Sunday, July 29, 2012

Where the Heck Have You Been?

It has been a little over 5 weeks since this blog has had an update and I am happy to report all is well ... sort of.

Thanks to everyone who has emailed to check in on me. The fact of the matter is that between the demands of my job and Ironman training the blog has been put on the back burner (and I really prefer the Twitter - @jeffirvin). That will change soon as Ironman Mont-Tremblant is a mere three weeks away.

So what has been going on?

Buffalo Springs 70.3

The beautiful Buffalo Springs Lake
My buddy and training partner, Dave, made the 550mi drive up to Lubbock, TX to race the Half Ironman.  The drive up was long, but we had a blast as we decided on the scenic route and passed through a ton of tiny, historic Texas towns. We even managed to stop at three hole-in-the-wall BBQ joints that were all excellent!

The funny part is that we drove about 10hrs Northwest and were still over 2hrs away from another state. If I still lived in Columbia, MD and started driving the same distance it would have put me in Portland, Maine. Texas is huge!

**Note to Self:  Consult Google Maps before signing up for next race **

It was a Sunday race so we were able to get out on the course for a quick s/b/r on Saturday mid-morning. It was around 100* but felt so much better than what 100* is in Houston. The lack of soul-sucking humidity in Lubbock really makes a huge difference.

On to the race - My goal for the race was to go pretty hard on the swim and bike and then back off just a touch on the run as to not crush the legs too bad and be ready to resume IM training on Tuesday. This has worked for me in the past so I figured why change?

The swim was a running/jogging start from a beach and you would maneuver around a counter-clockwise circle and come out of the water a few hundred yards down. The swim started out well and it had a lot less contact from my age group than I am used to in 70.3 starts.

The swim was going excellent until the last turn buoy heading to the exit. I ended up swimming a good distance off to the right and I was not alone! One of the volunteers who was on a kayak had on a fluorescent orange vest which happened to be the same color as the buoy - I was swimming right at him. I eventually realized it was a dude on a kayak and made the adjustment.  After the race Dave says, "What was up with the kayak guy with the orange vest, thought he was the turn buoy?" We laughed it off. Good race for Dave, he ended up with a PR and feels ready for IMMT!

Anyway, I got out of the water in 36mins. Which is about 90 seconds behind my PR but was about right for my current swim fitness.

The ride was pretty uneventful until I got to the turn around at the top of the spiral staircase and noticed it felt like I was pedaling through mud. Looked back and my rear tire was flat. I jumped off the bike right by the aid station and had a new tube on within a few minutes. This was my first in-race flat and I was happy at how quickly I got it changed.

Back down the spiral staircase and continuing on with the ride - until mile 47. Another flat on the rear wheel. I quickly pulled off along the road and it was at this point the realization that I only carry one spare tube on race day hit. Ouch. I pulled the rear wheel off and searched the inside for whatever was causing the flats without any luck. Within a few minutes a motorcycle with officials pulled up and radioed my location to a bike tech. And I waited. And waited. And waited ....

About 30mins later the bike tech pulled up. He quickly examined the wheel and could not find any damage and put on another tube. I thanked him and jumped on the bike and ....pfffffffsssttttt. Flat #3.

My day was done. The options were to walk the bike in 10miles or catch a ride back with the bike mechanic. The ride back seemed the prudent choice, considering another flat was imminent. I later found out after returning home when my LBS looked at the wheel that the rim was damaged and had a small piece of metal protruding. Good news is they were able to fix the rim the bad new is that I took my first ever DNF. 

The hard part was that I had a decent bike split going (avg 21mph) and my legs felt ready for a good run, but I will never know. If you race long enough you are eventually going to have a mechanical.

I was initially disappointed but quickly got over it and filed it away in my mental folder titled - Shit Happens. 

Over the next few days I am going to post a few more updates and talk about IM training, riding in Austin with a blogger legend, sexy new race wheels (Why? see above), and how I learned the hard way that heat exhaustion is a motherF&*^er and I am not invincible.

Stay tuned ...

Thanks for Reading,



  1. Shit does, indeed, happen. Glad this particular shit didn't hurt your body :) Looking forward to some more frequent updates! I should talk...

  2. DNF for 3 flats. I think that makes sense. Anyway, it forced you to rest your legs for your upcoming training week.

  3. Cant wait to hear about this blogger legend!! This person sounds OLD!! I'll bet when he races he gets numbers like 2697!! Does he race against Lew Hollander?

  4. At this rate, can we expect your IMMT race report before Christmas???? :-P haha

  5. wow... I thought I was the only person that gets flats in races or rides haha.

    Dude wonder how you damaged your rim? That is not common, I mean were you using screwdrivers or a machete to change your tires/tubes?! haha.

    The DNF is a tough one to swallow (TWSS!) but I dread my first DNF. Honestly... I am an idiot enough to probably try to run the 10 miles in haha. Granted, this was a tune up race for you so I totally back your decision 100% man!

    Keep up the good work, T minus 3 weeks ;)

    1. Not sure how the damaged happened either? A couple of spots on the course were on some old farm roads and I did smack a couple of potholes pretty hard. One big hole sent my torpedo bottle flying and it actually balanced on my front wheel for a second - sorta cool. Luckily it didn't fall under the wheel and take me out. My guess would be this is when the rim got smashed up. The guys at the bike shop said I knocked the hell out of it.

      But who knows, it could have been just happening slowly over each ride?

  6. Bummer about the 3 flats, but the DNF is a good experience for you to go through once in your life, right?

  7. Jeff, I can totally understand the frustration of multiple flats in a race, remember I had 5 flats at my first HIM on the same wheel.Can't say that I have any words of wisdom except for it happens, not often, but it happens! Good luck with your IM! And still looking forward to meeting you guys in Memphis!

  8. I wondered where you were, then looked at my calendar and remembered... :)

    Hope things are going well. Bummer about the race, but you're right. Shit happens. Better to get it out of your system early in the season.

    1. You and me need to start wearing those "shit happens" T-shirts around (-:

  9. Was wondering when you would finally resurface!

    I heard stories about the new wheels already...

    1. Stories? Between Kevin and me you have probably seen more pics of our wheels then you have seen your own race wheels in person!

  10. love that picture

    were you riding carbon clinchers?

    did you buy tubular race wheels?