Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Ironman Wisconsin - Madison Race Report

Begin at the sun
I went running on Sunday, for 20k, and it hurt.  Aching in my leg muscles. I need the run.  STWM is only three weeks away.  The scar on my arm is still sore, and my right foot has something wrong that aches when twisted too far.  Ironman was hard on me. 

This year, my son Noah was race support.  We visited the capital building together.  He was there for me at the finish line at 9 PM, like I suggested.  I wouldn't be along until after 10 o'clock.

Noah was race support
In Madison, they built a scale model of the solar system.  The sun is right at the start line of the bike course, where riders come down the spiral ramp of the Monona Terrace parking garage. Mercury is a block away, then Venus a few blocks after, and the Earth a few more blocks after that.  Then it's on for several kilometers to get past Ceres, Mars to Jupiter.  Neptune and Pluto are out towards Mount Horeb, the furthest point on the bike course, 50 km or so away.  

Some people suggested that we skip the aero bars; that the course was endlessly hilly.  Not so.  The ride out until Mount Horeb has plenty of flat road.  The moderate wind from the South East made riding in aero by far the preferred choice.  After the climb to the village of Mount Horeb, the hilly parts begin.  The twisty downhill of Garfoot Road and the steep drop on Timberline were posted with caution signs.  I saw no evidence of crashes, but several flat tires, and a guy with a broken chain.  Someone else had his behind-the-seat dual-bottle holder fall off onto the path.  You need lock washers to hold that in place.  

I love this bike course.  The hills are tough going up, and a lot of fun coming down.  There's plenty of them to enjoy.  Especially Garfoot, with all of the bends in the road.  It was shared road, and someone was coming up in her pickup as I flew down the first time.  Yikes.  The road surfaces weren't as bad as I remembered, except for Stagecoach.  It's a mess that needs resurfacing.  Old Sauk Pass was the worst of the struggles.  Long, long, and steep, with crowds of silly people to cheer us on.  

Coming in from the bike, I made my second great blunder.  I got off, and started running to T2.  I hadn't had sensation in my right foot for over an hour, and it wouldn't be commanded.  The pain, then the limping set me to walking.  I pulled something in my foot that still aches a week later.

In the queue to get into the water, the sun was an orange glow beyond the horizon.  It rose just moments before race start.  At the Friday briefing, they warned us of cold weather to come, but it didn't happen.  We won the weather lottery, with the best conditions imaginable -- almost no wind, cool temperatures, but not chilly, and zero clouds.  

Because of the threat of cold weather, I made a horrible blunder by choosing to wear a T-shirt under the wetsuit.  It might keep me warm on the shore, I thought.  Swimming, it chafed under the collar, and bunched up under my left armpit cutting at 4-inch long gash that hasn't healed in a week.  It didn't bleed, but it hurt when it rubbed on anything.  Mostly that was fine during the race.  My cycling kit was loose enough not to affect it, and I carry my arms high enough on the run for it not to be a bother.  

One lap of the run
I managed to run most of the first lap.  After that, I walked a bit, which lead to walking a lot.  They had Red Bull on course, so I sampled a cup, ending up vomiting it into the bushes along Lake Mendota.  That seemed to settle my stomach so I could take another Gu, bringing on energy for more running.  It was just a slow shuffle really.  Even so, the run of 5:25 was only 10 minutes faster than my 5:35 in Mont Tremblant, where I walked most all of it.  The tough cycling course added a half hour, coming to 7:30.  My swim was consistent, at 101 minutes, was just on par for my regular pace.  

Final time: 

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