Correction - 2011 Ochsner Ironman® 69.1 New Orleans
Got into New Orleans just after lunch on Friday and hit the athlete packet pick-up and expo before heading out for 30’ run to open up the legs. The wind was incredible and several gusts actually moved you back a step or two. The packet pickup was one of the best I’ve attended and you moved through the line/process fairly quickly. Dropped the bike off late Saturday afternoon at T1, which was just under 7 miles from the hotel / French Quarter. Did check out the lake and noticed the buoys outlining the course were not set-up. Should’ve realized this probably meant the swim would be canceled on race day. Didn’t get much sleep Saturday night due to the street noise in New Orleans. Probably should’ve requested a room on one of the top floors versus the 2nd that we were on.
Walking into T1 we heard the announcement that the swim had been canceled due to 25mph winds on the lake. Not an issue for those swimming but for those in kayaks trying to keep the swimmers safe. This was probably the best news I could’ve received race morning. See, I’m a MOP swimmer and a FOP biker and runner so this type of scenario suited me just fine.
Waves of age groupers lined up 2 x 2 and were set off every 2”. Talk about the possibility of drafting. I was in line for the bathroom when they called my wave. Decided to wait it out as it didn’t make sense starting a 56 mile ride already needing to go.
First 3.6 miles were fast - 28+mph and it was almost impossible not to draft. We made the first turnaround and the wind hit you at a 45º angle. Pace slowed some but didn’t beat you up like a true headwind. Plan was to keep the wattage at around 210W for the race and ended up averaging 218W for the first 28 miles probably due to staying left and passing everyone I could in order to race clean - not draft. There was 1 blatant pace line where the participants actually tried to recruit me as they went by and unfortunately, they didn't get busted for drafting. Their decision beat me by 1'54". I'm OK with this as I know I raced clean. Only saw 2 people in the penalty tent - so much for enforcing the rules.
First 28 miles - 1:16:48 @ 21.8 mph and 218W Pavg
Second 28 miles - 1:06:14 @ 25.2 mph and 207W Pavg
I dropped the wattage for the last 28 miles and focused on holding the 210W. This probably cost me a podium placing but I did set myself up for a great run. Hit 37.4mph in mile 55. Roads were fine for the most part but organizers should’ve marked pot holes or uneven surfaces with paint. Coming over the last bridge to mile 55, you pick up a huge tailwind and must make a sharp right hand turn. Could’ve been better marked but probably a good idea to take this turn sitting up versus aero. Goal for the ride was 2:20.
Time: 2:23:28 - 23.4 mph PAvg – 213W and NP of 219W
Coming off the bike my legs felt like jello and the run in T1 helped to get me going for the next 13.1 miles. The run course was shaded fairly well and there were numerous aid stations that were well stocked with volunteers, drinks, food, gels, and sponges.
Mile splits were as follows:
Mile 1 - 7:05
Mile 2 - 7:12
Mile 3 - 7:08
Mile 4 - 7:12
Mile 5 - 7:11
Mile 6 - 7:13
Mile 7 - 7:12
Mile 8 - 7:12
Mile 9 - 7:09
Mile 10 - 7:09
Mile 11 - 7:10
Mile 12 - 7:23
Mile 13 - 7:18
Blister came up on the ball of my left foot at mile 6. Wasn’t that big of an issue until I got into the French Quarter where the roads were awful and planting was difficult with the blister. Didn’t have much of a kick at the end which was disappointing.
Time: 1:34:29 - 7:12/mile pace
Total time: 3:59:52 – good enough for 7th out of 343 in the 40-44 age group and 112 out of 2300+.
Nutrition was spot on as I consumed (2) 24oz bottles of my home brew (500 calories of glucose, 3,176mg of NA, 160mg of K, and a little Kool-aid for flavor) plus 1 gel on the bike. For the run, I did a gel shot with water every odd mile through 9 and a cup of Perform for all of the even miles. No stomach issues whatsoever.
Was fortunate enough to get the first roll down spot for the Ironman® World Championship 70.3 in Las Vegas in September. Should be a course that suits my strengths – bike and run and the temperature should be to my advantage as well.