Ironman Start #17..... Check!

2009 Ironman Wisconsin Race Report

Ironman Wisconsin this year was Ironman start #17. I had a few goals for this race...which will follow.

#1 - To be in the first chase pack.
#2 - To NOT blow up on the bike.
#3 - To race MY race.
#4 - To WIN.

Well, I scored 50% on this test, which would mean that had i taken any other test at any school i attended growing up, I would have failed miserably! But this was Ironman and while I was looking to ace this test, I was really just hoping for some solid steps forward...and that I did achieve! Here's how the day went down.

Okay, race morning....I rolled into a super secret parking spot that I cannot reveal because it is always open on race morning. It is only 1 block from the start and if I told you I can guarantee I wouldn't be able to park there next year!! BTW - I heard about the spot from one of my athletes! Thank you Roz!

As I am walking down to transition I am thinking to myself how quickly the year goes by. It seemed like only last month that I was walking down to the Ironman transition....and no it was NOT because I raced an insane amount of IM's this year again... ;) This was my first.

I got most of my stuff out of the way and then went to get my tires topped off by the mechanic that was stationed next to our rack....I have to say that this is a huge luxury to racing at the front of the race. Well anyway, my tire was getting filled with air and when we went to pull the "crack pipe" adapter off, it took about a 6" section of disc cover with it :) AWESOME, I thought....i then asked for the duct tape! That stuff fixes everything, right!?! So 4 pieces of duct tape later, my ghetto ride was ready to roll.

I headed down to the swim start and got ready to roll. The swim was wetsuit legal and the water temp was about 76*....this was gonna be great! I mean don't get me wrong...I only swim with paddles and a pull buoy, so if we had not gotten the wetsuits and actually had to SWIM, I would have been dropped like a bad habit.

So gun goes off and I find myself next to Will Smith, who I knew was a sub 50 min swimmer and swimming with him would do nothing good for me....I kept it steady and backed off a touch while I waited for the group to come through...I found a gap and just like i was driving on the interstate, and merged in with only one kick to the goggles. Perfect, ALL IM starts should be like that!!!

The highlights of the swim were 2 stops...once for clearing the goggles at about 1k and then to try to keep my cap from falling off ;) which i didn't succeed at...oh well!!! I will say the water felt much cooler than this.

I got out of the water at the front of our pack and did my thing through transition....I always advise athletes to take it easy up the helix, but i really wanted to be at the front of the chase pack and I knew I would be ok with this short period where my heartrate would reach about 800bpm. I succeeded and rolled out with many of the favorites. Goal number 1, check!

From kilometer 1 I felt good. I sat at the back of the group for about 15 miles and then decided for whatever reason that I should go to the front...partly because I hate sitting in and I also wanted to break the group apart...STUPID!!! You cannot drop a pack of 7 at 20miles into an Ironman unless your name is Chris Lieto or Norman Stadler. I now know I have to wait until about 80 miles into the bike!

Anyway, I rode in 3rd or 4th for most of the first 45 miles while slowly clawing back the 2 leaders up the road.

Then around mile 45, while riding up a steep uphill, the 4th place rider sitting on my wheel came around and apparently I 'cheated' and drafted...while going 8mph, on a hill of 15% grade, i was riding too close! WHATEVER, but it is what it is!

"Well," I thought. "Now I have the experience of getting a penalty and maybe it will allow me to rest up a bit and take in some nutrition." Two, I got a little heated and proceeded to drill the the next 15 miles to the penalty tent...two, i didn't have any nutrition left when i got there!!

Now I had to sit...for the LONGEST 4 minutes of my life...maybe! I sang the Jeopardy theme song, I joked with the locals and did a lot of staring at the stop watch....i know my antics were appreciated...but I also knew I was losing valuable time. After I got out I decided to get right back at forward to the end of the bike....

Get ready....

Here it comes....

Wait for it....

I did NOT blow up on the bike!!!

What!?!?! Yes, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Blake Becker did not blow up on an Ironman bike ride. I split 4:48:34 + the penalty on this tough course...which was a 30minute PR for me on that course. So goal number 2, check!

Now it gets ugly...proceed with caution. From the first step of the marathon I knew that was it. I think i might have literally said "Whoa!" within the sit few steps. I took in 30 Power Gels on the bike, but apparently not even that could save me. I started with a HR higher than I saw on the helix and to make a long story short, I went from slow to slower on the marathon and ended with a nice 6.5 miles of walking as a cooldown. Thus i had to for-go achieving goals 3 and 4 this year.

Anyway, I now know that it is possible for me to have a great race at this distance. I just have to use my head and take my own advice....which is similar to what others have told me for years! I also know that I race better at 165lbs, than I do at 155lbs. I think that I just needed to prove that I could ride hard for 180k and not blow that it is out of the way, I can focus on things that really matter, like running well after it!!

Congrat's again to everyone on their races, all the local spectators and volunteers, in addition to my family and friends for their never ending support! You guys are what make it possible!

Stay Tuned....



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