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Ironman Lake Tahoe - Triathlon

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Lake Tahoe, California
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
50F / 10C
Total Time = 14h 59m 7s
Overall Rank = 1113/
Age Group = M25-29
Age Group Rank = 59/
Pre-race routine:

I arrived in Tahoe on Wednesday before the race. On thursday I previewed the bike course by riding 1 lap excluding the closed section and on Friday I went swimming at kings beach. On Saturday the weather was very poor (rainy and windy). Went to bed around 8PM the night before the race.
Event warmup:

I got up around 4 AM to start eating breakfast. I left northstar at 5 AM and got to kings beach around 5:30. When I racked my bike on Saturday I had taped a shopping bag over the seat to keep things dry. When I got to my rack in the morning the bag had ice all over it and everything was frozen. My top tube as well had a nice coating of ice. Air temps were in the low 30s at 5:30 AM. Nothing eventful really in transition. I spent most of the time just trying to stay warm. The worst was waiting in the start corral as my feet were getting quite cold from standing on the sand. While I didn't feel any need for booties in the swim they might have been worth it just for standing in the start corral.
  • 1h 18m 27s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 52s / 100 yards

My swim went well. I swam a 1:18 which is just a couple of minutes slower than vineman so I'm rather proud of that. Because of the sand being so cold I couldnt wait to get into the water. After getting in the water I felt much better. IIRC they announced that the water temperature was ~62 degrees. At 6:40 in the morning there was still a considerable amount of fog on the lake and you could barely see from one bouy to the next which made sighting rather difficult. Might make sense to space them closer together. Overall, I felt pretty strong on the swim and at this point in the day I didn't really feel a whole lot of the effect of the altitude.
Transition 1
  • 11m 6s

T1 was a disaster. It would have been better if the mens changing tent was 3 times as large as it was. There were so many people in there that I had trouble even getting into the tent. I never managed to get a seat but I just changed off to the side in the only space I could find. Pretty much everyone was fully changing their clothes due to the weather. For me I took off my wetsuit and put on my normal trisuit plus arm warmers and a wind jacket. I also had some compression sleeves keeping my legs warm which I had worn under my wetsuit so I didn't have to deal with them in transition. I managed to get through T1 in 11 minutes which I thought was super slow but now that I am looking at other peoples times I think its a pretty quick time.
What would you do differently?:

Get a bigger T1 tent
  • 7h 03m 29s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.87 mile/hr

Starting off the bike it was pretty chilly. I could definitely have benefitted from an additional layer. In order to keep warm I pushed a little harder for the first 25 miles up to truckee than I typically would. From king's beach to truckee was all pretty quick and no major issues. The schaffer hill part of the course was much harder than I expected. I had looked a bunch at the elevation profiles and it basically looks like two big hills per lap. However, schaffer had a whole series of ups and downs that killed the legs. Then it had one final big climb which is what you see on the elevation profile. The brockway climb I did not have as much trouble with but it was made more difficult with all the previous climbing. I had my bike equipped with a standard up from and an 11-32 in the rear. I found myself using the full range of this cassette regularly. The descent from brockway was super fast with the new pavement. I peaked out at around 50 MPH on both laps. Although it doesn't make up for how tough the hills are it helped. WTC added an additional "warm clothes drop" outside of squaw at the second aid station so that you could drop your extra layers once you warmed up. I didn't really warm up until the 5th aid station and I dropped my clothes when I got to the second lap. My second lap was more of the same. I was slightly slower (3:00 instead of 2:45 per lap). My bike time overall was 7:03 which is about 1 hour slower than my vineman time but consdering the course I think this was pretty good for me.
What would you do differently?:

Ride lots of hills. Maybe do some Mt. Diablo repeats
Transition 2
  • 02m 30s

My T2 was pretty quick at 2:30. I just swapped my shoes, replaced my helmet with a hat and put on my race belt/number.
  • 6h 23m 35s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 38s  min/mile

I started off aiming for a 5:00 run split and for the first 7 or 8 miles I held that and was not doing any walking. At this point in the race the cumulative effects of the altitude started to show their effects. Combine that with the tough bike course and my splits started climbing very quickly. For most of the return from the first lap I did a run walk with about 20% walk and 80% run. I held this pretty well until I got back to squaw. I picked up a second layer at the run special needs. My second layer was just a long sleeve tech top and I was just wearing my trisuit for my lower body. I wasn't planning on being out as late as I was and if I had known I would have packed something warmer. The two run laps are not equidistant so I was around 17 miles in at this point. As I was leaving squaw to start out on my second lap it was starting to get quite chilly. I picked up one of those mylar blankets and drank all the chicken broth I could at the aid stations. I walked most of the second lap and was not alone in doing this. By this point in the day I'd estimate that 90-95% of the participants were walking. I had done the math and knew I would have plenty of time even walking the final 8 miles. My final time for the marathon was 6:23 which I think I am pretty sure is the slowest marathon I will ever run in my life. I hadn't been paying much attention to my watch as I was finishing up my run but I managed to get my final time just under 15 hours with a 14:59. I would say that it is a major accomplishment for anyone completing this race regardless of what their finish time was.
Post race
Event comments:

IMLT was a great first IM and super tough. I had a great time out their on Sunday and I am very glad I did the race. Will I ever do this race again? No. Even if the race conditions are identical I think I would prefer to try some of the other IM courses. Also I think we got pretty lucky with the weather. If in 2014 they have weather like we had on Saturday I am fairly confident that the race would be cancelled. I don't want to plan for the biggest race of the season knowing there is a decent chance it could be cancelled a couple days before the event.

Last updated: 2013-08-01 12:00 AM
01:18:27 | 4224 yards | 01m 52s / 100yards
Age Group: 52/
Overall: 926/
Performance: Average
Suit: Full Sleeve
Course: 2 loop rectangle
Start type: Wade Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 31F / -1C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 11:06
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
07:03:29 | 112 miles | 15.87 mile/hr
Age Group: 40/
Overall: 688/
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: 2 1/2 loop course with lots of hills
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Too much
Time: 02:30
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
06:23:35 | 26.2 miles | 14m 38s  min/mile
Age Group: 59/
Overall: 1113/
Performance: Bad
Course: 2 loops along truckee river. Awesome run course but way too tired from bike.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2013-09-24 1:19 AM


Subject: Ironman Lake Tahoe

2013-09-24 6:50 AM
in reply to: #4862390

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Subject: RE: Ironman Lake Tahoe

Congratulations on completing your first Ironman in the most awfullest (I know that's not a word) of conditions!   I liked your positive attitude throughout.  You rocked the T2 transition time!   What a memorable day!  Good job!


2013-09-24 11:20 AM
in reply to: bswcpa

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman Lake Tahoe

What a way to complete your first Ironman - HUGE CONGRATS on a job well done!  Laughing

2013-09-26 9:13 AM
in reply to: #4862390

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Subject: RE: Ironman Lake Tahoe
Great job getting it done. The conditions were beyond brutal. I'm in awe of anyone who got from the start to the finish.
2013-09-27 7:06 AM
in reply to: #4862390

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Subject: RE: Ironman Lake Tahoe
Great job on your first Ironman. All other will seem like a piece of cake now
2013-09-27 10:57 AM
in reply to: #4862390

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ann arbor, michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman Lake Tahoe
Super nice job. Amazing T1 time. I was there and know how crazy it was. I was happy to get out in 15 minutes so your 11 minutes is screaming fast.

If this was your first IM, they are all going to feel easy from here on out.

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