General Discussion Race Reports! » Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains Rss Feed  
Moderators: k9car363, alicefoeller Reply

Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Stroudsburg, PA, Pennsylvania
United States
48F / 9C
Total Time = 3h 59m 39s
Overall Rank = 30/1500
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 5/192
Pre-race routine:

It took me a while to fall asleep. It usually does the night before a race. But I felt very calm so I was surprised I couldn't sleep. I had decided earlier in the day that I was going for it. With no swim, I thought I really had a shot of finishing on the podium in my age group. I decided to NOT take a spare tubbie with me. That meant no tubbie, no C02, no bento box. If I flatted, my race was over. I was completely comforable with this scenario. If I flatted in the first 5 miles, than I wouldn't need any recovery and I could move straight into marathon training. After all, this isn't really a half ironman without a swim right???

I layed in bed at 11pm listening to the rain. Finally feel asleep and got about 4-5 hours of restless sleep. Woke up before 4am and still heard pouring rain. Immediately started thinking about what I was going to wear for the bike. The run was easy. Tri top and shorts. But the bike was a bit more complicated. Rainy and 45 degrees. I packed a bunch of crap in my morning clothes bag and decided to figure it out when I got there. Had about 300 calories of oatmeal, a chocolate chip cookie and drank some Infinit.

I got in my car and picked up my buddy Matt from the Fernwood villas. We drove to meet up with the rest of the Gettysburg tri club. Got on the shuttle bus and into transition around 6:30am. It was pretty chilly. We all huddled in a tent to stay warm.
Event warmup:

Didn't really do much warming up. I ran about 1/2 mile but I don't think running is a very good warm-up for a bike. You couldn't swim. I didn't have an extra bike. So some quick sprints and stretching would have to do.
  • 00m
  • 0 yards
  • / 100 yards

No swim. Swim was cancelled on Friday. A quick look at the river and you could tell a swim would not have gone well. The field of 1500 would have been cut down to about 15 after the swim.
Transition 1
  • 00m
  • 2h 29m 5s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.54 mile/hr

Starting off in a time trial start was interesting. Everybody was lined up at the start watching the pros leave. They left in 30 second intervals. You had an up close view of all the pro men and women lined up to start the bike.

Once the pros were done, everything went very quickly. They lined up one row at a time and sent you off in 2-3 second intervals. There was a 20 yard run with your bike and than a mounting line. I've done time trials before and this was nothing like it. I still felt comfortable with this format.

I started off in a comfortable but fast pace. I knew the course would be crowded the first 10-15 miles. I was number 880 so there were a bunch of people in front of me. The course is actually a very good bike course. Very hilly (although no long steep climbs) and very technial. The course was also wet with water pooled and running along the roads in some spots. One part of the course even had a "no passing" zone. Considering the narrow, wet, winding roads at the start of the bike it was definately quite dangerous. You had fast bikers in the M30-34 and M35-39 trying to pass the entire Athena division and F20-30 division in the first 10 miles. There was just no way to not break a few rules. I can't tell you how many times I went around a cone or crossed the yellow line. Just no way to avoid it. Road were too narrow and crowded. Let me say this again... it really is a great bike course. But man was it crowded those first few miles.

After the crowds started to thin out, I could get a little more relaxed and settle into a rhythm. I felt pretty good but tried to keep my HR under control. About 10 miles into the bike, I passed a fairly fast cyclist. He re-passed me about 2 miles later and than out of nowhere a deer darts into the road right in front of him. I had no time to brake. He actually unclipped getting ready to crashed. By some miracle he was able to stay on his bike. The deer slipped on the road and he grazed the deers legs. I think he might have run over of the legs. I yelled "HOLY SHIT". We had a good laugh but seriously, that was about as close as you can come to having a terrible crash.

The miles from 10-40 were very good. I felt very comfortable on the bike. I did not push HARD on the bike. I kept in very comfortable. I used my entire 11-25 cassette and big/little ring. Spun up the hills. Stayed aero as much as possible. I actually think I was bordering on going too easy on the bike. In the back of my mind I knew that it was perfect running weather and that's where I wanted to make up time.

I leaped-frogged with a guy in the M30-34 divivsion for a while. He would pass and go up the road a few hundred yards and than I would pass him on the next hilly/technical section. I do consider myself a good climber and technical rider and I tend to catch people going up and/or around curves. not sure why this is the case since I weigh 175 and you would think it would be the opposite.

I had a few bad miles between miles 40-50. Not terrible. I just felt a bit I was losing power. I didn't really change my plan though. I just kept my HR in check and stayed with my nutrition plan. I snapped out of it in time for the last few climbs before the fast final miles.

Those last few miles, I felt good. I was ready to run. Legs felt good...stomach felt head was in the right place. I was ready to roll. Little did I know what awaited me in T2.

