Let me give you the nickle tour through the last two seasons to bring everyone up to speed on how I ended up at the start line of B2B as a professional. In 2012 I had two goals. #1 Race well at the ITU Off-Road World Champs in the spring (I took 21st overall) and #2 win an ironman. I fell a bit short when I took 2nd overall at the inaugural Michigan Titanium ironman. For 2013 I wanted to give my best effort at the Best of the U.S. Amateur race in the spring and then try to get my pro card at Rev3 Dells. Goal #1 went fine, although it established that I'm never going to a great short course racer. Goal #2 encountered a road bump when I broke my chain during Rev3 Dells. I reassessed and switched over to 1/2 IM training for Rev3 Branson one month after Dells. My short course training transferred well to the 1/2 distance. I finished 2nd overall amateur at Rev3 Branson. I immediately took my pro card and decided that since I was racing well I should do one more race in 2013. Why not an ironman?! This decision may have been a bit rash since I only had about one more month of training to get somewhat ready for an IM. I buckled down and put in a few good long rides and long runs. Still my count for the whole year was only 5 rides over 3 hours and 3 runs over 1.5 hours. I intentionally almost never run longer than 2 hours in training, so I was pretty confident in my run, but I knew I was really light on bike volume.
I've really enjoyed racing non-WTC events in the last few years. To the best of my knowledge B2B is the largest independent iron distance race in the U.S. It's also the only independent race that I know of which fills to capacity. B2B is held in and around Wilmington, NC. It boasts one of the fastest iron distance race courses in North America. It also features cool temperatures which was a huge draw for me, since more often than not, I have been roasted in my other ironman races.
I flew out on Thursday and met up with my Hub Endurance-coordinated homestay family in Wilmington. The Hayse family were great hosts for the weekend. They have two kids who are roughly the same ages as mine but with the genders reversed. So fun to see the different dynamics with an older girl and younger boy.
Race day weather was colder than usual for Wilmington. Race start temps were around 37 degrees and highs were mid-60s. The swim is point to point, so I had to pick up some Dollar Store throw-away clothes to take to the swim start. Even then, athletes were huddled around 2 heaters until right before the start. Rather than getting chilled by warming up I just skipped it. I started right near the front and got out fast to avoid the big crowds (there was not a separate professional wave). I always shortchange my swim training, so I just had to be content with a decent pace that I knew I could hold. I did a better job than usual of always being on someone's feet. The lead pack got away from me, but that was probably to be expected. Depending on the tides sometimes the B2B swim is incredibly fast (low 40s for top swimmers). This year was supposed to be slack tide for most of the race. Prior to the event, I had secured a new wetsuit sponsorship with Xterra Wetsuits. Xterra hooked me up with their top-of-the-line Vendetta full sleeve and sleeveless suits. I am huge fan of sleeveless, but because of the cold morning temps I had the full sleeve on. Water temp was around 70 so I would have preferred the sleeveless in the water, but was happy to have the sleeves beforehand. The Vendetta is the most buoyant and flexible wetsuit I have been in. The wetsuit plus saltwater plus some incoming tide led me to my best-ever IM swim of 55:52. I would guess I got about a 3-4 minute push from the incoming tide during the second half of the swim.
|Thanks for the extra swim speed, Xterra!|
|40 degree bike start!|
|My fit and set-up on the QR CD.01 is now super clean and aero.|
|This guy crawled across the run course at some point! Sorry I missed it!|
|I might be suffering, but at least I look good?|
|First and Fourth! One of us has obviously been done longer than the other in this pic!|
2013 B2B Recap Video