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2010 Ironman Louisville: Race Report Part 4 – Race Review and Observations

Posted Sep 08 2010 7:13am
Posted by Brandon on Sep 8, 2010 |

This is my “sum up” article about Ironman Louisville. I want to use it to give me overall review of the race itself but also to make some observations about what I learned along the way. I’ll try to keep it fairly concise and not too rambling!

  • Check-in was very well run and very well organized. The , where check-in and the expo took place was a great facility and very centrally located with a lot of parking both in the hotel garage itself and very nearby.
  • The (KICC) was also a nice facility that seemed to be able to hold everybody for the welcome dinner and post-race festivities just fine. The complaint I have about the KICC and the Galt House (above), is that while they are reasonably close together and there is a VERY meandering and confusing way to walk from one to the other entirely indoors, they are still pretty darn far apart. In my opinion, it would have been a MUCH better set up to have all the goings on happening at one place or the other rather than being split.
  • The expo: I voiced my opinion about this on my podcast, but I will say it again here. The Ironman store is the ONLY multi-sport retailer selling general triathlon wares at the expo. For those that are used to going to a marathon expo where there may be two or more running stores selling everything from shoes, to shorts to body glide and everything in between, this is quite a departure. I understand the business idea behind it, where you have basically a captive audience that will inevitably need “stuff” and you’re the closest and most convenient way to get that “stuff”. However, I need Fuel Belt bottles and they had to be made for a Fuel Belt or they would not fit properly. The Ironman Store only had Nathan products and I had to go find a multi-sport retailer somewhere else. I’m sure there are a thousand other examples of why be so exclusive is a REALLY bad idea.
  • Practice swim: The practice swim took place at the swim exit. This is a huge problem because it does not allow racers to get the feel of swimming in between Towhead Island and the shore where the swim start is. Nor do racers get the feeling of jumping off the docks from where you start. I’m sure this is a time and/or permits thing, but it is not a good way to go and quite frankly, has the potential to be quite dangerous.
  • Weather: If heat bothers you, do NOT do this race. The 2009 race was an anomaly with very mild temperatures, but this year, Mother Nature was back with a vengeance. Temperatures on race day reached 96° Fahrenheit with humidity at 65%. According to reports, a whopping 15% of people who started the race did not finish (DNF) which is the highest rate of DNF in any Ironman race EVER.
  • Swim: Morning clothes bags were taken from racers FAR too early and basically left those at the front of the line without water or food or anything else for about 45 minutes. The swim start is dangerous. Racers are jumping off the docks like lemmings off a cliff. There is zero pause between racers and I have to wonder how many people wound up with somebody’s feet slamming into their backs.  Contrary to what I thought, the race clock begins for EVERYONE at 7:00 AM. Yes, your individual time begins when you jump in the water, but you have 2 hours 20 minutes to finish the swim from 7 AM. So, if you’re at the back of the line, and don’t start for 30 minutes, I hope you’re not slow because you have 1 hour 50 minutes. The way the swim start SHOULD work is to have some sort of placement system. Whether racers are placed in order by bib number or by estimated swim time, any order would be better than the chaos that reigned on race morning. Also, the 17 hour clock (the time you have to complete an Ironman should not begin until the last person hits the water. I know this presents a timing problem, but that’s not my job to figure out. Want to solve all these problems? Move the swim somewhere where a mass start is possible.
  • Bike: There is a lip of concrete right by the bike exit/entrance. Riders go across this on their way out and on their way into T2. It is well marked and about 2 inches high. However on the way into T2, this doesn’t matter. Have you ever tried to do a wheelie after riding 112 miles? Not fun. Also, the bike course was open to traffic. While I generally don’t much mind this since there are still cones present, there were SEVERAL times when I had to ride AROUND cars in front of me that were going too slowly. There was also apparently a large truck that blocked a road on which cyclists were going in both directions.  Not cool. I have also heard reports of water shortages at aid stations to the point of running out at some. This should not happen, ever.
  • Volunteers: As always, awesome. From the beginning to end everyone was great. Especially when I was in medical, I was extremely well attended to even as more and more people flowed in.
  • No matter how much you put into an event like this, at the end of the day it’s only a race and it does not define you.
  • I really learned that I can control my nutrition. Even though this particular case was unique (I hope) and I was fighting an uphill battle with maintaining cramps the entire time, my mind stayed focused on what I needed to do. This is huge for me.
  • Those that love you will still love you when you’re broken.
  • A good coach doesn’t care about the race. A good coach cares about you, the race is just the icing.
  • People you’ve just met can be some of the most amazing people you know.
  • I love racing.
  • I hate quitting.
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