2014 was the 12th running of the event and my 10th race weekend in Ironman® Coeur d’Alene, after having raced Coeur d’Alene 3x and done my coaching thing for seven additional trips to Idaho. This has always been a special event for me and I’d like to share the weekend with you, our readers:
Thursday — Endurance Nation Team Dinner
On the Thursday of every Ironman® weekend we organize and host a team dinner for our squad — a chance for the members and their familes to meet the coaches and each other. We began this tradition in 2008 at Coeur d’Alene and we’ve carried it forwards for every US Ironman, routinely having 30-100+ athletes and family members joining us in a fun, social setting…but we have a strict rules:
- Rule #1: no M-Dot attire, race finishers shirts, or anything else that identifies you as an athlete. We already know you’re an athlete. Let’s try to take off the pointy Ironman® hat for a night and get to know each other as real people.
- Rule #2: Violators of Rule #1 have to buy the Coach a beer(s).
Sadly, Team Coeur d’Alene was a sharp crew and I had to buy my own beer (!!), but payback was mine as I delivered to the team a 10′ talk on mental toughness and other tips for squeezing every once of PR out of their day.
Peter, Mrs, and Lil Noyse, and Jon Rothberg, local Pasadena Tri Club hommies!
Friday — Morning Swim and Four Keys Talk
The Team met at 8am for a recon swim and team picture
And then I and my crack AV team relocated over to the CDA Resort to set up everything for my Four Keys Talk.
We had nearly 100 athletes RSVP’d to the talk. Thankfully our athletes chipped in to ensure that everyone was properly registered and received a FREE Four Keys DVD.
About 90 athletes joined me for the talk, during which I delivered our Four Keys of Race Executionand then broke this down into how to race the Coeur d’Alene course specifically. I’ve been doing this talk on the “grassy knoll” by the swim start since 2003 so very special for me to be able to deliver talk in such an awesome venue, complete with Powerpoint presentation and sound system.
We videotaped the talk, to be added to our growing library of members-only content.
Sunday — RACE DAY!
I had volunteered to ride moto support for the race, slated to carry a draft marshal
However, motorcycles outnumbered officials and media. I wasn’t assigned a passenger so I took off to get some pics of the Team and the swim startChris Oubre of Baton Rouge, LA
Click on Chris’ image above for a quick pre-race videoSteve Swanlund and family, our team Race Captain for Coeur d’Alene
Athletes arrived to transition accompanied by a steady 15-20mph wind from the south, blowing towards the shore, which was creating a good bit of chop. The pro’s started at 6am and the winds and died down just a touch by the time the age groupers started at 6:40a. The last age groupers entered the water at 14:45 later.
Coach Rich with a quick report from the swim start
Check out the crowd before the swim!
The age groupers started the swim at 6:40 and everyone was in the water by 6:55.
The motorcycle volunteer coordinator said that the race organizers wanted moto’s on the course to serve as “virtual marshals,” creating a motorcycle presence on the course to help improve the race. I was in the unique position of being very mobile on the course, with an athlete’s and race official’s eye of the dynamics of the race…but without the ability to actually give any penalties for drafting infractions.
So after shooting some video of the bike mount line
I saddled up the moto to head out on the course
Bike Pipes Aid station
Hwy 95 turn around
Taking a quick break at an aid station
Special Needs Turn Around
Coming Soon to the EN Blog: Racing a Windy Ironman® Bike Course
The identifying characteristic of the 2014 Coeur d’Alene bike course was the wind, especially on a course that features at 15 mile out, straight into a headwind, and a 15 mile back with a tailwind. Very early in the bike race I could see that many athletes were already struggling with the wind, and I saw many of these folks later in the day not really enjoying the run. However, the temps were perfect, in the low to mid 60’s for much of the bike.
In a future blog post, coming soon, I’ll get your mind right about how to execute the bike leg of a windy Ironman® course.
Coming Soon to the EN Blog: The Ironman® Bike, Drafting and the Rules
Also, I’m sorry to say that I saw a good bit of drafting on the course, but I couldn’t really do anything about it, other than create a presence and maybe “scare” athletes into doing the right thing?
That said, being an experienced Ironman® athlete and cyclist on a motorcycle during an Ironman® provides one with a very unique perspective. In my opinion, based on my observations and the body language and actions of athletes, I’d say that probably 60% of the athletes out there simply don’t know or misunderstand the rules about drafting…or rather positioning on the Ironman® bike course. That is, most athletes know they are not supposed to draft but don’t know the rules about drafting, what exactly their responsibilities are to avoid it, etc.
Many athletes read our blog. I’d like to use that as an opportunity, in a blog post coming soon, to explain the rules of drafting and what your responsibilities are on race day to avoid it. Hopefully we can play a small part in improving future races.
Despite the perfect temps and overcast conditions, many athletes suffered on the run after having over-biked themselves into the winds on the bike course. However, Endurance Nation athletes prevailed, posting many 45′ to 2hr PR’s and great performances from our first timers and vets, including men’s 65-69 age group winner Al Truscott!
Very proud IronWife!
Coming Soon: Coeur d’Alene ’14 Race Reports and Podcast Interviews
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