Cozumel, Mexico - November 25, 2012
1:19:16 Swim (2:03 / 100 M)
Lap 1 - 34.4 Mi Bike - 1:43:44 (19.91 MPH)
Lap 2 - 39.1 Mi Bike (73.5 Mi total) - 2:03:09 (19.04 MPH)
90+ Miles on Bike (19.6 MPH)
Bike Crash - Broken Clavicle
Once again, Cozumel was an amazing setting for an Ironman. This year however, we found the best hotel to top it off. Perfect location, great food and even better service. The hotel was across the street from the Expo, a block from TriBike Transport and the Finish line.
This year there were around 40 people from Houston, which made it even more fun.
We arrived on Wednesday afternoon, which gave me plenty of time to get settled, get the bike, the packet, and get everything set up before the race. I was able to swim in the ocean just in front of the hotel. Also went for a training ride and run the days before the race. I also went to the swim start the day before to get a short swim in the venue itself. The winds were pretty strong the days before the race, but died down on race day. However, the strong current remained.
3,000 people signed up for the race this year (500 more than last year). Around 2,730 people started the race. This year I got to see the dolphins show as we walked around the pier to get into the water. It was such a great site. Really fun. We went into the water and waited for the gun to go off. This was the first race I used a Swimskin, the TYR Torque Pro. I wasnt sure if it would help, but oh well...
The gun goes off, and the crazy melee began. There were people everywhere. I couldn’t find space to get a rhythm going. It stayed this way until the first two turns (where things got worse before getting better - people seemed to stop at the turns, bunching everything up). Finally when I started the long stretch, I began to swim a bit inside the buoys, and found some space. That allowed me to get on a good rhythm.
An interesting thing about this swim... All throughout, it felt better, easier, smoother to breath on the left side than the right. I’m right handed, and even though I can breathe on both sides, my normal side is the right. On races, I always end up breathing on the ride side. But not this time. I have not figured out why. In any case, things were going nicely. When I got to the last turns (passing the submarine), I glanced at my watch. It showed 43 min. I was pretty happy with that, and figured things were going as planned if not better. Little did I realize at the time, but the currents were so strong, that the last 700-800 mtrs ended up taking me around 35 minutes !!!
Once out of the water, the clock read 1:19. I was surprised. Even though I have not trained the swim at all the entire year, I still felt good, was not tired at all, and felt that I was a lot faster than that. I later came to understand how difficult the swim was. 260 people did not get out of the swim (almost 10% of the athletes who started) ! But no problem... I just run all the way to the tent (T1). Took my Swimskin off, put my helmet, glasses, and number belt, then some vaseline under my arms (the new Swimskin did cause a small amount of chaffing on both sides), and off to the bike I went.
Since I signed up really late, my bike was located in the farthest area to the exit. It wasnt even paved. But it was near the tents. I got my bike and off I went. The bike leg was going well. The temperature was very mild (compared to last year), and the winds were much less strong as well. The only difference is that this year we got some head wind on the east side of the island, where last year, the strong wind was a crosswind. My goal going in, was to make sure to not overdo the bike and die on the run. So my goal was to stay in Zone 2, bottom of Zone 3 for the entire 112 miles. My first lap went really well. I average 20 MPH and felt really good. The second lap was a bit slower, especially in the head wind. The second lap average was 19.1 MPH. But I was still feeling fresh and strong. Still staying in my heart rate zones. The third lap was going really well. I was able to keep a nice pace while having the tail wind, and was averaging 19.7 MPH for the race at mile 90. Little did I know, that was to be the end of my race. A few moments later, my race came to an abrupt end. I collided with another racer, fell really hard on my shoulder, and, as I came to learn later on, broke my clavicle. I am not exactly sure what happened. All I know is that the last time I looked up on the road, I saw this racer (a lady in her late 50’s), way ahead on the road, several hundred meters away. I looked down to my computer, checking speed, cadence, the usual. Next thing I know I was down on my back, with my bike on top of me. My left should hurt so bad, not only was I not able to move the bike away from me, I couldnt sit up or move my arm. At that moment I knew my race was over !
I was heartbroken. Everything was going so well. At mile 90, I was averaging almost 1 MPH more than I thought I would, while still feeling good and fresh. And the weather was great for that run. Very mild, and then cool. I was so looking forward to the challenge of the run. I really thought this was going to be the race... this was going to be my major PR. But it was not to be. As I later found out, over 1,000 people did not finish the race, making it one of the hardest Ironman in a long time. Now, all that is left is to recover. And sooner rather than later, as I have Ironman Los Cabos in March ! And of course, I will return for Ironman Cozumel in 2013. This accident will motivate me even more. I will be back stronger, faster, tougher. Watch out Cozumel. Next year, I will conquer the island !!!