Tuesday, February 2, 2016

August 2004 By Gordo Byrn

August 2004
By Gordo Byrn

It was a great day out there at Ironman Canada and I would say this was my first "tactical" race. Like any race, I had a few pieces of good luck and a few challenging bits! Here's a short run down of how it went …

My swim was a little under 52 minutes -- I made a personal decision to take it out controlled and that worked very well for me. Thankfully, Matt Seeley was there to lead me out. It was the perfect pace for me and I "just" hung on to his feet.

I had a very, very speedy transition and beat Matt out on the bike. At that stage, I was seven minutes down on Tom and two minutes down on Olaf. When Matt caught me I decided that I'd go-til-I-blow with him. A big change from previous races where I ride quite relaxed for the first 90 minutes. I knew that if I could finish the bike with Matt then I would have a solid day. The pace was on for the first 20K but once we started to catch the speedy swimmers, things seemed to ease off. We were rolling at 40kph+ on the flats so even riding an extra few meters off the back (5 mins in the sin-bin if you get a penalty), there is a big boost to being with some guys. Tom, meanwhile, was scorching up the road solo. The gap just kept growing!

The pace was strong up Richter with Matt and I riding off the front on the bunch near the top. Probably 13 minutes down to Tom at that stage. Things were going really well for us and we rolled up to Stefan Holzner, who looked like he was having a tough day -- his massive win at Ironman Germany was only a few weeks ago for him.

We were rolling great through the out-and-back and making up time on Olaf, in second, however.... pssssssst! I hit a rose thorn and had another flat. A quick change cost me only three minutes and, yes, I did think that it would suck to lose the race by less than three minutes! Just in case you are wondering -- brand new tires, just happened to find the only rose thorn in the out-and-back.

Rode very strong up Yellow Lake and contained my loses to just the flat time. Headed out on the run three minutes down on Olaf and Matt (who had ridden up to Olaf). Not sure of my exact bike time but I guess it was around 4:47. A massive PB that has been many years in the making.

The run was a really good experience for me. I knew that I'd done some hell sessions in Boulder, so I decided to back my fitness and run to effort & HR -- that was between 3:45 and 3:50 K pace -- around six-minute miles. Pretty solid and the effort felt good. I was pulling in handfuls of time on Tom from Miles Six to Sixteen -- however -- I started to fade a bit at Mile 21, while looking at the lead male car in the distance! Tom played his lead perfectly and managed to hold me off. Think I finished about 90 seconds down in the end. I'm guessing that I'll have the fastest run split again (2:46).

I managed to sneak under 8:30 so now I am a 8:29-dude! That's pretty darn fast. Just for fun -- here are my IMC splits from 1999 ...
Swim -- 1:12; Bike -- 5:54; Run -- 3:52 for 11:06 overall.

Scott Molina deserves a lot of credit for showing me what it takes. Back in 2000, I was a bit of a hotshot (in my own mind) -- his patience and guidance have moulded me into a balanced elite triathlete. Dave Scott's help was instrumental in getting me ready to "race" an Ironman -- his training sessions gave me the confidence to push myself where I used to back off. Dave's a true inspiration and I'll be back to Boulder for more next year!

Many of you will know that Dave's set the benchmark for Hawaii-at-40 (8:28 with a 2:45 marathon off the bike). I've come a long way in the last five years and I think that it will be a heck of a lot of fun to see where Scott and Dave can guide me over the next five years (how's that for a coaching team). The only think I know for sure is that it's a lot further that I can imagine right now.

Hat's off to Tom Evans -- it's extremely difficult to win an Ironman solo. Tom is a classy guy and played his cards just right on the day. It was a lot of fun for me to be a key part of such an exciting event. Sooner or later, I'll get a chance to make my "big room" victory speech. I wrote it up on Saturday so I'll just file it away for future use!

What's next? Well, they asked me that question in the med-tent (missed the press conference two years in a row!). Lying in the recovery position with my legs feeling like they have been beaten with a baseball bat, I nearly cried when I realized that I've signed up for Ironman Hawaii in seven weeks.

Finally, I'd like to thank Clas "the Baron" Bjorling. I'm fortunate to have Mister Baron as a training partner and a very loyal buddy. I haven't run 2:42 off the bike (yet) but I do have the "Team Epic" Ironman PB for at least a few months. Should be fun in Taupo next year -- the boys will be back in town!

See you at the races,