Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013 IRONMAN Canada; Whistler, BC

I remember a few years ago when I didn't know what a KQ meant. I remember finding out that Boston and New York had specific time standards and qualifying was straight forward, if not simple. I don't remember exactly when I found out about Kona, or that qualifying meant being faster than a varying percentage of the athletes in your age group. I do remember realizing just how fast the precious few KQ'ing times were, and I remember deciding I was going to put my heart into going.

I had just signed up for Ironman Los Cabos (click for race report) when the announcement came that Whistler, BC was the new venue for Ironman Canada, and the event would carry 100 slots to the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI. I planned the trip to Mexico hoping to qualify, my math said Canada would get  several more slots, 6-7 slots based on the typical percentage of male 30-34 year olds that comprise the total number of athletes at the usual Ironman event. Having just scored a 9th place in my age group at Ironman Florida (click for race report) with a scarce 3 slots, I was confident I could trim some ticks off the clock and perhaps climb a few rungs on the slot ladder.

I'm sure most readers are looking for a course review, so I'll begin there. Then I'll transition into a truly epic race report, and finally wrap it up with a short little section of highlights of the whole Whistler experience from commuting from the airport, to restaurants, activities, and entertainment.

The 2013 IRONMAN Canada, Whistler course:

Overall, its a very scenic and fun course. If the goal is to do an amazing Ironman, Canada will exceed all expectations.

Alta lake is clean and clear, relatively warm (mid-upper 60F) and shallow. It's a deep water start, but due to the layout, a lot of athletes elected to wade most of the first quarter lap along the shore line.
spectators watch as the athletes make their way to the deep water start at Alta Lake

Transition 1 is a short run, but its setup is a bit biased. Athletes closest to swim exit have to push their bike a pretty dang long way to get to bike out. And the changing tents are small, crowded, and you are forced through them with no way to avoid the crowd.

The bike course is beautiful, fast, smooth, and really quite fun. The crowd support is tremendous. There were people everywhere. Even the long straight outside of Pemberton had locals roadside cheering us on.
There are 4 big negatives on the bike course:

1) some of the descents have technical curves. It wouldn't be a big issue solo, but with a few hundred squirrely triathletes it gets pretty sporty.

2) there is an aid station on the long descent to Pemberton in what is maybe the fastest part of the course. Its a bad place to bleed of speed as it hurts you for a several minutes.

3) drafting is a real issue. There are lots of places where guys get sucked in on the descents; I can forgive that though. The real issue is the flat section out to Pemberton. I'm not new to draft packs and pacelines. These were pelotons. The real gripe is that most athletes don't understand or refuse to ride legal. It would be easy and fast to stay legal and roll a long rotating pace line, but instead it looks like the local century. Guys are wheel to wheel just cruising along. It really hurts the strong cyclist, the aero weenie, and the rule stickler. Then worst part was the moto crew was doing a fantastic job harassing guys on the climbs, but the area of the course where there was a significant gain to be had was void of officials.

4) the bike finishes up rolling through Whistler Village. It's a convoluted web. It's hard to tell where to go, and its challenging to stay on the gas there.

Transition 2
Its pretty straightforward, honestly. It seemed like a long run getting out of transition, but they included that in the distance of the marathon. Really I've got nothing on T2.





The marathon
Again, what a beautiful course. The entire run is along paved, gravel, and dirt paths. There is a covered wooden bridge over the creek and an open wooden bridge along the marsh area of the Green Lake. A lot of the course is shaded and there is tremendous crowd support. The finish is awesome running through the village as the crowd gets dense.

1,348 ft of elevation gain as recorded by my 910xt.
 Note the shallow ascents and steep descents.

