Saturday, June 28, 2014

Toughman Arizona Long Course Race Report

Originally I was signed up for the double race: Toughman Arizona Long Course on Saturday and Sunday's Xterra Deuces Wild

About two month prior to the race, the race director sent an email cancelling the Xterra; the Forest Service wouldn't give them a permit because the forest would be closing due to fire danger.
I adjusted my training plan, cut out mountain biking and trail running, and concentrated solely on road biking and running.
I decided the day I signed up that I would camp and camping was the best option considering the transition area was a mile from the camp site in Fools Hollow State Park. Check in for the race and camping was easy and I could just relax and go to sleep.

I haven’t been nervous for this year’s races. I just seem to go through the motions prepping food and gear. 

I had heard from other races last year that aid stations on the run could be sketchy so I knew I would run with a water bottle. I carried two water bottles on my bike which I normally don’t do in Ironman races since aid stations are always stocked and reliable. I wasn't sure what to expect on this bike course so I played it safe. 

The Race:
The swim was shortened from 1.2 to about .9 since water levels were low. A racer told me they were pulling water from it for fire fighting. The water was nice about 60 degrees and since there were only about 30 people in the race it wasn't difficult to find a place to swim. Towards the end there were weeds that seemed to want to grab my arm and pull me under, but I have swam in worse so not a big deal.

Out of transition and on the bike, I was expecting long, steep hills and that is exactly what was out there. I felt lucky there was no wind considering that last few weeks the wind was gusting from weather reports I watched. No clouds just blue, blue sky.

I was disappointed that the aid stations didn't have any Gatorade or Heed, but was thankful there was water. I liked their method of swapping out water bottles and hoped they were clean (I’m sure they were.)
I really pushed it on the bike and felt fast. I passed about 15 men and women throughout the 56 miles. I knew that I was pushing it too hard to have anything left for the run, but did it anyway.

Back into transition and off on the run, I should have taken it as a warning when the transition area was out of water, it was hot and felt like 100 degrees but it was only 80. The run started on trails paralleling the lake which I really liked. Once I got to the first aid station they only had Heed. I filled my water bottle and by the next aid station water would have been great, but no water. More Heed. 
The run course ran by my camping spot and I was tempted to stop and get water and ice from my car but decided to wait. I had one more loop to do and if I needed to I would stop during the next loop. By the second loop the aid station had awesome cold, icy, water. 
My legs felt dead and I walked a lot knowing that my time would be slow.
I finished feeling okay and headed back to camp to think about my time and the race: 6:53

Show Low is a beautiful town. Reminds me of the western slope in Colorado. I would like to race the Xterra if they have it next year. The four hour drive from Tucson was LONG! 

A beautiful drive through the Salt River Canyon was spectacular. 

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