Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ironman France - An Amazing Race

The Short Story...

It was an incredible day.  Everything went near perfect, and I finished about as strong as I could have ever wanted.  The swim was incredible and crazy.  The bike course was as challenging (and epic) a ride as I've ever done.  My run especially surprised me, and although I had to really push, I was able to hang on for a sub 14 hour finish.  I'm elated and feel oh so happy and satisfied.  I just can't wait to see the finish photos.  I went ape sh*t!  :)

The (VERY) Long Story....

The Prologue:

We arrived in Nice last Monday after a long, arduous flight on Luftansa.  The 747 is clearly not designed for a 6'4" guy who flies coach.  Oh well, we made it through and took a taxi to the small town Villa Franche.  It's only about 5 miles from Nice, but it's very different.  Our friend Ted recommended we stay there as it's much quieter and quant than Nice, which strangely reminds me of San Francisco.  After a 15 minute stroll into town we quickly realized that nearly all of the restaurants serve pizza and pasta....PERFCT!  After assembling my bike on Tuesday I took an easy ride through Saint Jean Cap Farret, where I later learned that Lance Armstrong has a home.  Legs felt heavy, but it was cool riding in France - the drivers seem quite aggressive, so I was very nervous, but they were surprisingly respectful once I was riding.  Way better than in LA!

After a few more low keyish days (that all involved much walking...which made me nervous) we decided to rent a car and drive in the mountains.  It was epic, but also stressful as I'm not used to driving on such small roads, and it's been awhile since I drove stick!  On Thursday we met up with our friend Pam at registration.  It was so exciting getting my bibs, bags and complimentary backpack.  They even gave us a bracelet that we would wear all weekend.  (And Julia got a VIP bracelet!)  I also bought some apparel, but quickly decided to lock it up in the backpack until after the race....I didn't want to jinx it!  It was a little strange for me to see all these other athletes.  Intimidating really.  There's a certain intensity that goes along with this sort of thing and these dudes looked so fit and ripped.  I'm not competing with anybody but myself, but I don't really know many people back home who look the part like this.  And I had a strong feeling they all had the goods to back it up.

Pam introduced us to her friend Marc, a Scotsman, who is about as hardcore as they come.  This 20 year old dude has a marathon PR of 3:11, and that's the first 26 in a 56 mile run!  He's planning on doing a TRIPLE Ironman next year.  Insane.  Very funny, humble and cool guy.  We jaunted back up into the Alps with the car and began driving the bike course.  

Unfortunately we missed seeing the very first climb.  I was told it was short, but VERY steep (like 15% for about 500 meters.)  Continuing up, I realized that many of the sections marked "flat" on the map were in fact gentle up hills....great!  We stopped at many small towns en route.  It was delightful.  

About 30 miles in we approached the major climb everybody talks about the "Col de l'Ecre," it was very long, but manageable.  

The car ride seemed to go on forever, the descents seeming harder than anything I could have imagined.  So many turns!  Probably hundreds, including several hairpins.  

Not like SoCal... Making our way back into Nice I was having trouble imagining how I would make it through the course unscathed.  It was going to be an interesting day.  

We'd go back to Nice each day - and it proved to be quite a hike whether via train or bus, 5 miles isn't far but it turned out to be difficult being that far away.  On Saturday we took the train with my bike to check it in.  

I was so nervous giving the staff all of my items, my bike, my bike bag (which contained all my bike items) and my run bag.  

That night, upon our return to Villa Franche we had pasta at what would turn out to be our favorite place.  I was SO nervous in the few days leading up.  Each time I'd think about it my stomach would go through my throat.  I think I was way more nervous for the Ironamn than I was the night before my first marathon two years ago.  I was able to get a little sleep thankfully, which was a nice escape from the anxiety and nervousness.

The Morning:

The alarm woke me up at 3:20 AM.  Here I was, just a few hours before the start of what has been 9 months coming.  I ate my TJ's Pop Tarts that I packed over, had some Dr Pepper (in the absence of coffee) and got my things ready.  By 4:30 we were in a taxi headed for Nice.  We got there pretty early, I loaded up my bike then realized I had a bit of time on my hands.  I chatted with Julia about my nerves, my excitement.  I decided I was more nervous about the swim than I realized!  I had never done a mass start, all of my previous races have been wave starts - this was going to be epic!  By 6:00 I Julia one last hug and kiss and headed down to the beach.  I was so excited.  Here I was.  I'd been waiting months for this morning to arrive!!!

