Monday, March 29, 2010

What To Expect When You're Expecting To Run IM St. George

St. George, courtesy of the Visitor's Bureau

A few Tri-Mesa members headed out to St. George last weekend to do a little recon mission for the Ironman in May.  The reports back are ... well, I'll let you read them for yourself.  

The first report is from IM New Zealand finisher Greg Davis:
Both bike and run courses are tough.  Swim is uphill too.

Twenty miles to St. George from Sand Hollow is generally downhill, but has some long climbs too.  Once you are on the loop, it starts pretty easy – mostly downhill and flat.  You wind through some neighborhoods.  Then you turn on Old River Road and the fun starts.  You have a few miles of really beat-up road – old chip-seal and gradual climbs.  There is one short downhill to the river bottom.  Once you turn for the road up Snow Canyon, it is a consistent climb.  The steeper sections aren’t crazy long, but you are mostly up or flat.

There are two steep climbs – one after the town of Gunlock (8% +) but it is not long.  Then you hit the “wall” which is a steep climb for about a mile.  The wind was awful for us the whole time except on the Wall.  It turned into a tail wind up the wall which made it easy to climb.  We were going 8 mph after we reached the top and turned into the headwind again. The road was almost flat, but the wind was blowing that hard.  Downhill was nice after Veyo.  You still climb for 3 miles after Veyo though.  The downhill was steep and smooth after that.  A couple of gusts of crosswind almost knocked me off the bike at 45 mph plus.  That was a little nerve racking.

Run was as expected.  It is steep in parts and basically never flat.  You are either running uphill or downhill.  I was tired, but felt well-prepared for the run.

It is going to be a long day.

From Ironman Reggie:
What Greg described is exactly what I encountered in early February. It will be windy through the Snow Canyon loop. It never stops. My cousin who was here last week has trained for several weeks on the course, and he says there will be wind. Veyo is nice though. If you are considering a road bike, you will wish you had your tri-bike on the drop out of Veyo.

And from Marlo:
Pray for a south wind.

The run will make you cry for mama.

So there you have it.  Ironman St. George in a nutshell.  Have fun out there, y'all.

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