2015 Ironman Brazil Finish
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Sunday May 31, 2015
2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run
It is a 12 hour flight nonstop from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo. The flight left at 6:30 p.m. and went smoothly allowing me to get a good nights sleep. It is a four hour difference between Los Angeles and Brazil. After arriving at 11 a.m. in the morning, I waited about six hours and was able to connect on my 5 p.m. flight to Florianopolis.
The next four days were the usual getting settled in and resting. In addition I would meet many of the competitors that are staying at the guest hotel. The Saturday before the race one must get all ones gear together and leave it down at the transition area. In an Ironman triathlon, all your gear, including your bike, has to be in the transition area on the Saturday before the race. I also took a van tour of the bike course so I could become familiar with it. Sunday morning the only thing one brings down to the start are the things that you're going to swim with including your wetsuit. You are also allowed to bring down 2 bags with special needs for half way on the bike and half way through the run. Here you put any food or other gear that you might want during the race and they are placed at the appropriate half way marks.
I woke at my usual time of 3:30 a.m. This allows me plenty of time to have breakfast, stretch out and get all the final gear in place. And I then arrived at the transition area about 4:30 a.m. At this point it’s just about keeping one's nerves down, getting your tires pumped on your bike and making all final checks of your gear for the day. Then we headed down to the ocean. It was about a 10 to 15 minute walk down to the starting point on the beach. The swim was in the ocean (Atlantic that is!). Everybody is trying to just keep their nerves down. Before heading down, I had someone take a picture of me. On my right arm I put the initials of my beloved mother, Yvette Simon Fields, who passed away last August. On my left arm I had the initials of my 89 year old uncle, Andre Jamar, who lives in Belgium and had just spent 30 days in the hospital and had recovered successfully. And on my stomach I had the initials of my dear father, Fred F. Fields, who I lost 11 years ago. All three of them would be in my heart during the race. This was very inspiring and encouraging for me.
THE BIKE: 112 Miles
Since it was in the low sixties and I was still wet, I wore a vest and arm warmers ( I get cold easy) as I exited the bike transition area. I later would get rid of all this gear as it went into the upper 60's and mid 70's. The area right around this transition area, known as T1, is crowded with people yelling and cheering. This is always very encouraging. Then it was on to do the bike ride, which would be two loops of the course. This event turned out to be more of an urban event than the other Ironman Triathlons I had done. That meant we were riding amongst traffic a lot. We did have one lane blocked off just for us but a lot of the time there were cars going by. There was also a total of about four thousand four hundred feet of climbing. But the hills were pretty evenly spread out, so nothing was all at once. Plus we did have some very nice views of the ocean and bays as Florianopolis is an island. I felt very strong on the bike. At one point one of my age group competitors who had seen me in the transition area came up to me on the bike and asked me if I was going to go to Hawaii (the World Championships, where you have to qualify). I laughed and said no, but thanks for the encouragement (going to Hawaii meant that I would finish in the top one or two in my age group which I certainly do not do). Nonetheless, it was very encouraging to hear this as he thought I was biking very well. After the first loop, you ended up back in town with the crowds cheering and yelling. Then it was back out for the second loop. Again, I was feeling very strong. I did stop at special needs to pick up my water bottle with my energy drink in it and some other food. All along I felt very strong and was racing well. I found out later that when I got off the bike I was in 7th place in my age group. This is a big improvement for me as usually the bike is my weakest link and I fall back many places. Then it was into the change tent to change into my running shoes. This time I did not need sunglasses as it had partially clouded over and the sun was not brightly shining. Since it was around 3pm and the sun would set around 5:30pm (it is almost wintertime in the southern hemisphere), this was helpful as after that time you have to put the sunglasses on your hat or somewhere else as you don't need them because it gets dark outside. This was also very good as that would mean it would not get too hot and one would not get sunburned.
Peter A. Fields, MD DC
The Athletic Doc® and 5X Ironman Triathlete