Have you ever been so thirsty, you whip open the refrigerator, take a huge gulp of milk straight from the gallon – then realize it was a week past its due date? That’s how I felt at mile 20 of the bike at the inaugural Wisconsin Milkman 70.3 this past weekend. Thirsty as ever, but ended up with a sour taste in my mouth.
I’d like to start this race report by thanking all the staff and volunteers at the inaugural Milkman 70.3! It was a great race and I’m looking forward to coming back again. Also, special thanks to my family and friends who were out in the heat cheering me on!
Always a big thanks to my sponsors and partners: Endurance House, TYR Sports, Mt Borah Teamwear, Tifosi, Rudy Project, Superfeet, Newton Running, Peak Performance Massage, INFINIT Nutrition and Cycleops!
Race morning I was feeling a bit under the weather still, but it was only a head cold so I knew it wouldn’t affect my racing. If it were a respiratory cold, it would be a different story. The 1st Annual Milkman Triathlon had a stacked field from around the area. Top local pros and amateur triathletes were all out to get some cash for the top 3.
Swim – 29:49
We started the swim in knee deep water, about 100 yds from Olin Beach. Before the race I knew that there were going to be 2 guys way out front of everyone during the swim, but after that there would be a pack of about 5-6 swimmers which is the group I was hoping to be in.
The gun went off and I did a few dolphin dives in the shallow waters. Once the ground became a little too mucky, I started my stroke. The first stretch of the triangle course was about 800 yards. I settled into a comfortable stroke and found myself in 3rd place. The two swimmers in the front had already put 15-20 seconds on me. I made it about 600 yards before I spotted a swim pack coming up on me off to my right. I could tell by the wetsuits/tri tops who was in the group. This is the group that I wanted to stick with during the swim. As they came by me, they swam about 10yds off the buoy line, so I kept along the buoy line hoping to take a faster line than they were.
The group swam by me and I wasn’t able to latch on. I made the turn buoy and I couldn’t find any feet. I swam alone for most of the back stretch, watching the group put more and more time on me. At this point, they opened up about a 45 second gap. Before making the second turn, a few other swimmers came by me, in groups of 1 or 2. I did my best to hang out their feet for as long as possible, but was dropped each time.
As I approached the shore, I glanced down at my Garmin, it was closing in on 30 minutes. I was a bit disappointed in my swim, but I knew there was a lot of racing left to do. From what I could tell the 2nd pack was about 2-3 minutes ahead of me. I had no clue how far the top 2 swimmers were.
T1 – 2:12
Exiting the water, I took advantage of the wetsuit strippers and then made the long run to the transition area. As I approached my rack, I tried to get a sense of how many bikes were gone already, 8 or 9 from my best guess. I could see a few people just exiting transition, so I knew I could make up some ground right away. I threw my glasses and helmet on and ran to the bike out.
Bike – 2:32:53
The first 1.5 miles were along the bike path. I strapped my feet into my shoes and began to settle into a rhythm. In the first 5 miles or so, I passed 3-4 riders which put me up into 6th place.
The roads in Wisconsin are pretty rough, its just part of the race. The race crew did an awesome job at marking a lot of the pot holes and obstructions along the course. As I made my way through the first 15 miles, I was pushing a little bit higher watts than anticipated. I was averaging about 300w, instead of 270-280w. I knew there was a lot of race left, but I wanted to get up closer to the front of the race and have a chance to run for a spot on the podium (top 3).
I passed a few more guys coming through the town of Oregon and grabbed some water at the first aid station. The temperatures weren’t too warm yet, but I knew it was going to be important to stay on top of fluids during this race. A moto bike with a race official passed me and let me know I was in 4th place. I figured I was in 5th because I knew there was still at least 4 guys in front of me I hadn’t seen yet.
