bike segment if I had more leg strength to get me up the hills faster. Overall the bike segment of the race was fantastic.


After making my way up that monster, I entered T2 feeling great. I was eight minutes ahead of schedule and feeling very hydrated. No time was wasted in transition and I made my way out to the run (or should I say hike) course.


The run was crazy insane. It went straight up a mountain for the first 2 miles. Then it was like a roller coaster full of parabolas for 3 miles then another mile uphill. My strategy for the run was simple. Take it easy on the inclines, and let gravity and weight help me out with speed on the declines for the first 5 miles. Then during the last mile I was going to give it everything I had left in the tank.

This plan was just a ¼ mile from being perfect. With ¼ mile left to go both of my quads cramped up at the same time. It just about dropped me to my knees. I struggled to walk forward for a couple hundred feet, and then the cramps seemed to go away. The crowd was going nuts and they were all screaming my name. I ran in waving to and high-fiving the crowd with pure enjoyment. I finished strong!

Looking back

I loved this race; it is one of my favorites so far. The scenery was great and so were the volunteers and spectators. To improve I need to lose weight and build leg strength. I am definitely doing this race again. Next year I am going to practice running trails and hills so I will be ready

Swim = ½ fatass and ½ badass
Bike = ¼ fatass and ¾ badass
Run = ½ fatass and ½ badass


Wendy said...

Great race report! Congratulations.

LBTEPA said...

Well done!
What a great race and a great race report :)
Sooooooooo now tell us about the proposal and the new truck!

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

Congratulations!! Glad yoy had such a good time, it makes the race all that much better for next year.
Still waiting for the rest of yor "report"

Comm's said...

half and half is progress Tony and I am proud of you for the difference.

Andrew said...

Good Job Tony!
Sounds like a very cool race
I may join you next year!

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