Friday, October 9, 2009

2009 Ford Ironman World Championships Hawaii (10/10) - Build-up

The race is close now, but I really am not nervous. “Stressed” would be a better word, as I find myself doing so much more than just training. I spent all today moving furniture out of a tenant’s apartment and
reorganizing my own. Maybe it’s for the better. The truth is I guess I don’t have time to be nervous! Sometimes that’s a blessing.

However, what made all this furniture moving even worse was my bad ankle. I rolled it after riding out Hawi and back to Kona. I was running along Alii Drive and misstepped onto a lava rock. My ankle completely rolled, hitting the road. I immediately thought I broke it because it was that bad a twist, but
God must have put his hand on me. I definitely sprained it, but nothing was going to keep me from competing in the race. Matty Cummingham, a local training partner helped me back to my car. I iced it and prayed all night. I also used a compression sock with heat cream. I continued to ice it and rest. The third day, I trained on the bike which didn’t seem to aggravate it. But then I moved heavy furniture and it swelled up again. It was then that I decided not to run on it until the Ironman. So, I changed my routine to include aqua jogging. I started with 30 minutes, then one hour, then finally three hours all in the pool. You do what it takes! With daily exercise, prayer, acupuncture, ice, heat and weekly visits to the chiropractor, I was determined to get better.

I got my new bike! A new P4 Cervelo, fitted just for my body. What a difference that makes.

I am also receiving a few requests for interviews. One by Lava 105 radio station in Kona and another by at Lava Java. My friend from Triathlete Magazine and also did the interview.

Two weeks out from the race and the island was buzzing with action as athletes started arriving from all over the world. I took some of the athletes over to the Kawaihae into Hawi. Up Honokoa, Parkers Ranch where the winds really picked up. By the time we were heading back, we had run into 50-mile crosswinds. The wind was so powerful it blew one of the athletes off their bike. It was a bad crash. I was very sad to hear this news. The wind is very dangerous. Everyone should be warned. In fact, Ironman Champion World record holder, Luc Van Leden, was inches from being blown into the rail twice. Luc and I were flying down the path, pushing one another in Kawaihae. Luc’s support team was curious to know who I was. This was another way to gauge my own strength and progress of my training.

With my new P4 Cervelo, 1080 Zipp back wheel and 303 Zipp front, I felt very sturdy. I want to thank Grant, owner of HP Bike Works, for the loan of the front wheel. The 1080 front wheel would have steered me off the road by the wind if I had been riding with it. The crew at HP Bike Works was amazing! They helped me put the whole bike together.

After this ride, I started to ride with Chris McCormack, 2007 World Ironman Champion and with Tim Marr, who placed 15th Ironman Champion in ’08. Both of these athletes excel on the bike in particular. We decided to ride race pace and harder from Kona to Hawi turn around. I was hoping to hold onto their back wheel. It turned out in the end that Chris was hanging on my back wheel and Tim Marr was dropped! I was feeling strong … maybe too strong. Either way, to be able to hold my own with two champion bikers was both empowering and humbling. Chris came up to me later and asked me, “What juice are you taking, Rip?” I simply replied, “I’m on the Jesus Juice.” It was the first thing that came to mind. And it was the truth. What a compliment it was to receive praise from the best athletes only eight months back into my training. I shocked them and myself! This was a final test for me to see if I had the power to compete strong. Now all I needed was to be able to keep up this level of speed for 112 miles. That day, we only did 50 miles. But those 50 gave me the level of confidence I needed!


The Friday before the race (October 9th). I swam for 15 minutes with a few sprints for 30 seconds, biked for 30 minutes and ran off the bike for a 20 minute run. The first run since I rolled my ankle. I felt fast, yet light in the water. My new skin suit by Blue Seventy was helpful. Many thanks to Guy Crawford for the speedsuit.

I felt heavy in the legs on the bike and realized that I needed to loosen them from an exerting routine the day before (October 7th). My new bike I only had two weeks to adjust to an extreme position created for pure speed. I was also running in my brand new Newtons. I was slowly starting to feel strong and the excitement was pounding through me.

I felt fast doing a few explosive sprints for 30 yards and I jogged through a private community along the ocean. Feeling the external and internal energy rising.

Though, just a word of advice: never buy new shoes right before a race. But if you do, walk everyday to allow your foot to fit to the shoes. This is what I have done.

Also, if you buy a new bike shortly before a big race, ride it everyday and take a tool kit with you to make adjustments on the spot. Ride in the saddle up hills, fast all out sprints for 3 mins and downhills full speed to adjust to my bike. I also practice in aero climbing hills.

Swim as often as possible, but concentrate on (sprints) repeats in the pool against someone faster. I did this with Chris McCormack and Tim Marr. The fastest swimmers in the sport. We swam the course on Thursday, October 1st. Chris, Tim and I really could not believe I could draft on McCormack behind Marr. Normally, I would be dropped!


As most athletes know, nutrition is a critical part of any winning equation. I have to admit that this has been a challenge for me. At first, I could not get the 400 calories per hour needed to sustain my training. I found myself hitting the wall on numerous occasions. This is when I reached out to Robert from First Endurance. I met him while training in Utah part-time. He created a whole new program for me, which was a bit worrisome but I trusted Robert.First Endurance Nutrition is also the sponsor for the Columbia & Astana Cycling Teams. By mixing this electrolyte Fuel System with water, I was able to take in the 400 required calories per hour. For the race, I would make four water bottles total, 2 on the bike & having two in the special needs bag for the bike turn around. I dissolved 2-3 salt tablets into each bottle. Along with two containers ( 400 calories each container) of gel liquid I was able to reach my calorie intake per hr.. Pure electrolyte in 24 oz water bottles, total of 415 calories each of the water bottles. The first 2.5 hours on the bike, I will consume 1,600 calories. The second half (2.5 hours), I will consume an additional 1,400. I only need to keep 2,000, which was difficult in training, but now I believe I was up to 500 calories per hour, which worked for me.

The run intake, I still have not figured out. I’ll let you know after tomorrow. The big day, Saturday, October 10th. Ironman World Championship 2010!

Thank you for your support and blessings with prayer. I’m grateful to all my supports which spread now in 11 Countries.

Make it a Great Day!

Rip Oldmeadow

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