We arrived in Cozumel, Mexico on Tuesday, November 20th around 12:30 p.m. Note we flew directly into the small but eloquent Cozumel airport. (Highly recommend if you can versus flying into Cancun, then being transported about 20 minutes to the Ferry and having to load things on it to travel 30 minutes to Cozumel then grabbing a Taxi). We then took a less then10 minute taxi to the Cozumel Palace which is where we stayed. Note this was one of the host hotels for the Ironman event. Therefore, the transfers were included in our fee.
This resort (Cozumel Palace) Link here to check this beautiful resort out!! is beautiful and set up for the whole family. Its all inclusive and rated 5 stars. Our kids had a blast!! We snorkeled in the sea and the corral reef was right out the back door, swam and played games in the pool, kids activities everyday, and events every night until 9:00 p.m. The Ironman Expo is out the front door and directly across the street, the bike mechanic was set up right outside the hotel door, and the finish line was one block south from the front door. We went by the resort 2x on the bike and 3x on the run. Was perfect!!! Also note my father and mother in law traveled with us and they even stated it was beautiful and was very easy for them both to get around. They had never seen or been to an Ironman event and they loved it!!!
Tuesday when we arrived and I went for a nice hot, humid, 4 mile run. I was hesitant about leaving the resort but it was stunning!!! Headed south from the resort and noted lots of scuba diving shops, equipment, mopeds(main way of getting around by the locals). Recommend getting there several days early to acclimate to the weather. For me the last few weeks I had been running and biking in 30 degree and below weather so it was a shock to the system.
After the run we unpacked the bike and put it together. Everything looked great. Packed it in a Thule hard case. Link here to check bike case out
Then took it out for a 30 min ride just to be sure she was good to go. Rode out to the swim start which was 5 miles south from the resort.( Lots of issues with my seat post falling down despite putting Fiber Rub on the post. Was a HUGE worry for race day) A place called: Chankanaab Park Link here to site again stunning area. Noted the road to be rougher then the very smooth newly paved road I was told about. More on that later.
|Here is another view...The yellow was the bike route.|
Wednesday morning met up with Shaugn Simmons and we went for a swim in the waters behind our resort. The red flag was out which means no swimming but the life guard told us all Ironman Athletes were permitted to swim cause these conditions would most likely mimic race day conditions. I thought you have to be shitting me. So we jumped in and the water was warm and cozy. Well, then we started to swim into the current and it was very rough but doable. When we turned back and had the current somewhat with us it was smooth. Lots of jelly fish and took a hit to the right forearm. Yep I was done cause those little bastards were everywhere. The lifeguard told us when the sea is rough like this they move into the more protected less rough areas.
Wednesday at noon I met up with a couple of other Endurance Nation athletes(Tim Cronk and Jim Cornell) and we were going out for an easy paced slow run. Hot and humid but actually felt good except for the blazing pace :). They were trying to wear me out for race day. I am convinced of that now. Check it out here: Link to run with EN Crew... Note my EP (Easy Pace) is 9 min miles so I was hurting a little. Was glad I went though and it was great to meet them vs just taking via dashboards and Internet.
Thursday the EN crew met up again and we rode one loop of the bike course and the wind was out in full force to show us who was the boss. If you look at the map of the Island above the bike loop is basically the square you see. So we start out on the west side of the Island and headed south here we had a 14 MPH head wind, wow!! The three of us biking and all in EN Tri outfits-just had to throw that in there cause we truly looked way Bad Ass took turns pulling. Noted how rough the road was-it was like lots of pea gravel so a constant movement/roughness on the wheels. We all agreed there would be lots of flats and come race day holy smokes they were everywhere. You then bank east and are somewhat protected from the wind but we could still feel it-this was like a false small climb I thought. Then we turned left and was headed North along the coast line. BEAUTIFUL view!!! Here is where the brutal cross winds came in effect and YES IT DID!! Note you are not allowed to use a disc wheel do to the danger of the strong cross winds and I can see why now. Therefore I was racing with a Zipp 404 fire crest on the front and back. To me again this was a small constant climb or so it seemed with the wind. We then after what seemed forever banked left again and were now headed South back into town and we had the sweet tailwind and we had some fun here doing a few FTP pulls. We arrived back in town and I noted it to be a 39 mile loop. Therefore making the bike a little over 113 miles. More on that in a few. (I was right by the way). That ride for me was .76 intensity. Again pretty sure they were waring this old man down for race day.
