Monday, 27 July 2009

Ironman Switzerland 2009

It took 11hours, 48minutes, 55 seconds , 3.8km of swimming, 180.2kms of cycling and 42.2kms of running but on Sunday 12 July I joined a select group of the population who can say that I have completed an Ironman Triathlon!!!!

The lead up..
After 6 months of hard training the day was almost near. We packed up everything and I flew out to Zurich early on Friday morning. The sight of many other athletes (and their bikes) at Heathrow Terminal 5 sent shivers down my spine as I knew that the day was near. I arrived into Zurich around 9am and waited for Julian (aka the Captain) and Nicole to arrive before we set off on a taxi ride to town that could only be described as a “harrowing experience”... Lets just say, just arriving alive at the start line would be an achievement in itself.
The hotel (Hotel Seefold) was lovely, beautiful tram tracks out the front, just a short stroll to the lake and right in the heart of everything… that was until we woke at 5am the next morning to the sound of industrial sized jack hammers pulling the tram tracks up to replace them.. When you’re preparing for the race of your life, nothing beats the ear piercing noise of metal on concrete. None the less, we stayed focused and spent the day on the couch watching the Tour de France before bike check in that afternoon. Once we dropped the bikes off in transition I realised there was no turning back. You would think that the sight of 2200 bikes in transition would scare some, however I just did as the Captain says and enjoyed the spectacle of it all... We had already visited the Ironman village on Friday and spent up a storm so now it was back to the construction zone of the hotel, a nice big pasta in the early evening and then off to bed around 9:30pm. Tomorrow was race day and I would be putting the past 6 months hard work into action!

The race day..
Alarm went off at 4am... bang straight up and out of bed... today was the day!! Somehow I actually managed to get a good 7 hours sleep and when the alarm went off I was raring to go. First things first, I had to slap on a few Aussie flag tattoo’s on the legs and then we were off for breakfast. The hotel we were staying in had organised an early breakfast for all competitors so we had that early and before we knew it we were in the cab on the way to the course. Still relatively no nerves… I was a little surprised but on the flip side, very much enjoying not having the “jumping out of my skin” feeling – I had over 10 hours of exercise ahead of me where I could use that all up!! The start line was busy... loads of people milling around putting on wetsuits, finalising bike setup, laying down towels and running for the long day ahead.. I just went about my business and set out all of my stuff making sure not to forget anything. Before I knew it we were getting the 15minute warning and I had my wetsuit on trying to get through the crowd to the start line – the past 6 months of hard training were all for this moment!!

The swim..
2,200 competitors all starting together in the water = chaos. Need I say more!! Well actually I have had worse in a BRW race back home with 100 people in the wave. Must be that the majority of people racing Ironman have some sort of respect/knowledge of how to swim in open water. That being said, the shear number of people swimming together meant that there was still some Argy Bargy (for those back home – a good bar in Carlise Street, St Kilda – check it out).. All commentary was in German so understanding when the starter was about to shoot the gun was almost impossible. As it turned out I just went when everyone around me started swimming... but then they stopped… then we were off again. I reckon this cost me a minute :) but we can’t be certain. Anyway, we were off and going and the long day had begun! The water was amazing – nice and clear and a great 21 degrees.. The course was a weird course – it was two laps, the first approximately 1.8km and the second 2.0km, however you had to exit the water after the first lap and run 20metres over a small island before jumping back into the water to swim the second lap. I kept looking at my watch and was reasonably happy with my progress – that was until I jumped back in for the second lap and passed a marker saying I had only done 1.5km.. this must be wrong otherwise I had been travelling a lot slower than anticipated…. A little further on came the 1.6km marker.. oh oh.. maybe I was swimming slow.. and then right behind it was the 1.7km marker… hhhmm that was a very short 100m… I think either the markers had been put in the wrong spot OR they had moved during the first lap, either way I could see the finish line as I turned around the top corner bouy and knew how far I had to go so just kept swimming.. As it turns out the markers were wrong and I finished the swim strongly in 1hour and 11minutes which was around 10minutes ahead of my expectations so I was stoked but the day was young!!

The T1..
The first transition was good – up the ramp out of the water and straight into the bike compound. I think I was a little overwhelmed with my swim time and then trying to get the wetsuit off that I missed my aisle for the bike. Fortunately I heard a yell from the crowd telling me I was one aisle too far along – it was Coops however you could be mistaken to think it was Skippy as I turned and saw him standing by the fence in a Kangaroo Outfit!! True Aussie spirit! Back around and down the right aisle and to my bike. Wetsuit off, helmet on, race number on, socks on, bike off rack and I was off. A reasonable time of 2 minutes 10 seconds for T1.

