Ironman Boulder 70.3

Personal, non photography related post coming up!


Ironman Boulder 70.3

After I finished Ironman Victoria 70.3 in 2015, I swore I’d never do another 70.3 race! But then in 2016, I went and watched my brother, Kevin, who lives in California do Oceanside 70.3 and my sister, Ali, who lives in Florida decided to start doing triathlons as well. In November I tore my MCL and couldn’t run for 10 weeks. It sucked. Fast forward to January 2017 and the three of us are chatting and we decide that it’d be fun for all of us to meet up and do a race together. We decided on Boulder 70.3 because Colorado is awesome, I wanted something to work towards after my injury and it’s more or less in the middle for us all to meet, plus we have family in the Denver area. My sister in law decided this would be a good race for her to do her first triathlon as well. So now there were four of us. Race-cation was on!

One of the most fun parts (or the least fun depending on how you look at it) of doing an Ironman 70.3 is the training. In fact, that’s really the hardest part. The race is easy. It’s the 10-20 hours a week you spend getting ready for the race that’s the hard part. Especially for me. My schedule is so crazy and all over the place that sometimes I’d train in the early morning, sometimes the middle of the day and oftentimes in the evening just depending on what I had going on and my travel schedule. But one of the best parts of this race was the four us training together, even though we were thousands of miles apart. We’d text back and forth about how much swimming and running sucks. Kevin had a coach already and in May, Ali and I hired him as well. So we’d go back and forth about workouts and our coach Terry would tell us about how much one of us was sucking (all in good fun). He loved to make us do workouts on the bike trainer so we’d talk about how fun that was (it’s not). It really just made putting in the hard work a lot more enjoyable and we held each other accountable because we were all more or less doing the same things.

About 2 months before the race, my friend Stephanie and her husband Chase decided they’d join in on the Boulder fun too. Now it was a real party! This was going to be a blast.


As happens in life so many crazy circumstances led to a crazy race week. In the time since we had planned for this race, Kevin got transferred from Oceanside, CA to Bremerton, WA. The timing actually worked out pretty well. Race week was also moving week for him and Katie and their two kids. I can imagine it was a bit stressful for them, having to pack everything up and the movers taking it away right before the race. They were driving from California to Boulder, then from Colorado to their new house the next day. I mean, Denver is on the way to Washington right?! Crazy. Ali also decided that buying a couple of plane tickets from Pensacola, FL to Denver and the cost of flying with a bike it would just be easier to make the 24 hour drive. So she was driving as well. I was flying. My wife, kids and mom were coming too. As it turned out, Steph and Chase booked the same fights out as we did as well.

The first sign that this week was going to be a pain in the ass was at the airport Wednesday morning. There was 7 of us traveling together. PDX to SEA to DEN. We had about a 70 minute connection in Seattle. Easy. Well, our flight out of Portland was delayed by almost an hour. So they started rebooking people with tight connections. There was another Alaska flight leaving Seattle at noon (instead of the 10am connection that we’d surely miss) but there were only 6 seats on it. United had flight direct from Portland to Denver but it only had 5 seats. So Steph and Chase got bumped to the United flight and the rest of us took the later Seattle flight. No big deal. It happens. They told Chase they’d grab his checked bikes and put them on the new flight.

When we finally landed in Seattle we got some lunch and Steph texted me and told me their new flight was also delayed! So now, we were all getting in Denver at the same time again…just 4 hours later than planned. No big deal, this is why you come out a few days early right? If only we had known at the time this was a sign of things to come.

When we landed in Denver, Steph told me that United couldn’t find their bikes. They had no idea where they were. Yikes. I figured that Alaska never took them off the first plane and that they were most likely on my flight. Turned out that was the case. We all met in baggage claim and all three of our bikes made it too. A bit stressful, but it all was fine. Or so I thought.


We get to the rental car and head to my cousins house to meet up with Ali, Kevin and Katie. The plan was for Ali and I to get in a 30 minute easy bike ride and 30 minute run workout. So I start to unpack my bike and put it back together, but I’m missing part of the seat post clamp! I can’t put my seat back on the bike. Well, this sucks! So I start calling around to bike shops hoping to find one. No luck. My brother puts out a Facebook message and turns out one of his friends knows a Cervelo rep who was going to be up in Boulder the next day and had the little piece I needed. Problem solved! I’d just head up tomorrow and grab it and push the workout off a day, no big deal.