Bike Numbers from the Team Ride:
Work: 1242 kJ
TSS: 110.5 (intensity factor 0.746)
Norm Power: 188
Distance: 39.338 mi (1 loop)
Elevation Gain: 80 ft
Elevation Loss: 40 ft
Grade: 0.0 % (38 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 560 171 watts
Cadence: 30 196 90 rpm
Speed: 0 28 19.5 mph
Pace 2:09 0:00 3:05 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 33 6 lb-in
Altitude: -178 -126 -146 ft
Crank Torque: 0 1098 160 lb-in
Temperature: 78.8 89.6 83.4 Fahrenheit
Went to the athlete check in and packet pick up Thursday afternoon. Again about a 100 foot walk from the resorts front door. Very quick and easy. Much smaller then the Expos I have attended in the states but still a spot to drop some money. In and out in less then 20 minutes. Received a bag, jacket, and all the normal race garb. Best stuff all year. The jacket alone was sweet. Then when you finished the race we received the best race shirt I have ever gotten, a medal, a flower necklace, and a large Ironman Ford towel.
We then had to walk down to the northern part of the Island where a lot of the cruise ships port. Needed to do some shopping. Keegan was on the hunt for some of the fake Oakley's they sell (Foakley's). They were everywhere. The first store had a few and he wanted 180 bucks for them and we had him talked down to 15 dollars before leaving and passing on them. We then came to a store where Keegan found 3 pair he liked and I have to say they were sweet. Okay the price for all three started at 180 bucks and prior to us leaving and passing on them he wanted 15 a piece. Keegan told him he wanted all three for 20 bucks and no more. The seller stood firm on 30 for all three. When we were leaving he told us to come back so he could talk with us and Keegan told him no thanks he was done playing games. My son is very frugal with his money and I was proud to see him stand his ground and be willing to walk away!! One shop we seen them pulling the glasses out of a big box, dusting them off prior to putting them on the shelf.
Keegan showed me the site: fake Oakley's dot com. He said this is the place to get them dad and you can even custom make them.
Thursday afternoon met up with Paul Hough and his family.
Keegan showed me the site: fake Oakley's dot com. He said this is the place to get them dad and you can even custom make them.
Thursday afternoon met up with Paul Hough and his family.
Friday we just hung out at the pool side, snorkeled in the sea and got to meet several other athletes. Another EN Team member arrived and so it was fun to sit and chat with the crew. Everybody was starting to get a little anxious and nervous. Lots of talk about the swim and bike portions.
Saturday is my day to drop of the bike and transitions bags, really carb load-well for me I was just eating everything I could. I then hit the water with Nuun tablets. Goal was 1 gallon plus and it was a success. Simmons reminded me that after seeing me eat Tuesday he was convinced I started my carb load then.
Taking the bike out to the drop off consisted of us getting on a bus with our bikes and T1/T2 bags. Was interesting but free. It was packed but that was expected. Checked out where we exited the water, ran to the showers, got the T1 bags and then to the men's changing room. It was quite the distance but we all had to do it. Planned on taking a shower for sure to get the salt off me then changing. I was then in the 3rd row of bike racks and 3/4 the way to the end. The 2 bikes around me were a no show for the race so I had plenty of room.
My last big/large meal was lunch. For supper I went very light and mostly liquid. Felt as if I was starving but knew better.
Saturday night I slept poor as usual so 0400 came very early.
RACE DAY- SUNDAY, NOV 25, 2012
I was awake before my phone alarm and wake up call happened. I then lathered myself with the help of my wife from head to toe with Scape Sunblock 50 proof. Then got dressed and met Shaughn in the lobby for a few carbs and coffee before getting on the bus for the 5 mile trip to the swim start.
