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IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder: Race Report

Fun fact: The 2022 Boulder 70.3 brought me to 703 miles raced in Boulder (3 Fulls and 4 Halfs)


Thursday

This Boulder 70.3 race started out a little different then my previous 6. Usually I am stressed out about the 4-5 hour drive to Boulder through the mountains and Denver. I worry about getting my packet and finding the hotel (even though I pick my packet 2 days before the race and know they do not check your packet pick up time). Anyone who has spent time with me knows about my distaste for lines and being late).


However, I now live in Colorado Springs and the Boulder Reservoir is less than 2 hours away. This didn’t even occur to me after coming back from IM 70.3 CdA 6 weeks ago and knowing that Wyoming is only a 3 hour drive. So, to make sure this point is even longer than it has to be, I got to sleep in on Thursday morning.


Anywho, I got to the reservoir and picked up my packet. Pretty standard stuff. The volunteer with my packet asked me if I wanted the blue or green swim cap. To which I say “Heavens no”. I do not want to be the solitary green cap in a sea of blue and pink at the tail end of the swim. Not much more happened that Thursday.


Friday

My least favorite day of race week, race day eve. I woke up, went for a short run and a very short bike. I like to make sure everything is working properly. Then I sat around for a few hours, bored out of my mind as I waited to drop my bike at transition. Even though I picked the earliest drop time, it was a long wait.


Finally, it is time to drive to the reservoir to drop my bike in transition. I do my normal ritual of filling my tire and carrying Ruby Jean to transition. Yes, carry. There are things called “goatheads” in Boulder the are the most efficient tire popping device in the world. I spend a whole 3 minutes in transition, then go hop in the water for a little swim.


The little swim area at the reservoir was “great.” Half of it was most definitely not wetsuit legal. While the other half was maybe wetsuit legal. After noticing that, I asked someone in the information tent what the current water temp was and they told me the official temp is taken at 4:00am race day. “Duh,” I say (because I am a terrible person), “I am curious to know the current temp”. I left without an answer. I spent the rest of the day bored in a hotel room watching Family Guy.


Saturday: i.e. Race Day

After what was probably 4 hours of sleep--only about 60 minutes of it being continuous, I woke up at 3:30am. IRONMAN made it very clear that there is a lack of parking at the reservoir, so even though transition did not open until 4:30am they would let people in the venue at 4:00am. Me with my aforementioned views on lines and being late, got there at 3:58am to sit in the car for 30 minutes before I could even enter transition. Luckily I was parked by a bank of port-o-johns by the swim start, which was pretty convenient.


At 4:30am I walked over to transition and set out all my things, taking a grand total of 5 minutes (good thing I got there that early). While in transition it was announced the swim would be wetsuit legal. This might have been the oddest moment in my entire triathlon career. I am not a great swimmer, but I wanted a non wetsuit swim. In the 6 weeks since Coeur d’Alene I had been working specifically on my swim with Coach Sydney and did not know how it would feel in a wetsuit. Oh well, I’m not NOT going to wear a wetsuit when I can.


I make it back to the car by 4:45am with a race start time of 7:15am. I put my seat back and listened to a podcast for an hour. By that time my body decided it's time to have my typical orange pre-race bowel movement, luckily I am close to the port-o-johns (Quick side note: I take makeup remover wipes with me to races, they are great. They are gentle on your back side and perfect for removing salt off your body after the race).


We are now at T-minus 15 minutes to the start, this is the point I finish off my pre-race drink and gel. Immediately after I finished my drink (as though “they” were watching) It is announced that the race would be delayed 30 minutes because of parking issues. Hooray, there is nothing I enjoy more than standing in a rubber suit in direct sunlight.


To make it just a little worse, I was even stopped at the starting line for a 2 minute break to allow the swimmers to spread out during the rolling start.

The swim

Not my best, not my worst. Actually pretty close to my best even though I felt very off that day. The swim would have been a thousands times better if that was not a 30 minute delay. The second leg of the three leg swim was directly into the sun. I had dark, mirrored goggles and could barely make out the boats on course on the second leg.


The Bike

The Bike was the typical Boulder bike--Vrain and Hygiene are steep and awful. Not to mention the gigantic "no-passing zone" on HWY 36. Not to incriminate anyone, but I bet a whole bunch of people got passed on 36. All and all, the bike went well. Sometimes uneventful is the best way to go.

The Run

Boulder 70.3 has my least favorite run course of any race. It is a 2-lap out-and-back with more than half the course being dirt. One of my biggest stressors going into Boulder was what shoes to wear.


I raced CdA in Vaporflys and had a good time and really liked them. I raced IM WC in St. G (short hand is great) in Alpahflys, they were comfortable but did not feel as fast as the Vaporflys. However, the Alphaflys have a much grippier out-sole, so I choose them. I chose wrong. The squishiness of the Alphafly with the softness of the dirt did not work well for me.


Ultimately, the run was hot, dusty, and took way too long. Not my best.


Final Thoughts

It wasn't my best race, or even my best Bolder. I was able to stay positive and in a good mood which is big for me. A few years ago, a run like that would have derailed my mentally, but now I can enjoy it for what it is.


I have to say thank you to everyone that helped me get to this Boulder 70.3. Mainly my wife, my athlete, Jesse (who had a great race), Coach Sydney, and Coach Becky (because it is on the Boulder course I raced head to head with Coach Becky years ago, and think about it every time I come back).


 

Coach Adam Sczech is an IRONMAN University Certified Coach, USAT Level I Certified Coach, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and VFS Master Bike Fitter based out of the Western Slope of Colorado. Adam has years of experience coaching beginners, juniors, elites, and clubs as well as a year focusing specifically on special needs athletes. Adam's expertise with bike fitting is extensive with over 15 years and 8,000 fits for athletes that include two world record holders, a national champion, several IRONMAN Pro/Age Groups winners, and an ITU winner. He has completed several full and half Ironman races, as well as numerous Olympic and Sprint races.



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