For years I have wanted to visit this triathlon mecca tucked away in the Flatiron Mountains at the base of the mighty Rockies. Imagine my surprise when Ironman triathlon decided to chose this little gem of a city to host a full Ironman triathlon. I had told my husband years ago….”If there is ever an IM in Boulder, WE’RE THERE!” (I have a few cities that I think this about) So when WTC announced a new IM race in Boulder, it took me all of three-seconds to decide my race venue. The day it opened, I woke up with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning and the second I could register, I was on to secure my spot.
After months of training for my third Ironman, we took the trip to Boulder. Deciding to go early (2 weeks) because I had never raced at altitude before and was unsure how it would effect me. We got there and training continued into my taper; the altitude never having any effect, thankfully. We immediately loved the area. My hubs LOVED the area. Lot’s of sun, lot’s of great food options (what a foodie city) LOT’s of fit, health conscious people who were so friendly and eager to talk to out-of-towners, great outdoor activities and bikes EVERYWHERE!! All things we adore! We enjoyed every day of the 2 weeks leading up to race day.
When Ironman village opened we enjoyed hanging out there, being at the Athlete Welcome Party, listening to the Ironband (these guys ROCK!)and the great Mike Reilly pumping us up for race day!
The Saturday before race day is bike and gear bag check in. I made sure my bike was all clean and ready to rock (Thanks to my bike handler hubs) packed my run and bike gear bags (your T1-T2 bags)
T1 Bike gear bag: Helmet, Rudy sunglasses, cycling gloves, cycling shoes (I do not wear socks)
T2 Run bag: EFS Liquid Shot flask; filled, visor, Garmin, socks (Nike dry fit) and my kicks (Hoka One One Bondi 3) Running in socks is all new to me, but with these shoes I feel like I need them. Hoka I beg you for a seamless, sock-less friendly shoe.
After a quick little workout that morning; 10 min swim, 10 min bike, 10 min run, we headed down to Boulder Reservoir for the bike/bag drop. It was a swirling beehive of activity as athletes and family members walked their bikes down for their security photos (I told them that my bike looooooves having her photo taken) and to rack them up for their overnight stay at the reservoir. It was so fun for me having friends from CdA there at checkin that came down to volunteer. To see a familiar face when nerves are starting to brim up inside is such a huge comfort. I left the hubs and walked in with my bike giving JB a quick, nervous, hug that immediately brought the sting of tears that just wanted to fall from my eyes. I went into bike transition and found my number on the rack and hung my bike. I walked back to the start of transition and walked back to my bike ensuring I knew exactly where she was (this will be a funny story later). Then with a sigh and a little lip-quiver of knowing the next time I saw her I’d be past a 2.4 mile swim and ready to head out on a 112 miles, I walked out. I saw JB again and grabbed a quick, reassuring hug, thanked her for being there to volunteer and went to meet the hubster to drop my gear bag. I dropped that bag and came around to check out the swim buoys that were already placed. The reservoir is beautiful. Looking at a one-loop swim course always seems to appear SO huge! (I mean it is…almost 2 1/2 miles) Some of those buoys were almost out of eyeshot. I giggled at thinking how nervous I was for my first IM swim and how far I’ve come. I have learned to love that swim so much (it was actually the first workout I did post IM this week) I also noticed that the transitions seemed long from water exit, to wetsuit peelers, through bag pick up, into the changing tents, but that ended up not being the case and didn’t effect my transition times at all.
Next was run bag drop. That was at Boulder High School. This was something new to me, having split transition areas. But again, during the race, was of no effect. I dropped my bag on the track, looked to see which tent I’d be entering (left or right) and left for the day. Lunch, rest and packing Special Needs bags was all that was left on my schedule for the day.
I was set!!