Ironman Wisconsin 2013

 

With only 2 weekends between my last Ironman race and this one, I was really interested (and a bit scared) to see how my body would handle another Ironman! Being one of the first races of the 2014 season, there was a fairly large field of over 30 males Pros on the start line.

My legs had recovered well, and with a smart training plan between races I was confident of pulling off another solid one. My coach had me on a fairly light work load, with some good interval sessions at race pace just to remind the body that it wasn’t time for the usual ‘post ironman’ wind down time!

The race plan was to go into it with ‘nothing to lose’ and not to follow ‘power’ ‘HR’ or ‘pace’. Racing by ‘feel’ can sometimes bring a better result as you haven’t set any pre-determined limits before the event has even started. (Racing by ‘feel’ can also bring on the most spectacular explosions too! haha)

 

The Course

The swim is one-lap in Lake Monona right out the front of the Monona terrace in down-town Madison, It is an awesome place for spectators and they are lined all the way up the 3-level spiral entrance to the transition-carpark.

The bike starts on a rolling course out to the 2 x 65km hilly loops through the rural Dane County, then back to the lake front and up to the top of the 3 level carpark to T2

The challenging run heads out over various terrain including concrete, tarseal, gravel and dirt paths, and you even get to run a loop inside Camp Randall – Badger stadium on the spongy astroturf – twice!

The transitions here are the most interesting and awesome I have come across, after running up the ‘Helix’ you enter the Terrace building and run along the carpet hallway into a big conference room which is transformed into T1, and same for T2, just run in reverse, you get to ride right up to the door and dump your bike off like Valet parking.

Helix

 

Quick run-down of how my day played out:

swim exitSwim: Choppiest and warmest lake I have ever swum in, fairly chaotic start but managed to settle into the 2nd group along the first turn. The long back stretch was really lumpy and the guys I were swimming with were heading all over the show, I just stuck to my line and concentrated on sighting every 10 or so strokes to stay in a straight line, This worked well and I caught a couple of front pack stragglers by the last buoy before shore.

56mins – one of my slower swims but happy in those conditions and only 3 mins from the first out of the water.

 

 

Last push back into town
Last push back into town

 

 

Bike: A large group formed quite early on and the pace felt fairly comfortable so I decided to stick with them for the first section and then re-assess. I had a decision made for me by one of the Marshalls tho.. First yellow card I have ever got. This means I had to stop at the next penalty tent, write down my name and some details, sign a form and then go again.. About 45seconds worth but this is an age while you are watching the group ride away through the hills.  (my ‘penalty’ was for riding on the wrong side of a cone on a 2-lane corner, a volunteer directed me that way, but there is no use arguing!) Back on the course and I had some new motivation.. Catch that group! I rode hard and powered the up hills and around 15kms later I had clawed my way back on, we were still only 100km into the ride but I was feeling strong and I could tell that the pace of the group had dropped a bit. So it was head-down and battle the headwinds back to T2 solo – a good move as I put around 5mins into the group and never saw any of them again..

4hrs 58mins – Best power output I have ridden on a very honest course.. Hills..Wind..Rough roads.. All good fun

ironman-bike-elevation         bike map

 

Massive empty stadium makes for a lonely loop!
Massive empty stadium is quite airy to run through, usually seats over 80,000 fans!

Run : Straight out of T2 (I had the quickest transition of the day) there is an awesome wall of spectators lining the Capitol square screaming  and cheering, the first section is mostly downhill and with the incredible support the pace was on! I passed a group of 3 guys early on and was up into 6th place at km 14. I got some time splits at 21km.. 1hr 26mins but still over 7mins seperating me and 5th place. Decision time again! Run steady and controlled and be happy with 6th or have a crack at Top-5.. Easy choice! Hammer down!! I managed to get to within 2mins but that would be as close as I would get. Struggled home over the last 5k, ended up getting passed by 2 guys on the last hill section and took 8th place.

2hrs 59mins – Really happy with my effort and still ran a P.B on a super tough run course on the back of a solid ride!

IM Run Course

 

 

IMWI finish time
45 odd seconds for that penalty stop…hmm.. haha!

Should definitely be race to add into your schedule if you like a challenging event on a spectacular course with a great community of supporters!

Quite happy to have a seat
Quite happy to have a seat

 

It was a great day out for me, a big confidence boost knowing that I can back up some big races and that all the hard work is paying off.. A few easy weeks now before a renewed focus and plan is put in place for the NZ summer season!