The next morning Ali and I load up our bikes and drive to Boulder and meet with Jason from Cervelo who gets me dialed in. Ali and I head onto the Hwy36 Bike Path for a ride. My mom came with us and she was going to watch our bikes while we ran afterwards.

The ride started great. The bike path was awesome. We were just enjoying a nice little ride until about 20 minutes into it, POP! It felt like and sounded like I dropped my chain so I stopped for a second to fix it…but it wasn’t the chain. One of my spokes on my rear wheel had snapped! My bike was no longer operational. This was not good. It was now Thursday and bike check in for the race was the next day. I had less than 24 hours to get this wheel fixed or I couldn’t race. I was thinking I was done before I even started! We called my mom who luckily was with us and she came and picked us up. I guess we weren’t going to run today either. We drive straight to the bike shop where Kevin and Katie were having their bikes tuned for the race hoping they’d be able to help.

We get to the shop and they don’t have the right size spokes in stock so we call a couple other shops and no one can fix it in time. Luckily the shop did have some wheels I could rent for the race. So I leave my bike with them and they swap the wheels and give it a race tune to make sure nothing else is going to go wrong. I start thinking my bike is cursed.

A few hours later we go and pick up all the bikes. The next morning the four of us head out for a short 20 minute ride just to make sure everything is working. My bike feels a little weird riding on wheels I’ve never ridden on before but it’s not bad. A couple miles into the ride there is a downhill and Kevin and I take off, sprinting up to the summit and flying down the hill. We get to about 39-40MPH and then slow down and wait for the girls. This was a good little test for me in using all the gears and hitting top speed. Bike was feeling comfortable so I was feeling much better about it. After the ride the four of us do a short 1 mile run. It was one of my favorite runs ever. We were slow as dirt, on purpose, but it was cool to all just be out on a little jog together and joking around. None of us was feeling the altitude so that was good. We were all pretty worried about that, but it didn’t seem to be an issue.


The four of us loaded up and headed to Boulder to check in for the race and drop off our bikes. The check in was non eventful. Typical stuff. We put our bike stickers on, racked them and walked through the swim out, bike out/in and run out to get a grasp on where everything was for race day. We hit up the Ironman village and bought some shirts and hats. We decided to head back and get some lunch. Chipolte, of course. The rest of the afternoon we just hung out and didn’t do much. Let the kids play, just hung out with all the family. It was a blast. Our team included the four of us, my wife and two kids, Ali’s husband, Kevin an Katie’s two kids, our mom, our cousin Kari and her son too. In the evening we met up with Stephanie and Chase and went out to dinner. I’m sure the restaurant was thrilled with a party of 8 adults and 5 kids.

After dinner the four of us that were racing went up to Boulder to stay in a hotel and go to bed early and the rest of the family went back to Kari’s house. We get to the hotel and make sure we have everything for race morning. Layout all our stuff, get our nutrition bottles and water bottles ready to go. Get our breakfast food on standby and put on our race tattoos. Well, I’m a hairy guy so the tats didn’t work so well on me. Ha! I’d have to go old school and use a sharpie for body marking.



Kevin and Katie and I woke up around 4:30am and ate our breakfasts. Took our water bottles out of the freezer and filled them up the rest of the way, etc. We went down to the lobby and hopped onto the shuttle. We arrived in transition about 5:30am and started setting up, hitting up the bathroom and doing all the pre races things involving body glide and porta potties that you probably don’t want to read about!

Around 6:45 Ali is still not there. She’s on a shuttle that is stuck in traffic. The race did a terrible job of traffic control on the one road leading in and out of the reservoir. Finally they opened a lane to shuttles only and Ali was able to make it into transition and get setup. They announced that the race starts were being pushed back by 15 minutes. There were also no announcements, music or anything in transition so nobody had any idea what was going on. People didn’t even know if the swim was wetsuit legal or not. Volunteers were walking around telling people but it really wasn’t ideal. There were a lot of stressed out athletes. It seemed a bit unorganized.

Around 7:00 we put on our wetsuits and took a family photo. We met up with our coach Terry and walked over to the swim start. Kevin was in the 3rd or 4th wave, I was in the 9th and the girls were in the 3rd to last. We all planned to get in the water to warm up for the swim. As Kevin zipped up his wetsuit, his zipper snapped. What. The. Hell. Now we all know this race is cursed! He went off to scramble to get some help fixing it and Ali, Katie, Stephanie and I got in the water. The water felt good and it was calm. I was ready to get this show on the road. Kevin came back and had found someone to jimmy rig his wetsuit so it’d stay closed. He headed off to his start. I was hoping the rest of my family would get there before my start but I never saw them and lined up with my wave. They were probably stuck in traffic.



