In reflecting on the year, I realize I put a great deal of pressure on myself to perform. I structured my season based on a Kona qualifying attempt starting in September. In pursuit of that goal, the entire spring and summer became a massive build for my Fall race season. My volume and intensity was higher than it had even been. Everything seemed to be falling into place; I raced well at the four half ironman races with which I'd supplemented my training. By all accounts I was the fittest I'd ever been.
|pre race swim at Wales!|
In the final build for Ironman Wales, I pulled an Icarus. I got a bit greedy and dug a little too deep. I didn't allow myself time to get out from under all the training I'd piled on. The result was racing sick and feeling 100% off at my biggest goal race of the year. While I've certainly had worse performances, I can say that it was the worst Ironman of my career on an expectation verses outcome scale. I thought I could easily go top 5, yet I had trouble even finishing. This was the hardest race I ever done. Temperatures were in the 50s and it was raining the entire day. We had a steady 20 mph wind with gusts up to 40 mph, in addition to an INSANE amount of climbing on the bike. These factors made my poor racing feel even worse. I did finish in 12th place, but the struggle was real.
|Okay scenery on the bike course|
I tried to enjoy the trip with my family, despite feeling sad to know that I left my wife across the globe just to fail in Wales. We did take in some sights, and hopefully my family had fun! The people racing and supporting were amazing. I would recommend this race to anyone who is searching for the hardest thing they have ever done!
|trying to skate it off with some family shenanigans|
|I rode SO fast at Louisville this is the best I have|
On the bike we started riding as a group, sitting legal with a ref going up and down the line. About forty miles in the athlete in front of me slammed on his brakes as the ref approached our portion of the group. I assume this is because he was riding very close to the rider in front of him and he knew it. When he hit the brakes I rode too close to him. My only legal option was then to then pass the entire group. As I began to do this, I noticed a gap open next to me as we were cresting then rolling down the other side of the hill. I had no desire to ride up to the front as this was a bit harder than I wanted to go anyway. So I pulled in the opening. The ref called this "slotting in" from the other side of the roller behind me. I disagree. But ten miles later I had to drop out of the group and sit still for 5 minutes. A lifetime. The first drafting penalty of my career.
|The final stretch!|
After my time in the penalty box, I rode way too hard to try and get time back, consequently exploded, then began the slow ride back into town. Luckily a few riders caught me and put some wind in my sails. I rode in with a couple of guys and was able to start the run with athlete and friend Adam Feigh. I finished the race with another 12th place, and an okay time considering all that had happened. Again, I was pretty unsatisfied.
|Rocking the new Top Step Training Kit!|
Arizona is a perpetually stacked filled. This year was a bit different. The top end was still there but by the end of the race the depth in the middle was less than years past. It started with a huge field though! I landed in the second chase pack going into the bike, and was determined to ride smart after blowing up at Louisville. I rode only slightly above my power goals the first lap, spot on the second, and slightly under on the third. It was definitely best pacing effort at that race, but it was hard to tell where I was given the amount of people on course.
|So many things for the run!|
I finished in 8:40, considerably slower than last year, but the conditions were back to normal. We had some strong winds an a pretty warm day. Given that, I feel like it was an improvement over the year before. This was my best finish at a larger Ironman race, and my biggest paycheck from Ironman! Finally a good race, and great way to end the season!
|straight into the offy|
A huge thanks to all of my sponsors. First off, my wife Amy Cole who lets me play Pro athlete. Zoot Sports has been supporting me for years, and I love racing in their shoes, and the new wetsuit is the best wetty I have ever worn! Dimond Bikes led me to my fastest bike split at EVERY race I did save Arizona which was due to the conditions. Infinit is my race fuel of choice, so I am excited to be working with them. DSD wheels have performed flawlessly all season. Zealious skincare has been a great add. Their sunscreen lasts all day for the long training sessions! Rbar Energy has just come out with a new line of flavors, and I can't stop eating them!! Smith Performance Center has kept me strong and healthy all season. My coach Elliot who took me from an okay amateur to going 7th at Ironman AZ. Finally my parents who have come to SO many of my races, even across the globe!