Off the bus and straight to the bike for I wanted to be sure and get the tires pumped up before the line got out of control. Mission accomplished. I then went to my T1 bag to place a few last minute items. I then walked off again the swim exit to the showers, to my T1 bag, to the changing station, and finally off to my bike. I wanted my T1 to still be under 10 minutes even tough I was showering and completely changing.
SWIM Goal with the conditions to make the cut off......Actual time: 1:24:44
- Stats I could find show 2338 participants started the swim and 327 didn't make the time cut off or quit. That is a 12.30% DNF in the swim alone.
- My goal was to really be under 1:20 initially but after they announced that the chop and current was very strong and to be careful my goal then changed to just make the swim cut off. I knew physically I was prepared for a challenging swim but I have zero experience swimming in a sea or ocean.
- 0640 the Pro men started and 0645 the Pro Women were off.
- They starting lining us up on the Pier and there was no way they were going to get all 2700 competitors in the water by 0700. Sure enough we were still getting in with 2 minutes before the start and they announced that if you need to jump the barrier to get in the water then do so.
- I was in with plenty of time and decided since this was going to be a battle from the start I was just going to get the hell beat out of me and started 3 rows from the front and right in the middle.
- The start of the swim we are swimming against the current this was interesting cause after 10 strokes I pulled up and the same buoy appeared to still be on my left. Kept calm and noted I had better add a little stronger kick with my pull. Successful.
- Made the first turn then put the head down and what did I see an approximate 250 pound body smack dab in front of me. He as freaking moving so I stayed right behind him just off of his feet and truly only sighted maybe every 20-25 strokes. The water was as clear as you could see. I'm guessing this stretch was about 1800 yards. Noted the scuba divers on the bottom filming us and several schools of fish.
- Now to the 3rd turn which I knew was going to be rough but also knew it was the final stretch home. This was in my est about 1800 yards and we were swimming against the current again. I felt this was the roughest part of the swim and the most body contact throughout the swim but just held my ground with high elbows. I don't mind my feet being touched but I refuse to allow someone to swim over the top of me. It felt as if I was swimming forever and ever and ever. Again, tried to draft as much as possible and when I could hear the announces I picked it up the last 10 minutes.
- Getting out of the water we had to pull ourselves up on the stairs which seemed to be a challenge and off we went to the shower.
- after the swim I was in 150th out of 330 in my age group so I had to catching up to do.
|Actual photo of the swim start|
T1 Goal under 10 min Actual Time: 7:47
- Again my goal was to be under 10 minutes
- out of swim and sprinted across the mat to stop my swim time
- Then lightly jogged to the showers. As I was jogging I was undressing-see I can multi task!!
- Grabbed my own T1 bag and took it to the men's changing tent
- Dumped my bag out and ask for help immediately. Once you had help that person stayed with you till you were done.
- Took off the Desoto Speed suit, and through on the Cervelo Bike Bibs and my racing sponsors jersey.
- Had to rinse my feet off again cause they were loaded with sand
- Through on the shoes and out to the bike
- attempted to locate the person applying sunscreen but no luck so hoping the Scape that was applied at 0400 would last.
Bike Goal 5:30 or faster Actual Time: 5:41:01
- The first 30 min of the bike I was very frustrated d/t the fact I had to stop and pull my seat up x2. Each time having to dump my damn tools, tube, clamps out cause the tool I needed was on the bottom of the bottle holder. Each time though the locals were great and held my seat up. The 2nd time I just didn't care so I cranked down on those screws, bolts to the point where I thought the seat post holder would crack. Yep the seat post/seat didn't move again the entire ride. I put a green piece of tape on it so I would know if it moved at all.
- The wind was much different on race day then the day we went out. We had a tail wind on the first part of the ride headed north from the swim start. It then was a strong cross wind hitting us on the forever long straight away/climb. Note as we were busting our humps in single file line this pelaton comes flying by which was 4 across and 8 deep. No joke!!!! The guy in front of me was screaming, "cheat cheat cheat"at them and it was funny.
- Once we made the 2nd left turn heading back into town we had the head wind for about 9-10 miles.
- Note this was for 3 laps and each lap it got hotter and the wind intensified!!!!!
- Lap 2 I was feeling well and stepped up it what I thought was a little more and felt great.
