Archive for the 'Sports' Category

Poster | Sandy & Oregon City High

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Earlier this fall we photographed the team and individual player photos for both the Sandy and Oregon City high school varsity volleyball teams. Here are the final products as team posters we also designed for them.

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 

 

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 

Race Report | Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Non photography related personal post coming up. As most people know, when not photographing sports, I like to compete in triathlons and Half Ironman races. My brother and sister also do tri’s… its big family affair. Anyway, here is a race report from my most recent Ironman 70.3 finish in Chattanooga, TN.

Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 Race Report

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In the finish chute at the end of the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga.

 

After the mess that was Boulder 70.3 ended last year, my sister and I immediately began to search for a race for her redemption. She lives in Florida so we wanted something sort of close that she could drive to and eventually decided on Chattanooga. It was about 7 hours from her house and I had never been to Tennessee before. The biggest selling point for us was the down river swim and the relevantly flat bike (only 2200 feet of gain over 56 miles).

I am so glad we chose this race. It is by far the best Ironman race I’ve ever done. Probably my favorite triathlon, period. After deciding to race-cation to Tennessee, I talked a couple of my triathlon friends, Emily and Elizabeth into joining us. We found a sweet AirBnB just a half a mile from the race site/downtown Chattanooga and made our reservations.

Pre Race

Traveling was pretty uneventful this time around. No flight delays or baggage issues. All the bikes made it without any missing pieces. Jenn and Emily and I flew into Nashville, rented a truck, loaded up the bikes and drove a couple hours down I-24. Typically, I travel to a Sunday race on a Friday but this time we decided to go on Thursday. This turned out to be a great idea. It made the entire weekend much more relaxing. Thursday night we hit up a BBQ joint down the street and went to the grocery store to get some essentials. Amazingly, this would be the only time we ate out the entire time in Chattanooga.

On Friday we woke up early and all did a nice slow group run around the city on parts of the race run course and got a lay of the land. This is the first time we noticed that southern heat and humidity! Later that afternoon we went to the Ironman village to check in and pickup packets and to shop the store. Doing this on Friday was brilliant. No waiting in lines and not a ton of people in the village yet. After collecting all of our swag Emily, Elizabeth, Jenn and I drove the bike course to check it out. This was also a really good idea. I had a great idea of what the hills looked like, where on the course the difficult sections were and where the aid stations would be. This helped me plan the ride out in my head and gave me a lot of confidence going into the bike ride. After that we headed over to the grocery store again to get more food (turns out a house full of triathletes eat a lot of food) and most importantly, a birthday cake for Emily. That night we grilled chicken and burgers and my coach Terry and his wife Ann-Marie joined us for dinner and we all just hung out relaxing. It was a lot of fun.

Our Chattanooga crew Friday morning run. Love the pedestrian bridge in downtown!

Our Chattanooga crew Friday morning run. Love the pedestrian bridge in downtown!

The crew at packet pickup.

The crew at packet pickup.

Saturday we started the day off by watching the royal wedding and then when for a short swim in the river and a short bike ride to test all the gears and get the legs going a little. Then we went back to the village and checked the bikes into transition. A very low stress and fun day. By 2:30 we were back at the house relaxing and doing nothing. We turned on the Timbers match and it was a little strange watching a home game on TV and not being there to shoot it, but I knew my assistant Sam had everything covered back at home. The Timbers won so I was in an extra good mood. The rest of the day was spent laying out all the things we’d need for the race, getting packed up and ready for the next morning, prepping breakfast and going to bed super early. I think I was asleep by 8pm. We all felt super relaxed, rested and ready to race!

Emily, Elizabeth and I before our final swim workout.

Emily, Elizabeth and I before our final swim workout.

Bike racked and ready to roll.

Bike racked and ready to roll.

 

Race Day

 The plan was to leave at 4:30am. So I set an alarm for 4am, but by 3:30am everyone was already up. A combo of going to bed really early and being super excited for the race had us all ready to roll. We all got down to the race site around 4:45 and setup our transitions. The swim start was a mile up river so they had shuttle busses to take athletes over to the start. This is different than a typical race and I really liked it. For some reason it had a calming effect on the starting line. Instead of rushing to get transition setup and get your wetsuit on, you just casually setup and got on the bus with your swim gear. No rush. I liked that. The buses dropped us off at the swim start and we had about an hour before our wave would jump in. More relaxing. While waiting with our wave for the start Terry found us. We put our wetsuits on about 20-30 minutes before the start and took some group photos. Terry and Emily went with the fast swimmers in the 30:00 group, Elizabeth and I were a few waves back in the 35:00-40:00 minute group and Ali dropped back to the 50:00 group.

