On saturday I raced my first Leadman Tri race. The name “Leadman” is derived from one of the most famous ultra distance run races in the world, the Leadville 100. But instead of running a 100miles, the Leadman tri consists of a 5k swim , 223k bike, 22km run. Which is a total of 250 km. And here we go. Epic Leadman 250.
But it is not just the distances that makes a race epic. I think in this case, it was as much the unusual weather conditions (3°C at start of race, 26°C at end of race) we faced, the riding at altitude (around 1500m) , the winds, the cold water (15°C), the tough bike course with some solid climbing and the super hilly run course. And lets not forget the amazing scenery at Cultus Lake during the swim, around Mt.Bachelor during the bike and around Bend during the run. I love all of it, even if there is a few points the organisation has to get better at. But the race was held for the first time in Bend, so we can expect they will sort this issues out till next year.
the race itself went well for me. I knew it will be a big challenge to beat Jordan Rapp (the current Ironman US Champion and Ironman Texas winner). He has a great year and I think he will go very well in his first attempt at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
I was out of the water in second, right behind Bryan Rhodes. The swim was way too short. A mistake that should not happen to the race organisation, but I am sure it wont happen again. I took my time in transition to put a lot of clothes on. As coming out of 15°C water and facing 3-4°C outside temperature is not what you normally deal with in a triathlon race. Once on the bike I put even more clothes on (armwarmers, gloves, extra jacket). For the first time I was using those hand/foot warmers you normally use for skiing. you shake them and they get warm.
The cold lasted for about 1 – 1.5hour. then it started to warm up. so it was time to peel off. All the pros were separated by several minutes by then. which made for a super lonely 223km bike ride. but that is the way I like it. everybody by himself. not a chance for drafters out there. so , if you dont like to ride solo, you better dont do this race. as you will feel lonely out there.
180km into the ride Jordan went past me. and he was looking strong. He always rides the second part of his races very strong. I knew I just have to keep going my pace. as at this time we have been out there for several hours already. He started the run 3.5 minutes in front of me. I was running hard for 10km (which was mostly uphill running). I knew Jordan is a better runner then me. but you never know what happens after 7hours into a race. once I saw Jordan is not gonna blow up, I settled in for second and took a bit of speed out. as I was still about 12mins in front of the guy running in 3rd.
I finished after 8h16mins on 2nd place. Congrats to Jordan for another win in his already great 2012 season.