Toughman Indiana Half
On Saturday, June 1, I raced the inaugural Toughman Indiana Half, a 70.3 mile, half-iron distance triathlon (http://www.americamultisport.com/toughman-half). The venue was in Richmond, Indiana, just a few miles from the Ohio line. The morning weather looked ominous. We were under a tornado watch until 5:30. Heavy storm clouds rolled in around 6:15 and dropped heavy rainfall for about 15 minutes, but it mostly blew over by the 7 am race start, save for an occasional spell of light rain. The conditions were excellent for racing.
The water temperature in the Middle Fork Reservoir was 73 degrees – cold enough for performance-enhancing wetsuits. An elite wave of about 10 overall contenders started with a cannon blast and the rest of us lined up for a time-trial start. I settled into a comfortable rhythm on the 1.2 mile swim and exited the water in just under 31 minutes, besting my only other half-iron swim by over 6 minutes. (partial swim profile at http://app.strava.com/activities/57581012 – Garmin lost the satellite signal early on.)
The bike and run courses each consisted of 2 loops and both started with a couple of long, but gentle climbs. The rest of the course was undulating, but had no serious hills. I kept close tabs on power and heart rate to dose my effort on the bike, and used gearing between 39-13 and 53-11 to “flatten the course.” My splits for each loop were within 4 seconds of each other! (bike profile: http://app.strava.com/activities/57581333) In a first in 6 years of racing, I even passed an Amish buggy.
The 2-loop run course started with the same climbs as the bike course for the first 2 miles, then turned onto a beautiful, shaded multi-use trail that followed a small stream. I took it easy on the first loop. The youngest racer, a 15-year old who posted the top swim split (with no wetsuit), passed me on the first hill. I thought, “either this kid is a prodigy, or I will be seeing more of him.” I passed him back on the same hill, 6 miles later. The sun came out on my second lap and it started to warm up, but I felt strong and pushed the pace to the finish. (run profile: http://app.strava.com/activities/57581019)
I finished in 4:53:10, a personal best by just over 17 minutes. I was 10th overall and 5th on the bike. (results: http://tinyurl.com/n2g2ql6) The overall winner posted a very impressive 4:22, with the rest of the field bunched up well in arrears. Unfortunately, 3 of the 9 athletes that beat me were in my age group, so I placed just off the podium. There are a lot of tough middle-aged racers out there.