Simon Butterworth’s Tale from IM Cork—Grab a Guinness, Great Read

Many of you probably know Simon Butterworth of Louisville, Colorado. He has competed at the IRONMAN World Championships 14 times having won his age group two years ago. He competes in local races constantly and there aren’t many people on the planet who have raced more triathlons. He is from Ireland and recently competed at Cork and you will enjoy reading about his voyage “home” to race in one of the hardest and most weather challenged races he has ever done. An epic day filled with amazing people he encountered. Check out his journey!

By Simon Butterworth

I knew Irish weather could throw us a curve when I signed up last year, but I had no choice.  How could a immigrant from Ireland pass up the first ever IM just 45 miles from their hometown Tramore, impossible.  My enthusiasm for the race will be clear if you read my Blog.  It is after all the Irish who are your hosts and there are non-better at that.  It helped a lot that I managed to finish but it was a real case of “but for the grace of God” that I did.  Two of my fellow old geezers got a flat which finished the race for them.  Try fixing a flat when you are almost hypothermic, motion is essential to not going there.  

I sincerely hope that our day does not deter other Irish Americans (and any one who becomes Irish on St Patricks Day) from going “home” to race.  But do it with eyes wide open.  Preparation for the possible conditions is key.  Sort out an appropriate kit for the worst (and hope for the best like the day before and after), especially for the bike.  I got the best kit possible (my opinion after the race) from Rapha then hoped that I would not have to use it.  It made the finish possible.  I should note that you can do that race in those conditions in bike shorts and short sleeve top, but you probably need to be Irish, from somewhere in the UK or a similar climate.  

All IronMan races are hard it’s just that some take longer than others.  That is a key consideration when picking a race and you are not blazing fast but if you can go the distance within the cutoff times you just need to plan for a longer day.  You need more fluids and food and you also have to adjust your power or HR limits.  You can research what to do on your own but a coach in this case makes matters much easier.  

You will also hear the roads were rough.  Any of us who have done Escape from Alcatraz know that they were not the worst roads in Triathlon by far.  Last year I watched the pro men going airborne over the ruts and potholes on the last downhill to T2 as I was going up.  There were a lot of bumpy roads but again preparation, lower tire pressure and the right bike helps.  I rode on a Dimond, a beam bike that handles rough roads well.  A good road bike that is stiff laterally but compliant vertically would be better than an all-around stiff tri bike.   Gearing is key, I could have used a 32 cog on the rear but managed fine with a 34/28, except for Windmill.  

Speaking of gearing big shout out to Niall McCarthy and Michelle Nagle, both finished 5th in their first IM, Niall did it stuck in the big chain ring for the second loop, ouch.  I met both of them Tuesday before the race (a nice sunny one).  Also shout out to my friends John Kelly, Chanc Wood (both from my Colorado town Lafayette) and Katie O’Brian (from neighboring Boulder).  John made a brave go of it with an injured shoulder but was forced to concede to the conditions.  Katie crashed but continued on learning that she had fractured her collar bone when she finished, tough.  Chanc finished, the prime objective, not sure how his day went.  

I can’t say enough about the people of Youghal and the surrounding towns, villages and farms who came out to support us either as volunteers or in the cheering section.  Big thank you to the club in the middle of Youghal giving us the motivation to press on with some very loud chants.  Seeing the same people all around the course on lap two of the bike in the rain meant that if they could do that so could we.  I have not seen anything like that in over 150 triathlons and 26 IM races.  Only Challenge Roth is the same, and they have the advantage of a much larger population surrounding the course, and sunny skies last year.  

If I was bummed out it was not seeing more happy faces outside the pubs on the course, temptation to stay warm was strong.  Imagine the crowd on the lawn of the Beer Garden at the start of the bike on a day like Monday.  

Anyone with ideas of heading to Ireland next year give me a call or message.  I would be happy to help with the decision making.  Hope you enjoy the story of my two weeks in Ireland and race day on my blog

VEGA JOINS IRONMAN `OHANA AS TITLE SPONSOR OF THE 2019 IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

TAMPA, Fla. (June 13, 2019) – IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Group company, is excited to announce a new partnership with plant-based nutrition brand, Vega, as the title sponsor of the 2019 IRONMAN® World Championship, the most iconic one-day endurance event in the world. As the leader in premium plant-based sport nutrition, Vega joins the IRONMAN `Ohana as the Official Recovery Nutrition partner of the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship in addition to title sponsor.