- Lap 3 I again felt like I was flying until the cross winds/head winds hit me and I really started to mentally fade thinking out loud how damn hot it was and I was tired of getting beat up. I knew I needed to find a positive mental spot and get there quick. Well it was about mile 90 and that was my little 6 oz bottle of Coke (cola). Ahh does and did the body good.
- My nutrition consisted of 2x28 oz bottles of Ironman Perform with 3 tablets of Nuuns in each. I then would take a ice water bottle or a Gatorade at each aid station.
- Each hour I was take in a Honey Stinger Waffle and a orange Roctane GU 2x the caffeine.
- Mile 90 I cracked open the little 6oz bottle of Coke and drank this over the next couple of minutes.
- My bike numbers are below. Overall I can't complain cause it was my fastest bike in an Ironman but frustrating cause I really felt like I was working it and ended up riding only .64(160 watts) intensity vs the .70(175 watts would have been .70 of my current FTP which is 250) that I wanted. That would have surely assisted in meeting my goal. Happy with the VI and my ave RPM and speed though.
- Like I said earlier in the blog we would be riding close to 113 miles if the course we took was right. Yep it was right....so we did a 141.98 miles for the day :).
- I bet I counted 11 people with flats. Two asking for a tube. So either they just didn't bring and extra tube cause they felt they were invisible or this was their second flat for the day.
Work: 3140 kJ
TSS: 227.2 (intensity factor 0.635)
Norm Power: 160
Distance: 113.386 mi
Elevation Gain: 170 ft
Elevation Loss: 128 ft
Grade: 0.0 % (44 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 438 154 watts
Cadence: 30 112 87 rpm
Speed: 0 26.8 20.0 mph
Pace 2:14 0:00 3:00 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 28 5 lb-in
Altitude: -208 -111 -167 ft
Crank Torque: 0 678 148 lb-in
Temperature: 80.6 93.2 85.8 Fahrenheit
- Coming off the bike I was now in 91st place out of 330. Remember after the swim I was in 150th place so must have did okay.
- I have to say on the second loop the Pelaton came screaming by and this time I was pissed until I witnessed a HORRIFIC wreck. A girl went down in the middle of the pack and just let out a blood curdling scream. She slammed into the road and her helmet went flying then the guy riding up her backdoor slammed into her and he was literally ejected from his bike. Oh we then started seeing lots of mopeds on the course with shirts that said officials and they were timing us to be sure we were keeping the appropriate distance. Just goes to show cheating never pays off!!!!
- I didn't see one penalty given but the others said they seen several people in the penalty tents.
- As I was finishing up my second loop Luke McKenzie came screaming by me(finishing his 3rd and final loop) so I wanted to be a bad ass for a few minutes so stepped on the gas and went around the corner wide with him then another pro came screaming by me and took the inside and let me know that I was in his way and he was a real D BAG!!!! Oh well it was fun for the 1-2 minutes it lasted.
- Coming into town and headed to T2 the locals were out screaming and made it a blast. A few sharps turns and banks. With about 1 mile left I came out of my shoes and shifted into a lower gear to spin high for a few minutes. Dismounted white lighting on the fly and ghost rode her to the volunteer whom took her and racked her.
T2 Goal under 5 min Actual time: 4:08
- Only thing really here was I changed into running shorts and a running shirt
- Drank a bottle of Perform
- Went Pee for the first time all day :(
- And off I went
Run: Goal was 4hours or less Actual time: 4:13:50
- The marathon here consists of a three loop course which is out and back. So yep here we ago again with the loops and mental game.
- First loop I had 2 bouts of diarrhea and I also made a stop at the first aid tent cause I already had developed some serious blisters. One monster on the right great toe. Like the entire freaking toe and it was talking to me!! They wanted to place a band aid on them but I asked for medical tape and just wrapped my whole forefoot on both feet. I usually bring duct tape but didn't think about it till I felt the hot spots developing.
- The run course reminded me of Wisc it was so much fun. The locals lined the street from beginning to end. The last 1/2 mile the street was so packed on both sides you were not able to pass. They were high fiving and just wanted to be involved I loved it!!!!
