Ironman Los Cabos Race Report 2014
Ironman #3 is in the books. A little bitter sweet in that I had a really good race for the most part but still came in 56 seconds shy of a PR (personal record). Yes I’m very competitive against myself in these things.
Cabo is a great setting for an Ironman. The course sandwiched between the Sea of Cortez and the mountains makes for incredible views throughout the day. Of course only if you can take your mind off the sufferfest you’re in. Swimming directly into the sun for starters, 92* heat with zero cloud cover or shade through most of the day, and 6,000 feet of unrelenting hills on the bike.
Logistics in Cabo are tough, everything is a hike. Renting a car which we did is highly recommended. Without it getting around from registration, to bike check-in then bag drop offs (T2 different location from T1) would have been very tough.
The hotel was clueless about shuttles to the race or food availability for participants. The night before the race we finally learned there would be breakfast starting at 3 AM
and a shuttle at 5:00
. Shuttle actually left at 5:30
and dropped us off with another 1/2 mile to shlep for final transition set up leaving no time for a swim warm up.
Pro’s went off at 6:40
then they let us age groupers onto the beach for the 1,200 person mass start. There is usually some sort of notice and countdown to the gun. Not here. My wetsuite was’nt even on and the gun went off causing some unnecessary stress from the get go.
Swim was a 2.4 mile 1 loop rectangular counter clockwise course. Started off facing directly into the rising sun which made buoy sighting a bit challenging but I just went with the flow. I figured if I was getting kicked and punched that I was on course. Buoys were supposed to have meter markers on them but they didn’t. That aside the swim went great. Crystal clear water, about 70*, zero chop, almost no current and only 1 short leg cramp. I came out of the water in 1:21:24. A swim PR for me by 1:02
. Great start to a long day.
After a 9:32
T1 (yeah it takes me a while) it was off to the bike which started off uphill from the beach at Palmilla onto Route 1. The hills were unrelenting and the winds added to the grind. There was almost no flats on the 3 loop 112 miles course between Los Cobos and Cabos San Lucas. Aid stations were plentyful, every 10 miles or so with iced water bottles and cold Gaterade. The 92* cloudless heat on the climbs was brutal but was quickly remedied by the 30 MPH descents. A combination of losing 15 lbs, refitting the bike to stay aero longer and renting Zipp 404’s race wheels contributed to a 7:00:09 bike split. A PR by 28:31.
With a PR swim and a PR bike I thought a record day was within reach. Then I tried to run. My quads never hurt so much. 10 to 11+ minute miles was the best I could pull off at first and it was downhill from there. The toll of pulling off a great bike split (for me) was rearing it’s ugly head. Ice water cup showers at each aid station kept we awake and cool.
During one of the many conversations with fellow run sufferers during walking breaks work came up. When I mentioned NeedToMeet.com
hearing “oh I use that” came as a great boost.
The sun did not relent until 7 PM. The best I could pull off was a 5:03:10 marathon finishing at 8:38 PM. Total time was 13:38:57 which was 56 seconds shy from my previous best in Ironman Lake Placid ’11. Oh well, an IM PR will just need to wait.
I feel bad for the 30% of starters that DNF’ed. Very tough day! I’m great full to have competed and finished in one piece.
Special thanks to:
- Igor for recommending an early season race and suggesting our weight loss challenge. Tearing up the course with an 11:23:48 PR finish is beyond impressive.
- My wife and family for endless support!
- My friends and coworkers for all their encouragement.
- My TMB Racing Tri group and friends for all their motivation.
Crossing the finish line is a solitary moment but all of the above were continuously in my thoughts throughout the race.
At first I didn’t think I would want to do this course again but laying here on a Cabo beach and writing this I truely can’t wait to come back.
Food recommendations if racing in Cabo: Flora’s Kitchen and El Farallon. Incredible!
Thanks for reading,