Before I dive straight into the looming race report I think its definitely time to pre-face with some early season notes. Most notably what the heck has been going on over the last few months? For one, you could guess (and be correct) that I’ve been training quite a bit. While, not as much as last year. In 2019 I believe I attended 5 camps before April which was quite the drain come mid-season but I would argue paid off after July since I had some of my best racing to date.
Since the start of 2020 I focused on more of a lighter-camp approach, only attending our annual Braveheart Camp in San Diego at the end of January. My training has also been more focused on suffering in the pain cave, since St. George has some very cold morning as let’s face it, I like to get everything done before 2pm. Undoubtedly, this has added tremendous value as proven what I just did at IRONMAN 70.3 Campeche and there is more to come on that awesome story. I have to also give credit to my best bud Jackson Laundry for coordinating at least 2 weekly ZWIFT rides where we literally rip eachother’s legs off. The biggest stress and time commitment has come in the form of building a strong sponsor support network, developing a small team with Body Health and working on a podcast launch.
SPONSORS for 2020
It’s not secret, I for sure make a strong point to represent and work hard for sponsors that sign on with me. In my personal opinion as an entrepreneur it’s the single most important aspect for my next 10 years of racing. Currently, our great sport provides a small trickle of funding for athletes unless you’re likely ranked in the top 100 and hell, I’m getting close to being part of that network. Regardless, sponsors have the ability to influence, support and provide a better race-centric lifestyle for athletes like me and I love giving the athletes I coach a steep discount for amazing products I actually believe in. Here is my 2020 sponsor list which has been actually built via blood, sweat and tears.
- Reforest Tech - Our Goal is to plant over 1 billion trees via drones!
- BodyHealth- The flag ship product PERFECT AMINO is for real a game changer
- Zoca Gear - Produced in the USA with amazing pricing, Italian materials and FAST reliable service
- Rudy Project - Simply put, amazing pro-level support and better lenses than you will find anywhere else. Their New WING is also stellar and what I’ve been missing for 2 years.
- Blue Seventy - Performance based, no fluff wetsuits that work beyond all measure
- INFINIT Nutrition - That’s right, I’m a 5 year CUSTOM Blend guy and still going strong!
- Factor Bikes - This past weekend I fell deeper in love with the SLICK! 1st off the bike!
- Clever Training - I provide product reviews and regular content for people who give AF.
- Red Rock Bike (St. George) - I host clinics and they hook up the stellar support
- Outspokin Bicycle (Florida) - a LONG time ally, supporting me since the beginning!
While I had to sound too much like a salesman I really do love those who I support and it’s a short list for a reason. Thank you for showing some support to those who have my back, everything helps when it comes to proving value.
To Race or NOT to race...
While in retrospect, I think moving forward with this event was likely irresponsible a LOT changed in the time I departed for Mexico and when the gun went off for the start of the race. While cases continued to double each day and borders and more restriction piled up, we were already in Mexico wondering if the Mexican government would provide restriction. Waking up on race morning, at that point we knew the race was on as everything was checked. Meanwhile more updates on postponed triathlons and gatherings over 100 are banned. However, we still felt lucky yet hesitant to race but, we were already rigged up and might as well play the hand we were dealt. Honestly, If things had escalated to this point when I was set to board a plane to travel I would have likely just stayed home but, I think deep down I selfishly wanted a chance to get out on the circuit before everything was shut down for the unknown duration. Either way, we raced! Here is how it went.
For the most part there are a few “set” things to expect when traveling to Mexico. For one, your contracted rental car price is always negotiable and will likely double when all is said and done. On the particular venture, if I didn’t buy the $280 full coverage they would but a $4600 credit hold on my card and honestly, I don’t even like to travel with a card of that limit for obvious reasons. So, they got me by the gonads on that one. At least at that point I knew all I had to do was bring it back full of gas and some sort of operation since it’s covered, right? The other items of interest are food and lodging. Will the air conditioning be adequate? Will the running water be enough to take 10% of what you would consider a shower and would the toilets flush every time? Would the food cause a 2 day diarrhea fit and would your GPS directions actually take you to the correct place? These are always the unknown items of interest when racing in Mexico unless you opt to stay at a resort. Personally, I like to prepare my own simple meals and have a kitchen….so while it might complicate things it does add a level of control us triathlete enjoy. Oh the final thing is, will your bike arrive? Astonishingly, I have to admit that Mexico has been VERY friendly to my bike case as opposed to America. I completely appreciate this aspect since our rigs usually cost in excess of $10k and are a means to make a living.
So, our water pressure sucked, the air conditioning was great and despite making some solid, simple food choices I still ended up with immediate GI issues which seriously rarely happens. I think it was the frozen back of freezer burned veggies….sigh. My bad! Myself, Jackson and Cody stayed together with another bud nearby, Taylor Reid. Honestly, These Canadian boys have become not only peers but some of my best friends and I would lie if it wasn’t a sad goodbye when we parted ways. The race logistics for IRONMAN 70.3 Campeche are as follows.
- T1 and T2 are separate (we stayed blocks away from T2) and near a 50m swimming pool
- The race starts at 12:50 PM and it’s usually 90+ degrees and windy
- We split a rental car so we could easily transport ourselves + bikes to T2 (appx. $500 for a minivan)
- We did our Grocery shopping at the local MEGA which was great for health options.