The IRONMAN World Championship is the pinnacle of endurance racing with over 95,000 athletes competing to qualify at more than 40 global IRONMAN® events each year. Athletes who qualify for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship will be entitled to a special offer on Vega® products. Additionally, Vega products will be available in the IRONMAN Village, on-course and in the athlete recovery zone at the Vega IRONMAN World Championship on Saturday, October 12, 2019 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.

“We are coming off a historic year in Kona that celebrated 40 years of racing in Hawai`i with our largest international field, record-smashing times and unparalleled live coverage. The level of competition rises every year and our IRONMAN athletes are always looking for the best performance nutrition to help them reach top performance. The collaboration with Vega for the IRONMAN World Championship is a perfect fit, bringing a partner dedicated to high performance nutrition that won’t compromise quality,” said Matthieu Van Veen, Chief Revenue Officer for The IRONMAN Group. “Co-founded by a professional triathlete, Vega offers a vast range of products that focus on meeting the high standards that top triathletes from around the world expect with everything they do to prepare and compete. We are glad to welcome Vega to our `Ohana.”

Vega has been a pioneer in the plant-based nutrition industry since 2001. Vega co-founder Brendan Brazier knew that dialing in his nutrition was the competitive advantage he needed as a professional triathlete. Through trial, error, and experimentation, Brazier developed new products that helped him recover between training sessions better than any supplement he’d tried. Today, Vega has grown to include specialized sport nutrition, providing fueling options for before, during and after workouts or competition.

“We know that nutrition is the key to unlocking athletic excellence and what better way to demonstrate the power of plant-based sport nutrition than at Kona – the pinnacle of endurance sport,” says Samantha Taylor, VP of Marketing, Vega. “While this is a new partnership for us, the synergies between IRONMAN and Vega date back many years when co-founder Brendan Brazier launched Vega at the height of his pro triathlete career. Brendan’s vision for creating a product that enables athletes to feel and perform their best continues to be our driving inspiration today, as more than ever, athletes are looking for a competitive edge in their sport through plant-based nutrition.  Recently having achieved NSF Certified for Sport® for our Vega Sport® line we continue to innovate and enhance our formulation to support athlete needs. We’re honored to be a part of IRONMAN’s `Ohana and we’re looking forward to bringing our premium plant-based sport nutrition to those attending this iconic race.”

Two core products in the Vega Sport® line include Premium Protein and Recovery, both of which have no artificial flavors or sweeteners and are NSF Certified for Sport®, Gluten-Free, Vegan Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified.

  • Vega Sport® Premium Protein is formulated to help rebuild muscle after a tough workout and is packed with 30 grams of plant-based protein, BCAAs, 2 billion CFU of probiotics (bacillus coagulans), and tart cherry to support recovery.
  • Vega Sport® Recovery is formulated to help replenish glycogen stores so that athletes can stay ready for whatever comes next and includes 16 grams of carbohydrates, electrolytes and B vitamins.

The 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship will enjoy 20 hours of comprehensive live race day coverage globally via IRONMAN NOW™ on Facebook Watch – www.facebookwatch.com/IRONMANnow and through regional television coverage, including NBC Sports in the United States. Last year’s IRONMAN World Championship live coverage included everything from the early morning body marking to the final hour finish-line celebration and saw nearly 20 million total views on Facebook Watch.

Event information for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship can be found at www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/world-championship.aspx. For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. For more details aboutVega and their full product offering, visit www.myvega.com. Media-related inquiries should be directed to press@ironman.com and media@myvega.com.  

Read the full article here


Tulsa awarded new IRONMAN

By Bill Plock

Five days after it was announced IRONMAN Boulder was discontinued, Tulsa was awarded a full distance IRONMAN for 2020. In the latest of IRONMAN gauging a growing trend where athletes are in search of new experiences in new places, Tulsa beat out Des Moines, Fayetteville, and Memphis.

The competition will start at Keystone Lake for the swim, then transition to cycling, which will include a roundtrip to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater followed by the marathon in Tulsa at the RiverParks trails and finish in downtown.

Tulsa’s bid for the event was facilitated by VisitTulsa, the city’s convention and visitors bureau housed at the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

Existing IRONMAN communities have measured as much as $13 million in economic impact from the triathlon, with hotel room bookings of 12,000 for athletes and fans

Tulsa was one of four finalists for the endurance triathlon in 2020. Other finalists were Des Moines, Iowa; Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Memphis, Tennessee.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on the departure of Boulder and this growing trend of new IRONMANS in new locations.

2019 will be the last IRONMAN Boulder

By Bill Plock

The champion of Sunday’s race will be the last champion for the foreseeable future of a full-distance IRONMAN race in Boulder. For us at 303 Endurance Network, parent of 303Triathlon, it’s been an amazing 6 years of covering and racing this race.