Pre Race team photo with Emily, Ali, Me and Elizabeth.

Pre Race team photo with Emily, Ali, Me and Elizabeth.

Swim

It seemed to take forever to get to the starting dock. Makes sense because there were 2500 athletes racing. Once Elizabeth and I began the walk down to the dock I put my goggles on and SNAP. The band broke! I’m about a minute from walking over the timing mat and jumping into the river and my goggles are busted. Great. I quickly tied them in a knot and hoped they’d hold. I put them on my face just in time to jump in. The first part of the race was up river against the current, so I decided I’d power through this short part as hard as I could and then recover a little on the turn and let the current help me out. It felt like I got to that first buoy pretty quick and didn’t burn too much gas so I turned the corner and kept a steady pace going, helped by the current in the river. The swim goes under a couple of bridges. After the first bridge the buoys changed color indicating the halfway point of the swim. I looked at my watch and it had only been about 17 minutes. I was cruising. I let the current continue to do its thing and tried to swim in a straight line. I sort of succeeded. After the second bridge we turned the corner around the marina and there was a ladder at the dock for us to climb out of the water. I crossed the mat in 35:29. A PR on a 70.3 swim for me by 9+ minutes!

Jumping off the dock and into the river.

Jumping off the dock and into the river.

T1

 The run from the water to transition was pretty far. Up a hill, loop around the huge transition area and then run to my bike which was in the middle of transition. I ripped off my wetsuit and sprayed sunscreen all of myself. Popped my shoes on, grabbed my bike and headed out. As I was leaving a volunteer ran next to me spraying me with more sunscreen. I can’t say enough about how awesome the volunteers were at this race. In Boulder, people seemed annoyed the Ironman was there. In Chattanooga, the entire city comes out for the race and half of them volunteer. It is awesome. I got out of T1 in 5:37. A couple minutes slower than I’d like but I’ll blame the long run to and from.

 

Transition was HUGE. My spot was somewhere in the middle.

Transition was HUGE. My spot was somewhere in the middle.

 Bike

This is where I knew I’d be my best. The bike course on this race is beautiful. The first 9-10 miles take you through town past some neighborhoods and over a couple of sets of railroad tracks, but once out of the city you loop through the mountains of northern Georgia. The course is mostly rollers and up hill for the first 26 miles and then mostly downhill and smaller rollers on the second 26 miles and then flat-ish and the final segment. I had a plan for the bike. My coach told me to break up the race in 14 mile segments. The first 14 don’t go to hard just keep the cadence up and get out of town. The second 14 work hard on the hills but don’t implode. After driving the course a couple of days before, I modified the plan a little – just keep a good speed until mile 26. At mile 26 there was  sharp left turn and the biggest hill on the course. So my plan was that if I could get to that hill in 1:30 then I’d have descents on the backside and would be able to recover and have something left for the run. I had my nutrition dialed, I had my plan dialed and I hit that mile 26 hill faster than I thought I would. The funny thing about that hill…I turned the corner and as I started going up, it wasn’t even hard. I was kind of laughing to myself as I was going up and people were getting off their bikes and walking up the hill. The hill going up to my house that I finish every single ride with back home was much longer and much steeper. I guess hill repeats do work! At the top of that climb I let gravity do its thing. I passed so many people. Turns out a fat kid on a downhill works really well for the fat kid. I hit 39MPH and just enjoyed the view. The next 20 miles went by pretty quick, some rolling hills but mostly downhill. I told myself anytime the hill was letting me go over 23-24MPH to stop pedaling so I could rest the legs. Around mile 40 we go through this little town called Chickamauga, which is completely shutdown for the race and everyone is out cheering you on as you fly through town. From 42-45 there is another climb, but it wasn’t too terrible. At the top there is another huge descent and then you’re almost home. As I crossed back into Tennessee there were people lining the road and one lady shouted at me “welcome back to Tennessee! Want a beer!?!” That was pretty funny. At the end of the bike I looked at my watch and it said the ride was 56.8, almost a mile longer dang it. I had a bike goal of 3:30 and come into T2 in 3:13.

