Monday, August 21, 2006

Ben Schloegel TRI Update #3

Fresh off another brutal, brutal weekend of racing and back on the podium with a third place finish at Cat's 1/2 Ironman in Arkansas. Far and away the hottest I have ever been in a race before, temperature in the air 103, heat index above 110 and the pavement, who knows? This is a great race if you are training for Kona, US 1/2 nationals in Innsbrook or any other race where the elements and terrain will push you more than even the distances. The Northern part of Arkansas is extremely hilly, no switch backs there just straight up and straight on each and every climb, in that heat it will kick your ass. Stay hydrated and fueled and you have a chance.The water temp was 86 degrees, about the same as the air temp at race start, seven a.m. The swim was a bit on the long side only a few guys notched times under 30 minutes I was happy coming out just a touch over, I was amazed that to find I was sweating under my cap when I came out. In hind site I wonder what kind of hole swimming in that warm of water would put people in later on. A lot of guys would fall hard as the day progressed.Getting onto the bike, you climb for about 5 miles up to the ridge of the hills out there. All the roads are used for the logging industry up there and are in pretty good shape, it also makes for some great scenery when your racing. I caught all but about six guys within the first ten miles of the race, I had a great advantage of going up a long hill right out of the gates like I did. The ride out to the turnaround is really pretty flat, some rollers but after the first 15 miles it flattens out a bit. There is only three aid stations on the ride and at every one I tried to cover myself with as much ice water as possible, I can only imagine what a differnce it made for Landis to have a car and all that at his disposal his entire day. Anyway, the ride in was tough, more so than I anticipated you could really feel the heat coming on though around mile 35. There was two big hills, not long, but steep and they really played havoc with your legs suddenly using a totally different set of muscles. Getting back to T2 I was sitting in sixth place and new that I wanted to get on the podium I was about four minutes off 3rd and new that is where I wanted to end up, I didn't want to burn too many matches this close to Ironman Wisconsin so I thotled off quite a bit so to not totally trash my legs on that course. The run is brutal, a mile climb out of the lake and then basically a "T" intersection where you peel off both ways both of which drop you off into seprate climbs. The first one is a short half mile leg to the right, you turnaround and comeback about two miles past then back to the finish and/or to the start of the second loop. There is no shade on that run and if it was not for my own supply of GU vanilla bean and GU espresso love I would have been in a world of hurt. I had to pack in my own energy suppply though, the stuff they have out there just doesn't cut it, not in that heat. I finished strong and in the top, just where I wanted to be. I have never been more pleased with my training or condition leading into an Ironman, now if I can just stay healthy here at work and finish with some good speed work I think all the pieces will cometogether on September 10th. Take care.

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