View from the run course
The negatives of the course are that it's pretty dang hilly for an iM26.2; I recorded ~1400 ft of elevation gain. The up hills are gradual parasitic drags, and the down hills are short and steep. That means you can lose a lot of time if you have to walk the up hills, and you'll either hammer your legs on the descents or you are on the brakes the whole time. The downs are just too steep to run efficiently. The gravel is a mix of fine and large chunks which means you get a lot of trauma on the soles of our feet. I really regretted racing flats, and the drain holes that I typically love made for an easy way to get trash in my shoes.


the race report. 
I registered for Ironman Canada right when it opened. 100 slots for the World Championship meant lots of chum in the water. My math said there would be 7 slots M30-34, and I had a good guess that sub-10hrs would score me a top 7 finish. Going into race day, little was known about the course. But we "knew" the bike was 4200ft gain in elevation and the run was 700ft as advertised by the Ironman.com homepage. Course recon from the locals had the bike course some where around 6500' measured by various Garmins with barometric altimeters. There want a whole lot of info on the run course, though.

From my history on similar courses, my projection was a PRing 68-70min swim split, ~5:20 bike on 220W, and crush the run with something less than a 3:20.

I knew I needed every last incentive to push myself on race day, so I'd told basically anyone that would listen that I was planning to KQ at Whistler. I was feeling a lot of pressure not to disappoint my friends and family, so sleeping was out of the question.

At 2:30am, after a sporadic 4hrs of sleep, I was knocking back my double Ensure Plus and a pair of hotel room cups of coffee. I've gotten really good at preparing the night before, and I was out the door with little fuss.

It's a short stroll to T2 for special needs drops and the shuttle to Swim Start. By 5:30am, I was pumping up my tires in transition 1. I'd brought a spare swim cap and draped it over my aerobars to make my bike really stand out. It wasn't long, and I was headed out for my warm up swim.

2.4 miles of Alta Lake
It's a deep water start, so we are treading water in silence awaiting the cannon when an athlete shouts, "I don't think I told you guys, but I'm doing an ironman today." Everyone chuckled. I thought, sure we are all giggles and chummy now, but an MMA match is about to breakout. I seeded myself 2 rows back and before long there was a distinctive BOOM! followed by a very deliberate surge as everyone decided my spot was the very best one in the lake.

Moments after the cannon fire.  Notice the athletes still along the shore wading towards the first turn buoy.
The Alta course as seen from Gene Simmons of KISS' lake lot.
Glad the little one didn't get picked up for trespassing!
Typically, I swim politely and swim away from any contact, the idea that I would contribute to another athletes swim anxiety really gets to me. I feel comfortable and confident, but I'm always afraid the person beside me is a smack away from flipping out. Well, I decided after IMLCabos that I'd swim assertively. I wasn't aggressive, but I didn't forfeit my real estate just because someone else liked the way it looked. Interestingly, I had my absolute worst "attack" during a swim in the second loop around Alta. Someone smacked my back, then shoved down and immediately came back with a closed fist for another smack. Then they finished up the combo with a nail digging, claw into my wet suit. Aside from that, I was able to catch onto some guy's toes and follow him around. I felt pretty relaxed in his wake, but every time I decided to pass him, I was amazed how much effort it took, and I ultimately settled in with him, cruising to an IM personal best swim of 70'.
- 1:10:44 officially, 71st M30-34 & 553rd overall

Transition 1 - 3:34
Exiting the water, I snagged my T1 bag and headed toward the way-too-small and crowded changing tent. Some over achieving volunteer stepped in front of me and directed me to lie down to be wetsuit stripped. I've never been stripped; I don't have time. But this guy was insistent, at least right to the moment I yelled at him to get out of my way just before plowing into him (sorry, Mr. Volunteer. You guys do a great job, thanks.) The changing tent was a mad house, and there wasn't room to get through. It was like navigating the dance floor at a night club. I finally found an unoccupied volunteer and handing him my sac, I asked that he pull my shoes and helmet out. While he was doing that I shed my Huub, exchanged it for my bike kit, and asked that he put my wetsuit up as I headed off to my bike. I ran straight past my bike, a few times actually. Someone had snagged my swim cap, so it took me longer than I like to locate the QR. After a short jaunt, I was across the mounting line, headed up out of transition, and onto the bike course.