The Swim:

The shore was rocky, so I decided to sit down and wait until a few minutes before.  I couldn't get in the water to warm up, so I figured I might as well just conserve energy.  I even peed in my wetsuit while I was sitting there, I know, gross.  With 2 minutes to go I stood up, wished others luck and started to focus on the day I was about to embark on.

The gun startled me when it went off, I might have even been in mid conversation with a British man!  I made my way in to the water, careful to to hurt my feet on the rocks.  By the time I was up to my knees I dove in and started swimming.  It was a madhouse.  There were bodies everywhere.  No escaping.  I couldn't even put my head in it was so crowded.  Funny thing was - with my head out of the water - I had a full on grin!  I was delighted to be in this insane environment.  I got kicked, somebody kept on grabbing my toes -- it was everyone for themselves out there!  About 10-15 minutes into the swim it calmed down just a bit and I got into a groove.  It was impossible to draft, the second you would get lined up somebody else would cut you off.  By the first buoy, which was 1 km off shore it became a giant clusterf*ck once again.  Mayhem.  

As we round the next buoy and turned into shore I saw a very errie sight - there were 3 or 4 swim caps floating around in the water about 10 feet down.  Of course they were just ripped off, but it was strange how they just floated all together....and it was there that the pack seemed to split - and by that I mean going somewhat different directions - but I didn't realize that until it was too late.  It was so hard to spot the buoys or the shore with all of the turbulence.  Soon I realized that we were indeed headed for the wrong beach!  I had to essentially fight with everybody and switch my direction.  I got back on track and spotted the beach where we'd get out for the first loop.  Approaching the correct beach it became quite frenetic.  The battle for position never ended and while it was amusing at first I quickly wanted to just find a lane where I could get into a groove.  Exiting the water was cool - they had volunteers literally pulling us out.  After a few feet of jogging we were back in for the second (and shorter) loop.  

This loop went by very quickly.  I was able to pickup my pace a bit, which felt great.  I finally found my groove.  At the last buoy there was some dope frog kicking quite aggressively - as if to say "give me room!"  After a near miss to the front of my face I grabbed his leg and out of frustration squeezed a bit.  Possibly unsportsmanlike, but he did go back to a regular kick after that.  

Approaching the swim exit was awesome.  I had made it through the 2.4 mile washing machine.  I ran under the showers and up the hill towards transition.  The jog to the changing area took us under the finish line and Julia was right there cheering like crazy.  It was so great seeing her looking so happy and proud.  Upon seeing the clock, I was right on track with my swim time.

I grabbed my bike bag and headed for the changing tent.  I did a full change of clothing, put on my sunscreen as fast as possible, etc.  After that it was a long jog with my cleated bike shoes to retrieve my bike.  I got it and hopped on.  I saw Julia again, smiled and was off to start my 112 mile ride.  

The Bike:

The bike course took us along the main promenade where I quickly focused on drinking my energy drink of choice, Perpetuam Cafe Latte.  (Yes, it has caffeine!)  I was shocked to see on my Garmin Watch that my heart rate was in the mid 150s - a bit too high!  Excitement?  The swim?  After seeing that I became quite cautious and decided to go out even easier than I had planned.  (The plan was to take EVERYTHING easy!)  

About 20 minutes later the heart showed signed of slowing and I started to relax.  I took on some Hammer Gel and more drink.  About 10 miles in I reached for my water bottle, and my race bracelet caught on my rear brake cable that runs along the frame!  My rear wheel completely locked up and my bike began to fishtail!  Thankfully I was able to stay upright and there was nobody beside me, but this could have been disastrous.  People cautiously passed me after this, as it most of looked like I randomly lost control from behind me.  Speaking of, since I'm a halfway decent swimmer, I'm used to getting passed on the bike and run like crazy.  I just had to focus on my own race.

Soon we turned a corner and there was that bitch of a climb - the steep one.  It was funny hearing all the bikes around me shift in unison.  I stayed seated, reminding myself not to start the climb too quickly.  The whole town had come out to cheer us on and it was so great to hear "Allez Cody!"  It truly helped me get to the top.  A few minutes of pain later I was at the top and relieved.  My heart rate sure spiked, although that was unavoidable.  I concentrated on recovering and taking it easy - I knew the toughest climb was yet to come!  

