IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene 2015 Race Preview

Bring on the heat! It’s race week and the predicted race temps are up near 107 degrees. Yesterday, the race director decided to move the race up an hour to help athletes handle the heat better.

I’m currently flying on a plane to Spokane, WA with a layover in Vegas. I’m feeling relatively calm at the moment, but I know my nerves will pick-up a bit as we inch closer to race day.


Ironman Coeur d'Alene Swim 2014

Lake CDA before the swim – 2014

Swim: The IMCDA course is a two loop course, where after the first loop you must run on the beach before re-entering the water. Last years swim was pretty rough, cold water with heavy winds and big swells. In those conditions, I swam a 1:04 last year. This year I’m hoping for better conditions on the swim so that I can finally break the 1 hr barrier. I’ve been trying my last 4 IRONMANS to swim around or under an hour, the closest I’ve come was at Kona last year with a 1:02. With the help of my TYR Freak of Nature wetsuit and some straight swimming, I’m shooting for sub-1 hour this year. 56-57 minutes would be perfect, but I’ll take anything under an hour. The top guys in my age group usually swim anywhere from 50-52 minutes, so I need to minimize the gap getting on to the bike. (Swim Goal: 57 minutes)

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Bike Eric Engel

Heading out on lap 2 of the bike – 2014

Bike: The bike course is where the fun begins in IRONMAN. The 2-loop IMCDA course offers a bunch of climbing, which means a lot of fast downhills. As I mentioned, last years conditions were quite windy. There was a strong headwind on a 30-mile stretch of the course (which we had to do twice). This year, I’m hoping that the heat is the only obstacle we face, winds are predicted so far at 5-10 MPH out of the N or NE. My plan for the bike is to stay well-hydrated and just stick to my power numbers. Last year, a lot of athletes passed me in the first 30 miles, but I stuck to my plan and eventually caught them around mile 90-100. With the heat this year, I’m hoping to get off the bike before the temperatures creep up too high. If not, I’ll have to drop my power numbers a bit to accommodate for the increased temps. My target power is 240-255 watts. On an ideal day with little wind and no scorching temps, I’d aim to finish the bike in 4:55 to 5:05. I’d love to break the sub-5 hour mark on Sunday, but it will be close depending on the weather. Last years time was 5:11 with the strong winds. (Bike Goal: 4:55)

Ironman Coeur d'Alene run Eric Engel

Heading out on the run -2014

Run: The run, as always, is the make-or-break part of the day. With the predicted temps climbing near 100+, it is going to be important to may attention to what my body is feeling and telling me. With temps that high, my pace my decrease anyone from 5-20% which could be a big difference. If I race smart and listen to my body, I should be able to run well relative to other athletes. Last years’ run conditions were great, but my legs didn’t feel the best. I struggled mentally through the 2nd half of the marathon, but still finished in a respectable 3:17 (which happens to be my fastest marathon, open or IRONMAN). In ideal conditions this year, I was planning to shoot for 3:05-3:10 on the marathon, but my pacing strategy will be a game-day decision based off the temps. I just want to run consistent, stay hydrated, keep my body cool and have a little fun out there while I’m at it! (Run Goal: 3:10)

Overall thoughts: I had a great race last year at IMCDA and I’m really hoping to better my results this year. The heat is going to be a challenge, but I’m hoping my body can adjust and handle it. (Finish Goal: 9:15)

Huge Thanks: I owe so many thank yous to friends, family, coach and my sponsors for getting me to the start line in one-piece. First I’d like to thank my family and friends for all their continued support. My dad will be flying out to Idaho with me to be my cheering squad and sherpa. Thanks to my friends and complete strangers for the kind words of support over the past months. Thank you to my great coach, Blake Becker who has gotten me to the start line feeling more ready then I’ve even felt before!

Thank you so much to my sponsors and those who have help provide the tools I have to do this great sport. TYR for being the absolute best. They’ve provided me with the world’s fastest wetsuit, the Freak of Nature along with some amazing Tracer goggles, transition bag, and so much more! They even express shipped me a skinsuit to Idaho in case the water is non-wetsuit legal. Can’t say enough about the people at TYR, especially Erica.

Thank you Endurance House for providing me with a great platform to work and train! It’s been so exciting watching Endurance House grow from 1 location to over 10+ locations nationwide. If you have never been to an Endurance House before, I’d suggest making a trip, or starting one of your own!

Thank you to INFINIT Nutrition for helping me put together 2 amazing blends for my race. I’ve got rid of all my gels, bar and salt tabs. I’ll be using 4-5 bottles of my custom bike blend and a Nathan Handheld of my custom run blend on the run.

Thank you to Peak Performance Massage in Madison, especially my favorite torturer, Brianna. These ladies (and guys) really know how to get you feeling great (after they are done torturing you). Thank you Meghan and your staff!

Thank you to Superfeet for getting my equipped with the best running and biking insoles out there. Superfeet keeps my feet feeling great the whole day. Black on the bike and Carbon on the run. #stepintosuperfeet

Thank you to Feetures for the absolute BEST socks in the world! These socks are very comfortable, so comfortable I’ll even take an extra second or 2 to put on my pair during a race!

Thank you to Brooks for hand-delivering me a brand new pair of Pure-Flow 4’s yesterday before I left home. Been wearing Brooks for a few years now and I love them!

Thank you to Zipp for hooking me up with the fastest wheels out there, the Firecrest 808’s!

Thank you to Mt Borah for the work on my kit this season. I can’t wait to rock the custom Borah kit out there on Sunday!

Thank you to Tifosi for outfitting me with some great bike/run glasses for all my activities. I wore Tifosi for years, so I’m glad I have the opportunity to represent a great brand.

Thank you for reading and supporting. Think cool thoughts for Sunday!


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