The first race director of IRONMAN Boulder, Dave Christen shared his thoughts saying, “IRONMAN Boulder has been such a great event because of the people who raced it and those amazing volunteers who put the race on. Between Dan, Tim, and myself as the different Race Directors of the event for the 6 years, we all agree we have only played a very small role. The City of Boulder, Boulder County, and Colorado State Patrol, all hosted a world class event in a world class city. We are excited about the changes in the IRONMAN calendar as we are seeing athletes gravitating towards new experiences and new host communities. Boulder will always be in the IRONMAN calendar in some form and we are are proud of the athletes who raced one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the series. I personally want to say thank you to everyone who played a role in the event and for those that provided such honest and constructive feedback over the years. I wanted it to be a race dictated by the athletes and I can say we did that. Congratulations to everyone who has and will conqour this race! “

Sunday’s race should be iconic with three former champions racing the men’s and women’s pro field and Boulder native pros Sam Long, Colin Laughery and Danielle Mack competing.

For us at 303Triathlon, this race has been our “Super Bowl” and covering it with the iconic Boulder creek path “flux capacitor” run course, the downtown finish line, and the amazing support of so many local triathletes made the atmosphere simply electric.

No doubt the race had declined in popularity and there are many possible reasons for that. When you look at the national landscape and see the decline in participation in some long standing races and the increase in participation in new venues, it seems to support how athletes do like different choices. Some races will be returning to their origins such as St. George and Penticton. So who knows, maybe a return to Boulder is possible someday.

A few of our favorite stories from over the years:

IRONMAN officially coming back to Penticton

By Khem Suthiwan

It’s official! IRONMAN Canada is coming back to where it all started in the Okanagan Valley upon the shores of Okanagan Lake. Athletes will be able to partake in frozen goodies from the iconic giant peach (The Peach Ice Cream) and authentic poutine from establishments like burger 55.

IRONMAN Canada (Penticton) holds a special place in many people’s hearts. It was the first IRONMAN race in North America. For me it was my first ever IRONMAN finish, that race was the last time IRONMAN Canada was in Penticton (2012), and the 30th Anniversary.

Aside from Kona, this was by far my favorite 140.6 race on the circuit, and the oldest and longest running IRONMAN race (outside of Kona). That last year our favorite IronNun Sister Madonna Buder’s raced. There were also three friends known as the Three Dick Eds (Ed Wong, Ed Russell, and Dick Enslie), who have finished all but one of 30 races since its inception. So much history here and we are glad to know that it’s not over.

Here’s the official word from Penticton:

Ironman coming home

From Castanet.net
By Colin Dacre

Ironman is coming home to Penticton.

City council voted unanimously Tuesday to have city staff move forward with negotiating a five-year agreement with Ironman Canada to bring the iconic race back to the city.

“Ironman coming back to Penticton is like a divorced couple getting back together again,” said Coun. Julius Bloomfield, explaining he’s “delighted” by the idea.

While a contract needs to be finalized, councillors heard the preliminary proposal will see Penticton host the full-length edition of the race for five years starting in 2020 at an annual cost to taxpayers of $299,000 in cash and $111,000 in-kind support.

Mayor John Vassilaki was on council with Judy Sentes in 2012 when Penticton dumped Ironman during a disagreement over finances.

“At that time it was the right thing to do in the circumstances,” he said. “But you know, times change and we have to change with the times.”

“We need to bring this event back to the community,” Vassilaki, calling the required outlay required of taxpayers “smart money.”

Since Ironman left, MB Events has organized a triathlon in Penticton first under the Challenge banner and now Super League. Both races did not attract numbers anywhere near what Ironman did, although the ITU World Championships in 2017 drew more than 3,500 athletes.

Earlier Tuesday council heard a presentation from Ironman representative Dave Christen, who highlighted $8.8M in visitor spending recorded during the 2017 Ironman in Whistler.

He shared figures that showed the average athlete comes from a household income of $247,000, is 40 years old and is 92 per cent university educated.

“This is where Ironman Canada was born,” Christen said.“The energy that we built here, is something that we try to emulate everywhere else.”

Photo: Colin Dacre
Ironman’s Dave Christen before council Tuesday

The required $663,000 host city contribution is being softened considerably by the business community, with local hotels, Tourism Penticton and others pitching in $200,000. It’s hoped additional sponsors can be found.

The proposal expects 2,600 athletes in the first year, which would translate to upwards of 10,000 visitors to Penticton during Ironman weekend.

A large crowd packed into council chambers broke into applause and cheers when the unanimous vote passed.