During the flat section a media motorcycle was closely following a slower cyclist.  Unfortunately the road was narrow and they were nearly blocking all of it.  I somehow made it in front, but these two incredibly fit German guys came up fast behind them and were screaming something at the top of their lungs at the motorcycle.  It sounded just like that generic angry German voice I so often imitate!  I was cracking up inside.  To top things off, as they passed me, one of them looks over to me with a slight grin and yells "Fack!"  - with a slight bit of humor, embarrassment and camaraderie.  Hilarious.  I had tiny photos taped onto my aerobars (My dad, Julia, Henry, Mom and Michael) and I couldn't help to look at my dad's face and have a giggle with him.

The next several miles were largely uneventful.  Some false flat uphills, some gentle descents.  The race was wonderfully organized, as there was police at every intersection.  The aid stations were great - I continued taking on fluids and nutrition.  

Before I knew it I was starting up the big climb...the "Col d'Acre."  This was the big one I've trained so had for.  After driving it I wasn't as scared as I thought I'd be.  It's about 21k (13 miles) and 1k of elevation gain - somewhat gentle grades, but HOT.  No shade and unrelenting.  I got into a great rhythm and even had some quick conversations with others.  It was so cool being here in the French Alps doing my Ironman.  All the names that passed by!  (Yes, I was largely being passed by everybody it seemed!)  "Laurent" "Jean Michel" "Benoit" "Gilla" I could go on and on!

About 2/3 of the way to the top I was really feeling it.  One thing that worried me throughout the week prior to the race was the fact that going up the two flights of stairs at our hotel made me slightly out of breath....Was it jetlag?  Did I taper correctly?  The normal doubts I supposed.  I was debating stopping for a few minutes to collect myself.  As I did on nearly all of my training rides, I decided to try and press through.  And press through I did!  There was a traffic jam at the aid station that forced me to momentarily unclip, but other than that I just kept on chugging along.  I summited and there was the "special needs" station, where my supplies were stored.  I switched out my water bottles, got some more nutrition and was on my way in under a minute.  A nice gentle decent ensued and I was in one of the most beautiful parts of the course, surrounded by meadows.  Despite the beauty around me I had a very unpleasant feeling in my stomach.  I've had acid reflux on and off for years now, and sometimes can get a bit nauseous from it.  It's usually nothing to worry about, but the last thing I felt like doing was eating - and I sure needed to if I wanted to have a strong day.  Calorie intake is key!  I grabbed a bottle of water at the next station and poured it over me and took a few sips.  I decided I might be better off trying to chase a gel shot with water and see if I could stomach it.  I could - in small amounts.  I even took a bit of my oat bar, squeezed a bit of gel and followed with water.  Improvisation.  It seemed to be working.  I was diligent about my salt, taking tablets whenever I felt my stomach would accept it.  Instead of going by time I went strictly by feel, giving my body what I thought it wanted and would take.

Just over halfway on the bike we had been decending on the bike for sometime.  It would have been great fun, but I just could not get comfortable.  My shoulders were so tight and I felt like my neck was spasming.  This was present at the start of the bike as well, but I had no hard work (ie climbing) to take my mind off it now.  I'm sure it was due to the swim - they were the same muscles.  I tried to endure the discomfort, tried shifting my position repeatedly.  Somehow I just zoned out to it, accepting it.  The next aid station had a nice surprise.  It wasn't a Dr Pepper, but it was the next best thing: Coke!  I grabbed a bottle and it was the best sip all day!  Pure bliss.  That would set up the rest of my race in a way.

More beautiful country side would pass and we'd go through small villages with the residents cheering us on, some more enthusiastic than others.  From time to time I would ham it up and wave, or put my hands up as if to say "cheer for me!"  It sometimes worked - and it was exciting when it did.

We reached another climb.  I must admit outside of that really steep 500 meters and the famous "Col D'Acre" I didn't really take any of the climbs very seriously in my mental preparation.  Not that I could've done anything differently had I, this next climb thoroughly bit me in the ass.  It started off as I remembered it - a little steep....fine.  It kept going until this little picnic area....fine.  I drove the course, I knew it.  Then it kept going and kept going.  When the f*ck would I reach the top?  One thing that kept me going was in this forested area there was a long haired guy with a horn.  He would go "toot toot toot."  Approaching him, I noticed that everybody ahead of me was basically ignoring him - and I could tell he was getting discouraged by the fact the the "toots" were getting further and further apart.  I needed a distraction.  He "tooted" and I went "toot."  He went "toot toot," I did the same.  This went on for a few minuted, as even though I was long gone, the switchback took me right over him again - and at least it was shady!

