Tri Hearter: Reflections on IRONMAN Boulder’s Epic Nature

Warren Mine

By Bill Plock

About 20 minutes after the last person crossed the finish line at IRONMAN Boulder, it hit me. That feeling of wow, what a great day. The next day at the awards ceremony it bowled me over just what had happened. The epic nature and vibe of an IRONMAN comes down to thousands of moments, some inspiring, others mesmerizing and many simply beautiful that causes the ultimate appreciation and respect for the race and the athletes. At some point it just becomes overwhelming if you let it–in a good way.

I was walking with 73 year old Warren Mine of California (the oldest to complete IM Boulder in 2017) to help him retrieve his bike talking about his race (his 20th+ IRONMAN) when champion Tim O’Donnell walked by on his way to get his bike. I kind of shook my head in disbelief and reflected. What a crazy sport I thought. Here is one of the top athletes in the world, having just won the race, simply going to pick up his bike, limping a bit and commenting how his legs hurt–like everyone else’s. When LeBron finishes a game I’m guessing he doesn’t even pick up his basketball shoes. The mingling of pro’s and amateurs all aiming for the same goal, with the same vulnerabilities, the same dedication and similar dreams and hopes sets triathlon apart. It endears all of us triathletes. It builds bonds and communities and lasts a lifetime.

To spectate IRONMAN Boulder for the first time convinced me more than ever that through this endeavor lives are changed. Relationships begin, are cemented, and are celebrated by a common event experienced uniquely for everyone. I parked myself for over two hours photographing hundreds of Colorado athletes as they entered the run course from T2. The relief and smiles to be on the run leg permeated most, and their hopeful gaze for a good run was greeted by hundreds of cheering people lining Boulder Creek. Hours passed. I walked miles, taking more pictures, cheering and remembering my runs on this creek for the past three IRONMAN Boulders. All I could think about was the love and support I always felt and that was the only thing I missed about not racing. It’s addictive and appreciated. I thought how lucky all these people were to experience it–especially first timers. They will never forget it.

Champion Tim O’Donnell awards finisher medals during the magical midnight hour

Later that night, during the last hour of the race, I simply sat a few feet from finishers who were greeted by Tim O’Donnell and his wife and three time IRONMAN World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae. The unofficial triathlon king and queen of Boulder graciously medaled each of the final age groupers. Most gazed in disbelief or were too dazed and confused to grasp the significance–but once they understood who was putting their arms around them, the smiles beamed.

To witness the tears, the joy, the pain, the end, and really the beginning of a new journey for so many sticks in my mind. Tears came to my eyes many times.

But no race is complete without recognizing those who win and rise above. Those who persevere the most, overcome amazing challenges and earn one of the toughest and most coveted entries in all of sport–a chance to compete in Kona. A spot reserved for the top 2%. The dreams of the athletes, their families and coaches hang in the balance of getting a spot.

It’s not as clear cut as you might think. Going into the awards all that is known is that 40 spots are awarded. They are then divided among all age groups proportional to how many people raced in the age group.

Some age groups have one entry, others as many as three of four. But not every athlete chooses to go or some have an entry from

EK Endurance Sports, Vixxen Racing & BTC Elite Coach Eric Kenney

an earlier race so their spot rolls down. Each time an athlete’s name is called and there is no response, some athlete hoping and waiting erupts in emotion–some show it more than others and it is wonderful to witness (you must be present to claim a spot). The tension can be thick.

Coach Eric Kenney and his athlete Liz West

In the female 30 to 34 age group, local athlete, Team Vixxen Racing member, Elizabeth West, was third in her age group with two spots up for grabs. She is coached by Eric Kenney of EK Endurance. I knew how anxious Eric was, hoping to see her dream come true. If you know Eric, you know he wears his heart on his sleeve.

As Mike Reilly began to announce that age group I was nervous. My personal connection and empathy for Liz and knowing how close she has been in past years and remembering how I felt missing a spot by one place two years ago, put a lump in my throat in anticipation. Mike called the first name. Silence. He called it again. More silence.

Tears swelled in my eyes and I gazed not at Liz, but at Eric a few feet away, standing alone to the side. He crumpled to a knee and couldn’t fight the tears. That moment will last a lifetime. Liz hugged many and tears came to her as well and her mom sat crying; it was simply beautiful.