My nutrtion consisted of 1 850 calorie bottle of Infinit for the first 2+ hours. 1 GU with caffeine around the 2:15 mark. I didn't plan on having the GU but I felt like I needed it at that point. Total calories for the bike was around 950. Close to 400/hour. A bit high but within my range. I took a bottle of water at every aid station. Very simple and effective nutrition plan. Infinit had never really worked for me until I started using it alone with no other products. Worked really well for the bike this time.
What would you do differently?:

Not much really. Maybe push the bike a bit harder but it's tough to say whether that would have worked out or not.
Transition 2
  • 03m 8s

To say that T2 was a disaster would be an understatment. First of all, T2 was a muddy mess. Since it was cold and wet with no swim, I wore warm socks for the bike. If I would have done my usual dismount, I would have had to run with my socks in the mud. So I stopped and got off my bike without the fancy acrobatics. This all worked out fine. I than ran to my spot in my bike shoes to preserve my socks.

This is where the fun started. When I put my bike on the rack, the entire rack of about 15 bike spots fell down. Luckily there was only one other bike there and he was getting ready for the run. I looked at him and said, "What the hell am I supposed to do". We quickly tried to put the rack back up but it just fell again. Than he said "F*** it, just leave the bikes there". That was fine with me. I than started pulling off shoe covers and bike shoes. I put my running shoes on and realized that I had forgotten to take off my knee warmers. So I lost some more time pulling the knee warmers off over my shoes. I threw everything in my T2 bag and than I grabbed my race number and hat and ran off.

After running about 20 yards to the run start. Oh F$%#, I still have my long sleeve bike shirt and arm warmers on. NO WAY I want to run with this. And OH C$%*, I love this shirt so I have to go back and put it in my bag. Back I run to the my T2 spot and take off my shirt.

I was back running quickly and finally on course. I probably lost 90 seconds during the debacle. After running about 2 minutes, I than realized I still had arm warmers on. I took them off and ran with them for a while. By some stroke of luck, Sue (my wife) was standing there about 3/4 of a mile into the run course. I gave her the arm warmers and I could finally get down to business.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 27m 26s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 06m 40s  min/mile

Once I finally made it out of T2, I could tell that my running legs felt great. I was easily running around a 6:20 pace for the first mile or so. I saw Sue at the 1 mile mark and tossed her my arm warmers. Gave her a smile and blew her a kiss. Perfect motivation for a good run. The next mile was around 6:30. I really needed to slow down. Not way I could run 6:20s the whole way. I settled into a nice 6:45-6:55 pace for the next few miles. Miles 2-5 seemed to go by quite quickly. I was steadily passing people. Passed a couple in my age group...but mostly M30-34 guys. The middle miles were quite hilly with 4-7 mostly uphill and 7-10 mostly downhill. I felt really good but tried to keep my effort in check during the uphill sections. I kept looking for runners coming the other direction with with the 700-900 number range. This was the range for my age group. To my surprise, I only saw 2 other guys in front of me and one of the guys I was about to pass. Could I really be 2nd in my age group at the run turnaround???? Actually NO. The late sign-ups all got numbers in the 1900-2100 little did I know that there were some fast guys in my age group that started 45 minutes after me. This is quite annoying to me and defeats the purpose of "racing". Something that could easily have been fixed.

I ran the first 6.55 in about 44:30 and you can see that the pace slowed a bit with the uphill running. The turnaround was at the 7 mile mark and I was still feeling good. I made a deal with myself that I would wait until mile 9 to open things up a bit. That deal didn't last long. Started increasing effort around mile 8. I felt like I could run 5 miles tempo so I just went with it. I really felt like I was flying the last 5 miles. Probably averaged around 6:25 or so. I'll have to check Garmin data to be sure. I felt so good those last 5 miles. I knew I had nailed the run. I didn't care about anything else at that point. I knew that I had a sub 1:30 run in my system...but it just had never materialized in previous HIM runs. Proving to myself that I could put together a run like that just felt great.

The last 2 miles were tough. I don't think I had many more miles left in my legs. I pushed as hard as I could. The last stretch down main street was great. I saw some of the Gettysburg folks. Sue was there cheering. I literally sprinted the last 200 meters. Definately the best triathlon run I've ever had.

Nutrition: I took a gel at mile 1 and a gel at the 40 minute mark. Other than that I alternated between 2 cups of water and 2 cups of perform at just about every aid station. It wasn't that hot so large amounts of liquid weren't necessary. I was well fueled on the bike so I didn't need quite that much on the run. I probably took in about 400 calories on the run. 2 GUs and a few cups of perform.
What would you do differently?:

Absolutely nothing.
Post race
Warm down:

It was 50 degrees and overcast so warming down was done by just standing there and trying not to shiver. I was quite interested in seeing where I placed in my age group. So I waited patiently for results.

I ate a Subway sandwich and 3 giant cookies.

Than, 2 lovely ladies walked by with a tray full of beer. I chased them down and asked if they were for sale. Why yes, they were for sale. This was my first of 5 lovely beers as I was "warming down".