You cant underestimate the power of seeing lots of bikes on racks.  This is new for me!
112 mile Bike Course - Garmin Data Link
I had expected to be chilled with a 49F morning heading down to the base of Callaghan. Thankfully, I never even noticed it. I had stuffed a garbage bag under my TYR suit to serve as a disposable wind gillet and taped my vents shut on the Giro A2 to keep my noggin nice and cozy until I got warm on the climbs. Most of the bike course was just as expected. It was crowded early, lots of bunching up on the climbs, and way-to-cautious descenders made for some sketchy fast closing speeds.

Heading down to Callaghan
I did have one little altercation early. An athlete was riding far left in the lane on descent. I entered the draft zone in anticipation of him shifting right, but when he didn't, I had to choose between staying in the draft zone too long or making a very quick, illegal right side pass. Given the choice, I took the shorter time penalty chance. As I passed he cursed and yelled but didn't seem to realize he would see me nearly instantly on the next climb. When he came by he said he "almost took me out back there, and I should pass on the left as the rules say." I knew it wasn't the time to educate anyone, but I did my best to explain the issue. I'm not sure if he conceded that we both made the best of a bad situation or if he was embarrassed he acted like a tool. The exchange was short and he succinctly ask me to have a good race and I returned the gesture. I'm not sure engaging another athlete is ever appropriate with all the stress of on race day, but I'm positive swearing at one isn't. I've yet to find the day when profanity solved a problem or improved a situation, when it does I'll be happy to try out some colorful phrases.

For the most part, the ride was a mix of just a few things.

My 910xt record 6798 ft of elevation gain.
That's pretty sporty considering ~35 miles is pancake flat!
Climbing was a dance between trying to stay steady and legal as guys would start out too eager, back off until I approached them, then begin hammering up as they became aware of me. This required me to go way above my target watts to make a legal pass which consists of getting my lead wheel ahead of theirs. At that point, the rules instruct the passing rider should fall ~7 meters behind the passing rider before attempting to pass again. Of course, they wouldn't concede the pass anyway, so it was a total waste.


The descents were dodging rolling chicanes of riders that were gingerly noodling down the grade. All
to often, I would then arrive at the bottom and realize I'd picked up a trailing train of hitch hikers in my draft.


Emily caught this joker snapping a picture of her!
 She always manages to steal the spot light!
Note the parade formed on the descent.
Then there was Pemberton. Holy smokes what a joke. It should've been a great place for strong cyclist to open it up. Well, after 20 minutes of making the turn around and averaging just over my targeted 220W for the section, I checked my rear to see a parade had formed behind me. There were riders wheel-to-wheel like we were on a club ride. I was shocked and furious. The slack created when I looked back meant I started getting passed. Every attempt I made to drop back meant getting passed again and again by guys disregarding the draft distance. After a few minutes of sitting up trying to fall out of a never ending parade of wheel suckers; I conceded, got back on my watts and hammered by the chain. I figured I'd rather pull and let them rest than sit in and feel like I cheated. Soon, a guy in a black kit, helmet, and bike passed me. I assume he had been riding solo and just hammered by the train I was pulling. When he first passed, I fell back, but immediately got right back into his draft zone as he went for a bottle and slowed down. Forced to pass him to stay legal, I knew he was a stronger rider than me, but it was my only choice. It wasn't long until he was back in front of me and again I slipped out, got back on my watts, but fell into his draft and was forced to pass. This time, I apologized as I passed and sure enough he came back in a few seconds. I knew this was getting old for him, so I settled in just below my target watts and let him get some separation. I decided to just keep my distance, using him to pace off. I was surprised at just what a unsportsman like move the guy pulled though. He persistently blew snot the entire way back to Pemeberton. I'm sure he thought I was on his wheel, and he was using it as a deterrent. He wasn't actually "getting me" as I was well outside of the draft zone, but the idea that he justified it as appropriate behavior annoyed me the entire way back. It was nearly every minute; I bet the guy blew 30 snot rockets. The thing that really burned me up was that I had to pee like mad but didn't want to douse the clowns on my wheel with urine so I was painfully holding it while this dude in front of me was deliberately trying to snot me.