The ride..
And we’re off on the bike… the crowds were amazing along the track. I got up to speed and slid my feet into my shoes and we were off! The route was a nice 2 lap, 90km course with approximately 100km of flat along the lake and 80km of hills (1400m of climbing up!). The first 30km was dead flat and fast.. it was a lot of fun and getting the body into the swing of cycling after an hour in the water.. I rounded the corner at the 30km mark and the climbing began.. it wasn’t too bad however all of those big monsters who were flying past me on the flat were going almost as quickly backwards as I got out of the saddle and danced up the hill. I felt at home on the first climb of the day – the light weight and skinny legs were all very quickly becoming my biggest asset. The scenery was amazing... rolling green hills filled with cows and crops… little towns with all the residents out ringing their cow bells as we rode through.. it was amazing and kept a big smile on my face for the entire 180km… I knew I had a climb to come that the locals called “the BEAST”…….. I was a little hesitant until I had reached this as I didn’t know what I was to encounter... and then it came – it just kept going. Again, this was my opportunity to overtake people and buzz up the hill – make up the spots I had lost on the pure flats…finally I reached the summit of the BEAST and started the long decent down into the village of Egg. The rolling hills continued, the sun started to come out and the winds picked up a little – but still I was smiling and loving every minute of the day!! We travelled across the top of the mountain range and back into town to the start / finish line but this wasn’t the end of the first lap…. We still had HEARTBREAK HILL to contend with!! This is nothing like anything you’ve ever done before... it wasn’t the steepness of the hill that make it so special – sure it was steep but it wasn’t a long lonely slug up a mountain – it was relatively short and sharp… but you would never have known this given the crowds 5 deep on either side of the road cheering us on... music was pumping and the crowds were going nuts – for a brief moment I felt like I was in the Tour de France! It was amazing!! Once over the top we descended and circled back past the Lindt factory and to the start line – One lap down in 2 hours 43 minutes, one to go! I now knew what I had ahead of me and it was both a good and bad thing. Regardless, I pressed on and although the speed dropped and I was a little disappointed with my second lap I finished it in 2 hours 57 minutes and that gave me an overall bike of 5 hours 41 minutes (average of 32km/hr)

The T2..

T2 was a little slower than T1… I think 180km on the bike had something to do with this. I jogged with bike in hand down and actually got my aisle right this time thankfully. Although there was 2200 competitors out there, I managed to come back in after the ride at the same time as the guy next to me so it was nice and cosy getting changed for the run. Anyway, the bike was racked, the helmet off, socks off and changed into the sexy knee high compression socks, then new ASIC DS Racers on and I was ready to go… Actually wait – being a ginger I had to put suncream on. Quick spray (and as it turns out a little too quick) of the SPF 30 on the arms and face and I was off and running.. Wow the legs felt a little heavy!! Now just a MARATHON to go.. T2 completed in 3 minutes and 11 seconds

The run..

The run was a scenic 4 lap course following the lake and was littered with spectators constantly cheering you on. Unlike the bike course, it was dead flat and in most cases would be a very fast course.. I took the first lap reasonably slow knowing I would have to get through another 30km after I completed it so didn’t want to spend all my pennies.. I didn’t want to be the person who could say I ran a 1hr45 first half marathon but then took 3hrs to do the second half – this was a full marathon and needed to be treated as such! I remember running past the Team Crank It cheer squad and telling Julian I was feeling good and I wasn’t lying – 8km I was feeling great. The legs ticking over nicely and the nutrition slowly going into the body... I finished the first lap in 57minutes – this was good – if I kept this pace (which I thought I could, I would finish my first ever marathon in sub 4 hours and would look to break 11 hours for my first ironman!!!! Unfortunately it all came unstuck around the 12km mark… the legs started to get heavy... the stomach started to complain (In hindsight I think I may have over done the caffeine on the bike – 3 red bulls and three 200mg caffeine tablets... mmmm)… either way it was all starting to come unstuck and as I near the support group I motioned to them that I was eating the famous “pain sandwich”… another 25km to go! Wowee that’s a long way in your mind when you think about it and that brought me undone. I finished the second lap in 1 hour 10 minutes which would have been ok if I could manage to hold 1hr laps however it was not to be. My mind had started to fade and the 9+hours of exercise was starting to take its toll. Regardless of this I pressed on – I was going to finish this race no matter how long it took me.. The third lap was a disaster – despite there being 140,000 spectators on the course that day, the third lap was very lonely and dark... it was as if I was running in a deserted run down town... I had blown! I kept telling myself to just put one foot in front of the other and I would get to the finish line and that’s what I did. The third lap finished in 1 hour 18 minutes and then the town came to life again!! I could see the finish. All I had to do was get through 1 lap... 10km. 3 laps of the local park. 60 minutes of running. I could do this! The crowd was cheering and I started to pick up the run again. I now was looking to break 5 hours for the marathon and 12 hours for the race. This was outside my hopeful time, but still within my initial expectation and personal goals… but I couldn’t get there walking – I had to run... I am still unable to explain how it is I ran those last 4kms or where the energy came from and I don’t think I ever will be able to… I rounded a corner and I could see at the end of the long straight, 1km away the big blow up powerade bottle which was the entrance to the finish line – I was almost there!!! I didn’t pick up my speed, I couldn’t but more importantly I didn’t want to – I wanted to enjoy this moment and the crowd and the cheers. I turned the final corner and entered the finishing chute – people cheering and looking for high 5’s... I really don’t remember the last 100 metres but I do remember it being amazing!! I crossed the finish line 11hours and 48 minutes after I started!!! I was an ironman!!

