IRONMAN® Chattanooga Race Report: Tim Cronk, 9:57, 2nd AG, Kona!

150 150 Rich Strauss

Tim and Heather, post race

Tim had an awesome race at Chattanooga…and is set to race Kona this weekend, only two weeks later! This is his race report

Quick Stats

Time  9:57:08 ,  Swim 53:16 , T1 5:11 , Bike 5:10:49 , T2 2:18 , Run  3:45:34 ….  2nd place M50-54AG out of 184 starters and 98th OA….  KONA Qualified for 2015 and this was my 4th KQ in 17 months….

The week went as expected in my race plan… Last week training was less than ever, having only completed 4hrs of taper wko’s mon-sat pre-race.  TrainingPeaks numbers were ATL 81 , CTL 143 , TSB +52…..

Race day

Up at 4am , eat , coffee , dress , drive 1 mile to parking garage near transition , body mark , prep bikes, get in line for bus to swim start , arrive swim start, get in line to porto-potty, then get in the long line for the swim TT start.   Conditions for the day were about as good as they can get , it was overcast all day , almost no wind , and a light rain for about an hour on the run.

Swim – 53:16

No wetsuit and fast current….Water temp was 77…  No wetsuit for podium/KQ’s but optional for others… We were very far back in line and after the first AG’ers went in at 7:30AM the line moved very fast… Ate a gel and finished perform when the line started to move… carried morning clothes bag and handed off to volunteer near the start…  They stopped all the wetsuiter’s and put them in a separate line to enter the water after all the NO wetsuit peeps….  I got in the water around 7:50…. Jump in feet first as directed then start swimming, obvious current and speed , still swam hard with race pace effort… Following the buoys was very easy… Kept wondering if I would be better off going further out to catch more current?  About halfway thru I realize I have not touched one body… I’m thinking can you do and entire IM swim and not touch someone?  Answer is NO… But the contact I did have was very minimal…. Highly recommend this swim for anyone with anxiety of mass start , cold water , or contact…. Visuals of the surroundings was also enjoyable… Exited the water… Time ??? No watch… Didnt look for a clock… Ran up the carpet from swim exit to transition.  NOTE: by the end of the swim I was cold.  They also found a dead body in the river on raceday that was unrelated to the race.


Long haul from the swim , top 10ish time, felt smooth

Bike –  5:10 for 115.5 miles

Goal was NP172-174  … Stats AP 171 , NP 175 , VI 1.02 , IF .76 , TSS 297, w/kg 3.2+ for the ride

The mount line was a Zoo. The first 5 miles of the bike are admin out of town on rough roads with lots of turns , was very crowded , people passing on left and right, bottles everywhere, couple of crashes , surrounded by bikes (this was direct result to starting late in the swim as I talked to someone who went first in the water and did not experience this).  After those first 5 miles it calmed down and the pavement is really nice.  But it stayed very crowded for my entire first loop and was impossible to find clean space.  On the surface my stats look pretty good and my results would indicate this but I was not happy with how I rode and not sure I could have done it any differently… I burned a lot of matches on the first half , passing people and groups and then having to hold that power to stay in front of them…  As a result I ended up riding a higher first half power than I would have liked along with a higher VI… But if I didn’t I would have been swallowed by the groups and been forced to drop back and there was an endless stream of riders behind… So passing required more watts.  Anyway the 2nd loop was completely clean and had no issues but I could feel the work I had put in on the first half and rode a lower power than planned… The last five miles I purposely mailed it in for recovery for the run and went into an easy spin mode. Left shoes on the pedals. Smooth dismount.. Had trouble handing bike to a volunteer even though they were not busy.  Nutrition was 4.5 bottles perform , 1 cliff bar , 6 cliff blocks , 1 cliff gel….   NOTE: took me about an hour to warm up on the bike from the swim…. Its a fast bike and the elevation maps make it look worse than it is….

T2- 2:18

Very smooth and closer to a top 5.. as planned socks and shoes , go bag in mouth , put race belt on and watch while moving… took care of the items in the go bag on the course…

Run- Goal was 3:40-3:45, Actual 3:45

Tough course… Hard first mile… then hard 4 miles in the middle and another hard 4 miles at the end…Ran by RPE , sipping gel from a flask every 3 miles with water, drinking perform the 2 in between , switched to coke and salt stick at mile 20…. Settled into pace after the first couple miles but had a slow fade in the second half very similar to my bike…. Still kept the pace spread pretty close with the fastest couple miles around 8min and the slowest around 9:20… I don’t think I had any really high or really low points but more like a slow bleed… Was mind over matter to keep moving forward and not slow down (that much)….. At the beginning of the second loop I was waving at Coach Rich and Eric and coming up on a confusing divide on the course to finish and second loop , I went the wrong way cause I couldn’t see the second loop sign and no runners were visible , I had  a feeling it was wrong and I was screaming is this the second loop?  They kept telling me to keep going,  after 50 yds downhill a guy finally figures it out and chases me down to ask me?  As I turn around to back up Coach Rich is coming to the rescue on his renta bike LOL… Anyway burned a match there and wasted 30sec? Bottom line pretty happy with result on that course!  If it was hot that would be a death march for most!

Mental Game:

Again no major highs or lows… But more about just performing what I know I can and not accepting anything less… Kinda like doing a 2 x 20′ FTP last week and while your doing it this week about half way through your wondering how your going to finish… but somehow you just do!  It takes an effort but it really is mind over matter!

Notes and Misc:

Met a whole bunch of new EN peeps , some at the team dinner, some on the course during the day , and some after all was said and done!  Even got to hang out with the Bad Cop Coach Rich a bit!  Mariah did an awesome job as our team captain.  As a result IMCHOO had the feel of an EN focus race!

Couple stories from the course:   I wore a new custom EN tri-suit from Blueseventy but designed and screened by Andre at Kiwami. Andre had put my name CRONK across the butt and I wasn’t sure I liked it at first and then said the hell with keep it on there…. So around mile 50 after I was just about tired of burning matches and fighting on the bike , a 27yr old guy pulls up along side me and says CRONK your amazing you been pulling 40 guys… I go I dont care as long as they aint in my AG….Actually had a couple similar conversations with a few other closer to my AG.  Made me feel a little better… Then on the run a 25yr old passes me at mile 3 and says nice work on the bike , Your 52?  shaking his head…. Then at mile 5 a 29 year old guy passes me and says nice work on the bike, I couldn’t hang with you on the second lap!  Heehee  earning a little respect from the young studs!

Quick Edit forgot to mention: Having a few short conversations with KORI and DINO on the bike!  And Watching Mark Roberts go by me like I was standing still  up Barton Ave Monster hill at mile 24 was just a thing of beauty!

My Heather completed her 4th IM with a 13:44 and a 19 min PR…  Unfortunately due to the layout of the course our paths did not cross … I had to wait for hugs and kisses until the finishline… Couldn’t be more proud of her!

Chattanooga is a great place to race! Highly recommend it!

Packing up to head to KONA 2014 and finish the season!


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