After reaching the top we had a bit of downhill.  There were a few hairpin turns that were more exciting than scary, then we would take a right for a quick out and back loop.  It was undulating terrain, but this part felt effortless.  Hands down the best I felt on the bike the whole ride.  On my way back to the main road I hit a small pothole, and a few seconds later realized that my back wheel had gone flat!!!!  Damn it!  Just as I got in the groove.  I pulled over and quickly went to work.  The tire was hot and thus easy to take off.  I checked it, replaced the tube, filled it with my C02 cartridge (which they strangely called "oxygen" over here) and was on my way.  I was cautious for the first bit, as I've had issues with multiple flats before.  Thankfully it did seem to be just a pinch flat and I was ready to decent carefully and efficiently.

There was one more little climb that didn't phase me and I continued to take in as much nutrition as I felt I could handle - but I was careful not to overdue it knowing how fussy my stomach felt.  I was essentially force feeding myself the gel, chasing with water, then taking a salt tab and a big sip of soda as often as possible.  I knew I would need the energy for the run.

The decent was fantastic.  I must admit I was nervous, and somehow my rear brake was squelling every time I engaged it - so that added an element of caution - a good thing.  My goal was to make it not go as fast as possible.  Halfway down the downhill this dude comes screaming past a bunch of us.  Reckless.  It wasn't 10-15 seconds later that his bike skidded out on a turn and he toppled down about 30 feet in front of my.  We were probably going over 25mph and I overreacted.  I squeezed too hard on the brakes and began to loose it.  Somehow I managed to stay upright.  Another cyclist pulled over to help the man who crashed and I pulled over for a second just to regain my composure.  A few seconds later I carried on and as I passed the next intersection I told the police officer to get help - I think he understood.  

That crash was in my head the rest of the ride down - I wanted to make up a bit of time, but I wanted to finish in one piece more.  I was careful took my time - but most of all enjoyed the twisting and turning decent.  About 7 hours into the ride I had had it.  My ass was sore, I was irritable and ready to get off.  It was a long 10 or so miles of flat before we'd transition to the run - and it was windy!  And of course it was the wind in the face.  I tried to relax, but it was impossible to find a groove.  I finally felt like I might have to pee, so I got off and found a bush.  It was bright yellow and painful.  Not good.  I had went before the race in the wetsuit, and in transition to the bike, but not for the last 7 hours.  And I had been drinking tons!  I decided to drink as much Coke and water as I could in the next 15 minutes, as I didn't want to arrive to the run with a full stomach (in my experience that leads to big time stomach issues for me.)  

As I made the turn at the airport I became very excited and petrified at the same time.  I had completed the first two legs of the race in one piece....but now I was going to run a marathon?!  This just seemed insane!  I quickly pushed those thoughts away and focused on how excited I was to get off my bike.  The last 3 miles paralleled the run course, it was exciting to see where I'd soon be.

I handed my bike off to the volunteer, careful to grab my Garmin as I'd need it's feedback on the marathon.  I grabbed my run bag and headed to the changing tent.  Soon I was off, jogging out of transition.

The Run:

I started the run, and just like so many of my long bike rides (which I'd follow with a 15-30 minute run) felt pretty good!  I knew I've had a tendency to embrace that good feeling and go out hard.  Not here.  I immediately slowed and watched my heart rate carefully.  I had stopped monitoring it on the bike - the climb was what it was and I went strictly by "perceived exertion."  On the run though, it's easy to talk yourself out of running and into walking - I wanted the direct feedback from my body.  About 5 minutes into the first loop I heard "CODY!!!!!"  Julia.  She was SO excited.  I got chills.  I hadn't seen her for nearly 8 hours!  What a trooper she'd been.  While she was curious how I was, I was curious how she was!  Was she bored to pieces?  Did she go to the beach?  Did she have a good tour of Nice?  She was delighted to see me, and for me it was just a huge lift knowing I'd see her quite frequently from now on.

As I headed West towards the airport I approached my first aid station.  The plan was to walk each station, which spanned 50 meters or so.  They had showers and I couldn't resist cooling off and walking through.  I tried to stratal the puddle as soaking my shoes would mean trouble this early in the run.  I grabbed a cup of water, a cup of Coke and a piece of banana.  This would prove to be my ritual (with Salt Tabs added whenever I felt I could keep them down.)  At the turnaround I realized I was 1/8 through the final leg, and every time I passed over one of those timing mats I was "phoning home" to my friends and family back home - most of who would be enjoying their morning coffee.