It's a welcome sight rolling back into Whistler, but its ever so annoying to have to noodle through town. The end of the course is convoluted and riddled with little catastrophe opportunities around the gutters, drain, grates, manhole covers, and spectators darting across the road.
Official Time : 5:13:06 - 21.43mph average - 20th M30-34 & 110th Overall



Transition 2 - 1:55
I was surprised to roll into T2 so ast and only got out of one shoe. Awesome. I rolled in with one shoe on the bike, one shoe on me. Then, for the first time ever, I rolled pass the dismount line. The volunteer yelled "oh no!"
I said, "oh no, what?"
He said "oh, nothing."
I thought I'd just earned a nap in the penalty tent or something. I scampered through T2 snatching my bag, handing my helmet to a volunteer and dumping out my goodies before handing him the bag. I snatched on my shoes and nabbed my race belt. He said, "is that it?" I guess he was expecting a headdress and war paint. I saw Emily coming out of T2 and to my disappointment, she informed me there were a LOT of guys ahead of me, and I really had to put some work in. She said she counted eight M30-34 ahead of me.

26.2 mile run through the Whistler trails - Garmin Data Link
This is the last time I felt good enough to even fake it.
As I was commuting out of transition, I donned my visor, shades and number belt, then crammed my 3 Gu into my rear pocket and assessed how I was feeling. I felt like death. Getting on to the run course, I made my worst mistake on the day. And it was a big one. Looking at my watch, I planned to run a conservative 6:45 the first mile, then dial it up as I felt better somewhere along the first 10k. It's so important to start out the ironman marathon comfortably. Basically, ironman suicide happens with an aggressive first 10k. It is said that every minute you save the first 10k will return the last 10k and bring friends.

The first mile was mostly ascending, and when the watch beeped, I was amazed at how much it had taken out of me. I wasn't feeling very comfy at all. I was working. I double checked my watch, sure enough I was on the money, 6:45. So I kept clicking along trusting my strategy and knowing I would come around.

Just into the 2nd mile, I had a revelation. I looked back at my watch and double checked my time. Sure enough, I was running a 6:45 average pace. Unfortunately, I had actually planned to run a 7:45! My goal average pace on the day was a 7:20-:30. I had just buried myself. I was approaching a short climb, so I stopped and walked. As I walked, five runners trotted ahead of me, four were in my age group.

You can spy the female 4th Pro escort just behind me. 
I felt pretty good running with the ladies!
I knew I had done a lot of damage. I knew the best thing to do was to watch those guys run off in the distance and settle into a comfortable effort. Typically, I can convince myself to out smart the competition, not today. I began the pursuit. Two M30-34 & one other guy was running together just ahead of me. I decided to let them pace me, and I stayed back 15-20 feet. We quickly managed to pick off the other two guys in my age group that had passed me, and shortly I picked up one of the M30-34 guys out of the group. He initially drafted on my heels, but as I got to an aid station and walked to get in some go-juice, he passed and I settled in behind him. We alternated this for a good while before I got away from him.

This is the last we have of me still holding it together.
 It gets ugly.  Send the kids to bed.
I finished up the first lap and assessed my situation. I was on pace to 3:10, sounds good, right? It would be if I could actually do a 3:10 iM run split. I had done some figuring on-the-fly, and I estimated I was off the bike in the low-teens for my age group, which is typical, and I should now be into the top ten. As I approached Emily, she had confirmed I was actually 20th off the bike. I had passed at least 3 guys, so I was still way behind and now a bit demoralized. Emily said I was running faster than nearly everyone in front of me, and she thought that was a good sign.

My stomach wasn't feeling super, so I ditched the regular game plan and switched to coke. I've heard lots of good stuff about athletes surviving the closing miles on just coke. Well, its not for this guy. I made it through 3 doses at a couple aid stations before I started puking. It wasn't enough to stop me, but it was a very inconvenient time to have a tummy ache. I was surprised to be able to keep the wheels turning despite making little fizzy fountains.

