Monday, November 12, 2007

IronMan 70.3 World Championship

Well, that’s it for the 2007 triathlon season and my amateur triathlon career. For those of you who don’t know, I wrapped things up by taking the overall amateur title and setting the new amateur course record at this past weekend’s IronMan World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater, Florida. I finished 19th overall against a stacked international professional and age-group field, but to be completely honest, I’m a bit deflated at the moment. Although I accomplished everything that I set out to do this year, I’m fairly disappointed with the state of long course triathlon these days. Between the horror stories that friends Kevin Thomson and Christina Robeson (who went 10:02 at IronMan Florida on 11/3!!!) passed on to me after their race at IMFL and what I witnessed this past weekend, I’m starting to think that just about every race out there should feature a course profile similar to the hell on Earth that I went through when racing the Nutmeg State Half Iron Triathlon down in the CT Berkshires. Mandy Braverman, the Nutmeg race director, certainly designed one incredibly challenging course, but when the dust settled, there was no disputing the fact that you had undoubtedly completed a true INDIVIDUAL test of willpower, speed and endurance.

I am 100% proud of the performance I laid down on Saturday first and foremost because I raced my own race. I went hard from the gun, overcame a sub par swim, rode my bike as aggressively as possible, and raced clean: No drafting. Just put my head down and went like hell. I lost a good 1+ min. on the bike thanks to the packs of riders that I had to navigate through while trying to shake the 10 – 15 cheaters who marked me and sat on my wheel for a good 1/3 of the bike leg. Fortunately, this motley crew of international “athletes” was nailed by a heads up martial who handed each one of them a 4 min. penalty for drafting behind me for so long. I still can’t get over the fact that people would deliberately cheat like that.

Thankfully, as the miles passed, my continued attacks and aggressive racing style finally managed to dump the posers off my rear wheel and I sailed into T2 ready to do what I do best. The legs were firing fast once out on the run course and from there on in it was just a matter of managing my discomfort and fatigue levels. I clipped through the first 7 miles at sub 5:40 per mile pace feeling very strong and in control throughout. Once I knew that I had the age group title wrapped up, I hit cruise control, played it safe (I was worried about my SI joint/sciatica causing problems in the final few miles thanks to the day’s effort) and capped the season, and amateur career, the way I had hoped too.

As you can tell, I’m still fuming about the behavior displayed by so many of the athletes last weekend. Many of the age-group results you’re seeing on the results sheet are about as phony as they come.

To the pace lines and peletons that I blew by (or had to shake off my rear wheel) on Saturday: You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. You weren't only cheating the other athletes who were racing clean, you were cheating yourselves and your performances are meaningless and empty.

To the athletes who raced clean and played fair, like my friend and great rival from Maryland, Philipe Kozub: I’m sorry if your race was disrupted in anyway by what went down on Saturday, as it was a crying shame.

So that’s that. I’m looking forward to some much deserved R&R and the holiday season. I will gradually begin preparing for my assault on the 2008 professional long course triathlon circuit immediately after Thanksgiving, but need to prioritize some mental and physical recovery before I start back in.

I have quite a few people/organizations to thank for all of their support and help this year so don’t be offended if you’re not listed below as I’ll express my gratitude personally when we meet up face to face in the near future.

To Dean, Marty and Mark at Fit Werx 2 in Peabody, MA: You guys have helped me to take my cycling to the next level. Your expertise in the fitting department, gear selection and bike maintenance is unparalleled and I’m thrilled with the services you provide.

To my long time sponsor PowerBar: Your products work and I stand by them 100%.

To my athletes: I derive more inspiration from you then you can imagine and keep all of your athletic exploits in the back of my mind while out there on the course. I do my best to lead by example and to practice what I preach.

To my friends, family and training partners: Your words of encouragement, honest feedback and constant support are the cornerstone of my motivation and inspire me to see just how far I can go with this sport.

To Michelle: None of the success that I’ve experienced over the past 2 years would have been possible without you.

Happy holidays everyone. I hope to see you all soon.


p.s. Keep your eyes open for the February "Triathlete Magazine" edition as they just conducted an interview with me last night.


evanB said...

Great job man. Seems like everyone says the same thing about Clearwater. Hopefully its next location will be better, maybe washington CT haha.

Jane said...

I can't believe your incredible time! I also can't believe about the drafting issue - that is weak! Why would people do that?

JRM said...

You've got me. I'm just glad that I won't have to deal with it, or at least see it, next year...

Kurt P. said...

JRM, great race man. Way to represent the NE.

See ya at the races in 2008.

JRM said...

Thanks Kurt!!! Nice work with Alex MM this year and your own racing.

Unknown said...

Doing some research online and found your blog. I was diagnosed a few days ago that I sprained my SI joint. The Doc said it would go away in a few days... though everything I've been reading about is you never get rid of SI problems, get's me worried! I have Vineman coming up in July.. please tell me the opposite, my first injury after several years of cycling and running!