 

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First one to the massage room!
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Food in the VIP tent.. Real food! Unlimited big steaks

 

 

Awards ceremony with Mike Reilly
Awards ceremony with Mike Reilly

 

Thanks again to my sponsors for all their support :

Orchard Gold berries, Endura sports nutrition, Saucony, Tri’n’Run, G2 Personal training, Rocktape, Smith Optics, Timex, Compressport,  Schwalbe and Sugoi.

 

Keep up to date with our travels and racing on :

 Twitter – @CochraneSimon

 Facebook – SimonCochraneIronman

Mont Tremblant Ironman – North American Championships

Canada Quebec flag

Last week we travelled to Quebec, Canada for Ironman Mont-Tremblant – the North American Championships. Quebec was amazing and it would have to rate one of my all-time favourite places I have been to. The pristine lakes (over one million in Quebec alone!) and mountains of Mont Tremblant provide such great scenery everywhere you look. I feel lucky to have been able to race the North American Ironman Championships on the spectacular course.

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Stunning house with an epic view!

We arrived on the Wednesday of race week and were staying with a local homestay family Mark and Caroline. Mark was competing too, and this would be his first Ironman. Their house was a beautiful place out in the country and only 25 minute drive to the race start. The set up they have at their place was awesome with a huge private lake right out front, an endless pool, wind trainer, gym, and nice packed gravel roads for running. Mark and Caroline were incredibly helpful and made us feel very welcome. They made us some awesome meals, Mark gave us a guided tour of the course, and they insisted that we use their new Volvo SUV to transport our bikes and that they would use our little rental car. On Monday after prizegiving they took us up to the top of the mountain for some sightseeing and we finished off an amazing week in Canada with a beautiful dinner at an Italian restaurant up the mountain with champagne to celebrate. We are lucky enough to have been provided with homestay families to stay with at both of our overseas races and both times we have met amazing people and had such an awesome time! It has made the race week experience much less stressful and a lot more fun! It was also great to be able to offer some advice and assistance to Mark on his first Ironman experience.

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Private swimming pool 🙂

 

 

Perfect race week meals with Mark and Caroline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The course at Mont Tremblant is amazing. The lake swim is an out and back in a clean warm lake, followed by a 2-loop hilly ride (>2000m elevation gain) and finishing up with a 2 lap rolling run over a variety of terrain including a packed gravel track! It was a warm day and this Championship race had drawn a solid field of over 30 males including multiple Ironman and 70.3 champions, along with some talented locals.

Race morning
Mont Tremblant

The Race

My day went great, I stuck to my game plan and was happy with how it played out, I lead the 2nd group out of the water, bummer that we had already given up 5mins to the top 11 guys who flew around! It would always be a bit nicer if I didn’t have to ride entirely solo, but I knew what power I wanted to hold and did just that. The hills on the 2nd loop were a bit more challenging as all the long climbs seemed to be accompanied by a head wind! The road conditions were near perfect – would have been a different story for everyone on the bike if we had to contend with the chip seal from NZ! Off the bike and I got into my stride nicely, holding my goal pace throughout the first 25kms. The 2nd time around the hilly section in the heat made for a challenge and damaged the average pace a wee bit…..  but the others were suffering more than I was and I kept pushing on. I passed a couple of guys in the last 10kms to finish up in 15th place and with another 3 guys only 5mins up the road.

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Quick shot after the finish and before the recovery and food tent!

 

I am pleased with how my race went but also disappointed that I missed the 9th place finish I would have needed to secure that Kona spot!  When I look back over my season, I have had consistent results (2nd kiwi in the Kona ranking points) and am continually learning and improving over all 3 disciplines.  The 15th place at the North American Champs capped off my 3 top 10’s and an 11th over the Ironman distance for the season.

 

 

 

The next challenge

We are back in Wisconsin now, and coincidentally the first race of the 2013/2014 season kicks off here in Madison in just over 2 weeks.  So I thought why not! It will be an awesome test to see how my body handles 2 Ironman events so close together. My focus over the next 2 weeks will be on recovery, good nutrition and to get to the start line as fresh as possible. My legs seemed to have pulled up pretty good, and mentally I was already prepared for one more big race!  It will also be a good opportunity to get some early Kona points for 2014 and get a race in before I ease off and build up for the season back home! It will be hard travelling to Kona and not competing but will be nice to support Larisa and return the help she has given me on this trip so far, and also to catch up and support the big Kiwi contingent taking part this year!

