Matt Hanson | Professional Triathlete
5x Ironman Champion/ 4x 70.3 Champion

Des Moines Tri/Summer Update

I was stoked to be able to race the Des Moines Oly (Formerly the HyVee 5150) this year. I hadn’t raced since June and to be completely honest, the last few races didn’t yield a positive result for me. I certainly learned a ton from them that have made me a better competitor. But let’s face it, at this level results do matter. Every race isn’t going to go the way you want it to, and when that happens you HAVE to learn from them and move on to the next one. But in order to stay in the sport, you need to put up a good result every now and then! I have been anxious to race since Cairns, but definitely did not want to hop on a start list before I was 100% ready to go.

Me and Ash DSMI started working with coach Julie Dibens in the beginning of July. So I’ve had a few months of training under her guidance, including a nice training block in Boulder (I was there anyway to watch my wife become an Ironman!!! So I stayed a bit longer to train with her crew there). I adjusted really quickly to the new workouts and have been stringing together some great training days. I have been anxious to get on a starting line for a few weeks now, and was really happy that I would be able to fit Des Moines into the schedule this year. I have always wanted to do this race for many reasons. It has a great history and a reputation for being a great course and a well run race. It fell 3 weeks before IM Chattanooga this year, which seemed like great timing for a dress rehearsal so to speak. As an added bonus, Ashley would be doing the race as well as a few other athletes who I coach. It was great to do a race that had very little travel stress, we drove the 2.5 hours to Des Moines on Saturday afternoon, got registered and ready for the race, then got a hotel just down the road.

Des Moines Pre Race Race Morning
Woke up race morning and had the typical pre race breakfast, 2 servings of First Endurance Ultragen. I thought about only doing 1 serving because it was an OLY, but I wanted pretty much everything to be the same as it will be for Chatt in 3 weeks. Ash and I packed up the car and headed to transition. We got there around 5:15 which was plenty of time to have a relaxed set up and get a good warm up in. Ash set up her gear about 30 min faster than I did…no clue how that was possible, but we both got ready with time to spare. I went for about a 2 mile jog, then headed over to the start line and got about 10 minutes of swimming in before getting to the starting line.

DSM SwimSwim- 21:59
Overall, pretty happy with the swim. TJ got off to a great start and I was on the opposite side of the line so there was no getting onto his feet. I swam well to the first buoy and was leading the first pack, but didn’t turn sharp enough and sighted off of one of the return buoys rather than the one I was supposed to. I figured this out pretty quickly, but had to put in a pretty solid dig to get back with the first pack. At that point, I decided just to hang with this group and go to work on the bike. We got out of the water in a group of 6 or so, about a minute down from TJ.

T1- 1:05
In most of the IM races I do, my transitions are pretty fast…but I quickly realized that speed wouldn’t be good enough for an OLY. I watched the guys that I came out of the water with speed away from me. In reality, I only lost 5-10 seconds. But that was a lot more work that I had to do on the bike because I let the gap grow right away.

DSM BikeBike – 55:23
For some reason, my bike legs didn’t want to work right away. I was forcing the power as much as I could, but was holding about 10w less than I was hoping to. My HR was in the 180s through transition and just didn’t want to drop. The 5 guys I came out of the water with rode off right away. About 5 minutes into the ride, everything came together and I settled in. I started picking off those guys one by one and by mile 15 I was riding in 2nd place. I had no idea where TJ was, I missed him on the out and backs due to the AGers who were on their first loop. I just focused on finishing off the ride strong and was able to negative split (by about 3 seconds…but I’ll take it).

T2 – :42
I came into T2 knowing there were 2 guys on my tail…and again lost time in transition. I chose to put socks on. I don’t need to wear socks for a 10k in the On Cloud Racers, but I do for the marathon…and well, dress rehearsal…So I lost 1 position out of T2, Thomas Gerlach got out just seconds in front of me.

DSM FinishRun- 31:27
I started the run not knowing how much of a gap TJ had. I asked TG when I passed him if he knew, but to no luck. The first mile was an out and back, so I HOPED that I would be able to get a split there. I knew TJ was recovering from surgery, but also knew he is capable of some huge bike splits. I saw I was about 2 min down at 1 mile. I didn’t want to do anything stupid, just run a consistent pace and try to close the gap at the end. My first mile was the slowest (5:12), after seeing TJ I must have got a little extra motivation and dropped the next few miles to right at 5:00. I took over the lead at mile 3 and from there on just focused on holding a consistent effort. Again, I negative split the 10k (this time only by 2 seconds) so took that as a positive.

Happy with how everything turned out overall. Obviously, it is great to take the win. But I felt like I executed very well at the dress rehearsal for IM Chattanooga. I feel great about the fitness level I have right now and think I’m on the right track to be able to put together a great race in 3 weeks!

Des Moines Tri PodiumThe race venue also definitely met my expectations. This was a very well run event. They completely closed down the roads for us so we could worry about riding hard and not what the traffic was doing behind us. I’ve never had a race where I could choose the best line out of 3 full lanes of road before! Having the Iowa Capitol building as the backdrop for the finish line was also a pretty cool experience. Was great to cheer on the MHC athletes and of course my wife at the finish line after I was done as well. All-in-all a great way to spend a Sunday!

One Comment

  1. Brian

    September 6, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Happy to see you bounce back!

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