Race Roundup: Desert Tri, Double Iron

Vertiz Leads the Way at the Desert International Tri

Newton athlete Tatiana Vertiz (pictured far right) was third woman at the Desert International Distance Triathlon on Sunday, March 6th near Palm Springs, California.

A Lost Bike Doesn’t Stop Jacob Evans From Snagging Fourth at FloridaDouble Iron 2011

Here is Jacob’s race recap:

Last weekend I had the pleasure of racing in the inaugural Florida Double Iron triathlon just outside Tampa, Florida in Flatwoods Park. The race consisted of a 4.8 mile pool swim in a 50m outdoor pool, the bike totaled 224 miles on a ~7 mile loop, and the run was 52.4 miles on a 1.747 mile out and back.

The weekend had its ups and it’s downs, but the downs began around 6:15 a.m. on the way to the race. We pulled into a gas station on the way to the pool to grab a bag of ice and some coffee when I went to check out the bikes on the back of the car. To my dismay my race bike was missing. A long story short–it had fallen off the bike rack. At that moment someone pulled up next to us and said he saw my bike laying in the street just a block back. Aaron and I jumped in the car and went back to where the guy said he saw it.

My bike was not there, and the race was starting in 45 minutes.

At this point I was prepared to withdraw from the race and curl up in a dark hole by myself. My only crew member Aaron would have none of it.

We waved down an officer and let him know what happened. Within a few minutes later we were driving to the pool and Aaron was assuring me that he’d have his bike ready to go when I got out of the pool for the bike section.

By 7:00 a.m. I found myself in the pool and ready to start the race. I opted not to wear a wetsuit since the pool was around 80 degrees. The race director said go and we were off. I had three other guys in my lane. My original goal was for a sub 2:25-2:30 swim. I came right in at 2:24:07!

I exited the pool and headed straight for the locker room to change. Aaron informed me that he had put my extra saddle on his Kestrel tri bike and that it was ready to go. I had never ridden this bike in my life, not to mention it was fit for someone else!

Right at around 10:00 a.m. I started the 224-mile bike. The temps were creeping up and the Florida winds were blowing. I was unbelievably surprised at how good the bike felt. The fit was A LOT more relaxed than mine was, so I was really comfortable in his aero position. I was originally going to race with a disk and a HED 3 front, but all we had left now was his training wheelset.

The bike was around 31 loops total. My goal was to break every three laps for no longer than 5 minutes to refuel and stretch. I stuck to this RELIGIOUSLY! No matter what I was taking a gel every 45 minutes and drinking a bottle of Gatorade endurance and a bottle of water every hour.

As odd as it may sound, the first 114 miles really flew by. I pulled in for another pit stop and everything was going great! I was eating plenty and was well hydrated.

Once the sun started going down I pulled out my headlamp. It wasn’t till around mile 170 that I really needed my light on. I also backed off the fluids just little bit because it was cooling off so much.

We all expected the winds to back off once the sun went down but this wasn’t the case! At some points it felt even stronger. I was still averaging around 18.4mph and started focusing on keeping the average above 18mph for the entire 224 miles. I went into the bike portion with out a goal, since I’d never ridden over 125 miles.

I passed the double century mark and was still flying along just as comfortable as when I had started. I could tell my nutrition planned had worked perfectly. By this point in the bike I was in 4th place and was clicking off the fastest bike laps. I felt really comfortable riding in the dark, plus I could smell the end of the bike! The last lap finally came and went. My average came out to 18.3 mph with a total of 12:19:40.

In “T2” I placed a phone call to my wonderful wife to let her know I was OK and ready to start the run. After having such a great bike I really didn’t know what to expect for the run.

At around 10:54 p.m. I started the final leg of the race. A 52.4 mile double marathon.

I laced up my Newton distance racers, turned on my headlamp and was off into the dark.

The run was 30 laps, so I knew 15 laps was a marathon and so on. My original goal was to run 3 laps, then refuel for no longer than 5 minutes and repeat. After 9 laps I really had to start altering the plan. From there on, it became run 2 laps then refuel. I no longer wanted gels or Gatorade.

Aaron and I experimented with a few things ranging from Sour Cream and Onion chips to Redbull. I finally landed on V8 and Snickers as my choice of fuel! Don’t underestimate the amount of Sodium in V8! It was incredible. I had an entire 6 pack of canned V8 and had no problem finishing that off by the end of the race.

Aaron ran 2 or 3 laps with me at the beginning then I ran alone till the marathon mark. The first marathon was clicked off in 5:32:02. My friend Rose showed up at this point to run a few laps with me as well. We ran a few together; then again I ran quite a few solo.

Around 6:30 a.m. the sun started coming up and the feeling was so surreal. Watching some of the other athletes suffering just as much as I was, was incredible. I didn’t speak French or Hungarian, but knew exactly how my fellow athletes were feeling.

Aaron joined me on lap 22 around mile 35ish? His pace was nice and slightly faster than what I was running. I got really down around mile 26-27. I was starting to question whether I’d be able to run complete laps anymore. Surely enough Aaron pushed me along and we picked up the pace.

We kept steadily increasing our pace. By lap 26 we were running faster than the first lap we’d run 8-9 hours ago!  I kept looking at the total race time and was excited to see I’d probably break 27 hours.

Finally our last two laps came. Aaron ran lap 29 with me and I told him I wanted to run my last lap solo. The whole lap I felt like I was running on air. I was flying. (Was actually around an 8:00/mile pace) I reached the turn around and knew I had less than a mile to go.

I made the final turn and the finish line was in sight. Someone handed me the American flag and I crossed the finish line of my first double iron in 26:16:38 and in 5th place out of 16 starters. My second marathon was 5:31:36.  26 seconds faster than my first!!!

I owe an unreal amount of thanks for my only crew member Aaron. If it wasn’t for him bringing his bike to that race and him keeping his cool I never would have finished this race. My incredible wife Courtney for her unwavering support and love. Sun and Ski sports in Frisco, Texas made sure my bike was in top notch shape even though I didn’t get to race it!

Big thanks to Newton Running for such an incredible shoe (the Distance Performance Racer) and just top notch products in general. And of course I have to thank Ironhead race productions in Dallas, Texas for being such an incredible team. They helped me grow into the athlete I am, and always been supportive. So many people made this race possible for me, and I appreciate each and everyone of you.

–Jacob Evans