I felt pretty good on the swim. I hate swimming, but 1900 meters isn’t that far so I just mentally got in the “hey you’re gonna be swimming for 40 or so minutes now” zone. I’m a slower swimmer so I moved to the far right of the pack to avoid getting run over. My goal was under 45 minutes. The buoys were pretty close together and sighting was easy. I wish they would have group people by swim time and not age group because I passed a lot of people from waves in front of me and was passed by a lot of people from waves behind me which made for a bit of chaos in the water. I got bumped quite a bit and bumped people a bit too. I don’t mind it though, its actually one of the parts of the race I like, being in the open water and basically fighting. It freaks some people out though. I turned the corner for the final 800-1000 meters and took a quick look at my watch and saw it was at 22 minutes. I thought I’d be able to make my time goal so I just kept cruising along. A couple of times I had veered to the right a little too far and had to correct so I ended up swimming 1986 meters instead of 1900. Oops. I still hit my time and crossed the mat in 44 minutes so I was happy about that. As I ran up the boat ramp and into transition I could here my family cheering me on and it is the best feeling. They give me so much energy and I was so happy to see them.

I headed towards my bike and Terry was sitting there at the rack with a volunteer shirt on. Awesome! It was nice to be able to see him and he gave me a few words of encouragement and told me Kevin had swam in 38 minutes. I put on my bike shoes and helmet and headed out.



My plan was to not go out too hard on the bike. I wanted to average about 17-20MPH over the 56 miles, but knew I had some hills coming up and didn’t want to burn out. The first 4 miles of the course was a slightly uphill false flat, but I was keeping my speed about 17 and was cruising along. 20 minutes into the ride I had to remind myself to drink from my nutrition bottle and I would drink water often as well. About 5 miles in I was settled into the bike and at about 10 miles we turned around and now I was flying. We had a bit of a tail wind and a slight downhill and I was averaging 25MPH or so.

I hit the 20 mile check point in about 58-59 minutes and was feeling really, really good about my bike ride thus far. I had already gone 1/3rd of the course and It felt like I just started! A couple miles later my speed really slowed as we came to the first hill, which was a long drawn out false flat. I was getting frustrated because I felt like I should be going faster than I was but knew the down hills were coming so I just kept my cadence up and chugged along. At mile 25 was the first downhill and I flew down that too. Turns out, gravity is really good for fat kids on a bike. I took it easy a little on the next 5 miles because I was cruising along at a good speed and wanted to save my energy for the big hill at mile 30 that was coming up.

At Mile 30 the hill started and it sucked like I knew it would. I couldn’t remember how long of a hill it was so I never knew when it would end which made it feel longer. It was only 4-5 miles but I was slower than I wanted and used more energy than I wanted doing up. Oh well. This down was going to be fun! At the summit I sprinted hard to get as much speed as possible and hit the downhill and coasted it to recover a bit. I was still going 30-35MPH so I felt good about making up some time. I did the next 5 miles in about 11 minutes. It felt great. I was making up the time I had lost and I looked at my watch and it was only 2:30 into the ride. I was going to get back in 3:00-3:15 just as I had hoped.

The last couple of miles had a slight uphill but I was still cruising. By this time my nutrition bottle was warm and tasted just terrible, but I had to choke it down. I ran out of water and didn’t know if there would be another aid station but luckily there was one about a mile later so I filled up my aero bottle and mixed the rest of my gross nutrition into it so it’d dilute a little.

At mile 53 I started thinking about the run, trying to mentally prepare myself for that upcoming suck fest. I turned a corner and heard “dismount ahead!” What?!?! My watch said only 54 miles. Was the course short? I was not prepared for the bike to be over but ok, here we go. I came into T2 in 3:09. Happy with that time, I would have been under 3:15 too if the course went all the way.

I saw Terry again, waiting at my rack. I was pretty stoked on my time and told him, but he didn’t look impressed. Then he says “Hey so, Ali was in a wreck. She got hit by a car.” I didn’t believe him. I thought he was just joking around with me. What an asshole I thought. That’s pretty messed up thing to say! But he was serious. He had to tell me like 4 times. “I wouldn’t joke about that, she got hit by a car on the course.”


My heart sunk. I almost started to cry. “Was she ok?!?! What Happened? This is all my fault, Kevin and I made her do this!” He told me that she was ok. I headed out onto the run but all I could think about was my little sister. I was mentally fucked.