Heading back into Whistler Hell was just barely bearable way too early. The temps had climbed, the run surface had made hamburger of my feet, and the hills had somehow grown. I started seeing more and more M30-34 runners and that was a bit encouraging. I had two friends on the course, Paul and Guido from IMLC. They were both having PR-type days and encouraging me to hammer. I really thought the last 10k was the bottom though. Heading down to Green Lake, I saw Ben Greenfield decked out in his Timex kit running like a machine with 2 guys in my category just behind him. One of the guys said, "Timex is in 11th."
My
Bubble
Burst
No way I was going to close that gap.
"Quit now, quitter. It'll hurt less."

In retrospect, heading down to Green Lake was a great time to see the competition, and they looked amazing. Both times I felt like I was way out of my league, and they were out of reach. Crazy enough, I managed to catch several of those guys that were so intimidating looking. Unfortunately, passing them wasn't nearly as uplifting as my initial assessment was crushing. Further diving into my mentality, it never occurred to me that Timex guy was actually in 11th Over All!

Can't Walk. 
She has camera.
Coming back from Green lake, my world started getting small. I started running to hills and walking up them. Then the hills weren't coming quickly enough. I was forced to walk every few minutes. Then I found myself running in 100 yard sections before walking. Quickly it degraded to "run to a tree, walk to a tree." I was approaching the spot where I'd seen Emily. I had to be running. She said I was inside the top ten and not slowing down as much as the rest. She said there was a small pack of runners just ahead that had some M30-34 guys in it. I recognized one guy from the first pack of 3 and one of the guys that was chasing Greenfield. I didn't care. I didn't want to do Ironman anymore. I didn't want to go to Kona. I didn't want to finish. I was 138.5 miles into the race, and I wasn't sure if I could keep going, but I was positive that I didn't care. This is the effect that first mile had on me. I had never been in such rough shape. There were spectators all around telling me to run; I couldn't. I kept waiting for that final burst to carry me through the finish, but it didn't come. I realized if I didn't/hadn't walked so much, I might not have finished at all. I remember wondering if there was someone behind me in the final few minutes, but I didn't look back. I knew there was nothing I could do about it anyway. Running down the finishers' chute, everything started looking black. I was seeing though a pinhole. I held out my hand for high5s with the crowd; I was thinking "this way I can feel my way to the line."
Official Run time: 3:20:46 - 7:40 min/mi avg pace

After a few minutes on the other side of the bad place, Emily had collected me. I had managed to gather 2 shirts, 2 hats, a medal, a golf towel, and a Chocolate Milk space blanket. I couldn't wait to
get some chocolate milk, but it was an evil trick. No chocolate milk to be had; they sponsored the blankets, not the recovery food.










Official Finish Time: 9:50:09 - 8th M30-34 - 51st Overall
Emily immediately had the results. I was 50 seconds out of 7th. Initially, I didn't care one little bit. It didn't matter if it were 3 seconds, I didn't have it. But all too quickly I started counting the "ifs."

If I hadn't missed the bike in T1.
If I hadn't walked that last hill.
If hadn't screwed up my dismount in T2.

Then I realized tiny things over a ten hour day would matter.
What if I'd shaved my head. I'd be more hydro & aerodynamic, and I'd have cooled better.
What if I'd shaved my legs! Heck I just needed seconds.

That's when I started pouting a little. It was odd though. I wanted the KQ, but I was relieved too. Since I've been in the sport, I have chased Kona. After this last build, I knew how much I could improve. I have always said if I make it to the big island, I'm done with ironman. After having fallen whiskers short, I was a little excited about the future.

