Here is my race report for Alohaman extreme triathlon. It turned out to be a great race for me, finishing 2nd place overall. Everything worked out perfect and had zero problems out on the course.
We flew in on Wednesday, got our rental vehicle, and headed to the hotel. We were staying at the race hotel, which made everything very easy. The race would start from the hotel beach, all transitions and race finish line were on the hotel property. Got checked in to the hotel and checked out the grounds to see where everything was taking place. Luckily I had a friend who knew some locals on the island and introduced me to Annalee, who hooked me up with a big cooler. The cooler was a life saver on race day. We went to meet up with her, got the cooler, and she told us we needed to go pay our respects to King Kamehameha. Knowing the Hawaiian culture and the pride the Hawaiians have in their culture, I knew this is something we must do to make help make sure I had a smooth race. We got back to the hotel, got my bike together, and got a great night so sleep. Thursday got up early and was on the beach to swim at 7:00. This way I was out in the water the exact same time as the race. I had meet up with Corey and Fernando (two other racers) the day before and we all went for a swim together. After the swim we all went on a short bike ride to check out part of the course and make sure the bikes were working good. After this my sherpa (my son Conner) and I went and drove the bike course. I was really shocked. For some reason in my head I thought the course was going to be a lot steeper. Driving it my mind kept saying, “this isn’t steep at all and it’s going to be easy”. I had to keep reminding myself that 10,000ft of climbing is 10,000ft of climbing no matter if it’s steep or long steady climbs. After driving the course we went to the store and loaded up on anything that I could think of that I might want or need during the race. Friday was up early again and had a race get together at 7:00. They had a short talk about the swim portion of the race and than we went for a swim. After the swim I went and had a big buffet breakfast and got my things together for the race. At 3:00 was packet pick up and 4:00 was the race meeting. Everything went smooth and we went and had dinner. After dinner I loaded the cooler with all my nutrition (Infinit) and extra waters. Thankfully we made friends with the people at the front desk and they took our cooler down to the kitchen and completely packed it with ice. We loaded up the truck for the race and I was in bed by 9:30. I got a good night of sleep with not much tossing and turning. 5:00am my alarm went off. I got up had my normal race morning breakfast, a banana, and three s’mores granola bars. Grabbed my bike and race stuff and headed down to the transition area.
The race director was not able to get bike racks so we had to options for transition. We could pit in the parking lot out of the back of our support vehicle or in the grass next where the parking lot was for our support vehicles. Thankfully when my alarm went off at 5:00 Conner got up and went and drove our support vehicle to the very first parking spot. So I decided to pit out of the truck. I got everything set up and ready to go. Went over some last minute things with my two sherpas, Conner and Leah (Conner’s girlfriend). Next thing I knew they were rounding us up and telling us it was time to head down to the beach. I am lucky enough to have two other families (Basso’s and Stone’s) fly out to Hawaii for vacation and to cheer me on for the race. They were already down on the beach ready to watch the race. The swim was a three loop, counterclockwise swim course. At the end of each loop you had to exit the water, run up the beach, around a lifeguard tower, and back into the water. The race director had a quick talk and then lined us up in front of the lifeguard tower for the start. He started a count down from 10 and we were off. My plan was to try to stay with the lead pack but also not push to hard and blow myself up. I started off at a good pace and was with the lead pack. The water was crystal clear and was very easy to draft off the swimmer in front of me. I’ve never been able to draft someone swimming for more then 50 yards, but it was so easy to in the crystal clear water. I just stayed right in the bubbles coming off the racer in front of me. I checked a few times if we were swimming straight and we were. I could feel we were swimming at a good pace and I wasn’t having to work as hard. I took a gamble and just stayed drafting and only sighted a few times. Next thing I knew we were rounding the bouy to head back. I just stayed with the guy I front of me until about half way back were I noticed he was swimming parallel to the lifeguard tower. I figured if I start cutting in at a angle to the lifeguard tower that it should be a shorter distance. So I broke off from him. It worked and I was on the beach at the tower before him. Thankfully I practiced a lot at home, exiting the water and running the beach. I knew to use it to get my heart rate down and not to go sprinting through the sand. Got on the beach and there was my whole crew cheering me on, I was around the tower and back in the water. This time I had no one in front of me. I could see a small group quite a ways in front of me and I knew I couldn’t catch them. So I just got a good pace going and stuck to trying to keep up good form. As I was rounding the bouy to head back I noticed the guy I was drafting was passing me on my left. We rounded the bouy and he pulled ahead. I knew he was faster, so I upped my pace and latched on to him again. Again he stayed parallel to the beach and I started cutting in early and pulled ahead again. I think he noticed and also started cutting in. We both exited the water close to the exact same time. I let him run ahead of me on the beach and just followed him back into the water. Once in the water I just let him pull me around the course for the final lap. I could definitely feel the energy I was saving from drafting him for almost the whole race. So with about five hundred yards left I started cutting in at an angle again and really upped the pace. It worked great I pulled away from him but still didn’t use as much energy on the swim as I would have without drafting. The swim ended up up being a little short.
