IRONMAN St George 70.3 Race Report

First off, I want to thank everyone for the kind words and messages I received leading up to and after the race on Saturday. I was pretty nervous and excited during race week. Before leaving Wisconsin, I made my usual stop at the miracle workers in Madison, Peak Performance Massage. Brianna gave me a deep tissue massage to get all the cob-webs out before I left for Utah. I flew into Vegas and made the 2-hr drive to St George. The red rocks were breath taking and the heat was on full blast. The days leading up to the race, I got a few open water swims in as well as some course recon on the bike course. I paid attention to the weather all week to see what we would be facing on Saturday. The final weather check was perfect; low 80’s in the morning with less than 5mph of wind.

St George 70.3 - Pre RaceRace morning I was up at 4:15am. I put on my Mt Borah kit along with my timing chip and sat down for breakfast. I ate my usual race day breakfast; oatmeal with honey and peanut butter, a banana and some water. I sipped on a bottle of GoFar INFINIT Nutrition throughout the morning leading up to the race. I was lucky enough to be staying with a friend and her family who had VIP access on race morning. We drove right up to transition and parked 20 yds from T1. We checked on our bikes, pumped up our tires, made a bathroom stop then heading down to the swim start. It was exciting to watch the pros go off on the swim and come out of T1. My wave started down to the beach at 7:39am.

St George 70.3 SwimSwim (29:47):
My goal for the swim was to finish under 30 minutes, but I also wanted to do my best to race and stay with the lead pack of the M 25-29 age group swimmers. There was about 120 of us in the swim wave. I started near the front, right next to the inside buoy. As the gun went off, I did my best to keep pace with the lead group. I was on the inside of the buoys trying to find some feet to swim on to the first turn buoy. We began to catch the earlier waves so the front group got split up pretty quickly. As we made the first turn, I fell behind the front group. I ended up swimming along for the remainder of the race, passing other AG athletes as I went. The sun was just rising, but I had my tinted TYR Stealth goggles to help block it out. I checked my watch a few buoys away from the finish. I saw that I was still under 30 minutes so I kicked it up a notch and came in at 29:47 and 10th in the 25-29 AG group.

St George 70.3 Eric Engel T1T1 (2:54):
We ran up a boat ramp into T2. There were a lot of swimmers coming out of the water at the same time so transition was busy. My wetsuit strippers struggled a bit to get my TYR Freak of Nature wetsuit off, which frustrated me a bit. I found my bike and through my shoes, glasses and helmet on. I raced to the mount line and had to run a little bit further with my bike because there were so many people stopped while trying to get on their bikes. My T1 was a lot slower than I wanted it to be at 2:54. It should be closer to 2:00.

Once on my Cervelo P3, I began to fly. In the first 5 miles I passed probably 200-300 people. It became frustrating because some of the athletes didn’t choose to ride on the right side of the road. There was a lot of yelling “on your left” or “move over” throughout the whole day. The first 30 miles were pretty straightforward, a few decent climbs and downhills. I stuck to my wattage goals of 250-270 watts with not trying to go over 300 watts on any of the climbs. For nutrition, I had two bottles of my INFINIT Nutrition GoFar with me. Each of these bottles had enough calories to sustain me for the 2-2.5 hour bike. I used to take Gatorade along with a GU every 20 mins. That’s A LOT of GU. INFINIT was just simple, drink a bottle an hour and supplement with water when thirsty.

mountAt mile 40 we entered the Snow Canyon National Park. I tossed my extra bottles to reduce weight before this section. This was a gorgeous area that started along a bike path and then we started along the 4.5 mile climb up to the top of Snow Canyon. This was a grueling climb, with no shade or relief. I did my best to spin up the hill staying below my 300 watt limit. There were a bunch of spectator placed signs along the climbing route that gave me a good chuckle. After cresting the top, the last 10 miles were downhill. This was a chance to rest my legs before the start of the run, whenever I reached 40+ MPH I would back of the pedals and coast. Coming into T2 I managed to pass 8 people in my AG, leaving me in 2nd place heading into the run.

IMG_20150501_182411930T2 (1:09):
I ran into T2 and racked my bike. I could see another athlete right next to me heading out of T2. I knew I had to catch him. I had a great transition spot right on the end of a row. I threw on my FEETURES! socks and shoes, grabbed my race belt, visor and my handheld Nathan QuickShot Plus from Endurance House filled with INFINIT JetFuel. I had a quick transition and ran out of T2.

486A1928Run (1:25:15):
By the time I got to the run, the temps were up near the low 90’s and the sun was out full boar. My goal for the run was to hold 6:20-6:30 min/mile for the first 7 miles, and crank it up the last 10k. The first 1.5 miles were on a slight uphill before a long climb at mile 1.5. My pace slowed to 7:00+ min/mile up the hill. After I reached the top of the climb my legs actually felt better, almost like they woke up a bit. I saw Mirinda Carfrae out on the run and I shouted to her “I LOVE YOU RINNY!”

486A1937There were a bunch of climbs and downhills in the next 5 miles of the race, before a turn-around point. I sipped on my concentrated INFINIT bottle and drank water at aid stations. At mile 7, I saw the athlete who left T2 before me up ahead. I assumed he was in my AG and I knew I needed to catch him. The last 3 miles of the run were all downhill, so I knew I needed to catch him before that. I managed to catch him right before the downhill. As soon as he saw me, he took off. I did my best to keep up with him, but he stayed out of reach the rest of the way. I came across the finish line with a run of 1:25:15. I was unaware of my AG placing or overall placing until after the race.

I ended up placing 1st in the Men’s 25-29 AG, taking 4th overall amateur and 23rd overall including the pros. Taking 1st in my AG meant that I was an automatic qualifier for the 70.3 World Championships in Austria this August. I had to decline the invite, due to costs and the fact that I’m racing IRONMAN Wisconsin 2 weeks after that race. If I would have been the 3rd or higher overall amateur, I could have applied for my Pro Card (which I wouldn’t have, I’m not close to being ready yet). My favorite part of the day was getting the chance to meet 3x IRONMAN World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae. She placed 8th place, but was still so willing to chat and take a picture. Thank you Mirinda for being amazingly awesome!486A1943

IMG_20150430_082658126Thank you:
Thank you again to everyone for the support, especially my friends and family. Thank you so much to Kayla and her family for taking me in for the weekend and cheering me on! I couldn’t have done as well as I did without my sponsors: TYR Sport for supplying me with my swim training gear and amazing FREAK OF NATURE wetsuit. Endurance House for helping me with all my gear. Zipp for setting me up with the fastest wheels out there, my Zipp Firecrest 808’s. My coach and training team, BBMC for getting me prepared for the event and putting together an awesome race plan! INFINIT Nutrition, for helping make my race plan simple and keeping me hydrated the whole way through. Can’t wait to try my Custom blend for the next race! SuperFeet and FEETURES! for keeping my feet feeling great the ENTIRE bike and run! Rudy Project for the hook-up with the always fast and aerodynamic Wingspan 57 helmet. Tifosi for my sunglasses that were comfortable and stable the whole race, and they looked good! Mt Borah, for making an awesome custom kit for the 2015 season!

Eric Engel - Ironman World Championships Kona Qualifer

IMCDA 2014

Looking ahead:
Next up for me is recovering this week and then getting prepped for my next big race, IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene on June 28th. I’ll be aiming for a Kona Qualifier at that race. I’ll be doing 1 or 2 prep races beforehand, most likely Lake Mills Triathlon aka the Wisconsin World Championships.

Thanks for checking in.


2 responses to “IRONMAN St George 70.3 Race Report

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s