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Home stretch at Ironman Mont Tremblant

 

Thanks again to my sponsors for all their support :

Orchard Gold berries, Endura sports nutrition, Saucony, Tri’n’Run, G2 Personal training, Rocktape, Smith Optics, Timex, Compressport,  Schwalbe and Sugoi.

 

Keep up to date with our travels and racing on :

 Twitter – @CochraneSimon

 Facebook – SimonCochraneIronman

USA trip – Update so far… The first 3.5 weeks have flown by!

USA flag 2

 

On July 8th Larisa and I flew out of Auckland headed towards the USA for 3 months of training and racing. We are lucky enough to have a base in Madison, Wisconsin staying with Larisa’s cousin Julia who has been kind enough to have us to stay – thanks Julia! We arrived into Madison after 30hours of flying via Rarotonga and Los Angeles. There were a few dramas along the way with delays and baggage not fitting in the car but it’s funny how everything always just works out nicely when you stay calm and trust that things happen for a reason 🙂 Larisa’s cousin picked us up at 1am local time with a rental van (big enough to fit all our bags/bikes!) and drove us to her apartment where we are basing ourselves for the next few months. The apartment is a perfect little setup for us; great kitchen, big fridge and a coffee machine! It’s so close to everything we need, walking distance to the Wholefoods food market and Target, 500m to the local outdoor pool, 10min ride away from wide open rolling country side and 1km away from the lake with endless running trails and dirt tracks! The apartment complex also has its own Bbq area and outdoor pool – great for recovery days!

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Our first ride, nice clear morning!
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Pool – 5 mins walk from the door!

 

The first week here was a heat wave in Madison, upwards of 35 degrees and 80%+ humidity most days – a bit of a shock to the system but great for training and mental toughness! It made my 29km birthday run a good challenge! We had a couple of solid weeks training in Madison before our first race at Racine 70.3. There was no tapering for this one – we were both using the race as part of the build-up for our bigger Ironman races later in the season. We were lucky enough to stay with a great home stay family who were an awesome support to us on race week – including a tour of the bike course and some fantastic meals. They also came out to cheer us on during the race and made for a really enjoyable day. Thanks Kruse family! We were happy with how the day went, it is always good to test out a few things and find out where you are at. The race gave us an extra dose of confidence for what is to come and also a few things to focus on in the next block of training.

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Dinner out with our home stay family in Racine

 

 

 

 

 

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Transition full with over 2500 bikes

We are back in Madison after Racine and have been lucky to meet heaps of great people. We have been going along to a Friday morning swim in a private quarry lake with one of the local tri-clubs – it’s a beautiful lake to swim in – so clean and fresh and great to get in some open water swimming training! At one of the swim sessions we were introduced to Will Smith – a kiwi triathlete who has been living here for a few years. We spent last weekend out at his place and joined him and a few other local pros for some awesome riding and trail running. It’s a fantastic place to train in the summer and it looks like a fun place to train in the winter too – they turn the trails into snow-shoeing runs through the forest!

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Back at Wills after a 5hr ride

 

 

 

 

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Another warm one

 

 

 

 

Next up for me is Ironman Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada on August 18th. This is my main race for the season over here and it is a good opportunity to earn more points towards a starting spot in the Mens Pro Field at the World Champs in Hawaii. It is the North-American Championship race so has a 4000 point value – that makes it a high scoring points race attracting a solid field of Male Pros. The course looks stunning and suits my strengths – I can’t wait!! It has a nice fresh water lake swim – hilly 2-loop bike course and an awesome run with a large portion of it on off-road trails.. Larisa has already qualified for Hawaii and wont be racing here. She will be using the trip to Canada to make the most of some riding and run training in the mountains! (and to give me extra support – and a hurry-up – on race day!)

 

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Lake at Mont Tremblant

The climate and terrain in Madison has been perfect for our training, and having a bit more time for recovery and all the little extra things is really benefiting us. The town is full of like-minded active people with training facilities all over the place, the University of Wisconsin has a large amount of rowing, running and swimming competitors so there are always people out early every morning which is good to see!

A big couple of weeks training is ahead of us now before we fly up to Canada. We have been lucky enough to be partnered with another homestay for race week and it sounds like they have a private lake to swim in. We look forward to meeting another great family and it will be one more cool experience to add to the trip so far. I hope everyone back home in NZ is having a great time as winter embarks and that all your trainig is going to plan! We will touch base again before the race in Quebec!

 

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Simon and Larisa

– Living the dream!