Swim time: 59:16
Watch said 3,600 yards
Getting out of the water and running up to T1 I noticed there weren’t a lot of people on the beach. I looked at my watch and knew I had a good swim but the beach was very empty. My cheering crew was gone and I figured they were bored already and made there way to the pool bar for some bloody Mary’s. Conner was there waiting for me with some shoes for me run up to my transition area. He told me I was in 9th place which I was very happy to hear. About half way to T1 is where my crew were waiting. They were still there cheering me on. It was so great to see them and encouraging me on. I got to my area grabbed a gallon of water to dump over my feet and body to clean off the sand and salt. Got on my shoes, helmet, sunglasses, and threw on some sunscreen. I grabbed my bike and I was off with the second fastest T1 of the race.
Leaving T1 I saw Fernando getting ready, I yelled at him to get moving. I was excited to get onto the bike and get going. My bike has been my strongest disciple of the three and I had been putting in a lot of work on the bike leading up to the race. Taking off on the bike my heart rate was about 10bpm to high from where I wanted it. But I wanted to get going and I knew there were a couple small hills I would be going down in the first five miles that I could coast down and get my heart rate down. I wasn’t sure what place I was in because I didn’t count how many people were in transition when I left. I knew I had a faster transition than a couple people so I was guessing I was in 6th or 7th. In the first couple miles a saw two person in front of me and pushed a little harder to catch them and pass them. I caught them on a small down hill and went right by them. I kept up a good pace and was going around 24mph. I was coming up fast on one turn that you had to cross traffic and you must use the left turn lane and left turn light. I was worried I could get stuck here, have to sit for a couple minutes waiting to turn and have the two people I just passed catch back up. As I was approaching the light there were already a line of cars so I knew they must have been sitting here for a little bit. When I was about one hundred meters away from where I needed to stop, the lights turn green. I had gotten there at the perfect time. I pushed hard to make sure I made the light and I got through with no problems. The next thing I knew one of the people I passed was eight next to me. He said he saw the light and saw that it was changing so he pushed hard to make it also. We chatted a few more seconds and than he picked it up and pulled away from me. I dropped back a little so that I was out of the draft zone and just watched at the power zone I was in. We were know starting to climb and I was a little below putting out the power that I should be. So I told myself ride my race and start putting down my climbing power and pass this guy. So I passed him back and just kept pushing. I knew the meat of the course was between mile 8 - 63. This is where all the 10,000ft of climbing was and after mile 63 it was all down hill. The climb wasn’t steep but it was very long. I knew to just stick to my power zones and I’d be fine. It was starting to get hot and I could feel the heat coming up from the lava fields. I usually go through one bottle of Infinit a hour and I went through my first one in 45 minutes. At 1:30 into the race I was already almost done with my second bottle. I usually carry three bottle with me but I opted to only carry two because I wanted them to stay cold and to carry less weight on the climb. I couldn’t get any support until we got onto saddle rode at mile 22. So I was plugging away trying conserve my nutrition and I got passed by someone on a road bike. I figured there would be a couple strong riders on road bikes that would pass me on the climb but I was hoping to get them back on the downhill. Now I figured I was sitting in 6th or 7th place and I was keeping that guy in sight and boom, passed again. Another road bike going right by me, dam now I was to where I was coming out of T1. I wanted to go chase them but kept telling myself stick to the plan. I finally made it to Saddle road and there was my support crew. Back in San Diego I had drug Conner and Leah out for one of my bike rides to practice our race plan and exchanging water bottles. We came up with Leah being about 50 yards before the support vehicle running with a bottled water with a hole poked into the top of it. I would throw my empty water bottle on the ground to her and she would hand me the water. I could use it for a quick drink and to squirt over me to cool down. Conner would be 50 yards past the support vehicle and have my new bottle of nutrition. I would throw the now empty bottle I got from Leah on the ground and grab a full bottle of nutrition bottle from him. We planned on of these stops on hills going up so I was going slower and wouldn’t have to slow down at all for the bottle exchanges. The first stop went perfect and I told him we would have to do one sooner than plan because I already blew threw the first two bottles. Now I knew I had my support around and wasn’t worried about running out of anything, it was time to put in