Heading back towards the start I realized how huge this bay in Nice really is.  3.25 miles is a long way!  But thinking about 4 loops of 6.5 is sure easier than one 26.2!  For the first half mile after the turnaround you can't see much - the runners going the other way are divided by trees and there is no line of site to the bay, but after the aid station you'd get a glimpse of the finish area way off in the distance.  I'd be staring at it for the final 3 laps, my mouth watering.

It was interesting being on the course with so many athletes of different levels.  It wasn't as obvious as you'd think, people were constantly being passed, taking walking breaks.  The only way to tell where somebody was in their race was by the number of bracelets they had on.  As I completed my first loop I got a black hair band to put around my wrist.  I noticed other athletes with blue and white ones as well - they were closer to finishing than I was, but I'd soon be there as well.

I saw Julia again and was so excited!  Her cheer was energizing and I naturally (and dangerously) picked up my pace.  The excitement of passing by the finish line (it was actually somewhat screened off from the course) surged my adrenaline as well.  Going out for my second loop I started strategizing.  Time has never "officially" been a goal for me.  Finishing was.  But in the back of my mind breaking 14 hours would be an A+ day.  I would keep my mind busy by running the numbers.  I knew that if I could average an 11/mile overall I could do it - with even a little time to spare.  I let my heart rate creep up into the mid 150s, keeping 160 as a barrier I would not cross.  The only calories I was taking in was Coke and a bite of banana here and there - to go above 160 would be suicide.  I also knew the results of this race were somewhat predetermined by the hard work I put into my training....Coach Rom would say "trust your training" and he was right.  My best move was to keep it slow and steady and hope it would all work out (hopefully no cramps or bonking.)

One thing I did in these long laps of 6.5 miles (well, 3.25 each way) was think of a special person each direction - fond memories of those people (and one dog) who would inspire me to keep going.  I thought about May, my grandmother who recently passed, George, my good friend who passed 3 years ago and of course my father - who this is really all about.  I also thought about the living.  Julia.  My Mom.  And Henry!  I even thought about myself - what I've put myself through to get here and why it was so important to me to keep moving - and how proud I would be if I could hang on.  This was a truly helpful tool.

Finishing the second loop I saw my own personal cheerleader again.  Awesome.  I told her I'd see her just once more before the finish.  

I convinced myself that this, the 3rd loop was really the last loop.  Heading back out I felt ok despite a little "side stich," but halfway to the airport (the turnaround) I started to become extremely fatigued.  There was a big traffic jam on the street due to the event, and I distracted myself by trying to get the drivers to honk for us.  After a dozen failed attempts I finally gave up.  I guess they were too pissed that we were hogging their roads.  I did wave at some German tourists in a bus - and they waved back!

At the turnaround I had a decision to make.  I had lost my salt tablets.  They were all stuck together and I couldn't get them out of the bottle.  With about 10 miles to go, should I risk not taking in any more salt, or should I spend valuable time going to the "special needs" aid station - my prepacked bag of personal items.  (Which included salt tablets and advil among other things.)  As I approached the aid station I did the math and figured I had about 3 minutes of padding to break 14 hours if I could maintain the same 11 min/mile average.  I decided it would be a quick decision.  If it was streamlined and would take under a minute I would do it - a cramp due to lack of salt would be much more costly than the little time it took me to retrieve my bag.  As I approached the station I yelled to the volunteer "644" "644!"  He was a bit surprised, but got the message and found my bag immediately.  He held it open for me and I grabbed the ziploc bag that was thankfully right at the top.  My miracle mineral - salt - was back in play.  Relieved, I continued back toward the start for my final loop.

The last half of the third loop going into the first half of the fourth was by far the most challenging for me.  I was exhausted.  My legs were still moving though, despite a mild cramp below my right hip.  I was also sleepy.  By that, I mean SLEEPY!  I couldn't wake up, despite the gallons of Coke I must have been drinking!  I went under one of those showers and doused my face in water - that helped.  I was hurting though, and even though my final loop was upon me, I wondered if I could hang on to finish in under 14 hours.  I had seen multiple bodies (carnage) along the course.  Guys who had clearly pushed it too hard.  One dude was really scary, completely passed out, eyes rolled back, and the medic couldn't even get him to wake up.  It was eerie hearing the ambulance a few minutes later.  Being in position for an A+ day was great, but I wondered if I push it too much if I might end up in the hospital instead of the finish line.  I decided I had no choice but to just keep running and carefully watch my heart rate - NOT my pace.  From time to time I would check my pace (I had my Garmin set up with different screens, so I could toggle various views) and would be relieved to see 10:45, 10:58, etc.  I was on track.  I retrieved my final bracelet, which was white, and headed out for the last loop!

