When hearing the 2012 Ironman St George was going to be the last year of the iron distance long course at St George i intially was so shocked and disappionted as i planned to make 2013 my year for a 11:45ish P.R. on the IMSG course but my dream would never happen and I entered to pay amage to my race where I earned my ironman cred.
Suffering a dibilitating injury summer of 2011 after IMSG 2011 made racing in 2012 seem impossible dream; i'd spent 9 months trying to heal but complications and reinjurying, which still isn't healed but simply just a clavicle issue now...painfull but most of the range of motion is restored now.
During my non active time on the sidelines I packed on 50 lbs of which i'd lost 30 pounds to be just over the clydes weight so I was a clyde on race day with limited fitness so I was more like an ironman challenger than an Ironman racer but again the focus was the last year of Ironman St George and sayinggoodbye to IMSG in my own way and the dream of an 11:45ish finish down the chute @ IMSG wasn't in the cards...
I rode down with my old race buddies GF and her mom who was down from AK to see her daughter race her first Ironman series race; My old race buddy would come down 2 days later.
Great trip riding down the 4 hours meeting her mom, joking as we got along well. We arrived Wed afternoon before the Saturady race as the race buddies GF has a coach, and they planned to do clinics prerace with their athletes; this was once my coach who coached me/ prepared me through my 1st Ironman Iron distance course as he has a specialty for getting people prepared to finish the Ironman challenge. Race buddies GF like I went to the coaches Pres Day weekend IMSG camp in St George prior to the race to gain the confidence of the course for that first Saturday in May, or when the IMSG comes up on the calender..
So while she was hangin w/her coach I instead hung with an athlete/coach/local hero a former GF wanted me/suggested me to be coached by when I released myself from my former coach.
"Katy the great" as I affectionately call her who inspires me to run like I've never ran before seemed to jump ship and began training under the friend/local hero coach.
So many memories of the year before came to mind as we made the rounds getting me into my hotel and driving to Dixie Convention Center, around the expo and athlete sign-in.
Thurs I awoke with plans to solo ride the Ivins/Veyo bike loop as a refresher and to get my mind in tune, then attend my old coaches swim clinic per his invite @ Sand Hollow Res.
The ride was spectacular and full of solitude as I had wanted. I saw many pros riding the loop backwards which I thought was bizzare as why would anyone ride a race course the oppisate direction??? I always liked riding a course before a race to see the course in nautral progression and see/experiance the dips/cracks/realistic feel of a bike course.
That afternoon we went to sand Hollow Res where other age groupers were taking a dip. I listened to the former coaches clinic an opted to entertain the race-buddies GFs mother in conversation then i did a lap around the swim buoyies to feel the water for it's worth, little cool for a res but warmer than my days in La Jolla swimming the pacific.
Thurs night was the pre race banquet instead of fri night like years past which was way better to me, nice to have that extra day as well as full night off before the event. The banquet was a typical Ironman banquet yada yada yada...Then the manditory athlete meeting blah blah blah...
Fri morning I awoke walking out the deck which overlooked the pool and saw topless women sunbathing and the idian manager lady making a fuss over the women being topless? It seemed I was staying where the french deligation had checked in and some of the racers wives were simply doing as they do back home.
Mid morning fri was spent with the local hero/friend/coach who invited me to hang with him/his wife and 1 of his athletes.
We took a dip in the Sand Hollow Aquatic facility where I explained I met Matt Leito the year before which my friend explained he met him last year too...I left my friend alone to work/train his athlete while I took a leasurely 1K lap swim in the awesome Sand Hollow facilty, love their foot ledge for hangin of the wall/resting...sure wish my pools where I go to swim workouts had that! After they then took a bike ride for 20 minutes and dropped me off back at my room where I rested some before we shuttled the bikes out to Sand Hollow t-1/race start as IMSG is a progression course where t1/t2 are diff places.
Like every race bike drop-off of course we showed up last minute just under the wire to check in our bikes; and of course we had to spend time talkin to everyone we knew and meeting people we didn't. My friend and I noticed an old greenish/yellow fixie bike with 1st generation comfort/aero bars which we admired as the mark of a real ironman racer, we also joked about the guy who rides a BMX bike at these races.
Done with bike drop off we headed to the tabernackle for T2 bag drop which like T1 bags mine was the very last one which made for easy I.D.
Fri night I did my standard pre race regiment of having a few beers in the hottub which was nice as we had the french deligation people in my hotel but they left early and that was when the fun began!
Seems the Happy Valley (Nickname of Provo Valley where the Osmonds live) has a semi pro football team and of course the people with the team aren't your average happy valley types like the Osmonds...
No, these were real americans, the broozer types or "1%ers of Provo" as I like to call them! So they piled into the hottub being loud and obnoxious, hair let down, liberated and full of fun. Seems they showed up for a semi pro football game against St George's semi-pro football team. anyways the profanity and drunkeness and rowdyness ensued and i thought foresure we'd be getting kicked out the hotel. It was really what I needed though as i got some real quality sleep that night!
