Sunday, 15 October 2017

2017 Ironman World Championship Race Report - DNF

As a friend reminded me, sometimes you're the nail and sometimes you're the hammer; well, today I was clearly the nail. I woke up at 0330hrs, had my usual breakfast of a couple eggs, a bagel with jam, a cup of orange juice, and of course a cup of coffee. At around 0430 we departed the house and headed down to transition. There was very little waiting to get through security, complete body marking, and weigh-in. Once that was done, it was to my bike to inflate my tires, drop off my nutrition, and then play the waiting game. My power meter didn't seem to be cooperating as the calibration numbers were way off from normal. It had rained heavily the night before and I've seen it before that when it gets wet its inaccurate (I guess I will have to send it in to get checked out). I wasn't too concerned as I knew I could ease myself into the bike.

Age Group Men - Swim Start
The pro men started at 0635 hrs, the pro women at 0640hrs, and then we, the age group men, were off at 0705hrs. I was in the water about 0645 and then swam out and lined up just left of the Roka Buoy. When the cannon went off at 0705 we were off. I was absolutely shocked how smooth the start was this year. I quickly found some open water and settled into my pace. About 500m I found a good set of feet and stayed on them until the turn around. At the turn around it was a little chaotic, but I found another set of feet and rode them all the way back to the pier. As I exited the water I saw 1:08 on my watch. All things considered I was fine with that.

And then it was onto the bike. The bike was quite congested for the opening section on Kuakini Highway, but once we were out on the Queen K things started to spread out. Most people seemed to be trying to ride legally for the first bit of the course. My power meter wasn't reading right so I just settled into a steady pace. After about 45min, I reset the power meter and it then appeared to work fine for the remainder of the bike. Just before Mauna Lani, we started getting a head wind and you could see the draft packs starting to form. All of a sudden a big pack of almost 30 plus riders rolled past me. I was expecting this at some point so I just eased off my effort and let them go. After a couple aid stations that pack seemed to disperse a little and I was able to start riding through some of them. As I was cresting the hill just North of Hapuna Beach State Park (around 66km into the bike course) I crashed into another athlete. I am not sure exactly what happened, but from what I recall, someone stopped on the road (I think he was trying to fix his chain). The rider in front of me, who I was in the process of passing, swerved at the last minute and manged to just miss the stopped rider. I couldn't react quick enough and ploughed into the stopped rider. I hit the ground pretty hard and then another rider crashed into me. I quickly assessed my wounds: a bump on the left side of my back, and scrapes on my right ankle, right knee, and elbow. My lower back really hurt, but I straightened my aerobars (as best as I could), collected my bottles and computer, and then jumped back on my bike.

Riding in the aerobars was extremely uncomfortable and applying any significant amount of power through my left leg on the climbs sent throbbing pain through my lower back. I figured I could either wait for a sag vehicle or finish the bike course. I resolved that I would finish the bike course and then call it a day. I didn't want to keep Claudia waiting too long as I knew she would be waiting outside T2. So that's what I did. I was mentally done when I arrived in T2. When I got off my bike in T2 I could hardly walk as my back had completely tightened up. Clearly, not what I was hoping for but knowing I was already qualified to come back next year was certainly a welcome relief. Despite the crash and the pain through the remaining ~120km of the bike I still managed to ride a 5:16 on the bike. Power 190W Avg, 202W NP, VI 1.06. (My power numbers were down about 5% from last year)

Abrasion on my lower back.

As I reflect, I wonder if I should have tried finishing the race. I feel like I battled through the bike and I had nothing left to prove. I was in pain and didn't see the point of trying to walk/hobble the marathon. I was mentally done when I called it a day. I had no more fight in me and so now as I reflect, I believe I made the right call. It's unfortunate that the 2017 results will have DNF by my name, but I can accept that as I gave my best on the day. 

Friday, 13 October 2017

D-1: Light Activiation & Bike Check-in

Well today was filled with pre-race jitters as I'm honestly not sure what will unfold tomorrow. Training the last couple months has been less than ideal, but I'm still confident I can put a good race together - I just need to be smart. I think smart tomorrow means swimming strong, riding conservatively to the base of Hawi, pushing the climb, enjoying the descent, and then trying to ride steady back to Kona. On the run, the plan will be to ease into the run on Ali'i drive and take the opening out and back at a pace that feels easy. If I've got any legs then real push will happen coming out of the Energy Lab. Regardless of how things unfold tomorrow, I am out to have fun and really enjoy the experience.