 

 

 

 

Also check out a short clip we made of some of the local trails:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5psaKva3Uc

 
 
 

Cairns Ironman 2013

After a night of non-stop wind and rain, the sun rose to a nice clear morning in the Cairns harbour. The 70.3 started first and we set off quite late for an Ironman at 7:45am. One bonus from this was that the cafes were open and we had time to grab a quick coffee with the support crew before the race start.

Support Crew

Swim

We had about 5mins to get in and warm up, which didn’t take long as the water temp was up at 23degrees! I had a fairly clean start swimming the first 2k loop near the front of the main pack with Clayton Fettell a couple of minutes ahead of everyone. Coming around the turn buoy I slotted in on Tim Berkel’s feet as the pace had picked up, 20sec later I looked up and realised the main pack had surged forward and now had opened a small gap… I swam steady through the rest of the 2nd loop as we had to weave through the age group field, and make our way up the stairs and onto the pier for the 500m run to T2.

I was glad to get my wetsuit off! The final 15mins of the swim was getting really warm, the water temp combined with the sun heating up was intense.

Exited in 52mins and flew through transition.

Bike

The main pack of guys including Cam Brown, Macca and Matty White had a couple of mins on me heading out onto the highway. Luke McKenzie and Clayton had increased their swim lead and were pushing hard. Everyone kept the pressure on and powered up the coast taking advantage of the solid tail wind right into Port Douglas, I wanted to ride my own race and set the pace that I knew I could hold, knowing that the return trip into the increasing breeze would be challenging. The last 15k back into town was super tough but I knew everyone would be feeling it. Entered T2 after 4hrs 56mins on my bike.

Exiting T2

Run

Run form straight off the bike was great, I passed a couple of guys by kilometre 2, who had pulled the pin early into the run after the tough bike. Out into the cane fields the headwind was still blowing hard and I was getting some positive time splits to the guys up the road. I was pleased with my steady controlled run and trusted that my strong finish would pick off some guys late into the marathon. I passed 3 guys in the final 10k to finish 8th Professional and first Kiwi home!
3:11 marathon and a 9:05 finish

Thanks to my great sponsors: Orchard Gold, Saucony, Endura, TRI N RUN, PRV, Smith Optics, RockTape, Ministry of Swimming and Timex.

The season is going great, and we are on track for the World Champs in Kona!

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2013 IMNZ Race Report

Flying out to Reporoa.
Flying out to Reporoa.

Finally Taupo delivers the perfect conditions for race day, clear blue sky, a light breeze and nice and sunny for the run! I had a great build up and was excited to hit the start line.

Swim – 51:35

The morning was perfect and the warm glassy conditions of Lake Taupo invited some fast swim times, the pace was insane from the start, the lead group exploded away and I just missed the feet of Cam Brown and Courtney Ogden. I had some company for the outward leg, Gina Crawford and Keegan Williams staying on my feet till the turn buoys, the pace at this stage felt a bit too comfortable. I picked it up a bit on the way back and was happy to set my own pace and swim alone, exiting in 6th place and about 30sec up on the 3rd group with a personal best swim split by nearly 2 mins!

Bike – 5:01

Out onto the bike and the first 90km flew by, pacing with Keegan and Scott Defilipis, we pushed the tempo pretty hard and were making some inroad into the guys ahead. I think it flew by a little too quick tho, as my nutrition plan wasn’t keeping up! At around 120km my energy levels took a dive and my power output was feeling non-existent. I had gone way too far into calorie deficit to come right but managed to spin my way back to T2. I had lost over 10mins in the last 30kms to the guys I was comfortably riding with earlier.

Run – 3:18

What can I say about the run, starting a marathon in the heat of the day after 180km on the bike is hard enough… let alone after not eating enough and being severely dehydrated! I went out at my goal pace for the first few kms but it didn’t take long to realise that this was not going to last. My legs felt fine but the energy levels wouldn’t allow the pace to rise over 4:40/km.. So in the end that’s all I could hold and did just that. Was really happy with my run for the way I was feeling though and even managed to pick off a couple of the other Pro men and climb back up into the top 10.

Total time – 9:17 (10th place)

Overall I was pleased with my day, a personal best swim, solid for most of the bike and could have quite easily just pulled the pin on the run. But I stuck it out and chugged on to the finish. It’s my 10th Ironman finish in my 4 years of racing. The body is feeling  pretty good, now its a couple of easy weeks before the build up for Ironman Cairns starts!

Check out some cool footage from out on the bike : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WppfpOBlxn8