work. I kept my power right at the max where it was suppose to be and kept my heart rate under the max I was suppose to be at. It was hot and sweat was pouring off me but my support was stopping about every 30 minutes for me with cold water to cool down and my nutrition if I needed to grab it. Every place where I thought was going to have a slight down hill to give me a little break was really a false flat. I just kept telling myself I had bigger training climbing days back home and this was just another day. I could see the two guys who passed me and I was making up ground on them. As I was getting close to the first one he actually pulled over and stopped it his support. Yes, one down and making ground on the other. Thankfully since we were climbing it had gotten a little cooler and some cloud coverage. I was feeling good and finally passed the other guy who passed me. I kept pushing and I could start seeing the protesters camp on top of the mountain. I knew that I would now have about 8 miles down hill and turn around right after mile marker 20. Conner knew once I hit mike marker 25 to not try and do a bottle exchange because I’d be going to fast. I stopped right before the 25 mile marker but didn’t realize it was already going down hill. I came up on him way to fast and this was the only bottle I could let grab. Luckily we had filled out not to long before and I really only wanted to grab the water to cool off. So I really didn’t even matter that I dropped it. Flying down the hill to to the turn around I knew I could figure out what place I was in and how far the other racers were in front of me. I was figuring I was sitting in about 6th place. I got to mile marker 24, saw nobody, 23, nobody, 22 nobody. Finally 21 mile marker I see the first place guy. I thought ok, he’s two miles in front of me and the rest I’ll be seeing soon. Next thing I knew I was at mile marker 20 and there was the person flagging me down to slow down, turn around and crossover the road. It took me a couple seconds to comprehend and all of a sudden my brain said, “you’re in 2nd place!” I was in complete shock, how did this happen? I finally realized with my fast transition I left T1 in 4th place. This gave me a huge second wind. I knew this was the last big climb and to just stick to what I’ve been doing. I got to my support and I was yelling at them, “I’m in 2nd!” They were like we know, now keep pushing! So I put my head down and kept working. I planned one last refill right before the top. I knew it was going to be fast going back and there wouldn’t be anyplace on saddle road for them to stop where I wouldn’t have to slow way down to grab the bottles. Plus I wanted to now carry three whole bottles on the bike with me for that little bit of extra weight going down the hill. Our last stop went perfect and I said see you guys at T2. I got to the top and the fun began. I don’t know if there was a head or tail wind. All I knew is I wasn’t getting any side wind and I could tuck and fly. I looked down and saw that I was going about 42mph. This is where I like to get out of aero and get on my hoods with my fingers on the brakes, “just in case”. I was flying I knew I was going fast but I wasn’t taking my eyes off the road to see how fast is actually was going. When cars were passing me they didn’t seem like they were flying by me like earlier. I was getting to the bottom of saddle and knew I had to slow down to take a right hand turn. I could see a vehicle on the side of the road and thought it was Conner and Leah stopping there to make sure I was good. As I got closer I could see a bike in front of me and he was slowing down going over to the support vehicle. “Holy shit, it’s the guy in first place”, my brain screamed. I made up the two miles he had on me. Talk about a boost of energy. I started peddling hard and he had grab his bottles from his support and was getting back on the road. I yelled, “ on your left” and flew by him and around the corner going about 30mph! My heart was pounding out of my chest and I was cranking out power and I thought I need to get a gap on him and pull away. I never looked back and rode at my max heart rate and power for the next 10 minutes. Thankfully there were a lot more down hills and I just kept tucking down and bombing them as fast as I could. I don’t think I even touched my brakes at all. I had to keep telling myself to not blow up and stay I’m my zone. I turned onto the Queen K and I could glance behind me and I didn’t see anyone. I tucked down into aero and peddled steady and hard back to T2.
Bike time: 6:24:25
Top speed 57.9mph
Going into the resort for T2 is a small but very steep hill and then a long down hill into the resort. I cranked as hard as I could up that short up hill. I was so excited that I was leading the race. I flew down the hill to the resort. Turned left to head to T2 and there was my whole crew cheering for me. Yelling that I was in first. I wanted to stop and give everyone high fives but I knew I had to keep racing. I changed out of my bike shoes and into my run shoes. I took off my helmet and grabbed my running hat. Throw on my orange mud hydration pack filled with my Infinit run mix and I was off. Fastest T2 of the race.
