2014 Ironman Louisville Race Report

     I'm very happy to be back on the podium finishing 3rd at Ironman Louisville this past weekend. After a summer of health issues and almost not even going to Louisville, I feel like this race was a great step in the right direction. The highlight of the day for me was having the fastest bike split in the race. I pushed early on the run and went for the win. That decision got the better of me around mile 8 when my core temperature overheated in the extreme heat and humidity and nearly had to drop out. I slowed down and had to stop at every aid station to do everything I could to try to cool my core temperature down. Although I faded on the run, I was happy with the day: Swim 0:51, bike 4:35, run 3:16. For the first time in 27 Ironmans, I ended the day in the medical tent from the heat. Because I slowed on the run from heat issues rather than muscle fatigue, I'm recovering very well from this race. Don't get me wrong, I'm still tired and sore because it was an Ironman afterall, but I think I'll bounce back very well for my next race at Ironman Chattanooga in five weeks. An additional positive from this race was that I really felt the training from my coach Michael Krueger kicking in, getting the fastest bike split of the day. I felt like the "old me" again on the bike, something that eluded me all last season.

    A huge congrats to Chris McDonald for soldiering on in those conditions to take a well deserved win. Thomas Gerlach also held strong for 2nd on the day.

     Rather than give a ton of standard written details about the day, I thought I'd just tell the story with pictures people have sent me. Enjoy:

The calm before the storm, me waiting for the swim start. Photo from Nils Nilsen

I came out of the water, 8th place in the men's race. My family let me know I was about 3:30 down on Chris.

Getting on the bike, I could tell my biking legs felt good. Krueger Coaching's training kicked in.

High humidity resulted in a foggy morning. At about 40km, the gap to the guys was down to about 2:20

Mile 38 going through La Grange, splits to the guys was 1:45

Mile 65 the gap was down to 1:15

Bike loop 2 is always a little tricky with agegrouper traffic. Just have to keep your head up and give space when passing.

I caught up with Chris and Thomas somewhere around mile 85 or 90. We rode back to town together.

The three of us came into transition together. The sun was heating up.

Good looking bike!

Chris and I exiting transition with almost exactly the same distance we ended the bike

Chris and I ran together early on the run. Hindsight, we probably ran a bit too fast because we were together 

Chris and I marked each other in those first few miles.

I kept the early pace high, caught Guy around mile 3 or 4 and moved into the lead of the race. Had you talked to me from mile 4-7, I felt good and thought I was going to win. (Photo by Nils Nilsen)

Around mile 7.5 or 8, I overheated like I've never done before in a race. My pace crumbled and I went from hero to zero. Over the next 6 miles, I continued to spiral downhill. I couldn't cool down. Thomas caught me and moved into 2nd. At around mile 13, I thought about dropping because I thought I may have a heat stroke. I then stopped at every aid station and with 6-8 cups of ice water would cool myself down. After that, I'd be able to run to the next aid station. Doing that every mile, I was able to keep going, not fast, but I moved forward. Chris suffered on and took a well deserved win. (Photo by Nils Nilsen)

Stopping at a sprinkler to try to cool down. (Photo by Nils Nilsen)

Man alive was I happy to see that finish line. I went straight to the med tent where I spent about 15 min with bags of ice under each arm, crotch, and behind my neck to cool me down. 4 of the top 5 guys ended up in the medical tent. Nasty day!

Beyond my race, there were a few other reasons this race was special. Three of my best buddies from childhood surprised me at the race. I didn't even know they were there until they reviled themselves halfway through the run. In addition to my wife and parents being there, my brother-in-law did his first Ironman as well. I'm so proud of him, he did his first on one of the hottest and most humid day you can race. My wife's parents also came to watch so we had a wonderful time with the full family and friends in attendance.

     I want to thank Little Caesars Pizza for their support of me and my racing. Their belief in me is so important for me be able to do what I'm doing in this sport. ROKA Sport is providing me with the best wetsuits and speedsuits in the sport. PowerBar's nutrition products have been a key part in my training and racing. I'd also like to thank RecoveryPump for their support. RecoveryPump has been a critical aspect of my training and recovery and I truely believe the product has helped to take my training to the next level. Jack and Adam's Bicycles in Austin are always there to help support me and my racing. I want to thank Blue Bicycles for putting me on such an amazing bike, the Blue Triad SL. HED Cycling has provided me with the best wheels and aerobars on the market. Champion System Clothing has provided me with the race and training clothing that you see in my pictures.  Cobb Cycling provides me with the best saddles to keep me comfortable on the bike for the hours of training and racing. Brooks Airbrush Studio painted up my amazing aerohelmet this year. Atomic High Performance has coated my bicycle drive train with high performance low-friction coatings. CeramicSpeed provides me with the fastest, low-friction bearings for my bike. Also I want to thank my family and friends for their unending support for me. Without these people and sponsors, I would not be able to pursue this dream.

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