Canadian Ironman 2007 summary

Boy was this one special. Since my knee injury in May 2006 and the related DNF at the Swiss Ironman 2006 in July, I had plenty to sulk about. In fact it took me another 6 months after that before I could ride a bicycle again. Though I down played the importance of the bike leg in Penticton, I had something to prove out there and I feel I accomplished that. Of course that led to a very tough run, but by that point most people are in survival mode anyway!

Thank you to all my friends and family who supported me, especially the ones who came up to see me compete (Vivian, Mom, Dad, Michele and Bret). Seeing you guys on the course made it very special. Finally, a very special thanks goes to my fiancée Vivian; living with someone training for an Ironman is tough already, but she did it while completing her CGA. What a tough gal!

See Race Details below slides.



Canadian Ironman 2007 details

The Swim: This was the largest mass swim start ever: 2500 racers. This means when the cannon fires, everyone floods into the water in a wave of arms and legs along a narrow beach front. Before the start, the mood on the beach was electric, they cranked out "My Hero" by the Foo Fighters as the pros left (they get a fifteen minute head start) and when it was our time to go the played Ironman by Black Sabath! If that doesn't get you going at 7AM, nothing will. Let's just say the swim was very rough and there were quite a few aggressive swimmers (mostly men) out there pushing and grabbing. In other races, it was only the initial 400 meters and the corners where people would swim all over you, but in this race it was constant. Luckily this race is a long out and back because this allowed a bit of breathing room on the way back. Still there were very few times when there wasn't someone near me. To quote another racer who put it eloquently "it wasn't very gentlemanly out there". Since I only had my goggles knocked off once, I considered it okay and I was right on my predicted time of 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The Bike: As I mentioned, I was out to prove something. All of the people I talked to said it was a fast course to Osoyoos and then you have Richter Pass (a 11 kilometer climb) to deal with. After that it is quite windy through Keromeos where I would have to go slow as I don't have the power of some of the better riders. The final section would be mountainous all the way to Penticton which would be great for a little gnat like myself. I followed my plan to a tee which included a very fast start. We had a bit of a tail wind and I was riding at 50km/hr on some of the flats. My average was easily in the 40's. I was truly surprised at how short Richter pass was. It even had a little downhill section. I passed hundreds of racers in this section and was never passed on any of up hills. There is a huge downhill after that which I tucked down at 80km/hr but it was pretty windy in sections so I couldn't take full advantage of my fast climb. The winds for the next 40 kilometers were pretty nasty and I had to hunker down into my granny gear on a couple of the flats. This is when some of the stronger riders caught me, but I ignored them and just kept spinning. The long turnaround near Keromeos is s total drag as you keep expecting it at the next corner but never see it. I was really happy to start back into the hills and saw my support group on the start of the climb up to Yellow Lake. Seeing them, especially my dad, really pumped me up and again was passing tonnes of people on the hills. The best part was that there were no more flats until Penticton which meant no one would pass me the rest of the way. As I finished the bike I had a huge smile on my face as the memories of Switzerland were behind me now.

The Run: Well lets just say, when you push hard on the bike, you leave nothing for the run. Mike Starko had warned me about this but I wouldn't listen. But you now what, at that point I was so happy to finish the bike that it didn't matter. The first two miles of the run were pretty painful as the tendon in my right leg was pulling but I just kept going knowing it would eventually go away. I saw my support group again at the edge of town - happy times! The run was purely survival for me and it took 4 hours and 45 minutes. There is an aid station at every mile of the 26 mile (42 kilometer) run stocked with Gatorade, power bars, bananas, cookies, pretzels, chicken soup broth and flat coke (not cocaine). I would jog to the aid station and walk through eating cookies and Gatorade. Then I would walk for about a minute before running to the next aid station. I did this for the entire run and walked up a few of the hills too. I literally had no energy in my legs. Pulling into town gave me a little boost but it is an slight uphill and I couldn't really pick up any speed. I really didn't get pumped until the last 2 miles when I knew it would be over soon. The final couple of corners are lined with people, the support was awesome! For the last kilometer you turn onto Lakeshore drive and run half a kilometer west, turn around and then head back east along the way you came to the finish. The crowd is so loud there I barely caught my sister running beside me. She stopped and I ran to the turn around and picked up the pace for the final leg. I saw my support group again and Vivian was waiting near the finish line (although I didn't see her at the time). What a great day, what a great town and what a great group of volunteers (4500) that really make this thing happen. After meeting up with my folks, we walked back to their truck where my dad gave my a Heineken he had on ice with my name on it. We then went back to our hotel and celebrated with beer and pizza - life is good!   Thanks again to everyone who supported me!

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