Green Member: Cliff King
Event: Kansas 70.3 Half Ironman
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Results: 33rd AG
Local Knowledge and Conditions: Who ever said Kansas was flat has never been to Lawrence. It was by far the hardest bike course I have done to date. And it has a hill on the run that you must do twice that is about double the hill on the Longhorn 70.3. That said it is a beautiful location and a awesome atmosphere for a race. Race day weather was perfect temperature in the 60's and with a pretty decent wind and not a drop of rain which the local stations said was an 80% chance of during race time. Thank you God because the bike course would have been crazy with slick roads.
Pre-Race Strategy & Warm-Up: Up at 4:00 a.m. to get my nutrition in and everything together to drive the 15 minutes to the venue. With two transition areas and about a half mile walk between the two, it was a good warm up just getting things set up before the 6:15 a.m. closing of the transition. Water temp. allowed for wetsuits and I was zipped up and ready to rock with about 5 minutes to spare. Being the first real wave after the pro's was interesting because there was very little time to get nervous. We were in the water 8 minutes after the pro men started. Actually racked my bike just about 25 yards from Chrissie Wellington. She is incredible both as an athlete and a person. More on that later…
Lessons Learned: Set a new PR for me in the 70.3 distance race with a 5:55:23. But very disappointed because I really should have done probably a 5:40-5:45 but started to cramp on the second leg of the run and dropped 12 spots in my age group on the last 5 miles. Don't know if it was the hills on the bike that trashed my legs but they left me right at the bottom of the big hill on the second lap of the run. Don't think it was nutrition because I never felt bad. Maybe I am just a flatlander or a wimp or both. I actually tried to push through the pain but it really wasn't pain as much as there was just nothing left.
Another interesting thing about starting behind the pros is that there is nobody to pass. Just getting passed all the time by all the great age group bikers behind me. Very humbling. That might have made me push a little harder on the bike than I should have.
Special Notes: Chrissie Wellington rocks! She not only beat all the women and finished in the top 20 of the men, but then she stayed at the finish line and put medals on age group finishers. Getting a smile, a hug, and a medal from her at the finish line was a big surprise. An even bigger surprise was I finished, ate, sat around and talked, packed up, sat around and talked some more, and was driving away at 3:15 and she was still there hugging and handing out medals. What other world class athlete would do that!
All and all I was prepared well by Coach Dawdy but still don't have enough personal experience to adjust to race day situations on the longer triathlons. Just need more experience and time.