Headfirst Performance Half Iron Triathlon
by Ben Schloegel
On the road again. Thanks again to Trek, The Trek Stores, Midwest Multisport, GU and GU2O, Blue Seventy, Oakley, Shimano and my Coach Peter Reid. And to my wife, family, friends and the KCFD. A great weekend of racing and successful effort by all those above who helped me get there.
Petro, my brother, and I are in the car driving back from the Head First Performance ½ Ironman right now. We left Louisville just 3 hours ago and we need to be back for my cousin’s wedding shower tonight. Needless to say, I don’t recommend doing a half (or any triathlon for that matter) and immediately disembarking from the race site for an eight plus hour drive. I figured it would be as good a time as any to bang out a post race report, and keep my mind off my throbbing legs for a moment or two.
After surviving the inaugural and electrifying “Big O” just two weeks ago, my coach thought we should throw another ½ into the schedule ASAP to see where my fitness was. We kicked around a few races – 70.3 Orlando, too expensive to travel at the last minute, not to mention pancake flat. Macon, Georgia another ½ – again by the time you add up airfare and a bike, rental car, 2 nights’ lodging- wow! In the end we decided on the Headfirst Performance ½ Ironman in Taylorsville, Kentucky just 30 minutes southeast of downtown Louisville. It was a grass roots race, just over 150 people. I would be racing IM Kentucky in the same area in a few months, it was drivable and oh, I wouldn’t miss my cousin Julie’s shower if I hurried back.
After deciding on the race, I knew I would need a good co-pilot/navigator/director sportiff – only one man could truly fill those shoes… Petro “Radino” a.k.a. my brother Peter. Petro is always up for an adventure, loves traveling and doesn’t really know much about triathlon or endurance activities at all. Perfect! He was the man for the jobs. Only problem was we couldn’t leave Kansas City until Thursday evening after his girlfriend Kelly’s third b-day bash for her dog, Mia. It wouldn’t be an early departure either, in dog years that’s 21, this bash would go till the wee hours of the morning.
I loaded up the rig and Sammy (my dog) then headed over to the birthday bash, what a sight- what a night! We didn’t end up getting on the road until just before ten, the party was still going strong though. That night we stopped in St. Louis just before two and crashed on my cousin’s couch then got up and departed early the next morning to finish out the last 5 hours of travel. Ideal travel and pre-race conditions for any race.
We didn’t have to worry about packet pickup or pre race registration; that would occur at 7:00 a.m. the morning of the race. We checked into the lodge, unpacked and then decided to go recon the race course. When I looked at the results from last year, only a couple guys sneaked under the five hour mark, no one went sub 1:30 on the run. I knew without seeing any figures or checking out the roads that the course would be brutal. It boasted 6000 feet of climbing on winding, tight roads over the 56 mile course and the toughest transition in the sport. They may have been correct. I was going to do my usual pre-race mini brick 15 minute swim, 20 minute bike and 10 minute run from the actual race course. Transition would happen on the landing just before the boat ramp, down the front the concrete would slide into the lake and present a good 200 yd straight up hill run out of the water. When you left to go out on the bike or run you had a ridiculous 1.5 mile climb to the base of a very rolling 2 plus mile road up to the highway. When I use the word “ridiculous” let me clarify by expressing to you that I am trying to not understate the length and slope of this hill without sounding like a complete and total whinny baby. This thing rose up out of the lake valley like a wall. My ultimate proof