I woke up this morning had a quick coffee and then headed out the door for a short activation ride on the Queen K. Directly following the activation ride I went for a short activation run on Ali'i. Once back to the house, I had breakfast and then headed out for a short swim. I would normally swim first, but the water was quite choppy this morning so I elected to let it calm down a little prior to swimming. I'm hoping that the water tomorrow is a litter calmer.
Stealth Steed is racked and ready to roll!
I tried to stay off my feet for the remainder of the morning. In the afternoon I had a short nap; then Alex, Claudia, and I headed down to the Pier so Alex and I could complete bike check-in. John was able to check his bike in earlier in the day as he had a lower number.

Alex headed back to the house while I did some quick shopping for the kids with Claudia. Now it's time to play the waiting game. I'm looking forward to having fun tomorrow and racing with the best in the world.

As the kids always remind me the race plan is simple: swim strong, bike hard, and run fast.
The final sunset before the 2017 Ironman World Championship!

D-2: Military Meet & Greet / RnR / Welcome Dinner

2017 Ironman World Championship - Military Division Participants
So today was my usual D-2 "rest" day. In the past, I have typically swum every day I am in Kona; however, the normal approach I take for racing is D-2 is a rest day. So rather than stick to the typical Kona pattern, I reverted to my preferred pattern of D-2 as a rest day. Taking today as a rest day meant another hour of sleep or so this morning.

Andrew Messick took time out of his busy schedule to speak to the military athletes.

Alex, John, and I representing Canada!

Once Alex and John were back from their morning swim, we all headed into town to the Military Meet & Greet hosted by Ironman. Andrew Messick, Ironman CEO, even made an appearance this year and had some kind words. It was great meeting some of the other military athletes; unfortunately, Europe didn't seem represented...I think it had to do with Ironman not having assigned a 2017 Military Qualifier in Europe.
The orange tree where Carl and the Cameleon clan usually hang out.
The staff at Greenwell Farms are always so polite and helpful.

After the Meet and Greet, Claudia and I headed back to the house and then made our annual trip to Greenwell Farms (aka where you can buy the best Kona Coffee). Unfortunately, we couldn't find Carl the Cameleon, apparently he has been in hiding the last couple days. Greenwell Farms was quite busy today, but none the less we made our purchase and then headed back to the house.

We took it very easy this afternoon. We made another trip to the Rapid Reboot house to give their compression units another try. Who knows maybe we'll come home with one.
Athletes Welcome Dinner.

This evening was the athlete welcome dinner followed by the "mandatory" race briefing. This year's theme at the athlete welcome dinner was Aloha. It was a great evening out with Claudia and our Canadian contingent.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

D-3: A little bit of everything

Another swim at Dig Me Beach!
Alex trying out his new swimskin.
So today started off with another swim. This one was a bit different than the normal swim at Dig Me Beach. The water was quite choppy so trying to get into any type of rhythm was a little difficult. None the less, I still did about a 30min swim. Hopefully the water is a little calmer on race morning.
Me trying out a pair of Sketchers.

Following the swim, I had breakfast and then headed out for a light bike and a run. Once my workouts for the day were done, I spent about an hour touring the expo with Claudia. As always, I left with a bag of goodies but a few dollars poorer.

Glenda and I at the Aloha Lifestyles Gear Booth.
Claudia and I spent the afternoon at Aloha Lifestyles Gear were Glenda had the F2C booth set up.
Claudia chilling at the Slowtwitch party in Rapid Reboot Compression Boots.

Then it was back to the house for a quick bite to eat and then off to the Slowtwitch gathering which was only a couple houses down.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

D-4: A busy day!

So today was a busy day with lots of stuff going on. Thankfully it's only Tuesday and there is still lots of time to put the feet up.

John and I headed out for a swim.

Alex hitting the water for his swim.

We started off the day with a light swim at Dig Me Beach (Kona Pier). After the light swim, Alex and John headed back to the house while Claudia and I headed to the AWA Gold Breakfast (one of the few perks of being an AWA Gold Member - free breakfast).
Dave Scott, Greg Welch, and Mark Allen at the Gold AWA Breakfast.

During breakfast Greg Welch did a Q&A session with Dave Scott and Mark Allen which was pretty awesome.