Ironman Boulder is over, dreams are cast and inspiring stories will be told for a long long time.

303Radio Interviews IRONMAN Boulder top pro finishers O’Donnell, Chrabot, Joyce, Jackson

IRONMAN Boulder 2017 Pro Champions Rachel Joyce and Tim O’Donnell

Rich Soares of Mile High Endurance now commands 303Radio, and he hit the finish chute to interview Sunday’s top pro champions – take a listen to the fresh-off-the-course thoughts!

IRONMAN Boulder pro results; two top-10 men DQ’d

Two top male pros missed the run turnaround today, causing devastating disqualifications.

Justin Daerr told 303Triathlon, “Thank you for the support and the kind words.”

An excerpt from the recap he shared with his followers:

During the race, I came within 30-50 meters of the actual turnaround, but I misunderstood the way the run course had been marked, as did the biker accompanying me. The actual turnaround was just above a rise on the path so I could not see it as I turned around prematurely. I’ve since learned that another pro made the same mistake. (Read the full entry)

Top five professional men’s results:

                                                      SWIM            BIKE             RUN              FINISH

  1. Tim O’Donnell                  USA        00:49:20 04:24:25         02:53:55         08:13:30
  2. Matt Chrabot                    USA        00:50:25 04:30:33         03:07:42         08:34:36
  3. Patrick McKeon                USA        00:57:08 04:35:15         03:03:40         08:42:24
  4. Jarrod Shoemaker            HUN        00:50:18 04:50:25         02:59:21         08:45:38
  5. Jozsef Major                       USA        01:03:20 04:31:10         03:10:57         08:51:35

 

Top five professional women’s results:

                                                                  SWIM            BIKE             RUN              FINISH

  1. Rachel Joyce                   GBR        00:54:59 04:56:09         03:16:01         09:13:32
  2. Heather Jackson               USA        00:59:51 04:49:06         03:26:09         09:20:42
  3. Danielle Mack                   USA        01:04:46 05:11:02         03:20:24         09:42:16
  4. Kelly Williamson               USA        00:54:56 05:26:15         03:16:35         09:44:08
  5. Uli Bromme                      USA        01:04:49 05:05:30         03:34:45         09:52:32

303Radio Interviews with IRONMAN Boulder Staff & Officials

Rich Soares of Mile High Endurance interviews IRONMAN Boulder Staff & Officials- Featuring Dave Christen & Mike Reilly-

Enjoy your listen!

303Radio Interviews with IRONMAN Boulder Fans

Rich Soares of Mile High Endurance joins the 303 Team, taking over 303Radio on 303Triathlon with a burst of interviews from IRONMAN Boulder…

Here, a few installments from the “Fans & Spectators” Category-

Enjoy your listen!

IRONMAN Boulder interviews pro athletes; predictions for tomorrow’s race, PLUS tips & tricks

Local Boulder Pro Triathletes are happy to be racing in their “back yard,” offer tips for predicted heat… “I live right on the course…” “I know every inch of the road…” “Here, I’ve done intervals up Nelson, practiced going down St. Vrain…”

PLUS, IRONMAN asked athletes for their best “tips & tricks” for tomorrow’s race:

Ironman Boulder: Professionals take center stage once again

Colin Laughery speeds out of the bike transition area at the Ironman Boulder in 2014. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

From the Daily Camera

Event welcomes back the best from around the world

Endurance athletes, even the ones at the peak of their particular professions, aren’t any different than their more widely recognizable brethren in, say, the NFL or NBA.

Be it a runner, cyclist, or triathlete, there are few more fulfilling thrills than the opportunity to compete at the highest level on one’s own home turf.

The rich running community across Boulder County enjoyed its annual competition-turned festival a few weeks ago at the Bolder Boulder. Now an equally vibrant local contingent of endurance athletes, including the best of the best from around the world, get to take center stage.

Moving the annual test of physical endurance ahead on the calendar has resulted in a far more intriguing buzz around the fourth annual Ironman Boulder, with the schedule alteration allowing race organizers to feature a pro-only field for the first time since the event’s inaugural running in 2014.