- I have to tell you after lap one I was mentally a wreck. For several reasons I wasn't sure how much more diarrhea I could take, my freaking feet were screaming at me, I was getting literally baked in the sun. I was soaking my hat in the ice water as keeping as wet as I could but it dried within 5 minutes. It was also in my head there was no way I was going to meet my run goal and overall time I wanted so bad.
- As I was headed toward to turnaround of lap 1 headed to lap 2 I was looking for my wife to tell her it was over, I had tears in my eyes and was done. The best thing happened I didn't see any of them and that crowd I just told you about lifted me up again and pushed me on!! This is so much of a mental game as it is physical.
- Second loop I hit the commode only one more time but was now able to take in GU's, water, Gatorade and coke. Tried eating some pretzels for salt but it was taking forever to chew so I had to spit it out. Therefore, no salt was taken in except for what was in the Gatorade and GU's. I was able to hold steady around a 9:30 - 9:40 pace. I would get down to an 8:30 pace and back it off again.
- Each mile I would walk 30 steps and each aid station I would walk till I felt I had taken in enough fluids to go forth.
- Headed down for the lap 2 turn around I knew it was over after one more lap. When I hit mile 16 I started the 10 mile count down game in my head.
- Mile 20 I knew I had a 10K left.
- I hit mile 24 and it was on!!!! I again teared up and was very emotional. The local kids were wanting everything I had. I gave a little boy my Zoot hat and he put it right on his head, the little girl with him I gave my Zoot arm coolers to and the older boy I gave my pair of Oakley's I had. It was like they had hit a gold mine!!!! I took my time the last mile and enjoyed every minute of it. When I got to the area where the roads were lined from side to side and there was no way to pass anyone here I was high fiving, smiling, and yep tearing up cause I knew it was over and my goal was accomplished for the year.
- Rounding the corner to the chute I heard the voice I had been waiting for.....My wife Alison and my family. We locked eyes and I was emotionally drained.
- Coming into the chute there was a female so I gave her the moment then took my time, gave my few fists pumps to the man up above and screamed, "WE DID IT"!!!!!!
- Link to the marathon...Garmin
- After the run I had moved from 91st to 73rd place out of 330 in my age. So I cont to make progress again throughout the entire race.
A few closing thoughts:
- By far this was the most challenging race for me from beginning to end. The numbers might not appear that way but please trust me Ironman Cozumel was by far the hardest race of the three for me. The current in the water, the ever changing strong Island wind from tail, cross, head, the heat and humidity.
- From the numbers I could find 2,338 athletes started the swim and at the tick of midnight 1785 completed the task(553 DNF).
- I know 327 did not make the swim time cut off or quit. I am not sure the break down of the bike or run though.
- Several of us made our way over to the midnight finish. This was my first of the three this year and it was exciting to see that last few come across that finish line. After almost 17 hours they smiled ear to ear, cried, fist pumped, and even screamed.
- No matter what that clock states when we cross the finish line I think we all have the emotional rush and know that we have accomplished a true feat!!
- I would like to race this course again cause I know I have a sub 11 in me but Ironman Cozumel will have to wait cause I would like to do a few others before repeating this one. CDA is on my list for 2014. I will prob do Wisc every year until I get tired of racing cause its right out my back door.
- Team EN was well represented and I had a blast training and getting to know the ones I met. It will be fun to meet up again.
- Ironman Wisc will be Epic with the amount of peeps we have racing this coming year.
- This was the year to see how far I could push my body and the changes that could be made. I raced IM St George at 148 pounds and felt great. IM Wis at 155 pounds and felt superb and finally raced IM Coz at 170 pounds and felt a little heavy but strong.
- I am now recovering and will start the Jan OS. Will be doing all trainer rides on a road bike but I seem to be more comfortable on the tri bike so we will see what happens. Purchased the Venge Pro and it is lighter then my tri bike.
- I am taking 10 days off and then will slowly get back into things. Really want the body and mind to reset itself.
- Once again I want to give a SHOUT out to all of our 2012 IM4RM SPONSORS!!!!
- To my wife Alison, our son Keegan, our daughter Olivia Anne-I want to say THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!!!!! Team Noftsger did it again!!!!! None of this was possible without your love and support!!