The life of a Dad who strives to be the best dad possible

Race Report Mountain Man 2013

Wattie Ink Race Report

I’m not going to lie: this race mattered to me.  Big time.  It may not have had the coolness of Wildflower, the natural beauty of Ironman Lake Tahoe, or the hometown touch of Ironman Arizona, but it had something else: my last real shot at a podium this year and, possibly even winning my age group.  I’ve never done that before.  I’d been close before, but never been First.  I wanted on the podium and, candidly, I wanted first place.  So, with that goal in mind, let’s begin.

(Note, the video above is a tribute of sorts to Trevor Wurtele.  He’s a super-human, super fast professional who makes the most entertaining and comedic Video Race Reports of all time!  While mine pales in comparison to his, he still inspired me to make one.)

Mountain Man Race Report Swim Start


Nothing of any interest to report here.  Having done this race four times, I pretty much have it down to a science.  I got there, got ready, did a warm-up run, ate a PowerBar Gel, and headed to the swim start.


Same course as every year: you swim out, turn right, have a long straight swim with no sight buoys, turn right again, swim nearly straight into the rising sun, and you are done.  The only thing one must remember is to start slow and then slower.  Racing at 7,000ft means little oxygen.  I pretty much ignore this rule every year and wasn’t going to change this time!

My swim started great.  I could see a few age-groupers around me but no one surging ahead.  So, I settled into a comfortable pace and focused on form.  With my sleeveless Blueseventy Reaction, I have felt faster and smoother in the water this year.  At one point, I even found some feet to follow; always a nice bonus!  Reaching the first of two buoys, I turned right and could see nothing.  This came as no surprise since this race is so poorly marked but it is still annoying.  Thankfully, the lake isn’t that wide so wandering aimlessly is unlikely.  But, I am still pretty sure I swam the course along the red line; not the yellow one (this is in the video)…

Reaching the second buoy, I knew I had only 5-7 more minutes of swimming.  I upped my effort, caught a few more athletes from earlier waves and was happy to see the hazy shape of the swim exit approaching.  Once I could focus on the boat ramp, I dumped more sugar into my muscles and motored to the end.  While I have never swam this race slower, I still had the ninth fastest swim time overall (out of 278 athletes) and second in my age group (out of 35 athletes).  My swim time was 24:55, beaten only by some dude who swam a whopping TWO seconds faster.  Of course, he then proceeded to spend three and a half minutes in T1, while I was in and out in 83 seconds.  So there Mr. First Place Swimmer Guy.

Race Report Swim ExitTransition 1

Pretty boring, other than my wetsuit catching on one of my heels.  Apparently, half a stick of Body Glide isn’t enough.  Still a speedy 1:23 for T1, fastest in my age group.


Ahh, Test Number One.  My typical race is exiting the water near the lead and watching cyclist after cyclist blow past me.  Well, not this time!  I didn’t care if I burnt too many molecules of sugar: I was going to bike aggressively enough to be fast.  If I blew up on the run, fine.  But, I wasn’t going to give the race away.

And that sums up my ride.  My ISM Adamo kept my sensitive areas comfortable and my Reynolds Element was fast.  I knew I was near the lead as few people passed me and I passed even fewer.  Plus, most of the people that did pass me, I knew.  They are truly legit athletes who should pass me.  Nicely enough, only two age-groupers passed me: one early and one late.  I kept the late passer within 30-40 seconds until T2, even though it meant biking a little harder than I wanted.  I figured if I could keep him close, I’d just run him down later.  Umm, sure.

Race Report Bike

Uh, draft much dude???

Executing a wonderful flying dismount, I entered T2 with a nice little 1:08 for the bike.  Nothing amazing, but good enough for fifth in my age group and keeping me in a solid third place.

Transition 2

Flying dismount, sprinted to my rack, donned my shoes and I was gone.  1:09 in T2 was fastest in my age group again and kept the “late passer” within a minute.


I love this run.  It hurts, is tough, and will punish you.  I love that.  You want it?  Well, it will cost you and I am ok with that.  As usual, I ran in my KSwiss Kwicky Blades.  I love them; they are the best racing shoes ever.