Post race..
That night I was a little delirious… dehydrated and out of it, I spent the evening curled up under blankets trying to keep warm but at the same time sweating like I was in the middle of the race! I couldn’t eat but I was starving. I couldn’t sleep but I was tired (I think the caffeine had something to do with that). Finally I got to sleep and woke very very sore. The legs were tight and the sunburn set in. I spent the next week hobbling around like an old man and lying on my stomach because my back was sore and burnt but then I slowly came good and I am now back out on the bike exercising for enjoyment. Now I have to decide where the next race will be – that’s right, I learnt so much on that day in Zurich and I had so much fun that there will be a next one and then no doubt another one after that.

Oh and for those who are wondering what those magical six words are that were said when I crossed the finish line in Zurich….


Thursday, 9 July 2009

Its RACE time!!

Hi all....

Just thought I'd send a quick update to ensure everyone I am still alive.. Although I have been somewhat of a hermit especially so the past month or two which hopefully come Sunday afternoon will all change....Why Sunday afternoon??? Because this Sunday I will attempt to achieve a long standing goal of mine and put 6 months of hard work and dedication into one day when I take the start line in the Switzerland Ironman Triathlon in Zurich. For those who don’t know, this will consist of a 3.8km swim, 180.2km cycle and just a lazy 42.2km run (yes that’s a full marathon to end it with).

Juggling work, training and social life has been very hard but I have managed through hard work and dedication (some refer to this as obsession / craziness)... Some say just getting to the start line is an achievement in itself given that training for such an event is almost a second job in itself – the past three months I have averaged approximately 25hours a week in training – and that’s on top of work and then managing weight reduction (I will start the race 13kgs lighter than I was when I moved to the UK in December)!! Unfortunately for me, just getting to the start line wont be satisfying as its not the goal I set out to achieve – crossing the finish line and hearing the commentator yell out those magical 6 words is what all of this hard work is for.. (stay tuned for a post race report and hopefully I’ll be able to let you know what those 6 words are….)

Some basic race details are as follows:

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Date: Sunday, 12 July 2009

Time: 7:00am (Zurich Time)

6:00am (London Time)

3:00pm (Melbourne Time)

2:00pm (Brisbane Time)

Online tracking:

Adam Traeger # 331

James Monahan # 619

Marcus Waters # 1277

I leave for Zurich on Friday morning and from that point onwards most likely wont have email access but in the mean time I just want to thank everyone for their support and well wishes. The last 6 months have required a lot of sacrifice and dedication and I couldn’t have done it without the friends and family around me so thanks to all…


Monday, 4 May 2009

Bike porn...

Here are some pics of the latest bike porn i have got on the way to Switzerland... The new helmets fit amazingly and lets hope that the TT helmet will make me go fast fast fast.. The shoes are a perfect fit and highly recommended!