Read the full article here

5 Tips for Keeping Your Sanity While Training for Ironman

From Triathlete.com
By Steven Moody


Photo by Mike Crane

Training for the 140.6-mile adventure is daunting, and you may be wondering where you’ll find the time to master three sports while balancing life.

So you signed up for your first full Ironman, and are now feeling quite daunted by the potential volume of training/commitment involved. It’s true that training for an Ironman is not an insignificant undertaking—after all, we all only have so much time in a day; and work, life, and family commitments need to be managed in that same time (not to mention sleep!)

As such, when talking to athletes pondering how to overcome this challenge, I tell them to think of their day as a 24-hour pie chart, in which the segments (training, family, sleep etc.) must be adjusted to fit your individual situation. Here we’ll discuss some simple strategies to help you get the most out of your chart.

Strategy 1: Involve your support crew in the planning process.
Even before looking at managing your time, the first key factor in setting yourself up for success is to involve the people around you in the planning process. This is not one of those times when it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission (unlike many of my bike purchases!). To survive and thrive in an Ironman year, the support from your nearest and dearest will be vital. So you should to sit everyone down and talk through what you are planning and what is involved.

Cover what the year might look like in terms of heavy training times (i.e. four weeks out from race date), and how your training will fit in with everyone’s plans. When are holidays, weddings and big family events happening? Are there clashes? How will you manage them? You will also need to agree what a typical training week might need to look like, i.e. does it work to do your long bike on a Sunday when kids need to be dropped to sports? Setting up the correct “skeleton” week, as I call it with my squad, really does help minimize unnecessary friction from the start.

Note well that part of this planning should include an agreed-upon date/movie night, family fun days etc. Remember, you are not the only person in this! The more you make your support crew part of your Ironman journey, rather than victims of it, the easier your time management task will be.

Strategy 2: Get a solid training plan
Do your research early in relation to this, as there are multiple training plan resources at your disposal. Free plans online, customizable training plans, and individual coaching are all good options, depending on your situation. There is no right answer for everyone, so it’s up to you to figure out your budget, the level of oversight you want, and your flexibility.

Read the full article here

IRONMAN World Championships

Kailua-Kona, HA

 

The IRONMAN World Championship centers on the dedication and courage exhibited by participants who demonstrate the IRONMAN mantra that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.® On October 12th, over 2,000 athletes will embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN.

 

Event details and registration here

 

*To the best of our abilities, this information is correct. Please check the event website for the most accurate information.

IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships

Nice, France

 

Nice will host the very best IRONMAN elite athletes on the planet on the weekend of September 7-8, 2019 as well as some of the most-committed age-group competitors from all corners of the globe. In total, an estimated 6,000 participants will descend on the French Riviera.

Although it will be the first time the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship has been held in France, the tourist-hotspot of Nice has been hosting IRONMAN races since 2005 and is one of the destinations most-loved by athletes of all abilities.

 

Event details and registration here

IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder

Boulder

 

IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder kicks off at the pristine Boulder Reservoir with its spectacular Rocky Mountain backdrop. This even has been an athlete favorite for over a decade. IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder is one of the fastest IRONMAN events to sell out each year–making it one of the most sought-after races in the country.

The extremely fast course provides personal records for many, even our local professional field. Where else in the country can you race against the best in the world on their home training ground?

Boulder was founded in 1858, featuring the renowned Red Rocks amphitheater and Chautauqua, an unparalleled hiking, music, and picnic destination. From vineyards and breweries to shopping and mountain climbing, there are activities for everyone. Popular venues include the Pearl Street Mall and the 29th Street Retail District. Pearl Street’s pedestrian throughway comes alive at night with live music and entertainment for everyone. The creativity and spirit of Boulder, Colo. will bring you back year after year. Check out bouldercoloradousa.com to plan your trip.

 

Event details and registration here

IRONMAN Boulder

Boulder

 

Nestled at the foot of the Flatirons Mountains, Boulder, Colorado is a wildly popular home-based and vacation destination for triathletes. The city’s health-conscious culture, near-perfect weather and breathtaking natural environment made it an instant favorite from the first running.

Once finished in the water, the first transition will start athletes on a beautiful multi-loop course all contained within Boulder County, The course has a few pronounced climbs, but in general it’s a fast one. Once done with the two 40+ mile loops, athletes will complete the final 80-112 miles on an additional loop and roll into downtown Boulder for the second transition at Boulder High School.

The two-loop run course is almost entirely on Boulder Creek Trail, winding along the creek and through city parks. Spectators will have multiple opportunities to cheer on their athletes. and the last few steps of the day happen on Pearl Street, making for a triumphant finish.

 

Event details and registration here