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  • Ironman Arizona: watching a full triathlon

    Posted on November 18th, 2013

    Have you ever done a full triathlon?

    Whenever I tell someone I am a professional triathlete, I usually get a response like, “Do you do Ironman?” Or, “Have you done the one on Hawaii?” I usually get a look of disinterest when I tell them I specialize in Olympic distance races, and have yet to complete a “full triathlon.” Sorry, but I’m not slow enough to be an Ironman triathlete. I take that back — that was mean. I have always respected the idea of racing for eight hours or more, I’m just more interested in that one to two hour zone.

    Since I have been staying with my girl friend Mo in Tucson the past three weeks, I decided to make the quick drive up to Tempe yesterday to watch friends Jordan Rapp and Trevor Wurtele (also The Triathlon Squad teammate) compete at Ironman Arizona and see what this??long course triathlon business is all about. (Shout out to Mo and her #2 ranked and undefeated University of Arizona women’s cross country team competing at this weekend’s NCAA Championships!)

     

     

    In case you didn't know...

    In case you didn’t know…

    When I got to the course, the pro men and women had just started the bike. I found the man in the orange shirt in Starbucks, of course, who had celebrity Heather Wurtele with him! Heather’s parents, whom are very proud Canadians, were also there and came out to watch their son-in-law race. (We took it easy on the Rob Ford jokes.) After getting a quick jolt of energy (coffee for them, recharge of my phone and camera for myself), we headed back to the course to see the end of the first lap of the bike.??After the first lap, Matt Reed was on the front of the big lead group and both Jordan and Trevor had cut a bit of their swim deficit to the leaders. By the second lap, Jordan had ridden through the leaders and was now on the front! Trevor had also cut out a lot of time to the main pack.

    Matt Reed led the way at the end of the first bike lap.

    Matt Reed led the way at the end of the first bike lap.

    Jordan Rapp had the fastest bike split of the day.

    Jordan Rapp had the fastest bike split of the day.

    Coach Paulo giving Trevor Wurtele time gaps.

    Coach Paulo giving Trevor Wurtele time gaps.

    The bike looks like it gets pretty crazy out there. With a three lap course, the pro’s are lapping much slower riders after just an hour or so of racing. Other than the first lap, it seems like referees would have a hell of a time trying to catch anyone drafting — there are just people everywhere! I am thankful that I do not have to deal with that craziness as a short course triathlete.

    After getting some water, a snack (bag of cheetos for myself), bathroom, and some more sitting around (checking Twitter), the guys finally started to come into T2. Jordan led, followed by Pedro Gomes in 2nd and Trevor in 3rd. Jordan had a couple minutes on Pedro Gomes, and I think about six minutes on Trevor and the pack just behind.

    Trevor Wurtele was 3rd coming into T2.

    Trevor Wurtele was 3rd coming into T2.

    Jordan Rapp headed out of T2 with a sizable lead.

    Jordan Rapp headed out of T2 with a sizable lead.

    The run was definitely more entertaining to watch than the bike. We ran across Tempe Town Lake on the Mill Ave bridge and were able to see them four times each lap + the finish. It struck me that no one really seemed to be running very fast — because they weren’t. Ironman run pace is so much slower than any pace you will ever see competitive runners or short course triathletes running. That isn’t to say it is, or even??looks, easy. Just another observation I made yesterday leading me to the conclusion that Ironman is??hard (because if it were easy, they would be running faster!).

    Jordan would hold his lead through the first lap before Victor del Corral came charging by to take the victory. After about midway through the bike, Jordan was basically on his own the rest of the day. Kudos to him for “keeping the pressure on,” as Paulo likes to say, and holding onto 2nd place.

    Jordan Rapp: "keep the pressure on"

    Jordan Rapp: “keep the pressure on”

    Victor del Corral early on the run.

    Victor del Corral early on the run.

    Apparently the race began with thousands of people swimming here -- that was over five hours ago.

    Apparently the race began with thousands of people swimming here — that was over five hours ago.

    Trevor’s race was pretty exciting. Between spots 3-7 there was quite a lot of passing going on. After starting the run in 3rd, Trevor fell back to 6th at one point, moved back up to 4th, and ended up finishing in 6th. The race was ON the whole time. I struggled with what I should yell to both Trevor and Jordan as they ran passed each time. Generally when I am watching a race, I have constructive comments to make, or I try to say something that will help inspire and get their inner-voice to give some positive self talk. I realized I have no idea what they must be going through at this stage of the race. I felt unqualified to yell much of anything besides, “GO TREVOR!” or, “COME ON JORDAN!”