Giro Ionos Road Helmet

Giro Advantage II time trial helmet

Lake CX401 Road Shoes.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Death of the Fanta Express

it has happened.
it only took three months, but i have succumb to the busy London traffic and had my first bike/truck incident. as a result, the fanta express fixie is no longer....
Last Wednesday i was riding to work - a 6 mile, 17min commute into town. Earlier in the morning i had been out with Captain on a training ride and was discussing being hit by cars, and the potential money windfall you can pick up.
long story short, cruising to work, go over a busy intersection and up ahead on the left hand side of the road is a garbage truck which pulls over and puts its hazard lights on. i choose to go around the truck (as he has pulled over) and continue on my way to work. it is then that the stupid Romanian driver decides he wants to perform a u-turn. without looking or seeing me he does this in front of me (hazards still on). i try to push around in front of him (other option was straight into the side of the truck) but he keeps going and i am unable to get in front. ending result is i have to drop my bike and bail out otherwise I'm going under this truck. i bounce off the truck and land on my feet fortunately relatively unhurt. the truck drives over the back of my bike and crushes the rear stay beyond repair. the back rim is also bent out of shape and the weight of the truck sheared the bolt off the rear hub.
i then have to walk the remaining 2km to work with the bike on my shoulder.
legal proceedings have commenced.
on the up side, im ok (a little cut on the ankle and a tight lower back) and i have bought a new bike - the FE2. this one is a similar fixie i picked up for £150. frame is bright orange! photos to come!
enjoy and ride safe!.

Monday, 1 September 2008

The new nickname begins... FANTA

And so it begins.... since the inception of Team Crank It! we have been on the hunt for a new nickname... Lets be honest, everyone in this exclusive team needs a nickname and Traeges simply wasn't going to cut it.... Enter the red hair jokes and one seems to have stuck. Fanta Pants... Well it has been shortened and accepted that Fanta is the newest nickname entry to the Team Crank It! list..

Friday, 15 February 2008

Geelong 70.3 Ironman 2008

Race overview: It was a beautiful day for racing.. not to hot, not too cold. Was a storm on the horizon that never actually hit us.. Was better prepared following on from the shep experience however still learnt a lot from this race as well.

Swim: Got off to a good start in the swim and got into a nice rhythm. Not much biffo which was surprising. Sat on some punters feet who was going a nice pace and he pulled me out to the first buoy. The biffo started as we rounded the first buoy and then bamn!! Blinded! The sun was rising and was right in the line of sight… for some stupid reason I chose my clear goggles so had no protection.. unfortunately this caused a bit of chaos and resulted in me coping a wack to the eye from a wayward leg which ripped my goggles off. Didn’t worry just refitted and was back in the game.. The sun had lead most of us off course though and we ended up taking a very wide birth around the buoy before heading back to the start line… although I got off to a good start, time slipped by a little and I finished the swim in 35:42 – better than shep but not as good as had hoped / or should have done.. only a minute quicker than shep.

T1: grabbed a water from the table only to find it tasted like pool water with chlorine.. no good for the guts… get to the bike and go to put nutrition in my back pockets only to find the new Team Crank It! Suit I purchased didn’t have back pockets!!! Aghh!!! Ok, just tuck them up the legs and go go go… Lesson learnt..

Bike: Oh no… stomach cramps… bike was a disaster.. after all the training you do, its so hard when it all comes undone because of stomach cramps.. it was a long and lonely bike course with ZERO shelter from the coastally winds that buffeted the course… the road surface was not smooth and all in all lead to a disappointing time of 3:02:00. Lap 1 was ok, but stomach was hurting.. when I started to try and have some food it just came back up.. I couldn’t stomach anything!! This was not looking like it was going to be a good race If I couldn’t eat or drinking any nutrition.. I kept forcing myself to eat and try to keep something down. As hard as it was, I had to sit up and slow down and hope the pains would go away.. if I continued to push I wouldn’t finish the race at all.. listen to your body.. Lap 2 was not much better but around the same time and then by lap three I was just begging to get off the bike in the hope that it would sort out my guts… Lap 3 slower by far and all ending in the disappointing time… appears to be around 16min slower than shep. Disappointing.

T2: Despite the stomach pains, felt good through T2 and now knowing I had no pockets was quick with the nutrition and out to start the half marathon.

Run: Started the run feeling relatively fresh.. the stomach pains were still there but the legs weren’t too tired… got into a good motion – it was a nice run course, a few hills but that took allowed you to think about other things rather than simply just the long flat grind. Found a toilet on the first last and went in for a stop then had a banana… bingo bango it seemed to sort out the stomach issues as I could keep down the banana. Back in the game. The support on the road was amazing and certainly helped to push through the 21km. I found out / learnt the hard way that I simply didn’t have the km’s in my legs that I needed and on the last lap I had to slow to a walk for a couple of minutes…. This lead to a slower time than I hoped and not being able to break the 2hr mark for the run, however I think it gave me a good lesson and better understanding of the sacrifice and dedication needed to complete these gruelling events.. Run time – 2:09:50

Crossed the line, happy with the day out but not satisfied… the overall time of 5:47:33 was not as good as I wanted or had hoped for especially given the better conditions than shep…

Post event – recovery was great.. no soreness, no dehydration… maybe I didn’t push hard enough!?!?! I learnt a lot from Geelong and now the goal is to look forward to a full distance of which more dedication and drive will be required to succeed. Completing it will not be enough for me.. I have to give it everything I have got and that includes training hard - something i dont think was completely up to scratch for the two half ironmans.