“It’s so engaging when you have the pro field, especially here in Boulder, because so many of them live in Boulder full-time, or train here for most of the year,” race director Tim Brosious said. “Any time any of our races have a pro field, it brings out some national attention. For Boulder especially, it’s the home turf. They have to defend their road.”

Read the full story

2018 IRONMAN Boulder Registration News

From IRONMAN

We wanted to make you aware of some exciting changes to the registration process for 2018 IRONMAN Boulder. IRONMAN athletes are known for their dedication to and passion for the sport, we have heard your requests and are happy to announce the following programs based on that feedback.

General registration for 2018 IRONMAN Boulder will open on Monday, June 26, 2017,  at noon, Eastern time. We have made several changes to the registration options for 2018 that we wanted you to be aware of prior to the registration open date. Additional enhancements for the 2018 race include:

  • Introduction of a Deferral Program
  • Introduction of a Payment Plan Option
  • Inventory-based Pricing

Deferral Program: We want you to commit early to your 2018 race and we’ll commit right along with you. Athletes who register within the first 90 days of general entries becoming available are eligible to defer their entry into the next year’s event at no cost. We know that training can be tough and life happens, that’s why we’re offering the deferral option to athletes who register early. All requests will be honored until 45 days out from the original event date regardless of the reason for deferral.

Payment Plan Option: This is something athletes have been asking for and we’re responding. Athletes who register within the first 90 days of general entries becoming available will have the option to pay via a three-part payment plan. Athletes opting for the payment plan may also utilize the deferral option listed above once all three payments have been completed.

Inventory-based Pricing: IRONMAN is offering inventory-based pricing for 2018 events with selected quantities of slots being offered at prices significantly lower than prior years.

For more information visit the IRONMAN Boulder site.

Colorados McCurdy Wins USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships

Twenty age-group national champions crowned in Arkadelphia, Arkansas

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Deanna McCurdy (Littleton, Colo.) and Dane Baldini (Bentonville, Ark.) raced their way to overall titles on Sunday at the USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships, held at DeGray Lake and Iron Mountain in conjunction with XTERRA Gator Terra.

The course covered a 1500-meter swim, 32-kilometer mountain bike and 10-kilometer trail run. Athletes battled heavy rain and muddy conditions, racing over deep woods single-track featuring steep climbs and descents, large banked turns and more.

McCurdy was the top finisher for the women, clocking in at 3 hours, 5 minutes, 22 seconds to claim the overall win and the women’s 40-44 age-group title. She crossed the line more than 10 minutes ahead of Courtney Kaup (Richmond, Vt.), who placed second overall in 3:16:00 and successfully defended her women’s 35-39 title. Jane Zeigler (Tulsa, Okla.) rounded out the overall podium in third with a time of 3:18:04.

“It was so much fun. Running and biking upstream made for an exciting day,” McCurdy said. “The bike was a blast, it was a roller coaster out there. In Colorado we’re used to climbing for miles and miles, but here it was fast, it was flowy. The run course was fun, splashing through puddles. You just had to be a kid. If you think about how much it hurts and how tired you are, your race is over. But if you just play, it’s an adventure.”

Baldini had the fastest time of the day, with a final time of 2:49:34. In addition to the overall title, he also claimed the top spot in the men’s 30-34 age group. Baldini finished nearly four minutes ahead of runner-up Ryan Terry (West Sacramento, Calif.), who took the men’s 35-39 title in 2:53:33. Marcus Barton (Waxhaw, N.C.) was third in 2:55:30, successfully defending his men’s 45-49 title.

“I’ve been racing here seven years now, and this is the best venue around,” Baldini said. “The single track is fast, there’s a little bit of climbing which helps me out, and man, that run course was perfect for me. A little bit of road, a little bit of dirt. I got a nice lead and made sure second place couldn’t see me – that way they’d have to really pick it up.”

In total, twenty athletes captured age-group off-road national titles at DeGray Lake on Sunday. The top 18 finishers in each age group, rolling down to 25th place after applying the age-up rule, qualify to represent Team USA at the 2018 ITU Cross Triathlon (Off-Road) World Championships. The top-20 off-road triathletes per age group in the USA Triathlon off-road triathlon annual rankings as of Dec. 31, 2017, will also qualify for the World Champions