The bike course was my favorite part. So scenic and perfect about of hills.

The bike course was my favorite part. So scenic and perfect amount of hills.

 

T2 

As I ran my bike into transition another volunteer followed me and sun screened me up again. These guys were on it! I racked my bike and put on my running shoes and as I was leaving, yet another guy sprayed my bald head with more sunscreen. Couldn’t have enough sunscreen. I felt pretty good, but then my legs got a little tight and I was a litte worried. I headed out to the run course in 4:31.

Run

I looked at my watch as I was leaving T2 and it was at 4 hours and some change. My goal the entire time was to finish in under 7 hours. So I told myself all I had to do was run a sub 3 hour half marathon. Shouldn’t be an issue. I saw Jenn at the half mile mark and it always makes me happy when I see her. My legs were cramping a bit from coming off the bike so I stopped and stretched and headed on my way. Then the first hill came. I walked up it. Most of the first mile was up hill so I walked a bit, jogged a bit just to get past it. That’s when it all fell apart. That’s when the heat kicked in. And the heat came with a vengeance. It was HOT. It was about 96 at the beginning of the run and 100+ at the end of it. And the humidity was about 80%. It was about as miserable as it sounds. I tried to run and it just wasn’t working. I was sllllooowwwww. About mile 5 I decided to just run when I could and walk when I couldn’t. I’d soak myself in ice and ice water each aid station and just tried to survive the run. About mile 9 I saw sister on the course. It was awesome to see her and know she was going to finish this time. There was a turnaround point which was mile 4 for her and mile 10 for me and just gave her the biggest hug and said see ya at the finish! I don’t have much else to say about the run other than the aid stations were frequent and the volunteers manning them were awesome. There were spectators all over the course and it made it go by faster than it was. The run through the city had people in bars cheering from the sidewalks, people in houses sitting on their lawns having parties, beautiful views over the cities bridges and path along the river. It was a hilly and hot run but it was a great course. At mile 10 or 11 I looked at my watch and still had a chance for that sub 3 half marathon, but to get it I’d need to run 10:30 miles for the next 5k and I tried for minute but it just wasn’t gonna happen. The heat got me. No way to prepare for that living in Portland. I crossed the finish line in 7:13:24.

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Riding the struggle bus over the bridge at about mile 6 or 7.

 

Post Race

I was disappointed I didn’t hit my goal, but got over it real quick and started focusing on Ali. Like in Boulder, after I was done, all I cared about was her finish. She came across about an hour or so later and I gave her another huge hug and cried like a freaking baby. She had her redemption. About 5 minutes after she finished, a crazy thunderstorm came in and they closed the course and cancelled the rest of the race events. We had to bust ass to get our bikes and gear out of transition and right as we loaded the car it this crazy storm rolled through. We got out just in time. We all went back to the house, showered and relived our day. The next morning we packed up and headed to Nashville to be tourists, which was also cool. Overall this was one of my favorite trips ever. Tennessee is gorgeous and I can’t wait to come back again. Next time, I’ll be ready for those hills and heat and get that sub 7.

Ali finished! and I'm crying like a baby.

Ali finished! I’m crying like a baby.

Clip | The Winged M

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

There’s never a dull day at the studio. We recently got the opportunity to meet and photograph two awesome Multnomah Athletic Club members – a mountain biker and an ultra marathoner! Check out these clips from the May 2018 issue of  The Winged M.

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

Our Favorite Sports Photos of 2017

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Continuing on with our favorite images of 2017…today’s gallery is our favorite Sports! This is always the hardest category to select for since we shoot over 175 sporting events a year. Between the Timbers, Thorns, T2, Hillsboro Hops, Blazers and what ever college football and basketball teams we cover sports keep us very busy. I’m drawn more to sports images that capture the atmosphere surrounding the game off the field and the emotion on the field. Here are my ten favorite images of 2017.

August 23, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; The Timbers Army passes a log slab through the crowd after Darlington Nagbe's goal at Providence Park. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers (Craig Mitchelldyer, Craig Mitchelldyer)

The Portland Timbers have an insanely awesome fan base and with regularly sold-out games, there’s always great crowd action to shoot. The Timbers Army passes a log slab through the crowd after Darlington Nagbe’s goal against Colorado on August 23rd at Providence Park.

