Lifetime Fitness Leadman Marquee 125- Race Report
—Overall Amateur Win—3rd including Pro’s—Leadman Big Belt Buckle—
Leadman has been on the calendar for quite a while right now, providing some good motivation and an opportunity to get out of the northwest for an early season race. Unfortunately I am still too young (under 18) to race any Ironman branded 70.3’s, so I generally try and do a “different” but competitive race early in the season. Last year I did Escape from Alcatraz, this year Leadman 125.
Lucky for me, coach Brian Stover offered to have me along for the weekend. I’m too young to rent a car or get a hotel room so it always makes solo race logistics a little tricky. I flew into Tucson on Friday afternoon, and then drove up to Phoenix on Saturday with Brian. My first run on Friday afternoon was quite an interesting experience. The heat was not too bad, but the low humidity sucks. Your mouth instantly dries out.
Saturday bike check was done without problems. It was toasty out so we got check-in done and went to grab dinner. Pretzels and pizza from Mellow Mushroom seemed to work out just fine for race day and allowed for a fairly early evening.
Up at 5 on race morning for a breakfast consisting of a bagel and small bowl of cereal, then down to Tempe Town Lake for the race. Transition laid out, tires pumped up, wetsuit on, and over to the swim start.
Swim - 35:34 - 2.5km - 1:13/100 yards - 8th
After a quick official briefing, and national anthem we were into the water. If there was one leg I was going to push hard, it was going to be the swim. I was in wave 1 (pro’s and men 34 and under) and would have the older guys including Brian chasing. The horn went off and the race began, which in my head was a 400m all-out swim. After about 400m I slowed up just enough to allow the two guys who held my feet to pass and jump into their draft. Perfect. The three of us cruised around the course in just over 35 minutes holding about 1:13 sec/100 yard pace. I was extremely pleased with the swim, a solid validation of my work in the pool over the winter.
Bike - 2:52:17 - 109.5km - 24.1 mi/h - 246 NP - Fastest Bike Split
After a quick transition I was out onto the bike in 3rd (in my wave) trailing pro’s Grant Burwash and Jesse Vondracek. My wattage goals for the bike were 230, 240, 240, 245 for laps 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively. I failed miserably on holding myself back and took the lead just before heading into the second lap. Laps went more along the lines of 240, 250, 245, 243. Overall I really liked the combination of city course with some longer straights. The course wasn’t too bumpy and the numerous turns gave my butt a rest and allowed me to capitalize on the bike handling I’ve picked up from criterium racing. With the exception of the 3rd lap there wasn’t a ton of congestion from the Sprint and Olympic and there were only a few sketchy occasions. I found myself laughing more than a couple times when I went to yell “on your left” and nothing came out. It was really tough adapting to the low humidity and by the time I hit the run my throat was completely parched. If you want to dig more into the data, my bike file is linked below.
Run - 59:21 - 13km - 7:12 min/mi - 9th
I went out onto the run flying, like 10k flying. The first half mile was done at 5:30 pace, the next 6:00 pace, the next 6:15 pace and then I hit the mountain bike park. Ouch. I had absolutely no clue that was coming, but I made it through with my lead in tact. Next it was onto the canal path. Zero shade. No end in sight. I knew we were crossing a bridge at some point and running back on the opposite side, unfortunately there were two bridges. Even more unfortunately the mountain biker leading me accidentally turned across the first bridge before realizing it was the wrong bridge. Talk about mentally crushing. After that the canal path seemed to go on and on and on. Finally we did hit the right bridge and I quickly realized how little my lead on Grant and Jesse was. I held off Jesse for about another half mile before he went absolutely flying past. So much for the win. I managed to hold of Grant a bit longer but soon lost him heading back into the mountain bike park. Now I was in it for 3rd. The trip back through the mountain bike park became a death march, walking the steep uphills and trying not to smash my ankles on the loose footing heading downhill. I was constantly looking over my shoulder for Randy Arriola (3rd Pro) who I was convinced would come blasting pace. Lucky for me everyone else seemed to be having a bad day, well with the exception of Jesse and Grant, and I was able to pick up the past a bit heading back across Tempe Town Lake towards the finish. I just scraped under the 4:30 cutoff for the Leadman Big Belt Buckle with a 4:29:15 finish time.
I absolutely trashed my legs during the run. I limped around the finish area waiting for Randy and Brian and then made my way over to the mist truck. My legs were locked up tight and I spent the rest of the afternoon downing water to battle a growing headache and shuffling between the transition area, the mist truck, and the awards tent. After gathering my haul of awards we headed back to Brian’s friends house to clean-up and then made our way back to Tucson via Chipotle and Ikea. Overall an awesome weekend, a great although brutal race, and a great way to get to experience the spring heat and low humidity in Tucson and Phoenix.
Unfortunately I somehow blasted my calves pushing through in the run and am currently unable to run. Hoping to be back at it next week, but in the interim I have a nice set of four hour rides to get done this weekend. Hopefully sans rain.