Thomas: Ironman Wisconsin debut

I finally took the plunge and tried my hand at full-distance triathlon with Ironman Wisconsin.  Despite my enthusiasm for ½ distance racing, I have to say that full-distance has a special feeling. Not only does the longer day suit my strengths on the bike and run but the overall atmosphere at a full-distance is pretty cool.

Ironman Wisconsin was an ideal starting place for my full-distance ambitions as the course is almost perfect for my strengths and the timing on the calendar works well for the overall year plan.  I have done some pretty amazing races around the world but the fans in Madison, Wisconsin were something else.  The huge numbers (somewhere around 40,000) are impressive and they manage to be pretty much everywhere on the course!  I quickly found out how massive the event is for Madison when I exited the swim into a wall of sound and faces as I run up the spiral entrance ramp to T1.

Speaking of transition zones, Wisconsin has the BEST by far.  The Monona Terrace is the home of Ironman Wisconsin and is a very large conference.  When you exit the water, you run up three stories of spiral car ramp to the top level of the complex and enter into the convention center to find transition bags.  After changing you run outside to the top level of the parking garage where your bike is waiting.  To exit T1, you ride down another spiral ramp three stories to get to the main roads.  The reverse procedure is done to go through T2.  And finally with a finish in front of the Wisconsin capitol building, the venue is complete.

As far as my race goes, it went pretty much according to the plan my coach Jesse Kropelnicki and I laid out ahead of time.  Like any Ironman race, there were moments where things were not going so smoothly but overall I am very happy how I managed on the day and feel like I have the potential to go a lot faster with a bit more experience.  I survived the swim as best as I could have predicted and did a consistent and conservative bike.  The run rolled very well most of the time with a bit of a lapse just past the ½ way mark.  I almost came away with 6th place but lost the sprint in the final meters, which will definitely give me fire for training in my next full-distance attempt.

That attempt may come sooner than expected.  I was planning on ending my season after this race but my fitness is still solid and motivation seems to be high so I may try to race again in about a month but I will first consult with coach Jesse to figure out what makes the most sense.  Either way, I am excited to have tasted Ironman and look forward to having another go at it soon!

Thanks to my host in Wisconsin Lynn for giving the ideal base for race week!  Hopefully be back again soon!  Now I just need to get home to see my girls whom I have not seen in three weeks… time spoil them with presents.

NF logo sininen ilman taustaa

Darby Thomas


Darby Thomas on Suomessa asuva, mutta Yhdysvalloissa syntynyt triathlonin ammattilainen. Thomaksen blogi julkaistaan englanniksi.
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