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2009 Ironman Wisconsin Race Report – Pre-Race and Swim 2.4 Miles

Bikes coming into Transition on Saturday
Originally uploaded by Mike’s Adventures

Rather than one long rant, I have decided to split my race report into 3 sections – swim, bike and run. The pre-race and post-race will be included with the swim and run reports. This just makes more sense to me and will let me write in chunks and get ‘er done.

September 13th started like any normal day. Up at 4 a.m., eat a peanut butter bagel, and get dressed for my day. I made my way down to the race site and dropped my special needs bags off. I made my first mental mistake here where I packed too many bottles of Infinit sports drink in my special needs bike bag and was 1 short for the first half of my bike. By the time I found this mistake, it was too late to retrieve so I pressed on with 2 waters and 2 bottles of Infinit. The rest of my pre-race routine went like clockwork. I aired up my tires, put my cycling computer on, and at 6:30 am headed down to the swim start with my wetsuit in hand.

The day started a little warmer than I expected. By 6:40 I had my wetsuit on to my hips and was in line to get in the water. The Wisconsin start is wide and in deep water, but the entry to the water is a tiny funnel. It took awhile to get through the bottleneck and into the water. By 6:55, I was in and floating out to my spot. I swam a little to get warmed up and then waited the cannon.

Promptly at 7 the cannon fired and the washing machine that is the Ironman swim start began. I did not get kicked and was only jossled a few times. I found I have a hard time sighting off the yellow buoys – maybe because they look like the sun. I really don’t konw what the problem is. But I end up off course to the right when sighting off the yellow buoys, but then sight like a champ on the orange buoys. Additionally, I started to get calf and toe cramps occassionally on the 2nd lap. I am not sure why since I have been well hydrated for weeks. The pros passed me at the end of the first loop and that was quite a sight. There was a pack of 10 guys in tight drafting each other – it was like a freight train was coming through! Through it all, I kept my breathing in check and came out of the water feeling good and fresh, aside from the usual wierd feelings of walking on land after swimming for 1 hr 40 mins.

The transition at Ironman Wisconsin is fairly unique. You run up “the helix” which is a spiral ramp that cars drive to navigate different levels of the parking deck. You then go into Monona Terrace, which is a convention center, and sit fairly comfortably while you dry off and put on your socks, shoes, etc. The bike transition area is long and narrow, so you have to run from one end to the other while picking up your bike along the way. The picture I’ve included with this post is taken from the bridge that is roughly in the middle of the bike transition area. I knew my bike was near the bike exit at the far end, so I ran in my socks and did not put my shoes on until I got to my bike. The volunteers are great and had my bike ready and waiting when I hit my rack. I put my shoes on at this point and headed to the Bike Mount line.

Check back soon for the bike portion of my race report.

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