At the final turn around I overheard some spectator tell his friend "You've got to enjoy that finish - that's what it's all about."  That couldn't be more true.  I've thought long and hard about the magic of that last 100 meters.  Once I passed the airport I could see the finish wayyyy off in the distance - about 3 miles.  I could see the flash of cameras going off.  It was still light, but getting to be magic hour.  Beautiful.  My pace picked up a bit.  It took all of my discipline to walk the next aid station, as the magnetic pull of the line was very strong.  The second to last mile lingered --- I hurt.  I replayed my song "Letting Go," which I wrote for my dad in my film in my head.  It powered me through.

Before I knew it I was about a mile out.  This is where it got really fun.  I started waving to the spectators, some of them were quite enthusiatic, some were not so much, but I had not a care in the world.  I knew this was in the bag - and I was pretty sure I made up time and had 14 hours in the bag.

Closer and closer I got.  Tears of joy flowed down my cheek...I began high fiving the spectators lining the route.  I approached the finish chute.  Here I was.  9 months in the making.  I rocketed passed the volunteer checking the bracelets and she was yelling "bib number?"  I was too distracted, but quickly realized that she needed to tell the announcer.  Oh well!  I was too busy screaming at the top of my lungs!  I was high fiving people, doing 180s - even a little dance pumping my fists in the air.  I yelled "wee wee wee!"  (Yes, Yes, Yes!)  I was lucky to seemingly have the last 100 meters to myself - I thought I saw somebody approaching, but they must have wisely waited patiently.  The announcer was yelling "Cody Cody Cody!"  Since he didn't know my last name or where I was from he held the mic up to my mouth - I yelled "I'M AN IRONMAN!"  He took it back, then I realized I had momentarily forgetten what I really wanted to say....I grabbed it back and yelled "JUE SUIS IRONMAN!"  The crowd erupted!  I walked across that line and there was Julia waiting for me.

The Epilogue:

I'm truly the happiest man in the world as I write this.  All the blood, sweat and tears were worth it for that 2 minutes of absolute bliss.  This finish was absoluletly more insane than my first marathon - which I guess is what I've been seeking.  In the minutes following the race I laid down just passed the line with an enormous grin.  Incredible.  I did it.  I still don't know how.  I'm SO elated.  Not only a finish - but a strong one, shattering my unofficial goal time.  

My nutrition sure doesn't look good on paper, but it sure seemed to work!  And I refused to let that flat tire be the obstacle that got in my way from breaking 14.  I made the expensive call to my mom, talked to her for 59 seconds and decided to try and get myself up.

I was dizzy.  Julia and I had already discussed months ago that I might have an IV post race to help recovery and to rehydrate.  After informing the oh so cheering French doc that I had barely peed all day, he gladly gave me what he called an "infusion."  Julia was asked to leave the medical tent and I began to chat it up with my neighbors.  Some were happy, some not so much.  A man a few beds down was puking violently, another was trembling beyond belief.  I felt awful for them.  Somehow I made it through unscathed - except for a very painful blister on my right foot.

After the IV I got a short massage, some food (including delicious vegatable soup) and then Julia and I watched the fireworks after the last official finisher.  It was too amazing.  I retrieved my bike and bags and limped around Nice with Julia trying to catch a taxi home.  It wouldn't be for another 2 hours that we'd be in bed - it was that much of an ordeal.  We thought we might be stuck in Nice for the evening - or worse walking the 5 miles home!  Thankfully Julia pleaded with an off duty cab driver and we got home.  

The experience couldn't have been greater and I'm so happy that it all played out this way.  I'm not thinking ahead about what's next - I want to enjoy the achievement for now - and enjoy Europe!  I encourage anybody who has the intrigue about this type of event to go for it.  It's worth all of the hard work and you'll come out the other side mentally and physically stronger.

Lastly I wanted to thank my training partners/friends Jessica (who served as my IronMentor) Eric (who shares the same name as my dad) and Ryan (who always climbs in his big chainring.)  Also Pam, Sam, Semira, Roxanne, Rom, Marci, Marvin, Willis and all of the other great friends in the LA Triclub.  But most of all my cheerleaders - Julia, Mom, Henry and of course my dad - who is forever my inspiration.


I'll post the official race photos as soon as I get them....and hopefully there will be a video of my finish as well!  

Lastly, here are my splits:


About Me

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Film composer moonlighting as a runner, cyclist and triathlete