I slept so good and got up early to coffee and oatmeal @ 4am then headed to the Tabernackle to drop off my special needs bags and board the busses for Sand Hollow where I shared a seat with a fellow TCSDer which we talked about the club prez and his open water swimming group early mornings @ La Jolla cove blah blah blah.
Getting to the T1/Race start at sand hollow I was in the front rack across from the pros as I entered the race as a walk in so I was near the bike tire pump but all the way back from prota potties which I timed right and had that last 15 minutes with porta potty ritual done.
As the pros went off I stood back of pack as I wanted to be last in water so I didn't lose body heat treading water waiting for all racers to get into the water. The race director was under the arch wishing all well and refused to let me enter the water with my slip-ring life preserver I was wearing as my running gag. I asked he have it taken to the chute for me as I wanted to have my finish pic with me wearing it.
So I got into the water 2 minute warning and as I was with the last people I looked up wind and saw dust kicking up from wind and said to the others "Hey look, the wind is picking up and this is gonna suck!"
The cannon went off for us age groupers...
It was like glass for the first 500 meters then it swelled up and the chop made that last 540 meters of the first straight 1040 meters interesting.
As I rounded the first left turn for the next 300 meters I noticed this wasn't the death match swim like years before of like every other triathlon where it's a full contact sport as the swell picked up to 5/6 feet and it took my ocean swimming skills to sight and manage the chop.
As I rounded the 2nd left turn buoy to start the backside 1800 meters which takes you around the isle of castle as locals call it, sighting became near impossible and I noticed people climbing onto the lifeboats. I kept on swimming or really pulling as my fitness wasn't near anywhere like previous so my stratogy was to pull the swim entirly.
On the backside 1800 meters was where it really picked up and kayakers were scuttling, and it was then i was pulling along and a vee hulled 35+ cabin cruiser rescue boat went over the top of me and fearing the screws were turning i went for the side and saw a fender dragging so I grabbed onto the fender line and realized they were picking up people as I gave them a piece of my mind and swam off as I was going to finish this swim of die tryin, no way was I gonna hear others calling me a puss for quitting esp. when I had been a La Jolla Cove Swimmer.
I swam on or tried to get into a rhythem but maybe I'd get 20 strokes and lose the rhythem yet again and forced to start over.
I felt like Mark Wallberg in the perfect storm in the end after he swims to the surface of the scuttled boat, rising with the swell and dropping in it's valleys looking around seeing lifeboats capsizing...I couldn't imagine those who climbed aboard a lifeboat exausted only to be thrown overboard when the lifeboat capsized?
Having swam the swim before, and swimming Sand Hollow Res the day before I was experianced on how the swim path worked and around the backside 1800 meters you keep the castle (Rock Island) to your left. Again the P.A. system was down, or later I would find out the wind would blow over the speakers and that was why you couldn't hear noise/music/people ashore...
Finally I rounded that last left turn buoy and just 700 meters to haul out up the boat ramp and the sun came out some or heavenly father turned on the lights however you want to look at it but the triangle buoys leading to the swim finish were now visable and reach and pull, reach and pull till I reached/pulled and my hands were touching the boat landing and I stood up ancle deep running up the boat ramp delerious yelling my triathlon race buddies name as he was a wetsuit stripper volunteer.
My race buddy saw me and grabbed another volunteer and stripped my suit/goggles/cap...stuffed them into my arms and led me to the t-1 bags were he handed me off to another of my tri-workout buddies who was working the t-1 tent who helped me get dressed. I went to the porta potty and realized I had a loaded diaper so I cleaned that up best I could with two bottles of water rinsing my pad in my tri shorts as best I could.
I was so delerious I thought I was still in the race as no one took my timing chip yet I hadn't made the swim cutoff?
I walked briskfully down the carpet to the end where my bike was racked and volunteers were yelling my number to get my ride/bike off the rack and get me goin as I said, I thought I was still in the race so I took off out of t-1 realizing I was sea-sick and dry heaves now...
I pulled over as it got scary my weaving and with the double broken clavicle I knew If I went down I might not be able to get up so pulling over seemed rational choice to do the dry heaves act. I was still unable to process water so eating anything seemed silly plus sea-sickness, chills and nausia made life miserable but hey, I was @ Ironman St George and feeling wonderful to be racing!!!
Riding those first miles I thought about how cold I was, how sunny the day had become and nausiated I was and WHERE WAS ANOTHER PORTA POTTY???
I rode on passing people saying encouraging things trying to be a good sport, I was passed by a few but like most races it was I doin the passing.
Finally getting out to Hurricane i was really wanting to see a porta potty and finally 18 miles into the ride I hit the first feed zone where I dumped one of my gatoraid bottles and racked a water instead and hit the porta potties where the valet (Volunteer who held my bike while I did my act inside) commented how many people had used the porta potties as he was in disbelief comparred to the two years proir he worked that very aid station spot.
I came out of the porta potty feeling like superman for a minute anyways as I lumbered on making my way for Red Hills Parkway where the infamous IMSG run course takes place but this the final/last year constuction on Red Hills Prwy led to an alteration of the run course which excluded Red Hills Prkwy off the run but not the bike course.
As you rode on Red Hills Parkway it was a ghost town feeling, almost eary as nobody was there? I wondered if i got lost, made a wrong turn?
