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Posts tagged ‘Wisconsin’

2009 Ironman Wisconsin Race Report – Bike 112 Miles

Mike on the Bike Course
Originally uploaded by Mike’s Adventures

The Wisconsin bike course is fairly challenging. Comparing the elevation profile to Lake Placid lulled me into a false sense of confidence. I handled Placid without problem and figured Wisconsin would be easier.

It started down the “helix”, the spiral down from the top level of the parking deck, and headed out on John Nolen Rd. The spiral was kinda dizzying, especially since I had been in the water so long, but eventually I settled in and life was good. Once I hit the 20 minute mark, I started taking in calories (water only for the 1st 20 minutes) and I was feeling great.

Miles 43/88 mark the beginning of “the hills” on the course, just past the section I photographed shown here. It was a Tour de France type setting with spectators lining the climb and cheering you the way up. The next few miles were somewhat challenging, but then I hit Verona, the crowds, and the start of the second loop.

Then it hit me. I was getting a migraine. I’ve gotten migraines after hard days of training and racing, but NEVER DURING. Damn. I pressed on, enjoying the day, the sun and the course. To add insult to injury, I started cramping up during the 2nd loop. I was taking in plenty of fluids, but my hamstrings and quads started cramping up, especially when I went through the hills the 2nd time at mile 88. Eventually I made my way out and back to transition.

So what made the bike course tough? Some say it’s that every 5 minutes you’re doing something different. Others say it’s the hills. I fall in the 2nd camp, but not for the same reasons. The roads with hills were not long, or high, but steep. There’s the rub – a climb with a steep grade. Additionally, there were places on the course where you would turn and immediately be climbing. Turns take speed away – and there are plenty of turns on this course, compared to Lake Placid where you only have 12 turns over the whole course. Turning into a climb knocks you down even more.

So in short, my bike ride was dominated by a migraine, cramps, a lot of turning, and some steep grades. I’m happy with it overall and would not change anything I did. It is what it is.

Next up – how the heck am I going to get through the marathon? Stay tuned!

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.

I’m in. Again.

Yesterday I promised more big news and today I’m here to deliver it.
I have signed up for the 2009 Ford Ironman Wisconsin. The feeling is not weighing nearly as heavy on me as when I signed up to do Lake Placid last year. It’s not that I am over confident – I just now know what it takes. Now it’s time to learn what it takes to do it better and faster.

I am excited. Really excited. The next 371 days are going to be a lot of fun.

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