Rockman Race Report

Rockman Half Ironman
June 10, 2007Swim: 28:22 • Bike: 2:16:03 • Run: 1:24:40 Finish: 4:11:39 • 1st Overall
The Rockman Race Director, Chip Griffen, asked if I would like to come down for the weekend to race the inaugural Rockman Half Ironman in IL. The race sounded like it had potential to be a great one down the road, so I committed.

I have just joined up with a new coach, Luis Vargas (, who works with Mark Allen at the coaching website. After training with Luis for only 2 weeks, I really feel that he knows what my specific limiters are and how to improve them. I am very excited for Ironman Wisconsin on Sept. 9, knowing that I will be fully prepared to rip that race.
I made the trip down to Rockford on Friday to scout out the course and relax a little bit, thanks to the race management who put me up the host hotel for the weekend. I got in and was pleasantly surprised to find that my hotel room was upgraded to a suite because of overbooking. WOW, all I got to say is that taking an Epsom Salt Bath in a Jacuzzi is SAAAWEEET!
The course looked to be challenging and beautiful. The race took place in Rock Cut State Park, which is a few miles north of Rockford and only about an hour south of where I am living in Madison, WI. The two loop swim was straight forward. The only issue would be negotiating the weeds on the backside of each loop. The bike was an out and back with the first 15 and last 15 miles having numerous steep rollers. The run was, well, HARD! There were steep ups and downs for probably 75% of the run. We were protected from the wind, but not always from the sun, making fueling and hydration even more important.
Race morning I got into the water for the mass start swim and bobbed around for a while in my Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit….This is my second year in the suits and I love ‘em. Gun went off and I found myself in the front pack with some guys that can really swim. We made the first turn and all of a sudden my goggles were pulled down by a huge clump of weeds. I flipped over, adjusted the goggles and kept working. I had only lost a few meters, but couldn’t close the gap in the weeds. I finally had to swim with my head out of the water, which caused my low back to get a bit tight. I backed off a touch and let the group go, now focusing on getting my back to relax. After several hundred meters, I finally was able to pick up the effort again and exited the swim in 8th position.
I got onto the bike in 6th and planned to keep things pretty civil for the first 20 miles or so. I needed power data, I so was riding my training wheel built with a Power Tap Pro Hub and a disk cover (thanks to my good friend Josh for lending it to me for the weekend). It weighed about 400lbs, but having the data was a lot more important than an extra few minutes on the bike.
I caught the leader at about mile 20 and then picked up the pace. To my surprise, he stuck with me. As we headed back into the wind and over a few rollers, he was really punching it. I wondered if he could keep this up. I raised my effort a bit through last part of the rollers at about mile 45 and opened a gap that quickly turned into about 90sec. I have really started to love my Trek TTX. The machine is aerodynamic, super stiff and is a bike that suits almost all types of terrain.
I got out onto the run and relaxed through the first section of steep stuff. My HR was steady and comfortable, while my pace was quite good for this terrain, about 6:30/mi. I ran strong and kept pounding the salt tabs, which I feel are the key to long distance success. I enjoyed the beautiful course and great volunteers that were at the aid stations. I approached the 11mile turn around and saw a gap of about 7 minutes. I cruised the last downhill and arrived at the line in 4:11:xx.
The day revealed a lot of information that I feel show signs that I am getting strong. I saw a 4% power improvement from my previous HIM PB and felt that my run was very strong given the terrain. I want to thank the Rockman Race Management, especially the race director Chip; this race is going to get big. The Timex Multisport Team along with all the affiliated sponsors, The Trek Bike Store of Madison and Fleet Feet Madison for supporting me this year! You guys are great!
I look forward to seeing everyone soon. I will be racing some local TT’s and road races, as I prepare for my next race in Lake Stevens, Washington on July 8th.


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