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Kona 70.3 Report

Monday, 03 June 2013 05:03 |
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Well I truly was having a fantastic race. In my swim warm up I saw a huge manta ray gliding through the water. It gave me a sense of calm and wonder.  I positioned myself well in the 1000 person mens wave. I set out strong but kept telling myself to relax and be smooth (Franky Goes to Hollywood Song running through my brain) . The first 600m was in the shallow part of the ocean so I felt comfortable.  Then the course headed out to deep sea and choppier waters. The day brought unique and strong winds down from the massive volcano. Most locals said it was the hardest conditions in the last 5 years. 

There was actually a strong off shore wind so when we were coming back to shore to end the swim, it was very choppy and water spray. I have a fast transition passing at least 150 athletes in that ever so important aspect of the triathlon (I think I went from 11 in my AG to 3rd). The bike started off uphill and against the wind, slow and strong. It was still faster to stay in aero position despite traveling at a slow 15km per hour.

Once we reached the main hiway, I found my legs. I was truly flying on the bike. Comfortably rolling past dozens of people until there was no one left. I felt like I was winning the race. I caught all the Pro women before Hawi and knew I was on. Often I would see people standing up and muscling their way up slight grades and headwinds. I just kept aero and kept the spin all the time reminding myself that the 21km run was brutal and the game was all about saving energy. 

As the athletes made the turn from Hawi, I counted that I was in 15th place overall including the pros. I knew I was in the top 8 amateurs and we had quite a lead on the next group behind us. Fly down from Hawi, our speed jumped from 18 km per hour at times to 78km per hour in aero position. You most definitely need to be  confident with your bike position when travel that fast with unknown cross winds.

With only 20 miles to end the bike, traveling at 50km per hour I have a front wheel blow out...  I did not panic and made sure I stopped in control (if your front wheel slides out you are done). I fixed it quickly and was not at all bothered by the misfortune. I started riding again,  then bang, another flat!  I was out of tubes.  I then waited on the side of the road for 30 minutes to get another tube and CO2 from a race official... fix it, then pop.... flatish... weird.... well my tire was damage and would not seed on the rim... so I road dangerously but slowly another 5 miles to get to the next aid station where the race mechanics were. Got a new tire, tube and was off.... BUMMED of course but had to regroup.

I decided to ride strong and try to win the run split for my AG and run top 5 overall.... I did exactly that...  and at least I tested my fitness and mental toughness. I ran only 5 minutes slower than Crag Alexander the overall pro winner. The run was extremely difficult. It was like an XTERRA run with lots of soft grass and steep up and down golf paths. I had no muscle cramping and great fueling (2 bottles of 320 calories plus a Honey Stinger gel along with water at aid stations on the bike).  Ice down the chest into the one piece tri suit works amazing to cool off the groin and chest.  On the run I consume 3 honey stinger gels with water only. I ingested 700mg of sodium capsules on the bike along with some sodium in the liquid fuel. During the run I have another 600mg of sodium.

All in all, good experience with OK results. The winner of my AG was a local GOD... he crushed our AG by 20 minutes. I likely would have been 2nd 10 minutes back. Racing is always a new experience. Hope there is something in this report that you can use in your next race.

Huge Congrats to Bev Watson for winning her age group with a spectacular performance (she would have been 2nd in the AG below as well). She is undefeated this season in Ironman, 70.3 and even sprinkle in some Spartan racing.

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Calvin Zaryski

CoachCal has been coaching for over 30 years. Not just focusing on athletes, but on individuals whose goals range from climbing Mount Everest to recapturing the power of active living.

Website: criticalspeed.com

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