I had two goals for the first 1.5 miles: (1) track and reel in the guy in front of me and (2) run with confidence.  I didn’t want to give him any more time.  So, I pegged his effort and just upped mine a little more.  I could see I was slowly bringing him back and that was great.  For the confidence, I need to start believing in my running ability.  I had recently done a fitness test and had crushed all prior run tests.  I wanted this race to be my first where I really showed my running abilities and that meant starting fast, strong, and confident.  Mission accomplished.

Race Report RunReaching the hill, I just smiled and ran.  As my legs began to turn to jelly and burn like acid, I smiled.  As the urge to possibly vomit crept higher and higher, I smiled.  I wanted the pain and was ready for it.  Unbelievably though, as well as I was running, the guy in front built upon his lead.  Somehow, he upped his pace more than I.  I thought about matching but decided that was a bad strategy and I stuck to my plan.

Reaching the top of the hill and approaching the turn-around, I saw the dude who passed me early on the bike!  Holy S#$*!  I thought he was long gone, but here he was!  Sadly, I also noted the other guy had built a FOUR minute lead.  Four minutes!  How the hell did he do that???  I ran up the hill with two miles at 7:30 and 8:00, so he ran a 6:15 and a 6:45???  Unreal.  Well, I still had half the distance to run to catch him and I was going to give it everything.

Reaching the downhill, I let it all go.  I didn’t try to slow.  I didn’t try to brake.  I ran with complete wild recklessness and it was awesome.  I had more comments from friends and loved them all.  When I rounded the corner at the bottom of the hill, the one dude was long, long gone.  But, nicely enough, the “early passer” was within range.  Well, “within range” if I was really willing to suffer.  And suffer bad.

With only 1.5 miles to the end, I wasn’t going to give him anything.  If he wanted 2nd place, he better be willing to hold off a charging locomotive (that would be me).  I dropped my pace to around a 6:30 and gave my legs all that I had left.  I just laser-focused on his back and willed myself to get closer.  Candidly, I figured his lead was too big and I’d run out of real estate before I ran him down.  But, then something wonderful happened: he broke.  For just the briefest of moments, he walked in that “I hurt so bad I want to die” walk.  Heh heh heh… like blood in a shark tank, I could taste the kill.

Pushing myself as much as I could bear, I slowly pulled him back.  With about half a mile to the end, I caught him and I held my breath.  Yeah, you just read that.  Totally hypoxic and wanting to puke, I deprived my cardiac system of oxygen.  Intentionally.  I wanted to pass him with such obvious ease that he’d just give up and let me go.  Well, Mission #2 Accomplished.

With blood pooling just inside my eyelids, I neared the end.  I tried to ask a spectator if there was a guy trying to catch me.  But, rather than say, “Is he trying to run me down?” I said “uhhh….  ishhhh he runnmmmming…  ????”.  Yeah, she didn’t understand it either.  Wonderfully, a good buddy and seriously fast dude (he was already done and recovered; I hate his cardiac system.  Stupid genetics.) had come out to cheer me to the finish and he DID understand my question.  He just laughed at me and told me to finish strong.

Sprinting the last 200 or so meters, I crossed the finish line in 2nd place and was stoked.  My final run was 42:34, third best in my age group (2nd was a whopping one second faster) and my best 10k at that race ever.  Oh, the guy who beat me?  He ran the 2nd fastest run OVERALL with a 38:54!  Are you kidding me???  Oh well, I did my best and am happy with that!

Always have goals and always be willing to suffer to pursue them!  I’d never have achieved my second place if I wasn’t both willing to work on the bike more than normal and willing to go deep, deep into my own, personal Pain Cave for a while…  As always, a special thanks to Triple Sports; an awesome triathlon store run by even awesome-r people!  A big thanks as well to Wattie Ink and letting me Rock the W!  I feel honored to have partnered with two such amazing groups and am proud to represent them.

Thanks for reading!  Next stop: Half-Ironman World Championship in Las Vegas!Mountain Man Race Report

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