The first couple miles of the run were through the residential area of the resort and it was all up hill. My plan was to jog until I reached a max heart and then walk until my heart rate went back down. So I basically walked the first couple miles. I then had a nice down hill leading out of the resort and onto the Queen ‘K. Conner and Leah were there checking to see how I was doing. I told them I was burning up and that the heat coming up from the road was unbelievable. They had a couple waters on them and I dumped them over my head and kept going. At around mile four I heard someone coming up from behind me, it was the guy in second place. He flew right by me saying a quick good job. I knew I wasn’t going to keep up with his pace. I told myself stick to my race plan and hopefully he will burn out and I’ll catch back up with him. I had enough water/nutrition on me to last two hours. Our original plan was for my team to meet me around the seven mile spot. The next thing I knew my support was on the side of the road waiting for me. They said they saw the first place guys support stopping every mile and a half checking on him and that they were going to do the same thing. I was so glad they did. There was zero shade and it was so hot. Every mile and a half they were there with cold water, ice, Gatorade, and flat Coke. They would jog along side me so I wouldn’t have to stop. Sometimes I would just throw my pack at them telling them I needed more of my Infinit run blend and it needed extra ice. I would just going and before I knew it Conner would come sprinting up and hand me back me pack. It had been like we had been doing this for years, it went so smooth. It was all pretty much uphill all the way to the turn around. So it was mostly jog and speed walk trying to keep my heart rate in its zone until the turn around. At the turn around I stopped for a quick minute talking to Tony (the other race director) he said he heard I had a great bike split and that they had followed next to me in the car going over 55mph. I couldn’t believe it but told him I never looked at my speed, I was just concentrating on the road. Thankfully the run going back was mainly down hill. The sun was going down but it wasn’t getting any cooler. I had seen the first place racer. He now had a support runner with him and they were still running a great pace. I knew I would now be able to see the gap between me and third place. A little over a mile past the turn around I see the third place racer, it was my friend Fernando. His support (his wife Andrea) was there fueling him. I yelled over to him that I was gonna pick up the pace now that I knew it was him behind me. Fernando has raced with me in Iceland and I knew he was a good runner and we had talked before the race where he had said he was good running down hills. I told myself I was gonna do whatever I had to do so that he wouldn’t pass me. There was no more watching my heart rate on the hills, it was time to push hard till the finish line. Conner and Leah kept letting me know about how far back he was. I didn’t look back just kept concentrating on what was I front of me. I would keep seeing the racers on the other side of the road and they would all yell a good job or keep pushing, which is exactly what I needed to be hearing. With around six miles to go I was completely out of nutrition in my pack but I didn’t want to carry any extra weight. I lighter I was the harder I could push was my thoughts. I told my support just have a bottle with my nutrition in it and I just grab drinks from them. I was about four miles to the finish and race brain took over. I knew I had to be making a right had turn back onto the Queen ‘K and my brain started telling me I missed the turn. It was dark out and completely pitch black with no street lights. I started walking, trying to figure out where I was. I looked behind and couldn’t see anything and looking ahead I didn’t see me support or any cars turning. Part of me wanted to turn around, the other said keep going forward. I retraced the course in my head and knew I hadn’t seen anywhere to turn, so I pushed forward. Sure enough the turn was a quarter mile ahead. I made the turn and knew I was getting close. My support was just up the road. When I got to them I told them I got all screwed up where I was. They let me know I was less than three miles to the finish line. I cooled off with some water, took a couple quick drinks and told them to head to the finish line. I wouldn’t need anymore stops and that there’s no way Fernando was going to catch me now. I took off at a fast pace and held it to the turn into the resort. I finally looked back to see if I could see Fernando behind me and saw nothing. It was a steep short climb into the resort which I jogged up. Once at the top and thru the gate I looked back again, still no one. I knew it was now all down hill to the finish. I ran at the fastest pace I could hold, got to the bottom and turned to the transition area. I took another look behind me again. No body behind me. My heart was racing, I was so excited. There was a lady in the road with a flashlight directing me into the transition area. I ran through there and could see some tiki torches set up in the grass and where the finish line was. I ran towards the tiki torches and could now see all my friends and family cheering me on. Finally crossed the finish line finishing in second place.
Run time: 4:25:56
Total race time: 11:59:19