That's a real smile right there, folks.
Big thanks to Brian @ Accelerate3.com  He's a map maker.
 Maybe I could've found my way without one,
 but there are a lot of roads that don't lead to Kona
I never sleep the night after ironman. Way too much caffeine for someone that abstains from it except on race day. The formula for qualifying is a little cumbersome, but it worked out to at least 7.88 slots in my age group. 88% of a slot doesn't get me in, but there are a lot of smaller percentages of slots that get reallocated. I knew here was still a chance it would happen. Sure enough, I found the list and my name was on it. I had done it.

One constant I've found with athletes is setting benchmark goals. The popular ones seem to be breaking a 20 min 5k, a 5hr century, 90' for a 13.1, qualifying for Boston, sub-5hrs for a 70.3, then the 10hr Ironman. I always remind my friends to enjoy the process; the finish lines never seem to quench my thirst. Oddly, before I had wrapped up registration, the sweetness had already begun to fade. Stay thirsty, my friends.
That's what it looks like.  Everyone north of line gets a KQ-slot.

I'm not sure what this thing is, but it seems to be important.
 Its all over the place.
The venue: Whistler, BC
Transport:
What a hassle. With no direct commercial flights into Whistler, athletes fly into Vancouver. From there, you have 4 options to get into Whistler, a rental, a train, a bus, or a cab. It's a 2-2.5hr commute which doesn't particularly matter getting there, but returning means that it really narrows down the flight options. We went into Whistler on the bus, Pacific Coach. It was nice enough with free Wi-Fi and the driver gave us some occasional commentary as we passed major landmarks. At $120 one way for me and Emily, I thought it was the economy choice. After arriving in Whistler, we were split up and shuttled to our hotel.
Our flight was bumped up on the return and we were forced to taxi back to Vancouver. We shared a cab for a total of $250. Having known that, I would have found a buddy earlier and planned to share a cab. It's quicker, more comfortable, and curb side service is nice.
I don't know much about the train, but the cabby said it was the least convenient way into Whistler. The front desk said the rental car was ~$60/day and $15/day parking. Given that everything is within walking distance, I wouldn't elect to rent a car.


View from the gondola of the Village
Cascade Lodge
We stayed in the Cascade Lodge. It was economical, relatively. The pluses, free wifi and they didn't sweat us about having the bike in the room. Wifi is paramount unless you want to get raped with international data and text fees from your cellphone company. The bikes in the room thing seems to be hit&miss across a lot of the hotels. Most of hotels waived the bike exclusion policy, but some were still enforcing it. The location was great, close to T2, the expo, the T1 shuttle, and Whistler Village. The only draw back for some may be they only do new towels and linens every few days. Overall, I was happy with the choice. It would be handy to stay directly in the Village just to be able to walk straight out of the hotel into the village for entertainment and food, but Cascade is barely an extra block walk. It also had the added bonus of a handy washer/dryer and kitchenette. Regardless of where you stay, make sure its not in the upper village, that's a bit farther of a hike.


Whistler Village
The Village is basically a giant outdoor mall. There are reportedly 163 restaurants, several bike shops, lots of shopping, a playground for the kiddos, and a amphitheater type area. Most hotels adjoin the Village. It's a bit of a walk to the Upper Village, but there was a small amusement park there and a mini carnival type atmosphere. The whole setup is very pedestrian/cycle oriented with a network of cart path trails. It seemed much more inconvenient to have a car.
View from the gondola of us. :)

 Entertainment
We didn't do much, but we did take the Gondola to the mountain top and ride the Peak2Peak across the way and took the ski lift down. I suppose its worth a look, but there is absolutely no reason to wait the extra 30' for the glass bottom ride.


We also did the Whistler tasting tour. There are lots of restaurants, and this gave us a chance to get a sample of several. Along the way, Emily learned to open bottle of champagne like Napoleon and we got to see a -20C room for tasting vodka. I really wanted to check it out, but I wasn't confident it was a good pre-race decision.
This was taken from the top of the 3 tiered spa resort. 
You can see the pool/spas below and the cooled water fall on the far left.
Finally was the Scandinave Spa. I was reluctant, but this place was amazing. $50/person with the Ironman discount gets you as much time as you like to enjoy the spa. I recommend bringing a robe, they are handy and they rent them for $12/person if you don't bring one. The idea is to alternate between hot & cold therapy. For the day after the race, it felt amazing. My 2hrs was too short, but it went like this:
at the top of the gondola

Jacuzzi - cold pool - Jacuzzi - cold shower - sauna - cold pool - comfy temp room for a quick nap-Hot waterfall Jacuzzi - cold waterfall - steam room - cold waterfall - outdoor hammock cocoon nap.

