A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Ironman 70.3 Boise, Part 2 (The Bike)

The swim to bike transition is one of my favorite times in a tri...second only to crossing the finish line!
Exiting the water I was happy the brutally cold swim was over and my favorite part of every triathlon lay ahead: The Bike. I was a cyclist for several years before my cycling friends talked me into attempting my first tri in 2003. I've always considered the ride portion to be my strongest of the three events.

The wet suit strippers
Running up the long hill into transition I stopped, dropped and let the wetsuit strippers pull off my synthetic rubber whale skin. More than 1,200 volunteers, nearly one for every athlete, did a great job throughout the course, guiding us at every turn, handing out water, Gatorade and Power Bars and Gels at the aid stations and offering words of encouragement.

Wet suit off, helmet, gloves, glasses and cycling shoes on, I began the 56-mile ride. But it quickly became apparent that the leg cramps in the water were going to make this ride painful. And the headwind on the descent from Lucky Peak Reservoir meant there would be no coasting on the ride. But the worst part of the ride, by far, was the long, desolate stretch of road through an industrial section of town highlighted by its total lack of scenery to keep my mind off the pain in my legs.

Heading out on the 56-mile bike course (#865) I was hopeful I could pick up
some of the six minutes I lost on the swim. 
After 40 or so miles of bleak terrain and unforgiving wind (apparently not as bad as last year) the ride reentered Boise and headed back towards the capitol. The final ten miles of mostly downhill were welcome but at this point I began feeling the dreaded hot foot that plagued my first Ironman 70.3 in 2007.

Hot foot is caused by pressure on the nerves that runs between the metatarsal bones in the ball of your foot. It's called hot foot because your toes feel like they are on fire. The pain can be excruciating on the bike, but even worse when running, as the pressure on the nerves intensifies with every step.

I stuck my bike dismount, stopping just short of the line. If there had been judges on this part of the event I would have received all 10s!
Crossing the bike finish in 3:12:21 (17.5 mph average) and a total elapsed time of 4:11:06, I knew my goal time of six hours was shot and my PR of 6:06 in Boulder was safe. There was no way I was going to pull off a sub two-hour run. I thought I might possibly be able to better my Vineman time of 6:28:43. Possibly. If I could run at all.

As I sat on the ground to put on my running shoes I contemplated quitting once again. But once again I told myself, "Just finish." I decided then and there that even if I had to walk the 13.1-mile run course I would cross the finish line. So I got up and headed down the long aisle of bikes towards the run exit.
Heading out on the 13.1-mile run course, the final leg of Ironman 70.3 Boise
As I started to jog I felt the familiar stab of pain each time my left foot hit the ground, my left knee ached and my right calf and hamstring felt like they could both seize up at any moment. Clearly, then pain would continue for at least another two hours.

Next up: The Run.
Ride on...


  1. It is amazing that you can push your body to extremes. The mind is a funny thing. When I did the Komen 3-Day (60 mile walk/20 miles per day), I had blisters all over my feet by the middle of day two. I didn't think I could make it, but you psych yourself up and work through the pain when (and if) you can. Fortunately, my blisters never became infected or else I would have been red carded by the medical staff. My left knee was strained, too, from pavement pounding. I became a creative blister fixer-upper and made it through to the end!

    Way to go Daren!

  2. "Jules" -- Congratulations on your own personal triumph in the Komen 3-Day. I'm sure you can appreciate the "finish line feeling" and sense of accomplishment, especially doing it to support such an important cause. My mom is a breast cancer survivor and I once rode acorss Missouri in four days with a buddy, raising $16,820 for the Komen KC chapter.

  3. I have had computer problems requiring web-based assistance to retrieve Outlook, which all made me very nervous. So, just read this blog -- makes me feel the pain for you all over again! But, so proud of your perseverance. You are truly amazing! Now,on to reading your next chapter -- the run. I dread it! :) Mom


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