Until next time....

Monday, 11 December 2006

Shepparton Half Ironman 2006

SHEPPARTON IRONMAN 70.3 - The Aftermath...

Here is a little recap of the nightmare of a race that was the 2006 Shepparton Ironman 70.3

Feeling good.. water temp 21.1.. outside temp approx 22 (at 7am).. in the first wave and the race is off.. turn at the 1km mark and still feeling good - just trying to stay out of trouble and away from all the clampets who try and swim over the top/dont look which way they are going (one guy didnt look up and swam straight into the bank-what a loser). have a quick look at my watch and feeling on track. turn the last corner and out of the water in 36min. happy with that time seeing the swim isn't my best leg and wanted to keep a little in reserve for what was to come.

the transition times dont seem to be showing up on the net which is weird but i had a good T1. In, wetsuit off, legs were feeling good, bike shoes on, helmet on and then off on the bike. grabbed the nutritian (well at least what i thought was enough for the bike - i miscalculated and probably should have taken two more GUs with me.. no drama's, ill grab a hi5 at the first aid station and should be ok).

Starting temp - approx 26 degrees
Leave T1, on the bike round the first corner to hear the cheers CRRRRRAAAAANNNNKKKKKK IIIIITTTTTTTT!!!!! Team Crank IT was in full voice on the side of hte road in shep! great motivation... Open my first GU and take the first bit before i hit a bump and it pops out of my mouth... not cool... ok dont worry - just ride your race, get some water in you and work with what you've got... the first aid station, i have poured both water bidons over me leading into the first station to cool down grab some hi5 and water and crank around the first lap... very very smokey with visability around 100m at most... crank around the first lap and then as i come back into the transition area i pick up the speed to give Team Crank It something to cheer about, i roud the corner belting out a CRRRAANNKK IITTT and the crowd cheers.
Second lap is good, but am starting to feel the heat now and the smoke seems to be getting worse.. it felt like riding a bike whilst standing a coupld of metres away from a ripping fire with the smoke pouring into your face.. not cool. Nothing too much of not on the second lap, wind is starting to pick up and little and feeling the top part of the course getting slower.
Third lap, legs are feeling good - every aid station im getting two bidons of ice cold water and using a lot of it to pour over my neck and back to try and cool down.. very very hot now.. 25km to go and round to the second last aid station.. really need water - super dry mouth from all the smoke.. coming into the aid station i yell out WATER... only to hear NO WATER LEFT!!!!! my heart dropped... No Water!!!! i grabbed a hi5 but i was making me feel sick. the wind had pick up and now was in your face blowing smoke.. disgusting.. then to make it worse i need to go to the toilet but am getting major stage fright on the bike.. finally i let go and it flows freely down my leg.. last aid station grab one bottle of water (thats all they had) and push out the last 10km.
Ride took me according to my watch 2hr46 (i think the times on the web include T1 or T2).

T2: legs feeling good, straight in, rack the bike, runners on, slap on the suncream, hat and grab my GUs and then off.

Starting temp - 39 degrees... wowee... HOT!!!!
The less said about the run the better, the first km felt ok, then my right quad start to pulsate, my core body temp was out of the world and everything just felt like it was going into meltdown... i couldn't take on enough water at each aid station and there simply wasn't any reprise from the heat or the belting sun.. fortunately with the wind picking up a little the smoke was lifting but it was still around. First lap, terrible, Second lap even worse, third lap - i just wanted to finish. and i did.

5hours 54min!!!
Finishing temp - 42 degrees!!!!! thats insaino!!!

The aftermath:
Felt ok - kept fludis up, or so i thought. early to bed on sunday night and then up to go to work on monday - sore muscles but that was about it... until the toilet bowl was calling, then the light headedness, then stomach cramps.. took myslef home yesterday arvo and jumped into bed.. severe hot and cold sweats... no energy... ended up being taken to the doctor to be told i had a case of mild dehydration kicking in from sunday's effort.. a couple of tests including of urine and confirmed i need to get some serious levels of water and sugar back in the system. all night in bed sweating it up and the day off work again today am slowly getting back on track...

Mum said well at least now you've done an ironman 70.3 you can cross it off your list and dont have to do it again.... to which i responded - No, this has just given me a time to beat next year!!!