    GO TREVOR!

    GO TREVOR!

    Some of the guys Trevor was battling:

    Pedro Gomes

    Pedro Gomes of Portugal

    Marc Duelson of Germany

    Marc Duelson of Germany

    Jens Petersen-Bach

    Jens Petersen-Bach of Denmark

    Denis Chevrot of France

    Denis Chevrot of France

    After about 7.5 hours of racing, it hit me: they were still racing! These guys are animals!

     

    Long course spectating looks a lot like this. Note to self: bring more nutrition next time. I was starving!

    Long course spectating looks a lot like this. Note to self: bring more nutrition next time. I was starving!

    Some final takeaways. After watching, does this make me want to do an Ironman???I do, but not tomorrow. Watching Ironman Arizona really did make me more interested in doing one, but not enough to throw the Olympic dream out the window. I have doubted whether I would ever want to do one as a pro, but I think after yesterday, I actually would like to give it a go as a pro, perhaps in the twilight years of my career as you often see from other ITU-focused athletes.

    I know how much hard work these athletes put into their training and I have always respected them for that. I think yesterday gave me some new appreciation for what these guys (and girls, of course) put themselves through on the individual day. This race is so long that there is no doubt everyone goes through some very very dark moments, hopefully spaced out with some really high highs. It was pretty inspiring seeing the quantity of athletes out there just drilling themselves, going for it, and blowing up.

    Again, not something I’m dying to do tomorrow, but a “full triathlon” is something I’d like to experience in my life.

  • Latest Inspirations

    Posted on February 2nd, 2012

    A couple podcasts and a youtube video that I have found inspiring while riding the trainer indoors lately or between sessions.

    When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe then you’ll be successful.

  • Interbike Part 2

    Posted on September 18th, 2011

    Have you ever tried selling yourself? On Thursday I was in Las Vegas, Nevada doing just that. No, I was not looking for a place to sleep by selling myself on the strip to the highest bidder; I was selling myself in a much more professional manner. I spent the day walking up and down the floor of Interbike at the Sands Convention Center selling myself to potential future sponsors.

    Mark Cavendish, a familiar face in a sea of strangers

    My first thought was that this shouldn’t be so hard. I have interviewed for a job or position in which I had to make the employer believe that I would be an asset to their company — that I add value. But those experiences were different in that 1) I had already filled out an application so the employer knew who I was and 2) they were actively looking for a position that needed to be filled. In this case neither were true. Every single person I saw at Interbike — with the exception of Jordan Rapp (with whom I shared a delicious lunch with), Colleen Quindlen with Trigger Point Therapy, and fellow collegiate recruit Baily Kuestermeyer — was a stranger. These potential sponsors had neither heard of me before nor were they, as far as I know, looking for a new triathlete to bare their brand across his chest. Needless to say I had an uphill battle.

    But battle I did! With my coach’s help, we selected a few brands that we thought I would be a good fit with. I approached each of them with a resume and gave them my spiel: I’m Jason Pedersen and I will be racing my first season as a professional triathlete… Some were more interested than others. I had long conversations with some, while others just gave me their business card and a “shoot me an email.” But one common theme throughout was that NONE OF THEM BIT ME! Imagine that?

    So I returned to Flagstaff Thursday evening, with a bunch of contacts and some hope that I won’t be going through 2012 alone financially.

    Are you interested in financing a dream?

    While I’m on the subject, I figure I should make an official statement that I am looking for sponsorships for 2012 and beyond as I look toward 2016. Aside from being a good looking, witty and incredibly popular young man, I plan on putting up more great results in 2012. Don’t you want your company’s logo atop the podiums?

    Please send me an email at jason at runpd.com (or direct message me via twitter) if you answered yes to that question.

  • Recommended Read

    Posted on April 28th, 2010

    Real quickly I want to direct your attention to Jordan Rapp’s most recent blog post, “Mementous.” I met Jordan at the Lasse Viren 20k in December and he seemed like a great guy. Unfortunately, he was injured while on a training ride about five weeks ago which left him full of screws and some plates in his face. Apparently he is doing much better now, even starting to exercise again, but is suffering from a bit of insomnia. If you read the post, you will see his lack of sleep is our gain. Brilliant writer with a great perspective of things. I highly recommend checking it out.