Matt Hanson | Professional Triathlete
4x Ironman Champion/ 3x 70.3 Champion

Ironman 70.3 Coeur d’Alene Race Report

Wow, what a great day. I honestly didn’t know quite what to expect leading into race day for this one. I’ve definitely not been extremely consistent in 70.3s. I have had a few good races at this distance and had a few forgettable ones. I took some time off after IMTX and have slowly been building up back up since. I finished up with a 2 week training camp in Boulder with Coach Julie and the JDcrew the week before the race so knew I was fit and ready to roll. I’ve been trying to focus solely on executing a good race plan. If I execute well, I feel like I’ll be in the mix at most races. Julie and I put together a plan for the race and I set out to put that plan into action.

Race Morning:
I woke up 3 hours before the start, drank my typical pre-race breakfast – 2 servings of First Endurance Ultragen. I got another hour of sleep, got my shiny new QR ready to go and headed off to transition. I got everything put together quickly then went for a jog and found a quiet place to sit and get my head ready to go. We had plenty of time to get into the water and warm up, so I got in about 15 min of swimming pre-race as well.

Swim – 26:09
The swim went well overall. I put in a big swim block in early June so I was happy to see the momentum continue to move forward. I got off the line well and found myself in the middle of the first chase pack. I was swimming comfortably and just hung out in the group. It is was tough to tell how far down I was coming back to the beach, but I thought I had a good swim as I got to the exit.

T1 – 1:55
All went well through T1. I got my wetsuit off easily, grabbed my helmet and was off. I got a report that I was 96 seconds down from the first 3 guys as I mounted my bike.

Bike- 2:10:33
This was a great ride for me. One that I knew I was capable of, but that I hadn’t shown in any 70.3s. I came out of the water with a group of 5 guys but came out of transition in front. It took me about 40 minutes to bridge up to the first pack of guys. I had to make a decision on what to do at that point. There was no way I was going to make a move right away. It was a bit too early in the race for anything like that to work and I had to work hard to catch the group. I rode to the front of the pack around mile 28. With the turn around coming up, I wanted to be in control of what happened at the turn. I also didn’t think any of the group would mind me being on the front as much as I wanted. At the turn around around at mile 35, I put in a small surge that created some distance from me and the group.Tim Reed bridged back up to me, but Potts, Kemp, and Garcia didn’t. Tim and I traded places a few times and I had to make the next big decision. Did I just ride in with Tim and get in a foot race or should I try to push the pace a bit? I always trust my running legs, but also had a lot of respect for Tim’s abilities and remembered what he did the last 5k at 70.3 Worlds last summer. On the last big climb, I decided to push it just a few extra watts. I was feeling good at that point and knew I had good climbing legs from the camp I just got out of in Boulder. I was able to get a little separation from Tim which definitely gave me a little shot of adrenaline. I rode as planned for the last 10 miles or so on the front. I focused on staying aero and made sure I downed whatever EFSpro I had left in my bottles. Coach Julie has definitely brought my bike a long way, this was the first time I’ve ever came in first off the bike and posted the best bike split.

T2 – 1:19
Another smooth transition here. I was able to get my shoes ON in a Flash 🙂 and was out to the course quickly. At this point, I had no idea how much of a gap I had on anyone.

Run – 1:11:20
I started the run a little sluggish. I tried not to panic about how I felt and reminded myself that the first mile was uphill. I fought off a few twinges in my quads early on as well. I wasn’t concerned with this at all, but there was that little voice in the back of my head that reminded me that I’d never rode like that in a race before. Could I hold on?  I didn’t look at my garmin once at the beginning, just focused on opening up the stride. My first mile was a 5:41 which turned out being the slowest of the day. As soon as I hit the downhill section at the start of the second mile, everything opened up and my stride felt great. Around the 5k mark I got to the first turn around so I was able to see what was going on behind me. At this point, I was about 1:20 up on Tim, but he looked like he was running well. Potts was about 30 seconds or so behind him and also looked like he was holding good form. I just focused on me from then on and made sure I was listening to what my body needed at each aid station. Someone shouted that I had a 40 second lead at the mile 8 mark. I was a bit surprised at this, I was running pretty well. Turns out, I was 1:40 at that point. Definitely a little scare, but I got another glance of Tim at the 9 mile mark and was able to get a split there. I breathed a little sigh of relief that the gap was up to 2 minutes at that point. I certainly didn’t back off by any means, but didn’t do anything stupid on the last 5k either. Just held steady and cruised on in for the banner!

Overall- 3:51:16
This was a solid race for me from start to finish. You have to be pretty much flawless in your execution to win a 70.3 with this talented of field and thankfully everything went off without a hitch for me on race day. I told Julie the day before the race that I felt that CdA was going to be a great opportunity for me. It took me longer race week for me to get my head into “race mode” than usual, but I definitely got there and was in a great place mentally and physically leading into the race. This was definitely a confidence builder for me and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

Coeur d’Alene is an absolutely beautiful race venue and they put on a great race. I’ve done the full there two times now as well. Definitely a place that is on my short list to race every year. The atmosphere is always incredible. The hilly course is not the type that I would typically target, but the fans and volunteers definitely win me over for this one. I had an amazing host family as well, which definitely made the trip much less stressful. As always, I can’t thank my sponsors and family enough for supporting me on this journey, definitely could not do this without them!


  1. Charlie

    July 13, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Matt,

    Congratulations on a great race! I have a few questions.
    Did you modify your crankset for the course since there is a lot of climbing?
    I changed my diet to make it more plant based. Do you follow any special diet?


    • Matt

      July 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Greetings Charlie and thank you for reaching out to me. A couple of quick answers to your questions. First, no, I did not change my crankset at all for the race but I did change my cassette from an 11×26 to an 11×28. I was able to ride the entire course in the big ring (which is a 55).

      Second, I don’t follow and fad diets. I believe humans were created to eat a balanced diet from multiple calorie sources. If you look inside your mouth, you will see molars, incisors, canines, and bicuspids…meaning you have teeth for grinding grains, cutting friuts/veggies, and tearing meats.

      Thanks again!

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