Ironman Chattanooga...The Run Down

I think it's always good for athletes to be able to give a fair assessment of their racing performance in order to learn from it in the future. You can train to a very high level of fitness, but you can't train the race dynamics that play out after the gun goes off. You do your best to make the decisions you feel you need to, but sometimes they don't turn out to be the correct choices. That's where there is an opportunity to learn...even after 15 years.

Going into Sunday lacked a little racing this year and it showed. I also lacked the ability to be patient when I needed to be. I am an aggressive/assertive racer, it's how I am hard wired. However this last weekend there were times when I needed to have the ability to tone that down a bit. Lessons to carry forward.

I wrote up an honest race report, I hope you enjoy...


I felt great on race weekend; confident, happy, sharp, motivated and I was 100% healthy. The weather was HOT (97* to be exact), but I had done several bricks over 7hrs in the heat during this build and I have performed very well in the heat in the past.


It was a moderately fast first 200, then it was about as easy as it gets during a front pack swim. After about the second buoy we formed a nice double pace line where I found myself in the back half. About 1000m through it seemed like a long ways to the front of the group when I started to peek around the guys in front of me. They weren't swimming too close up on the guys in front of them and I kept thinking that they might get dropped. It seemed like a better option to move from the left side of the group to the right side and then up to try to get a better position further up.

At this point I should have simply told myself that it was more important to swim as easy as possible in the warm river and also that it would be nearly impossible for the group to split. However I made the move and over swam it. I found myself getting very very hot, got swum up on a bit by the guys on my feet and had a bit of a panic. It can happen more easily in warm water. I stopped, regrouped and then built back into a rhythm. I swam the last 2500m well and only lost about another 30 seconds to the pack.


In Pro racing on a course like this, the group is so important. The savings in energy is massive and it typically makes you minutes faster than if you were to ride on your own.

I figured I could make up the gap without a problem but told myself that if I didn't catch them in the first 30', I'd settle and prepare to ride solo. At the 15' mark, I could everyone ahead and I eventually caught the group right around that 30' mark. Swim error overcome....

At 20 miles there were 10 of us together with 3 guys up the road. The rolling hills caused the group to accordion (come together on the hills and stretch out on the downs). The officials seemed to be ok with this, though I felt like there were so many times when everyone was well inside of the 6 meters that need to exist between your bike and the rider ahead of you.

A short time later at mile 25 I made a similar decision to that of the swim. Instead of being patient, the rider in front of me let a gap to the rider in front of him open up on an uphill, I moved around him, trying to make my way to the from of the group, which is where I usually ride my best. The official disagreed and hit me with a 5 minute penalty.

The rules are such that you can pass and slot in if the space between the rider ahead of you and the rider ahead of him is more than the minimum 6 meters that needs to's a rule that is enforced based only on the opinion of an official. They are making the call from a different vantage point and traveling at around 30mph. In this case the official was 3 riders behind me and I didn't feel he could accurately see what unfolded.

I would like to see the rules change to 12 meters being needed to "slot in" and I would also like to see officials start to penalize those hanging out in the pace line (not just accepting it for the accordion that it is). It does make sense to penalize the assertive riders.

I stopped, served my 5 minutes at the next penalty tent and then finished out the last 90 miles going through many ups and downs.


The run was hot, but I started easy and felt ok to start. The lack of focus on the bike likely lead to me neglecting nutrition and fueling. I ran alright for most of the first loop, but ended up getting sick at mile 15. Shortly there after I pulled the plug for what was a good decision for me to make.


There is a huge amount of work that goes into being race ready at a high level and it can be very disappointing when that work doesn't translate over into a performance that you are capable of. It's important to learn from mistakes, to remember that no fitness is never wasted, to know that shit happens and also to get to planning the road that lays ahead.

Thank you to the amazing homestay that Ann and Charlie provided, thank you to my family, support crew, team of amazing athletes, sponsors and partners who make all of this possible and exciting for me, even after 15 years of Ironman racing.

Now for a little R&R and some planning for the end of 2016 and 2017... more to come soon.


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