After a great training session in Breckenridge last week Matty White managed to convince Josh Rix to go to Michigan and race the Steelhead 70.3. As you can see from the headline it turned out to be a good idea. Aussies Jason Shortis and Adam Holborrow also raced with Jason 6th and Adam 13th. Read Matty White’s race report below and see the top 100 results below the report.
Another day another half ironman 70.3 completed and more importantly another podium! I decided to race Steelhead 70.3 while I was in Breckenridge last week, as I wasn’t feeling too bad and I felt that the ironman fatigue was starting to leave my body, plus getting a 2nd place at Racine 70.3 the week before boosted my confidence a little. I also managed to convince Josh Rix to join me on this trip which was great as I hate travelling alone.
Race day was on a Saturday which is always good as it means you can celebrate on Saturday night, especially given the fact that we were staying in Chicago so we were pretty amped to make the most of the weekend. The race is in the state of Michigan at Benton Harbor which is a 2hr drive from Chicago, and we passed through 3 different time zones to get there. The course layout was much the same as Racine 70.3 with a point to point swim, then a 1 lap 90km bike and a 2 lap run. Race morning was not the most ideal conditions you could imagine as it poured down while we were setting up our bikes in transition, add to that there was no lighting in transition it so made for an interesting start to the day.
There was a decent field for this race with internationals such as Graham o Grady, Will Smith, James Cotter and Michael Lovato. Add to that a few Australians such as Rix, Holborrow, Shortis and myself it shaped up to be an interesting race. I was quite confident with my swimming and managed to lead out to the first buoy before noted swimmers O Grady and Cotter moved up beside me, I managed to stay with them for half the swim until I dropped off and was caught by the 2nd group which contained Rix and Holborrow and a few other US guys. We were about a minute down on the lead 3 of cotter, Smith and O Grady which was not too bad as I knew I was riding well enough to bridge that gap.
I managed to get away from our swim group with Rix, who was motoring and I made contact with the lead 3 at the 15 mile mark of the ride which was satisfying. The main front guys all stayed together throughout the remainder of the bike and with O Grady puncturing and Smith getting a penalty I knew I had a good chance of a solid podium, that was until I got a penalty with 1 mile to go for urinating on my bike ( Yes it can happen over here) luckily for me the penalty was a yellow card which meant I just run into the penalty tent sign my name and then keep going so I lost about 20 seconds, I managed to get that back in transition and hit the run in 2nd about 10m behind Cotter.
I took out the run pretty hard and could not shake Cotter who was running well, we ran together for about 5 miles before my stomach started to give me some grief, I had to back off the pace for a while, then Rix passed me who was having the race of his life, after a quick toilet stop I manage to feel better again and hold Rix to about 40 seconds and finish 3rd in 3.55 with Cotter winning in 3.53. I was really happy with my race as I certainly didn’t expect to be this high on the podium only 4 weeks after ironman. It was also good to nail a 2.08 bike split. After the race Josh and I had to pack our bikes and hit the road to Chicago, which I was pretty keen to check out and it didn’t disappoint. As we drove in to our hotel they were shooting Transformers 3 right outside on the main street, it looked like a world war had broken out and people were everywhere with flames and upturned cars.
Due to a few online booking problems we didn’t have a reservation at the hotel so we had to find elsewhere. We drove around for an hour, and made about 30 phone calls meaning that the whole of Chicago was booked up for Saturday night! This left us with no option but to make the call to have an all nighter, I liked this idea as Chicago was crazy busy and the atmosphere was awesome, so we parked the car in a valet park, got changed in an old toilet (check the photo) just like homeless people and bearing in mind we had not had a shower after the race and headed out on the town. We managed to stay out until 4am which was epic then drove to the airport and check in before our flight. As I am writing this I am a shell of a man after a half ironman, no shower and hangover and no sleep, but it was worth it and we had a blast. I wouldn’t recommend doing this for recovery though, but when your in a big city and have a good race on a Saturday night you have to make the most of it.