Building Community Through Cycling

Blue Sky Velo
Ironman Branson

Race Report by BSV Member Kirk D.

This past Sunday I “raced” in the Ironman Branson 70.3 event.  This
was one that I did back in 2010 and I suffered big time, so this time
around was purely for vindication.  In 2010, I was not prepared at all
for the bike course which is considered the hardest on the 70.3
circuit.  I clocked it at 4500 feet of vertical over the 56 mile ride,
which is on the order of Lyons to Brainard Lake, for context.  I spent
a lot of time on hills this year to prepare and also logged about
1000+ miles more than 2010.  The weather in 2010 was 95 degrees and
100% humidity which absolutely drained me – I lost 10 pounds on the
course that day.  This time around it was 45 degrees at the start of
the swim and in the 50s and 60s on the bike.  40 degrees cooler makes
a LOT of difference.

The short story is that I missed my goal of sub 6:00 hours, and ended
up with 6:22 and change.  Needless to say, I’m a bit disappointed, but
6:22 isn’t a bad time, I suppose.  Here’s the abridged version of the
race report.

Swim went very well.  Water was warm at about 72 degrees and I felt
comfortable – not a lot of kicking and shoving.  My watch said 37
minutes when I came out of the water, and my official time is 38:00
exactly.  That gives me about a 3+ minute improvement over 2 years
ago.

The bike was the big fear and pre-driving the route this year I was
having horrible flashbacks of the heat and hills of 2010.  I
maintained my power between 200 and 220 watts, and could probably have
gone a bit harder, but the 4500 feet of vertical for the course is a
tough one.  I didn’t want to get too crazy and pay for it later.  The
pro that won (Andy Potts) held just under 24 MPH and he usually has
about 28 MPH on the Boulder 70.3 course, so this one is certainly
challenging.  I ended up with 16.6 MPH average and 3:22 on the bike,
which seems awfully slow, but seems about right for a bike ride from
Lyons to Ward and back.

As I was coming out of T2 I saw I was at 4:10, so I had 1:50 to make
my 6 hour goal.  My best stand alone half marathon is about 1:45, so I
was going to have to really work to get under 1:50.  The course is 3
loops and by the second loop I realized I wasn’t going to make 6
hours.  That drained my motivation so I started slowing down and
walking the aid stations.  In the end I was just over 2 hours for the
run.

If I hadn’t lost the mental aspect, I might have pulled out another 10
minutes or so, but I’m happy with what I achieved.  I can always sit
here and go through the “if only”s, but I’m probably better off
thinking about the next race.  Which, by the way, will be the Boulder
Marathon half-marathon in October and then the full marathon in Las
Vegas Dec. 2nd.  Assuming of course my body holds up until then.  8^)

-Kirk

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