I pedaled on, alone and then I saw a volunteer cheering me and I realized I was indeed on the right course and headed for the bike split manditory cutoff which I made and off to Ivins I went.
Pro riders were now on there 2nd lap of the lollypop and feeling better I cheered some pro women who chicked me as I yelled "Go babe go, get that money!" and I'd see a look of joy as there head would bob up and down and their spirits rise and legs pedal harder.
I motored on best i could, on my ITU bike or road bike as I wasn't in shape to ride my triathlon bike as well as riding it seemed unwise with my double broken clavicle and the road bike was so much more comfortable with the compact crank and all.
On we rode, trying to get the knotts out as we peddled. After Ivins i started to feel a lot better as gatoraid and water sips seemed to stay down and I tried my triple threat candy bar as i needed some energy; again sipping on my gatoraid and water.
Riding somewhat compeditive again, feeling better everymile I came to the Gunlock rodeo grounds (Why is it the best rides always take me past rodeo grounds? Like Del Mar rodeo grounds in Sun Diego?)
Coming into Gunlock was the third bike feed zone where I put on a show diving into the feed zone mach 1 gurgling the last of my gatoraid and tossing the bottle down at the beggining trash dump zone, then snatching a water & holstering it into the waterbottle rack, grabbing a nanner and mouthing it as I grabbed another water drinking as much i could before dumping it in the trash dump zone before the feed zone ended as I never let off the gas...I was impressed I managed all that feed zone work w/out any practice, I exicuted it flawlessly and it was prolly my best ever feed zone snatch and grab and go ever!
Hammer down, motoring on passing others onward to the wall!
At the wall I felt i was coming back to life and had the Pink Floyd song playing in my head as we approached the wall and made the climb, I was sure loving the bike choice I made now! My road/climber/ITU or first race bike i raced till making my way to Ironma series circut. I praised my little roadie bike the whole way up the wall as I passed others and my confidence was coming back and I began to believe i would finish this race instead of it finishing me.
Like all big climbs in iron distance races, some walked...Some flatted and some quit.
Atop the wall I motored on to yet another feed zone where i took on waters, gels and fruit and made the turn in Veyo and up the next series of climbs to the volcano where the ride turns into a 18 mile downhill scream back to St George and now was my finest hour!!!
On the way down Snow Park Canyon was glory found and enjoyed as i screamed down the mtn in the drops yelling my lungs out as i kept the bike in the big gear and peddled out tucked as i passed, passed, passed the field of anyone in front. My little cheap roadie bike in the left lane passing bikes $10K in value as I had my trademark ear to ear grin passing, passing, passing the field...Yelling, Yelling, Yelling "On your Left!!!! Get out of the way!!!"
Where are the race officals when this goes on, I am always wondering where they are as clearly the poor sports will block you...I keep saying I need to get a gocam and put it on the bike not to watch the ride after but to get footage of all the people blocking me when I'm clearly out riding/out racing poor sports who refuse to apply good sportsmanship at these WTC events. Some gocam footage with audio would surely prove my claims of unsportsmanship by those who choose to block others.
18 miles later coming into St George and Red Hills prkwy is where you make the big right turn to start the 2nd lap of the lollypop back to ivins and planning my move i postioned myselkf to put on a show of a knee dragging right turn thru the corner.
Things looking good that last 1/4 mile to intiate the turn I let the conti pro3s provide the gription and banking like a bobsled on a railing corner let her go for the spirit of St George with more crowd cheers as I rolled on i saw a stoppage ahead and braked thinking someone must have crashed and they were closing the course???
As I stopped there with the other riders an offical said "It's past 2:05pm and you've missed the bike cuttoff here, we need to get your timing chips and you're free to ride back to St George or ride the sag wagon"
I chose to ride back and forced to listening to some corperate woman whing about how she never DNF'd and how she was gonna make IMSG store @ the expo take back her stuff she bought there...
I tried to be a good sport and ride peacefully to the far right letting those still in the race have max space all while watching the poor sports ride shoulder to shoulder blocking the lane for those trying to race their race. Talk about whiners and poor sports/sore losermans!!!
I just rode right through St George down diaganal road going off course onto St. George Blvd. right to my hotel on St George Blvd and showered, post race clothes and made my way to pick up my bags at t-2.
All the while I noticed how much bad vibes, tudes and bitterness had taken over the venue i loved so. So much hostileness and just nasty attitudes! a much differant scene from a year before where I had finished and gained my Ironman cred it was just so disheartning to me to see it happening at the end or last of the long course St George Iron Distance.
I found my herd/crowd and cheered those still in the race until I went to my hotel and slept it off till we drove home the next day, I didn't even go to the banquet after instead visting with a bartender I met the previous 3 nights as i waited for my friends/race buddy to leave and enjoyed the ride home.
So sad Ironman St George long course ended that way and 2013 will see a 70.3 course with a shorter swim course, a completely differant bike course but it is said the run course wll be 1 lap of the dreaded M-profile up and down, up and down Red Hills Prkwy run course.
Will I be there in 2013 for the Ironman Utah St George 70.3?
Of course I'll be there!