Claudia and I with our assembled bikes.
Following breakfast, Claudia and I stopped in at More Than Sport to build a couple bikes which will be donated to kids at a local school later in the week. Following that we met up with the rest of the CAF Team and our Canadian Teammates for breakfast at Kona Restaurant Inn. Subaru Canada has hosted a breakfast in Kona for the last two years. This year Lisa Bentley spoke.
My name on the 2017 Ironman World Championship banner!

Following breakfast we headed over to complete registration. I was lucky enough to be "randomly" selected for drug testing...surprise, surprise. I think my performance at Ironman Arizona last fall may have had something to do with the "random" sampling. Thankfully it was only a blood sample. However, me being selected for drug testing was a first.
A quick stop to say hi to Glenda at F2C.

Another stop to say hi to Dominique and the Argon 18 crew.

Following registration we headed back to the house for a bite to eat. After a quick bite, I headed out for a short ride on the Queen K. On my way back to the house I stopped to say hi to Glenda at the F2C booth and then swung by the Argon 18 booth to pick-up a T-shirt and say hi to Dominique and his crew.
Relaxing at the Rapid Reboot booth.

Seeing as the Rapid Reboot house was a couple doors down, I paid them a visit to give their Compression Unit a try. Hmm...maybe I'll have to buy one of these.

Parade of Nations with Chantal and John.

And then to cap off the day, we had the Parade of Nations. Always an enjoyable event.

Monday, 9 October 2017

D-5: Bike Recon - Hapuna to Hawi

Hapuna Beach State Park
We started off today with a morning swim at Dig Me Beach (Kona Pier). Alex and John both stopped in at the ROKA booth before the swim so they could test swim a ROKA Swim Skin. The Cliff Catamaran was out this morning so we all made sure to have a quick stop at the boat for either a cup of coffee or an electrolyte drink during our swim. I of course opted for a cup of Starbucks Coffee. With our swims completed we headed back to our house for breakfast.

After breakfast, we packed our bikes in the van and headed out to Hapuna Beach State Park. The plan was for the ladies to hit the beach while we headed up to Hawi. I figured this was a great way to recon the course and ride arguably the hardest part of the course. That being said, the course is not terribly difficult; what makes this course so challenging is generally the heat and the wind. Alex and John got a little taste of the wind up to Hawi, but it was nothing too crazy today. And the heat, well let's just say it was HOT and HUMID.

After the ride to/from Hawi we headed back to our home on Ali'i drive for a late lunch and then some relaxation. Late in the afternoon, Alex and I headed out for a 45min run on Ali'i Drive. It was still hot and humid.
Dinner tonight: rice and chicken stirfry with ice cream and pineapple for dessert.
 Stay tuned - tomorrow is going to be a busy day.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

D-6 CAF Members Have Arrived

Another beautiful sunset to close out another day in Kona!
Headed out for a swim!

Another swim in the books!

So today I started the day off with a beautiful swim at Dig-Me Beach (Kona Pier). It's always a pleasure swimming in the beautiful Pacific Ocean in the tropics. After the early swim it was back to the house for breakfast and then the first trip of the day to the airport.
Alex arriving at the airport.

It was great to see Alex and thankfully all his bags arrived with him. We headed back to the house quickly, got Alex settled, and then Claudia and I headed out to Kona Baptist Church. We've made it a routine to go to Kona Baptist Church when we are in Kona and it's always great seeing familiar faces there.
John and Chantal arriving in Kona.

Once church was over we headed back to the airport to pick up John and Chantal. By the time we got back to the house, Alex had lunch prepared. (We had told him we would do it once we were back, but Alex being the Super Guy and Super Chef he is took it upon himself to make sure it was ready! - Thanks buddy! I think John and Chantal were even more thankful as they were quite hungry.)
Ready to ride!

We gave John a little time to put his bike together after lunch; then we headed out for a bike ride. We started easy along Ali'i drive so I could explain the run course. Then I showed them the start of the bike course. John headed back to the house while Alex and I did a loop of Kuakini Highway and then did an out and back to the airport.

Once we got back to the house, Alex and I headed out for an "easy" 8km transition run using Magic Sands beach as our turn around point.
Enjoying some dinner together!

Tonight's dinner: Pulled pork, baked sweet potato, salad, and for dessert berry crisp!

Another fantastic day in the books and thankful for having my teammates all here in Kona now.

On deck for tomorrow is bike course recon for Alex and John and then a ride out to Hawi.