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

Ironman Coeur d’Alene 70.3 Race Report

Coeur d’Alene was where my triathlon career began. I did my first real triathlon there at Ironman CdA in 2011. So I love being able to go back there. Taking the win in back-to-back years just makes the town that much more special for me. Unfortunately, it is a bit difficult to get there logistically from Storm Lake. I left the house at 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning to drive up to Minneapolis to catch my flight into Spokane. By the time I arrived there and got my bike built and workouts finished up, I was exhausted. I slept 11 hrs straight for the first time I can remember and woke up Saturday feeling like a million bucks! I did what I needed to on saturday for workouts, went to the pro briefing and did the pro pannel, then got the gear ready and shut it down for the day.

Race Morning:
As per usual, I woke up 3 hours before the start of the race and drank 2 servings of First Endurance Ultragen for Breakfast. I woke up feeling pretty tight so elected to do 30 mins of mobility work/stretching instead of going back to sleep. I got my bike set up and ready and rode down to transition with the guys I was staying with. I really only needed about 5 mins in transition since I got everything ready at the house. So I went off for a little warm up run and found a quiet place to get my head ready for the race. Then threw on my wetsuit quickly and got into the chilly water for a warm up swim.

Swim- 25:39
This was beyond a doubt the best swim of my career, which set me up for a great day. I found myself sitting second position in the front pack for pretty much the entire swim. I kept on sighting to make sure that I was indeed seeing the lead kayak. New territory for me for sure. I had put in a big swim block between IMTX and race day, so nice to see it pay off with my first front pack swim.

T1 – 1:45
I ended up having a really solid T1. I was the first one to the bikes, threw on my helmet and glasses and was out the shoot with my bike in tow. First out of T2 for the first time in my career as well. I knew with the strong cyclists coming quickly behind me that I wouldn’t have the luxury of coming first off the bike like 2017.

Bike: 2:09:44
I was feeling really good when I first got on the bike. Andrew passed me pretty quickly, but I was holding with him for the early miles. He would drop me on every descent and I would catch right back up on the hills. I was right with him until we got back to town and he put about 20 seconds on me through the turns getting out to HWY 95 and another 20 seconds on me on the first descent out of town. I thought I’d be able to bridge a good chunk of that on the first big climb, but right at the bottom of it my back decided to start giving me fits. This is something I’ve struggled with for my entire career. I thought I had it nipped as I hadn’t had any issues with it since Kona last year, but it unfortunately reared its ugly head again here. I really struggled to keep the power on the pedals. I watched Kennett and Andrew Talansky ride away from me much earlier in the race than they should have and just couldn’t answer. I tried to stay positive, and reminded myself that I had some unexpected time because of the solid swim. I was just trying to minimize the time losses heading into T2. In the end, I had my worst 70.3 bike of the year, and I am really not thrilled with the way I rode…the positive is that I had my best ride of the year at CdA last year, and I held higher power this year than last! So my threshold for saying it was a well executed ride has definitely risen.

T2 – 1:18  
I had another smooth transition here. I recently teamed up with Caterpy Laces which helped me slip on my CloudFlash quickly. I always just used the standard shoe laces and slipped them on while tied. I have had a number of issues with this in the past, so am very excited about the new partnership. As I was coming into transition, I got a report that I was 4:30 down from the lead so I knew I had my work cut out for me on the run.

Run: 1:11:46 
My back was still pretty tight when leaving T1, but I was able to quickly find my stride. All felt fine on the flats on the downhills, but going up hill on the early miles was not comfortable at all. Thankfully, but the time I made it out of town on the first lap, it had started to settle down and by the 5k mark I didn’t give it another thought. I made the decision to run the first stretch hard through the first turn around where I would get a split on how far down I was to the leaders. I was about 90 seconds down from the lead at the 5.5k turn around. Being I was cutting out nearly a minute/mi from the lead, I decided I could be a bit more conservative. I passed Starky around the 1/2 way mark and moved into the lead about 8 miles into the run.I kept pushing through the last turn around with about 5k left and decided to back off a little the last section. I had a break from training starting after the race, and there really was no fitness to be gained by trying to hammer it the last 5k. So I decided to be conservative and just protect the lead. This gave me the ability to slow down through the aid stations and thank all of the volunteers and enjoy the finish line just a bit more.

Overall – 3:50:09 
I am definitely happy to be entering the mid season break with a win. I’ve finished just short of the podium at three 70.3s this year so far, so really wanted to put together a good half before shutting things down. Now off to watch my wife at Challenge Roth! I have some big “sherpa shoes” to fill.

 

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