In the days leading up to St George (StG) I had been struggling with lack of excitement- similar to leading into Oceanside. I knew StG would be a long hot and windy day (not my specialty). This race has a huge challenging reputation which I felt up for. My bike fitness is steadily improving, the hills are always enjoyable, however, my run continues to suffer- classic ironman lack of speed.
We made the 12 hour trek via car to StG leaving early Thursday morning- challenging to stay hydrated when your driving and eating on the road. Needless to say I made it StG bloated and exhausted. The morning I left for StG I was loading the bike into the car and noticed that the rear derauler was not holding a shift- awesome, loading a broken bike.
Friday involved getting the bike fixed ASAP (duh the shifter was loose) and packet pickup. I am not one for the expo scene, I like to get my stuff and get out of dodge. I don’t dig the crowds and nervous energy. We got our stuff and drove the infamous Snow Canyon to see what we were in for…dud. Living in the Sierra Foothills I am used to legit hill climbing, and after IM Tahoe I compare everything to Brockway so Snow Canyon looked lame.
Race morning was up without difficulty at 230a CA time (330a Utah time). I have my normal routine of coffee and food but was a little challenged since my swim wave didn’t go off till 736a but we had to catch the bus to get to the swim start. I would be ready for another meal in T- 0.5.
The swim went off and immediately I felt out of breath! Wait…was this race at altitude?! I refused to review the course and lay of the land pre race… I just wanted a challenge. The asthma kicked in hard and I was almost worried I would DNF the swim! I just set it in cruise control and kicked back and let the work get done. There were many floating bodies to avoid- guess everyone else was short of breath too since everyone seem to be doing back stroke and making fish faces.
Swim exit was easy- kinda long transition but no Oceanside country mile. Hit the bike and started climbing ASAP. Bike was awesome. Averaged 19.5mph until the SHTF (google it). Flatted on a solid decent and almost ate it. POP! Road was relatively clear, however, this is the desert. Wind = debris and I hit it hard. Flat! Tire looked odd but I decided to count on a tube change and get moving since I had 25 miles left on the bike. Lucky a old dude stopped to help since I only had one tube and one C02 that I blew up on the first attempt at tube inflation. The spring in the inflator was busted- C02 gone. I changed the tube, got about 20ft down the road and pop again! Pinch flat. Rookie move. 70 year old saves the day with the tube and had hung onto the C02 from the initial flat he helped me with. I had approx. 60psi it seemed to get to the next aid and find a bike pump.
Road slow to the next aid…started hearing a buzzing noise. GREAT! I have a slow leak in the new tube. I lead down…bizzzzzz! Stung by a bee. Comedy of errors. Ride to the next aid which was right before Snow Canyon climb and get some air.
The climb up Snow Canyon in pretty uneventfull outside of a beautiful view, a horrible out and back section in which you climb half way up Snow Canyon just to turn around and do it again. Lots of dudes walking tricked out aero bikes (standard) and I laugh and pass. The decent into StG is rewarding with speeds reaching 40+ mph. Some legit speed wobbles were to be had but lots of free speed.
Off the bike I felt strong…then the heat and hills set in. I had prepared with which I felt was lots of food on the bike and had planned on nothing but coke and ice to keep hydrated on the run. I had stuck in a DeSoto cool wings addition into my run bag which saved my life. Historically I suffer greatly with heat. StG I only suffered with the hills and asthma. I found a few dudes to latch on to and chat, I stayed cool while they baked. We made the journey to the finish line together- using them for energy and dropping them when the conversation got boring. I felt hungry on the entire run. I never have this issue. I ran aid to aid waiting for food- guess I burned it up on the bike. The hills absolutely killed my run time. I participated in the 50/50 run walk plan in steps and eventually a 5/1 minute run walk ratio. The last 2 miles there is absolutely no excuse to walk. I booked it into town trying to pick up as many dead soldiers as I could. I hit the finish line and immediately suffered from an asthma attack. The volunteers attempted to take me to the med tent but I was able to handle with my own inhaler.
StG was a great race which I owe some redemption to next year. I overcame adversity in the swim (asthma), bike (two flats and a bee sting) and in the run (heat and H-I-L-L-S). This race will keep you challenged and honest. I look forward to Ironman CDA up at the end of June!