Once upon a time, Utah was going to have its own annual official Ironman. Furthermore, it was going to be right in Utah County, where I happened to live.
And you know, the idea of doing an Ironman without having to travel appealed to me. You know: Sleep in my own bed, get up, go do the big race, and then go home. What could be nicer than crashing at your own house after a big race like that?
That was a rhetorical question, by the way. You don’t have to answer.
The only reason I didn’t sign up for that Ironman, in fact, was because my wife was pregnant with twins. I was pushing it to train for the Leadville 100; training for an Ironman was right out.
Turns out, not being allowed to race that event was a good thing.
Since I couldn’t race the Ironman, I volunteered at an aid station on the bike leg. I was looking forward to handing drinks off to guys as they blew by.
And then, the night before the race, the weather completely discombobulated.
Wind started gusting to about 20,000 miles per hour (I’m exaggerating). Trees blew over (I’m not exaggerating). Utah lake, where the swim leg would be, developed surfable waves (I’m not exaggerating). The course buoys broke free from their tethers (still not exaggerating).
On the morning of the race, the wind was still ugly beyond all reason, but the race started anyway.
Well, it sort of started.
After a few people got blown across the lake (not exaggerating), clear out of the water, and into nearby trees (exaggerating), race officials ended the swim leg early and announced they were changing the race to a duathlon. With less mileage.
It was the right call to make, but racers were still disappointed. If you train all summer for an event, you kind of want to do the whole event, right?
The head honchos that make up Ironman, Inc. (or whatever it’s called) were not pleased with Utah’s willfully obnoxious weather and moved the Ironman to Idaho.
Which Brings Us to Monday
So this week, we’re hosting the Tour of Utah, right here in Utah. So of course the practical joker who for some reason both hates big-name bike races and has the ability to bring on mighty windstorms has got his dander up.
Monday, the wind was so brutal I didn’t even consider riding my bike to work. Of course, the pro cyclists had to deal with it anyway. What fun it must have been to be in a fast-moving peloton…in the middle of a duststorm that effectively blinded you. While you dodged debris.
Congratulations, by the way, to Uzbekistan National Champion, Sergey Lagutin of Team Navigators, who won the sprint on that stage, taking the yellow jersey (and sprinters jersey, and best young rider jersey) for the first stage.
More wind. Sheesh. And it was hot—more than 100 degrees, for pity’s sake. I tell you what: I’d develop “tendonitis” under these circumstances. But these pros, they’re tough guys.
US National Road Champ Chris Wherry (Toyota-United) took the sprint in yesterday’s stage (moving him to second overall), less than a bike length ahead of local hero Jeff Louder (Healthnet-Maxxis), who is now in third overall. Lagutin finished third, continuing to hog the yellow, sprint, and young rider jerseys.
It’ll be interesting to see what today’s short (~8mi) time trial does to these rankings.
Want more info on the way the race unfolded? Visit my good friends at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah site.
Oh, and by the way, it’s not too late sign up to win that awesome Cervelo Soloist Team. That bike will be given away this Saturday, though, so time’s running out. Go sign up now!