During one stretch in Oregon, I was messing with my aerobottle and hit a huge pothole. I regained my balance and hoped that it didn’t cause a flat. I felt lucky and continued on. About 10 minutes later, the 6th place guy PB came up and passed me. I knew this was going to be a great chance to work together and try to pull back some of the leaders. As I made the turn onto HWY A, I could feel the road being extra rough. I looked down and saw my front tire had gone flat, most likely a pinch for the earlier pothole.
I was pissed, but knew that I could change the flat and only lose about 3-5 minutes. However, this was not the case. I had the wrong type of tube in my flat kit (I had the tube from my training whilst and not one with a removable stem). Rookie mistake. A race official pulled over and called for the SAG wagon to come and help me out. I had no clue how long it would take. I stood on the side of the road thinking to myself, is this really happening? I had never experienced a flat during a race before. I was due. I watched as rider after rider passed by me. A few guys slowed down or yelled out if I needed anything, others just kept their heads down and passed by. After about 12-15 people went by, the SAG wagon showed up. He was great. He helped fix the flat and get me back rolling.
At this point I was a bit pissed off at the situation. I had a choice to make, I could bike the rest of the way easy and hammer the run, or I could push the bike hard and try to pull back a few minutes that I had just lost, which was about 12 minutes and 30 seconds to change the flat. I decided to push the bike. I wanted to pass everyone that had just passed by me. I felt strong and pushed for the next 15-20 miles, passing an athlete every now and then. With about 10 miles to go, my legs just weren’t having it anymore. My watts dropped from an average of 310 to about 255w during the last stretch.
Coming into transition, I passed another rider or 2, but I knew I was well out of the top 10 at the time.
T2 – 1:27
I came into T2 still a bit frustrated, but there’s nothing more I could do about the bike. It was over and it was time to run. I threw on my Newton Distance Elites, grabbed my handheld and was off. Coming out of T2, I saw one of the leaders standing outside of transition. I was confused at the time but later learned he had pulled out due to a foot injury.
Run – 1:27:52
I began the 13.1 mile run around Lake Monona. I wasn’t quite sure where my legs would be at from pushing the bike a little too hard, but I also had a 12 minute “break” during the ride. The first mile felt relatively comfortable at a 6:25 pace. The next few miles had there fair share of hills and rollers. I just put my legs on cruise control, pouring water over my head at each aid station and tried to stay in the shade when it was available. I average about 6:45 minute miles, passing a few guys on the first half of the run.
The second half of the race was going to be flat, but I knew there would be no where to hide from the sun. Luckily, I had raced in plenty of hot conditions before, so I knew not to push my pace. I was banking on keeping a steady pace and picking off guys one by one who maybe went out a little too fast. At mile 9, I was in 10th place and could see a few runners ahead. The next 2 miles, I just kept grinding, still holding a 6:45 pace. I passed 2 other guys, putting me in 8th place.
The last mile ran along the bike path on Lake Monona. It was hot and my legs weren’t happy with me. I could see the 7th place guy ahead, but it felt like he wasn’t getting any closer. As we made our way into Olin Park, I found a bit of speed and made the pass. With about a quarter mile left we had a large hill. I wasn’t going to get passed here, I pushed the hill and was able to comfortably take in the finish line, giving a high five to my dad on Fathers Day!
Overall – 4:34:12
Obviously, I was disappointed to have a flat during the bike course, but I was proud of the fight I had to pass 6 guys on the run and pull back to 7th place overall.
On the day, the top 2 guys were way ahead of the field so without the flat, it would have been a fun fight for 3rd-5th. I wish I would have had the chance to try and run it out for 3rd or 4th place at the end of the day, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Overall it was a good training day, its always fun racing with the area’s best athletes, pro and amateur. Congrats to all those who finished, it was a hell of a tough day out there.
Up next is IRONMAN Racine 70.3. Its a very flat and fast course, which I haven’t raced in a long time so I’m looking forward to it! I’ll probably do the Pewaukee Sprint the weekend before as well. Thanks for all the support!