Leadman 125 Race Report

On March 31, I raced at the Lifetime Fitness Leadman 125, in Boulder City, NV.  Between the course, and the wind conditions, it was a very tough day out on the course… just the way triathlon should be!  On to the report…

Swim (2.5 km)

After a pre-race swim on Thursday, I was pretty nervous about how cold the water would be on race day.  I didn’t see a thermometer, but I’d guess the water on race day was about 60 deg, so it ended up being fine.  The real challenge of this swim was the choppy water.  High winds really kicked up the waves, and with my low swimming cadence, I was getting pushed back a lot by the waves.  Essentially, the waves served to widen the gap between the fast swimmers and the “slow” swimmers.  Unfortunately, I’m one of the “slow” swimmers.  Matt Russell and I swam together, and exited the water in 43 minutes, which was a few minutes back from the main group.

Bike (110 km)

I stole this image from Thomas Gerlach, and it should tell you everything you need to know about the conditions on the bike course:

It was WINDY.  The bike was more a battle of attrition and survival, than of speed.  I’ve never been so terrified in a race – the wind there made Hawi look like child’s play, and there were some real “white knuckle” descents.  Luckily, my recent bike focus paid off, and I had a decent ride.  My power was a lowly 252 watts, which was 30 watts lower than I did in a 3 hour race simulation 4 weeks earlier.  I’m not too surprised by that, because with the extreme wind and all of the descending, there were a lot of sections where I had to soft-pedal, or not pedal at all, and those intervals killed my average power numbers.  But everyone had to deal with the same conditions, so it all evened out in the end.

Run (13 km)

My garmin file should tell you a lot about what this run felt like… 

Yes, it was point-to-point, and entirely uphill.  Throw on top of that the fact that we had a headwind for about 75% of it, and you can see why the run times were so slow.  For purposes of comparison, I usually run about 6:55-7:05 pace in an Ironman, which is over triple the distance of the Leadman 125.  There’s no other way to describe it, this run was brutal.  It didn’t help that I was dehydrated coming off the bike, so I spent the first 2 miles just slamming as many fluids as I could.  I finally felt “normal” again around mile 5, and then just cruised home, making sure to go fast enough to hold my position.

Results (5th Male Pro)

My performance was very “meh”.  I don’t mean “meh” in a negative way, just that I didn’t do anything spectacular, but nothing went horribly wrong, either.  And I ended up winning some money, so I really have nothing to complain about.  I went as hard as I could go for 5+ hours on that day, and gained some valuable experience.  It was a tough day, but I got through it, and it’s time to start building up for the rest of the year.  Here’s a photo at the awards ceremony, with Dan Ford (who was an awesome host for the weekend):

I’d like to thank Keith Hughes, Daniel Brienza, Mary Beth Kunz for putting on a fantastic event.  I hope to race with them again, at the Leadman 250 in Bend, OR, on Sep 22.  Also, I could not have gotten here without my sponsors, so I’d like to thank them as well:  Cliff Keen Triathlon, QT2 Systems, Rudy Project, blueseventy, Schwalbe Tires, and Clif Bar.

Moving Forward

     Leadman marked the end of my “preseason”.  I haven’t run more than 17 miles in a week since November, as I’ve just been working on swimming and biking.  Now that Leadman is over, I’m going to shift my training to have a more typical balance between swim/bike/run, as I start my build towards Ironman Lake Placid.

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