September 24, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco (10) walks on the pitch with his newborn baby daughter Fell after the match at Providence Park. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers (Craig Mitchelldyer, Craig Mitchelldyer)

This Fall, Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco and his wife Nataly became first-time parents! I love this photo of Blanco and his newborn daughter Feli smiling at each after a match against Orlando City on September 24th a few days after she was born.

Portland, OR - Saturday April 29, 2017: during a regular season National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) match between the Portland Thorns FC and the Chicago Red Stars at Providence Park. Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Thorns (Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

Remember what I was saying about the insanely awesome Timbers fan base? Yeah… The Thorns fan base is pretty awesome too. Lots of celebration this year for the 2017 NWSL Champs!

during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Phil Knight Invitational tournament in Portland, Ore., Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer) (Craig Mitchelldyer/AP)

I shot 12 college basketball games (8 in one day!) for the Associated Press during the PK80, Phil Knight Invitational tourney. In honor of Phil Knight’s 80th birthday, this year’s tournament was held in Portland. This celebratory moment from the Texas vs Duke game on the first day was by far one of my favorite images of the entire tournament. Love the emotion.

August 1, 2017; Hillsboro, OR, USA; All Star Game and Fan Fest. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Hillsboro Hops (Craig Mitchelldyer, Craig Mitchelldyer/Hillsboro Hops)

This was shot during the Home Run Derby for the Northwest League/Pioneer League All-Star Game. I set up a remote camera a few feet in front of home plate. I was only slightly scared about my camera getting destroyed by a baseball. Sometimes you have to take healthy risks in order to make some interesting moments.

June 10, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi (9) and midfielder Dairon Asprilla (27) high five after Adi scored his second goal of the match at Providence Park. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers (Craig Mitchelldyer)

One of my favorite things about shooting soccer is the emotional celebrations. They’re always different and never dull. In this photo Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi and midfielder Dairon Asprilla high five after Adi scored his second goal of the match against FC Dallas.

November 5, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers midfielder Amobi Okugo (18) takes a shot in the first half at Providence Park. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers (Craig Mitchelldyer)

Portland Timbers midfielder Amobi Okugo takes a sweet bicycle kick shot on goal during the MLS playoffs that just barely missed going in against the Houston Dynamo on November 5th.

July 5, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco (10) reacts after scoring a goal in the second half at Providence Park. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Timbers (Craig Mitchelldyer)

Like I said, the celebrations are always different, always interesting. Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco reacts by sharing the love with fans after scoring a goal.

Portland, OR - {dow} {monthname} {day0}, {year4}: {headline} during a National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) semifinals match between the Portland Thorns FC and the Orlando Pride at Providence Park. (Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

Emily Sonnett loses her mind after scoring a goal in the NWSL semifinals against Orlando Pride on October 7th. The win would propel the Thorns to the championship game the following week where they would win their second NWSL title!

Photography by Portland Oregon Photographer Craig MItchelldyer www.craigmitchelldyer.com 503.513.0550 (Craig Mitchelldyer, Craig Mitchelldyer)

 

We came across a pick up game while shooting images on the Nike campus. This image would eventually be used on their jobs website.

Clip | Nike Careers

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

This past summer we did several shoots for Nike’s talent acquisition team. We wanted the images to look authentic and celebrate the diverse community of Nike employees, so instead of hiring models all the people used in the images are the employees themselves! The shoots took place throughout the main campus. Here are some of the images now being featured on their career site.

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

Clip | RCTID Capsule Collection

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Here’s a clip from a recent shoot we did with Portland Timbers’ Diego Chara and Zarek Valentin for the PTFC Authentics brand. This new collection is a literal as well as light-hearted interpretation of the phrase “Rose City Till I Die,” better known as RCTID.

 

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

Poster | Oregon City Volleyball

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Earlier this fall we photographed this team photo as well as the individual player photos of the 2017 Oregon City Volleyball team. Here is the final product as a team poster we also designed for them.

 (Craig Mitchelldyer)

Ironman Boulder 70.3

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Personal, non photography related post coming up!

IM BOULDER

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.

GETTING THERE:

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.

RACE WEEK:

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.

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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.

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RACE MORNING:

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.

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SWIM:

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.

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BIKE:

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.”

RUN:

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.

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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!

GOING HOME:

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.

Times:

Swim: 44:20

T1: 3:45

Bike: 3:09:43

T2: 3:26

Run: 3:14:23

Total: 7:15:35