These Guys are Good!!! Real Good!!!! I managed to SHOW UP, SUFFER AND FINISH!!!! The 6.2 mile swim, 260 mile bike and 52 mile run is a 3 day stage race. 36 Athletes from 10 different countries were at the starting line of the Ultraman World Championships over Thanksgiving weekend. This invitation only race has a long and prestigious history that began in 1983. It was an honor to be toeing the line with these amazing athletes!!!
Day 1 6.2 mile swim followed by 90 mile bike.
SWIM WAS BRUTAL!!! I went into the swim with high expectations. I feel I have been swimming strong. The JELLY FISH WERE OUT IN FORCE!!! I didn’t know anything about Jelly fish going into this race, I do now!! 5 or 6 competitors were stung in the race. One swimmer was forced to drop out when he got stung by a Jelly Fish. Which when I listen to people who got stung is almost like getting hit by acid. One athlete climbed up into his Kayak ready to drop out swearing he was having a heart attack. But his paddler managed to calm him down and he jumped back in the water and finished the Swim. My friend Scott got stung by a Man of War Jelly Fish!!! These are Bad News!!! Scott managed to finished the swim pulled the Stinger out of his arm. Pissed on the wound,(something about ammonia) Jumped on his bike and took off. ( You know I love this Guy!!!)
I was talking to one of the Brazilian’s at the award ceremony who was stung. The side of his face was still Bright Red!!!! He said it stung like Hell for 3 hours he didn’t know how to stop the pain. By now the expert that I am on Jelly Fish. I said “Why didn’t you have your paddler pee on you!!!” He replied ” I didn’t know the PEE PEE WORK OR I WOULD HAVE!!!!!
Fortunately my experienced paddler Jan managed to bob and weave me through the Jelly fish and I went unscathed!! However the current was another story. Last year the current went against me for a half hour. This year the current was in my face for an hour and a half. Swimming into the current I was using double the effort to barely move. When I went past my 4hr.and5 min. time of last year and still had a long ways to go it was brutal on me Mentally!!!! By the time I finished the swim I was over 47 minutes behind last years swim!!!! I staggered like a Drunken Sailor when I got out of the water!!! I was WORKED!!!
Twelve minutes later I started the 90 mile bike real shaky, weak and concerned. I had only made last years first day 12 hour cutoff by 50 minutes. I started the extremely hilly bike course knowing if I did last years time on the bike I would be right at the cutoff. The 1 Hr + climb right after the swim allowed almost everyone I beat in the swim to pass me. After 3 hours of biking I was in last, definitely in danger of missing the cutoff. But I had stayed with in myself and felt my energy returning. I started to pick up the pace!! After around 4 hours I finally passed someone!!! Yes his pants were down!!! He was going the Bathroom!!! But at that point I would take it!!! I finished Strong and beat last years time and the cutoff by 20 minutes!!! I would Live to Race another Day!!! I finished 30th of the 33 who made the cutoff the first ; ; ;Day. I was only off the bike seat twice for a total of 2 minutes for clothing changes during the 6:52 bike leg.
Day 2 170 mile Bike 12 hour cutoff.
I was strong all day conditions were very good. I road the 170 miles in 9:59. I had the 22nd best bike split of the day and was a half hour better then last year. It was a mentally relaxing fun day. I was in the mix. Other crews were yelling chants at me. One really sticks out ” Bill Bill your so cool you will scream just like a Fool!!!!” One crew of girls in bikini tops and shorts would do push ups every time I went by!!! Yes it was a Fun Day!!! Again only 2 times off the bike for a total of 3 minutes.
Day 3 52 mile Double Marathon Run 12 hour cutoff.
Back to Reality 52 mile run was again going to be Sufferathon!!! I was most concerned about this stage because almost every running race I have done over the last year just involved survival!!! My running races were all over 24 hours long with lots of shuffling with walking mixed in. Not going to cut it at Ultraman!!! You need to Run to make cutoff!!!
The run is 52 miles of pavement running through the HOT AND HUMID LAVA FIELDS!!!! It goes from Havi to Kona. I went through the first marathon at about 5:30. I was 20 minutes behind last years split. Then at mile 30 with the heat of the day hitting me, I hit a low I ran about 3 miles at 15 minute miles. I started doing the math in my head and if I kept going that pace I would be right at the cutoff. Again it was time to reach in Deep!!! I said “Bradley, What are you made of!!!” I went to the Badwater strategy. I put on a ice scarf and my Crew soaked me every mile to cool the core down!! The pace started to pick up. I picked up my friend Geogio from Italy as a pacer the last 6 miles and reeled off a string of 12 minute miles to the Finish!!! My run time was 11:16. Only a little slower then last year. Two runners ended up in the hospital do to the extreme conditions. I only stopped for 2 minutes during run to change shoes.
I finished Ultraman 30th overall with a time of 33:01.
NO EXCUSES!!! I want to tell you about 3 of the Ultraman Finishers.
Jason Lestor completed the race with a paralyzed arm. How he swam 5:27 through that current with one arm, I will never know!!!. We were together allot during the 2nd day on the Bike. The last 10 miles into Havi is a gnarly mostly down hill with really strong gusty winds that has all competitors holding the bars with white knuckles. When I went by Jason on that down hill he was being blown all over the road. But he had his teeth Gritted tenaciously. It made me choke up with EMOTION!!! At the Finish He was so Exhausted he had to be caught as he crossed the line to keep him upright!!!
My friend Corey who has competed at Hawaii Ironman in 7 Different age groups. Now has a replacement Hip!!! He finished Ultraman and you would never know it!!! Always a great Attitude!!!
My buddy Warren was a professional Rock Climber. A climbing accident 10 years ago left him paralyzed with the Doctors telling him he would never walk again!!! Warren would have none of that!!! He did twice as much rehab as what he was told!!! When he crossed the line at Ultraman, he felt he was all the way Back!!!! You are MY FRIEND THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!!!!
NO EXCUSES!!! ONLY YOUR MIND LIMITS YOU!!!!
Thank you Sammy and Dave for your untiring Support during the 3 days of Ultraman as my Crew!!! Your both wonderful!!!! I couldn’t have made it with out you!!! Jan thank You too for excellent Jelly Fish Navigating!!!! Thank you Jane and company for a great Race!!!!
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!! STILL LIVING THE DREAM!!!! BILL
NEXT RACE IS IN FEBRUARY: HINT, IT IS BACK TO THE MEAT FREEZER!!!!!