A trip to Las Vegas

August 27th, 2011 by

Sometimes things just seem to work out … but if someone had told me even just two months ago that I would be able to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas early next month, I would have suggested they were having a (not very amusing) laugh.

Little did I know. After my racing at the Racine, Boulder and Steelhead 70.3s, I managed to sneak into the 50 slots offered for racing in Las Vegas. Happy days. Team Trek/K-Swiss team mate – and landlady 😉 – Julie Dibens was heading down for a recce with her coach, agent and also former Ironman World Champion, Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander. – I jumped at the offer to tag along with this crew.

Now, the saying goes something along the lines of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” … and so I will hold true to that for the most part – if you want to know about the course, go and look for yourself 😉

Lake Mead is a much larger body of water than Lake Las Vegas where we swim. Mead is visible from the bike route

I had never been to Las Vegas before, and boy is it a strange strange place … and I didn’t even get to see The Strip or the many famous hotels and casinos! The race starts in Lake Las Vegas, about 15miles or so out of the city, in a suberb called Henderson.  We then ride out into what can only be described as something akin to the moon. Its hot, hilly, dusty, hilly and hot. Did I mention it heats up out there … 45C was what my bike computer told me on the Sunday. I can’t describe what that feels like, and thats exactly why I am so pleased to have gone and checked it prior to the race … now I know.

We couldn’t have trained like we did without a support car – and a car LOADED with liquid and cooling vests. on Sunday I sunk a total of 11 bottles over our 4 hour ride … quite insane to be honest. You just couldnt drink enough it seemed and the cooling effect of a fresh bottle out of the cool box was golden! Crowie and Julie are pouring iced water on their arm coolers in this shot above … it didn’t last all that long, but they said it felt superb for about 3 seconds.

We also checked out the run route, although it was most important to get familiar with the 90k of (quite incredible smooth i may add) tarmac that will shape the large part of the race in a couple of weeks. We rode over the course a total of 3 times during the weekend and I can safely say that it was a completely worthwhile (although hotter than the sun) trip.

I don’t think that a bottle of Coke has ever tasted this good!!  – Slightly emotional after 4 hours in the Nevada Desert heat. – I was amazed to realise that my gear shifters were starting to get too hot to grip onto … hold onto that thought.