As I came out of the run out and started my run I got slapped on the ass. It was Chase starting his second loop. I kinda needed that at that moment. He smiled and said “looking good!” and ran passed. Then I saw Gary Wallesen from Athletes Lounge. It was nice to see a friendly face! I picked up my pace a little and just scanned the crowd for my family. I didn’t see them. After a half mile or mile or so I turned a corner and saw them. Holy cow did I need to see them. I ran right up to them and asked about Ali. I didn’t care about anything else. My mom told me she was indeed hit by a car, but that she was ok and was back on the bike and would finish the course. This made me feel a little better but I still was worried sick about her.

I hit the first aid station and filled up my water bottle and ate a banana. I was feeling like crap. I walked a lot of the second mile and then just tired to run for as long as I could, walk for a couple minutes and then run for as long as I could again. I could tell this run was going to be bad, but I didn’t care. I no longer cared about my time. I no longer cared about my race plan, I no longer cared about how long this 13.1 miles was going to take. I only cared about Ali.

I finished the first loop and as I was starting the second saw Terry again. He told me Ali still had not come in off the bike, but that she was at about mile 40 and should be back soon. I started doing math in my head to see if she’d be able to make the cutoffs. This entire time Kevin and I had told each other that we didn’t care about finishing, as long as Ali did.

At mile 7.5 or so I saw my family again. Again, much needed. Jordyn walked with me for a bit and told me what had happened with Ali. I was mentally in a much better place for the last 6 miles. I was slow, it was painful. With about 4 miles left I hear a guy behind me start talking about Clydesdale division. I look back and say “hey you’re not having a fat kid conversation without me are you?!” It was nice to have a couple of big guys to run with. With about 5k to go we passed a guy with no legs running on blades. This immediately gave me an energy boost because what the hell was I complaining about! At least I have legs. This guy was awesome. I ran a bit and then one of the other fat guys and I would run a minute walk a minute the rest of the course. He was a great running partner and a cool guy from Salt Lake City. I was glad he was there to get me through the final stretch.

As I turned the corner for the final quarter mile I saw Chase, he said Stephanie was a few minutes behind me and I sprinted down the finish chute. Terry told me that Ali came off the bike and was on the run. My family was right there waiting for me. I grabbed a water and then asked Jordyn if Ali had hit the 3 mile checkpoint yet. She had but was moving really slow. I laid down and tried to get myself to feel a little better. I wanted Ali to make that cutoff and when she did I was getting myself ready to do another loop with her. I went to find Kevin and he was doing the same. If she makes the cutoff, we are going another 6 miles.

Sadly, she missed the second loop run cutoff by about 25-30 minutes. We were gutted for her. She would have made it and finished this race if not for being held up by race officials for an hour after the crash. Terry was working the medals at this point and we told him to grab one for Ali. She still deserves it.

A few minutes after Ali was pulled Katie finished. Kevin and I hadn’t seen Ali yet and when we did we ran over to her and gave her a huge hug and I ugly cried. This race was cursed. But this race was also the best race ever because we all did it together.


It wasn’t even 24 hours before we started looking for a redemption race for Ali. New Orleans 70.3 is in October. Maybe that’ll be it. We do know for certain that we’ll be doing this again as a family and that next time it’ll be even better!


The curse of the Boulder 70.3 wasn’t over just yet. The next morning, the Timbers payed a home game at 11am (originally it was scheduled for 1pm). So I had booked a direct flight on Southwest early in the morning so I could get back in time. Jenn and the kids were on Alaska with a connection in Seattle. There were no issues with our flights in the morning which was nice. I landed at PDX and got into an Uber and make it to the stadium 15 minutes before kickoff and shot the game.

When the family landed, the game was just getting over. Perfect timing. We’d all get home at the same time. However, my bike didn’t make it. The curse continued. Jenn dealt with the baggage claim folks and then headed home. They found my bike in Seattle around 8pm and delivered it to our house around 11:30. But now three of the wheels on the bike bag were destroyed. This was Gary’s bag and I wasn’t about to return it to him all busted up! Another local triathlete needed it Monday night for a race, so I went to lowes and bought new wheels and got the bag back in working order. I still don’t have my bike wheels. Because of my early flight home I didn’t have time to return the rental wheels so Kevin took them back for me and is taking my broken ones to Seattle and I’ll get them from him later. Cursed I tell you. Cursed.


Swim: 44:20

T1: 3:45

Bike: 3:09:43

T2: 3:26

Run: 3:14:23

Total: 7:15:35






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