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IM Lanzarote Preview

Buenos días Ass Fans Locos! (thank you Google Translate)

I’ve been in Lanzarote now for about 5 days and I’ve got two words for you – WIND and HILLS.

It’s appropriate that I capitalize every mention of WIND and HILLS because the WIND and HILLS around here are easily deserving of all caps.

There are definitely times when those WIND and HILLS lead to awesome places.

There are definitely times when those WIND and HILLS lead to awesome places.

Prior to coming, I Strava scoped the course, and built some routes for my rides to preview the most important parts. I created what I thought would be about a 90 minute ride for my first day, which ended up taking me well over 2 hours! Needless to say, I had to adjust my plan going forward…

I love me a tough course, but man, I may have found my limit! You honestly can’t understate the difficulty of the terrain and conditions. It will be a very tough day on the bike. Even the few runs that I’ve done I noticed a 15-20 sec/mile difference depending on which way I’m running. Even the god damn swim is slower one direction, it’s cray cray!

My impressions of the conditions are best summed up by my Strava workout titles (from bottom to top).

My impressions of the conditions are best summed up by my Strava workout titles (from bottom to top).

But, like I say, why do an Ironman if it isn’t a tough one, and those challenges are part of the point of being here. WIND isn’t normally my favorite thing, and many of the downHILLS and even some flats are fairly sketchy when the crossWINDs gust, but I’ll be doing my best to embrace them on Saturday knowing that it just makes the bike and the run longer, both of which are good things for me. Here’s some info about Saturday:

Race Info:

  • Ironman Lanzarote
  • Start: Saturday, 7am local time (Friday, 11p PST)
  • Finish: Hopefully, 3:30-4:00pm local time (Saturday, 7:30-8:00a PST)

How to follow:

The Field – Um Yeah, Decent. (Really Freaking Good)

I’ll admit, when I signed up for a low points IM in May, I wasn’t expecting quite the field we’ve got here! But it’s a field I’m excited to race. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlighted guys in the race (thanks Thorsten at TriRating for all this info)!

  • Timo Bracht – course record holder, Challenge Roth winner, 7x IM winner
  • Ivan Rana – 2X IM winner, ITU world champ, Top 10 Kona
  • David McNamee – IM Winner, 11th Kona
  • Romain Guillaume – 2X IM Winner, including IM Lanzarote 2014
  • Oh yeah, this other guy….
    • Jan Frodeno – Kona Champ, 70.3 World Champ, Olympic Gold Medalist, arguably/basically the best triathlete ever

So yeah, the field is pretty good…There are also about 40 other guys on the list, so it’s surprisingly large for such a small points race. Will be a crazy one. Thorsten’s full data preview and predictions can be found here (spoiler, he has me 4th).

The Course – HILLS and WIND

Not much else to say. Except that it is beautiful also, and I saw camels.

Goals – See what IM Training does, qualify for Kona

The primary “objectives” for this race are to:

  1. Do an Ironman prep/build up and see how my body responds.
  2. Test myself in hot and WINDy conditions.
  3. Secure enough points to qualify for Kona.
  4. RACE my ACE off.

I’ll do 1, 2, and 4 assuming I race hard and the conditions hold, which is very likely. I’ve done more specific IM training for this race than I did before Wales (which was none), and also a bit of heat acclimation, which has always been a weakness of mine. It will be interesting to see how the body responds. The training has gone pretty well, can’t complain really, but you never know until you get out there.

Number 3 – A top 4 would put me right at 3500 points, which is borderline qualifying for Kona. Anything above that obviously is better. If I finish 4th or below, it’s likely I’ll need to race one more 70.3 before the first qualifying cutoff in late July, which wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I’d rather not have to rush my body back from what I know will be a big effort on Saturday. So a top 3 would be fantastic, and also would be a fantastic finish in this field!

Thoughts – Excited to Test Myself & Embrace the Solitude

As always, I don’t really know what to expect. I’ve put a LOT of work into this race. It doesn’t feel like World Championship significance and build, but it feels more significant than any race I’ve ever done outside of that. I’m both scared of the pain (and the crossWIND descents), but also masochistically excited to see what I can get out of myself. You never know what’s going to happen, but the course is so hard that it’s likely it will break up the groups on the bike, and it will be a very long, tough, solo day for most of us.

Anticipating (& embracing) lots of long solo stretches like this on Saturday.

Anticipating (& embracing) lots of long solo stretches like this on Saturday.

I’m preparing mentally for long stretches of really uncomfortable solitude. I’ll do my best to embrace it, and race internally. As I’ve written before, in those times, I typically think about my family, friends, and supporters who’ve helped me along the way. And of course, I start writing my race report (sorry, Race Story) in my head for my Crazy Ass Fans. Regardless of outcome, it will be a journey for sure. Thank you all for the support, see you on the other side!

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