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

Ironman Texas 70.3 Race Report

I’ve always viewed the Campeche 70.3 and Texas 70.3 as tune-ups for Ironman Texas. They are an opportunity for me to work on things that I need to work on, take some risks, practice a new nutrition plan, etc. Last year, my focus on Texas 70.3 was hitting the bike hard. This year the focus was on nailing the swim. I’ve had a string of bad swims in the last block of races I’ve done…there’s no other way to put it. I have always had some part of the swim that was an execution error that cost me significant time. So my number one goal going into Galveston was to nail the swim, then the focus shifted to bike hard enough to give myself a chance to run for the win. I did that this past weekend, however made some nutrition mistakes that took the pop out of my run. Live and learn.

Swim – 24:59

I’m really happy with how the swim went. I got off to a good start, was able to hold on to the first pack through the first turn. There was a bit of a surge off the second turn and I didn’t take a good line which meant I was about 20 feet off the back in no-mans land. But I was able to keep composure and fight my way back on to feet over the next 600 yards. Unfortunately, the group splintered swimming into the chop the last 500 yards and someone in front of me let a gap open up. I was only about 15 seconds back off the first group, but thats enough to say it wasn’t officially a first pack swim. That’s what you get for hanging on in the back. Still, a huge improvement over the last three swims I’ve had. When one of your competitors immediately swears when he sees you in T1 with him, it’s definitely a bit of a confidence boost! 🙂

Transition 1 – 1:41

All smooth here in T1. I was able to quickly get my Zone 3 wetsuit off at my bike (maybe I should have stripped this down immediately out of the water instead so I wasn’t running so far with it on). I grabbed my helmet and my bike and was out to the bike.

Bike – 2:03:08

The first few miles for me weren’t great. I had swam really hard and came into T1 with a group so was rushing to get off in a good position on the bike. A few guys managed a bit better than I did and were able to hammer the first 3 miles. I found myself at the back of the group I swam with at this point, but as soon as I got to the seawall, I settled into place and started moving forward. By 25 miles I was alone riding in second with just a small gap to third. After the turn, I put in a small surge into the head wind and was able to build the gap up to about 90 seconds. Energy wise I was feeling good, but around mile 45 I started having to fight off some cramps. Humidity levels were at about 95% and despite being a cooler day, I was losing a lot of fluids. I went with my cooler weather nutrition plan of First Endurance 1/2 EFS and 1/2 EFSpro. In hindsight, I should have went with the warm weather plan and just stuck with the EFSpro. I backed off the last three miles back into town and let the nice gap of 90 seconds I had on 3rd erode to 4 seconds. Still, I biked over a minute faster than last year on a slower day, so happy with that for sure.

Transition 2 – 1:04

Again, no issues here in T2. I was easily able to slip on my On Racers and grabbed the rest of my gear to get sorted as I was running to the course.

Run – 1:16:58

I heard coming out of transition that I was 7 minutes down from Andrew. That’s a lot of time in a 70.3, but definitely a gap I’ve been able to close with a perfect run. This just wasn’t that day. I pushed typical 70.3 pace for the first mile, but quickly started to cramp up. This has happened to me numerous times in the past and I am usually able to get on top of them and get back into a full stride. Unfortunately, every time I tried to open up the stride my hamstrings would seize up. So I had to switch to a protect the gap mode rather than a go for the win mode. Thankfully, I was able to keep my gap pretty consistent on Matt Russell and hold on to Second.

Overall – 3:47:47

It always sucks knowing that you are in a race that you should be able to have a chance to fight for a win but because of mistakes made an hour before you are stuck protecting your position. But that is why I do these early season races…always learning. As per usual in 70.3s, Andrew put together a great race and it would have taken perfect execution on my part to have a chance to fight him for the top spot on the podium. Still, to come away with a podium when you had less than a perfect day is always a good thing. Shows that the fitness is there, just a few things to clean up before IMTX in just over 2 weeks!

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