- Make sure to pre-ride the first 20k of the bike course as it’s the only technical aspect
Aside from general race stuff it was really business as usual. Due to COVID-19 we of course were using hand sanitizer as much as we were eating food and the pro meeting was cancelled in spite of the expo being pretty packed and the shuttle service still running. Otherwise we chilled in our AirBnb and made the most of our down time by laughing, watching trailer park boys, playing Nintendo swtich and debating on the value of the PTO. We cooked at home and basically ate rice, eggs and snacks in the form of carbs. Campeche itself is a very cool little down build inside of a fort. There are tons of shops and restaurants to peruse but we decided to stay away from most people. Leading to the start of the race we just had a ton of down time with a few light sessions to plan around. Otherwise we just ate a shit load of snacks.
- We were ready to hit the shuttle promptly at 10:30 and after a 25-minute ride, we were at the beautiful Campeche Country Club with our bikes. Step 1 is to always make sure your pride and joy is safe and sound and your tires aren’t exploded. This was my FIRST trip with my new bike but holy hell was I pumped to race it. After being on Storck for the last 2 years and really hating it I cannot tell you enough how proud I am to be on a FACTOR! My Alto race wheels were set and even though my pals said I was an idiot I decide to run the Specialized Cotton tires with Tubolito tubes. They survived the overnight heat-fest and ultimately the abuse of the day (which was a lot). After some shots from TriMexico and a swim warm up, which actually cooled us down a bit - it was time to line up. Of course our group of 4 stuck together since we knew each other’s style AND that we could all lead the groups.
We started far left in order to avoid a lot of the heavy bashing that usually takes place on the more “direct” side knowing we could still all be up front even having to go around a bit. All in all we had a very clean start and I was quickly floating between 2nd and 3rd but we are pretty sure the 1st dude cut a buoy and consequently the course. I exited the water 2nd with Matt Hanson, Jackson Laundry, Taylor Reid and Cody Beals all within 6 sec of each other.
Straight out of T1 there a series of 2 steep hills, one of which meant I was going to have to push my 1X front chainring set up to the max since it’s like 18% incline for about .25 mile. Matt quickly got ahead since his front derailleur stopped working and also placed him with a sub-optimal gear scenario for the 1 massive climb of the day. At the top of the hill there are brief section of shitty cobbles and then a STEEP descent into more cobbles where 90% of us lost a bottle. I certainly did…I made a rookie mistake and forgot to add a rubber band. I quickly said goodbye to my 370 calorie bottle and knew it would be essential to use course nutrition which was Gatorade….and usually kills my stomach. After about 5 minutes into the highway portion and long-steady climb I settled into a 320 watt aero position that felt really smooth. Heading into the only technical section of the course I knew this was where I could likely bridge away but I STILL expected others to come back eventually. I bunny hopped every LARGE speed bump at full speed, aero-tucked a sketch descent and quickly found firm power once on the coastal highway. As I made my way into town and onto the 2-loops section I was certainly expecting a few to punch up to me but, no one was coming. Of course the first aid stations weren’t ready for me so, no extra nutrition until the 45 min mark. The course was mostly great surface but then also had a lot of chip-seal surface and a LOT of wind. The heat was full-on for the first loop of the bike and I prayed for some cloud cover. Still alone up front I just stuck to my numbers and manage my low back pain. I ended up taking in 4 bottles from the course and came into T1 with a but over 60 sec lead on M. Weiss, Jackson Laundry and Matt Hanson.
My second problem came as I was putting on my socks in T2. The hell of my sock totally ripped open, exposing the whole back of my Achilles to the aggressive heel of the Nike Next %. Within 1k I was bleeding all over the back of my shoe and I had to stop like 4 times to finally tighten it down all the way so it would at least numb the pain. I was holding strong with solid pacing at mile 3 until the boys were about to pass and honestly, even riding I knew I had a bit at a 4th and 5th position since those boys have always killed me on the run. I’m a realist but I still would be STOKED with 4th or 5th for season opener. Regardless, at mile 5 I was either going to have a butt explosion or my guts were going to explode from a sudden knife wound to my right side. Anytime I’ve had to use Gatorade on course this has happened which honestly was only 1 time before and also because I had dropped my INFINIT mix. It’s these tiny mistakes that cost my strong finish. All I could do was walk to prevent knife-stabbing pains to the right side of my gut as I just knew I had to finish and enjoy the opportunity to race and a lot of TV time on the bike. I gave a LOT away but was still so happy to be with my pals and seeing Jackson finish in 2nd place, ahead of M. Weiss was amazing. Taylor and Cody had days that did not reflect their abilities either so at least we could all commiserate together post-race and give Jackson the respect he so consistently deserves.
For the COVID-19 part of the race, I would say 90% of volunteers had gloves but I still felt pretty suspect biting into each water-bag or taking ice…but it was SO hot, we needed it. I’m going to thoroughly focus on the nutrition aspect with a new run mix in a hand-held bottle for future races or at least a concentrated super-flask I can take with some water at aid stations. My performances just cannot suffer from a nutritional screw-up…trust me, it’s frustrating but I will own it. I’m still learning and sometimes small things ruin a big result. It was at least amazing to lead a good amount of the race, knowing I still have some great results ahead. Moving forward I’ll likely take some lower pressure weeks of solitary training as we all adjust to the new type of disease prevention focused life.
Seriously, for any of you who have shown my some love and support, you need to know that it means to world to me. I base my life around this sport and it’s literally my life story for now and I’m not going to let up. I will take this as far as I can, wherever that may be.