Results were finally posted and I saw that I finished 5th in my age group. Fair enough but to be completely honest, I was a bit disappointed. How the hell did I miss those guys ahead of me. Wait.....they were the 1900-2100 number range that started 45 minutes after me. I'm not really complaning....triathlon is a time trial....but it would have been nice if they started somewhat close to me. They could have easily lined people up by age group instead of race number. That would have made more sense. I'm not saying that I would have beat any of them...but if I missed out of a Vegas slot by 10 seconds, I would have been mad.

After looking at my 5th place finish in M35-39, my wife pointed out that they were sending 6 to Vegas in my age group. It was the biggest age group. I said "no thanks" at first. She asked several more times and I still said "No". Than she says "You really should go. You might not get another chance". I was on my 4th beer at the time so it didn't take much convincing. I looked at her and said "You're right. We're going to Vegas". We walked around a bit and waited for the sign-up for automatic bids. Paid my fee and made it official.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I probably slightly under-biked. Not sure.

And T2 was just a mess.

Event comments:

This race seems to have gotten a ton of bad press on BT and slow twitch. Boo Hoo, it's gonna be cold. Waaahhhh, there's no swim. If you don't like the cold, don't race in October in the Poconos. Go somewhere else and shut up. And seriously, no way there could have been a swim. I love racing in cooler temps. I'll take 50 degrees any day of the week.

I've said it a few times already, but this really is a nice bike course. But they need to make some adjustments. There are many miles of this bike couse where bikers are going in both directions on the same road. I'm sorry, but this isn't going to work and has to be changed. Just imagine if you lived on this road and were told you couldn't leave your house during the race. The roads are way too narrow for bikers in both directions and cars. There were several times that I was stuck behind a car that wandered onto the course. You could tell they were angry. Bikes in both directions and no place for them to go. You need to leave a lane open for cars. The figure 8 bike course just doesn't work especially in the section where you had bikers going in the wrong direction.

The finish may have been spectator friendly but the rest of the race was not. There was no way for non-racers to get to the race start. It wasn't really a issue for me but that seems pretty lame.

Traffic was a nightmare. There was no reason we should have had to drive to T2 to drop off our shoes on Saturday. Why couldn't we drop them off at the Fernwood and have them driven to T2 for us. Would have saved me 2 hours of driving on Saturday.

The bike course is great. I love the technical aspect of the course and the constant rolling hills. There were not really difficult climbs but the course kept you working. You didnt have a chance to get in a good rhythm. Short steep hills...lots of curves and 90 degree turns...rough roads. The run course was also great. Challenging but fair.

This could be a great race with just a few adjustments. I hope they can figure things out for next year.

Last updated: 2010-11-24 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 00 yards | / 100yards
Age Group: 0/192
Overall: 0/1500
Course: No swim
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 00:00
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:29:05 | 56 miles | 22.54 mile/hr
Age Group: 8/192
Overall: 35/1500
Performance: Good
Average HR was 160 on the bike.
Wind: Little
Course: The hilly, technical course the weaved around the Stroudsburg area. Lots of curves, 90 degree turns and rough roads.
Road: Rough Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:08
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Bad
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:27:26 | 13.1 miles | 06m 40s  min/mile
Age Group: 7/192
Overall: 35/1500
Performance: Good
Average HR was 158 for the run.
Course: Semi-hilly out and back. Miles 4-7 are a gradual uphill with miles 7-10 a gradual downhill.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2011-10-04 8:38 AM

User image

Gettysburg, PA
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains

2011-10-04 8:51 AM
in reply to: #3710428

Northern IL
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains

Nice racing!  I felt the same about the bike course.  It's a lot of fun, but was hard to really go on it because of rain and the sheer number of people Ironman puts into an event.  I was supposed to be Wave 4, but because I was a late sign-up, had #1963.  Soooo many people to go around.  I don't see why they couldn't have fit us all together.

Good call on picking Vegas.  You really never know, so have to go for it when you get the chance.

2011-10-04 4:25 PM
in reply to: #3710428

User image

Collegeville, PA
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains

Congrats on a great race and a trip to Vegas!

100% agree with you on event analysis - we all knew weather was going to be hugely random and cold, wet conditions were likely when we signed up.  Race would benefit greatly from different bike course - loved the challenge of it, but areas where crowding made it more dangerous than it needed to be.

2011-10-05 8:22 PM
in reply to: #3710428

User image

Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains
Bob, I've been following your daily training since early 2010 when we were all training for Lake Placid. With no Ironman Race for you this year, and tremendous consistent volume, I knew you were gonna crush this race. And you're a good swimmer so who knows, you may have finished even higher up had the swim not been canceled. Glad no one hit the deer. And something tells me youll have plenty more opportunities to pick up slots at future Mdot races. Can't wait to follow your journey to Vegas!!
2011-10-08 6:04 AM
in reply to: #3710428

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2011-10-08 7:19 AM
in reply to: #3710428

Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains


Being a fast cyclist in a TT start race with technical aspects makes race very different. Glad you and the other guy avoided the deer.

Vegas next year!

General Discussion-> Race Reports!
General Discussion Race Reports! » Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains Rss Feed