They say you always remember your first, and I won't soon be forgetting Ironman Canada 2010. I definitely underestimated how difficult it was going to be, strange as that sounds. After having pretty good success with the half-ironman distance and considering a marathon to be a training run, I figured I had this one dialed in. What could go wrong?
The swim was fantastic. Almost 3,000 swimmers and a huge crowd starting us off.
There sure were a lot of people, and there was a lot of contact for the whole swim.Very hard to find any open water,but that was OK, it is what it is. As usual, the swim comes to an end too soon, as I always find it the most relaxing part of a triathlon.Also, I know the pain of the bike will follow.One cool thing was the scuba divers underneath you at the turnarounds. A 66 year old man died last year 100 meters from the shore at about 8:45 a.m. His two sons completed the race for him this year, one did the bike, the other the run.They even got an official time.
|The Penguins March|
Anyhow, just as fall turns to winter, the swim became the bike. I had a fairly smooth transition, only forgetting my race belt and number. So halfway out the change-tent, it's back to the bag, grab the race belt and forget the glasses.Doh.
So, onto the bike and the ordeal begins. Except it's not too bad! I'm kind of enjoying being out on the road. I train pretty much exclusively on a trainer (due to my fear of being killed on the street in Toronto) and this is going well. I follow the advice I'd been given, and just ride along for the first 60k. I had to make a pit stop after an hour and wait in line at one of the two porta-potties that are located every 10 miles on the bike course. Not good. We had been warned at the pre-race meeting that anyone caught going pee or poo anywhere other than a porta potty would be DQ'd. Halfway through the bike ride, it was clear that this rule was being disregarded by many riders. Note to self-learn how to pee while in the saddle.
I got to the famous "Richter's Pass" in 2 hours. We had driven the bike route the day before, so I knew what to expect. My Granny gear was perfect, and I stuck to the plan of just taking it easy until the top.Then it was an absolute blast coming down the other side, I wish I knew how fast I was going. I was passing lots of bikes,that's for sure. I wound up moving up 336 spots during the bike.
Now about that crash. We had just ridden through wind,cold and pelting rain for about 15 minutes. At the top of the last major climb, Yellow Lake, is a bottle exchange station. Now, I thought everyone knew the drill. You ride through and grab a bottle on your way. If you drop it, just grab another one. It had been this way the whole race. I'm thirsty and out of Gatorade, so I grab a bottle from the very first volunteer. Just as I do this, the rider in front of me hammers on her brakes,and stops completely to get her bottle. So now, I've got a bottle in my right hand and am about to crash into this gal at a pretty good clip. I've only got one hand on the bike,and it's my left, so I have no choice but to hit the front brake hard. Well, you know what happens, and it's not good. I remember the rear wheel coming up over my shoulder and my head hitting the ground with a funny thump. Luckily, my helmet didn't hit and crack, I landed on my face, elbow and hip. I knew I was bleeding from my cheek, but I also realized it was all downhill into town from here, so no way I was going to let them check me over and stop me from finishing the bike. I jumped up, got back on my saddle and said "I'm OK, I do this all the time". I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade and quickly left. As I peddled out of the aid station, I started to assess the damage. Main problem, a Charlie-horse, probably landed on the crossbar. Sore knee, we'll have to see how that reacts to the run. Headache, understandable. But what's this stabbing pain in my chest? Maybe I also should have had a quick look at the bike after the crash, because when I go to hit the brakes the next time, I notice my front brake is now sideways on the grip, and I have to use my thumb to squeeze it.
So I ride into town, maybe another 40-50 minutes, and have pretty much forgotten about the pain except for my chest. I rub the area and finally realize that when I went over the handlebars, I was harpooned by the heavy plastic straw that comes out of the water bottle on the front of my bike. Alright! It's not a heart problem, but it sure hurts.
Mrs. Portage and the kids are waiting along the route just before the finish, and get a good shot of me.
|The harpoon is clearly visible|
|The bike route went right by our hotel,I was # 1839. The staff there put up a bunch of signs.|
Finally, the ride is over and I can get my ass out of this saddle. No flat tires, which is great, I saw maybe 10 bikes along the way changing flats.One girl had a broken chain. I had been waiting for this moment for a few hours.
Into the transition, one of the volunteers grabs my bike, I find my bike-to-run bag head into the change tent. I can't feel my feet due to the cold. Quick transition then I start running, and do the check. Knees? Check. Back? Stiff, but check. Hips, check. All systems seem to be go.So, thank God I'm off that stoopid bike and finally running. And it feels great. For about an hour. Then I start to shrink the box. A sub 4 marathon goal becomes "Just make it to the turnaround". Eventually, I do make it to the turnaround, it was at 9:40 overall. So I have hit "The Line" and the box becomes the next aid station, just 1 mile away. So I tell myself "Just put your head down and make it to the next aid station. You can walk when you get there." I repeat the Jordan Rapp quote that is at the top of my blog. I tell myself "All you have to do is a 2 hour half-marathon, and you have 11:40! Not to shabby, considering the weather and the crash."
After a while, I start to pass people wrapped in those silver blankets walking and shivering. Actually, I'm passing a lot of people, I guess they rode a bit to hard. I was able to keep this up, running from station to station and walking once I got there. I actually ran through the last aid station, as it was only a mile to the finish line. I eventually moved up 403 spots on the run, so I gained 739 spots on the bike/run.
It's a great run course, an out and back, so I got to see the top males and females go by on their way in.Also, as you're finishing, you get to see the poor folks who are just starting their run. Ouch.
|Amazing high speed photography|
|I just completed My first Ironman|
|A very determined Ironman, my new buddy Jay Dufour from Bristol,Connecticut.|
Jay (in the above photo) flew into Kelowna from Connecticut (Via Toronto) and only brought his debit card with him. Unfortunately, since he is from the U.S., they wouldn't allow him to rent a car with a debit card, not sure why.So he took a bus from Kelowna to Penticton,about 60 km. Luckily, he didn't have to worry about carrying luggage, since the airline lost his.When I went to pick up my bike from the bike transport guy, I noticed Jay had on a Bristol Fire Department golf shirt. I thought it was Bristol England, but when I said "Hi" to him, I noticed the lack of an accent and said, "Hey,you're not from England!"Anyhow, we get talking and turns out we have done a few of the same trail runs, Escarpment in New York, maybe Nipmuck in Connecticut, my memory.......eventually he tells me his story. So he's got no car , at least his luggage showed up on Saturday so he's ready to go, except he is going have to walk from the hotel to the race on Sunday. I would have said "Screw it!" a while ago, but Jay is determined to say the least. Mrs. Portage and I tell him forget that, we will pick you up at 5:45 am Sunday, and we do.
Congratulations to Jay, who not only raced, but hammered the bike and run and finished in 11:12 on the nosey.
Mrs. Portage had more faith in me than I did, she had made dinner reservations for 7:45p.m. By the time I had gathered up all my stuff and retrieved my bike, it was 7:45 p.m.Also, I was more shuffling than walking. Dinner wound up being Chinese food and beer in bed back at the hotel. Man, it was good. It only hurts when I move or don't move.Not sure if it's from the crash or the exertion.
The Numbers Overall
Swim- 1:15:29 1546/2800
Bike- 6:18:15 1210/2800
Run- 4:06:42 536/2800
Personally, I have packed away the swim and bike stuff, no more Ironman until I'm 55, and then it will probably be in St. George Utah.
Right now, I've got a Honey-Do list that's been neglected for a while. Better get at it.
Next up-Vulturebait 50K in October.