There's no talking and lots of relaxing. Honestly it sounded lame, but it really was just what I wanted.

Restaurants
Corner Mexican - very bland Mexican food, small serving size, skip it
Element-tapas and breakfast. Diner was good, breakfast was great, go early or prepare to wait.
Wildwood bistro. This was a little off the path, but within walking range. We had breakfast here, and it was the best breakfast we ate.
Crepes Montague, good stuff. Small little trendy shop, lots of crepes of course.
21 steps pre-race meal yummy. Its a little snazzy, but good food again. Not my favorite, but not bad.
The old spaghetti factory-Pre-race pasta. It was pasta. meh.
Sushi village-I am a sushi lover. This place rocked!
El furniture warehouse-all the food is $5. And they make a fantastic burger.


Is it odd that we came all the way up here to take pictures of ourselves?




I couldn't love this little cheerleader more, but I am absolutely positive I will try!
 
Ray Aderholt, fellow North Alabama native & A3 athlete wrapping up his first IRONMAN!!!!!
Ray is still running well during the closing miles of the marathon.
Way to show out Ray! 
 
Several people asked me to compare and contrast IMLC & IMCa.  They are both new venues, and there isn't a lot of info on them.  Here is a snap shot.  IMLC had a tougher swim, no doubt.  The bike and run were a lot harder at IMCa, but showing up to IMLC acclimated and having to deal with the heat is a big issue.  We had a perfect day at IMCa.  Every other day we were there was crazy windy with MASSIVE gusts.  Rumor is they will move the date to July nexy season, so that will make for a toasty run.  Despite IMLCs 41% DNF rate, IMCa is definitely tougher.
 

5 comments:

  1. Chris,

    I noticed you did both IM Cabo and IM Canada. Those are two races i am looking at for next year. It would be my first IM. do you have a strong recommendation on one over the other for a first IM on which you think would be a better experience. I know there are a ton of factors and that answer could be really complicated not to mention these are two very different locales. I mean you only get a first time once so i wanted it to be a memorable race. anyways, any thoughts to help guide me? I really enjoyed reading your reports in my research of races for next year. keep up the awesome work man!

    thanks
    Greg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greg,

      I can easily recommend IMCa if you are looking for an amazing event. It was my fourth, but it was the only one that really felt like it was a the big production I'd read about WTC events. It's a tougher course, for sure. We had a near ideal day, too. If IMCa would've happened any of the other days I was in Whistler, it'd have been a considerably harder race.

      IMLC offers an amazing destination, and they've eased up the bike course to make it more cush. It's a great event, for sure. If you're worried about surviving the day, go with IMLC. The only thing that really makes it hard is not adjusting or coping with the heat.

      They are both great races, and I can't imagine you making a bad choice there.

      Delete
  2. Chris,
    Outstanding race report and effort and many congratulations on your KQ, a dream on the mind of many... I enjoyed your IMFL race report as well which I hope will be useful to me in little less than 3 weeks. Keep up the good work, stay healthy and best of luck.
    Frederic
    (cfrederic/slowtwitch)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great report man. Thanks for providing such insight. I'm doing Canada this July...will be my first. Again, thanks for the excellent commentary.
    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  4. Chris -

    This is a great report! I've done 5 IMs, including 2 IM Canada (Penticton) races, and I was a volunteer at last year's Whistler race (not the insistent wetsuit stripper). I'm going to do that race this year. I'm just a slow, middle of the pack age grouper but it's cool to read a report from a badass KQ racer. Good luck in future races.

    Greg (Seattle)

    ReplyDelete