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  • Getting set-up on a windy Provo mroning.

    Look at that relaxed smile - Cameron sensed it was a good day for him.

    The top three men - Michael Lovato is chaecking out that first place spot on the stage very carefully.

    Race director Graham Fraser shares a smile with Lisa Bentley and Jenny Tobin.


    Heather's day in Utah.

    The whole crew headed off to Provo, UT to participate in various capacities at the ½ Ironman Utah, which took place on May 31, 2003.

    Roch and Huddle headed off early to get both the BIKE and RUN courses all set for the race on Saturday. This entailed numerous trips to the hardware store for paint, brooms, paint and more paint. I must say, they did a great job as it was one of the best marked courses I have raced on (OK maybe I am a bit biased).

    Paula and I made made our way to Provo on Wednesday to greet the gang. Paula had numerous jobs on the trip, including acting in her newest capacity as the Ironman North America Pro Liason, setting up the mini camp that we would be presenting throughout the weekend and of course being my personal Sherpa. She is small but she sure can carry a lot of bags!!!! In hind sight, I think that being the only one doing the race out of the bunch, I had the easiest job of all. All the others worked countless hours, while I spent my time with my legs up getting ready for the race.

    The first event in the “mini-camp” was the pre-race “Pro-Panel” which took place on Friday. Huddle and Roch hosted the panel where athletes were given the opportunity to ask questions of professionals Cameron Brown (IM New Zealand Winner), Chris Legh (IM Calif Winner), Jenny Tobin (defending IM Utah champ), Paula and myself.

    Like any other race, people are always talking about what the weather is going to be like for race day. The entire week leading up to the race saw record high temperatures and light winds. It appeared that race day was not going to be any different. Upon waking on Saturday morning (race morning) it looked like conditions were going to be pretty similar to what they had been all week. Chris and I got all ready to go and rode our bikes the 5 miles to the race start. As the sun started to come up, so did the wind. It is said that lightning doesn’t strike twice – well, the athletes and organizers looking at the white caps appearing on the lake on race morning might beg to differ. It was decided that the race start would be delayed 15mins to see what the weather decided to do. After much deliberation, it was decided that the professional athletes would complete the swim while the age group athletes would be doing a duathlon. Having swum in the water, I must say that they made the only decision that they could. It really was very rough and while the majority of the age group athletes would have been fine, the weaker swimmers would definitely been at risk – 4 of the professional athletes had to be pulled from the water. I commend Graham Fraser and his crew for making the safety of the athletes the number one priority. There is no one in the world that would have wanted the race to go on as planned more that Graham Fraser, but he took into consideration the safety concerns and made the right decision.

    So shortly after 7:15, the professionals started the swim and the race was underway. I must say that the swim was really choppy – I had no idea where I was going and really was VERY happy to see the swim finish. The strong swimmers were loving the rough conditions and swim ace Monica Caplan took full advantage of the rough water exiting the water just behind the lead men. Quite a few minutes later I was out and off onto the FLAT 56 mile bike. The bike course was probably the flattest course I had ever seen - not my idea of an ideal bike course but a challenge none the less. As I got closer to the turnaround on the bike I started to see the men on their way back only a few minutes later and along came Monica – man, she was putting the hammer down on the bike and was ahead of more than a few of the pro men. By the looks of things, unless things started to come around for me I was going to be getting off the bike with a double digit deficit. Again, not ideal but you take what you get. As I heading toward transition, I saw Monica already just past mile 1 on the run. Lisa Bentley was the next that I saw, and it was very clear that she was on a mission. Leaving the transition for the run, I was in about 7th or 8th place – lots of catching up to do. I started the run and was really questioning whether I was going to be able to run 13 miles. Luckily within a mile or so, things started to come around and I started to make up time on some of the girls ahead. I continued to run strong and ended up catching all but Lisa and Monica. Lisa had one of the top runs of the day (overall) to take the lead at mile 10 and run to victory. After her phenomenal swim and bike, Monica Caplan had a very strong run to solidly hold onto 2nd place and I moved into 3rd by the finish. Another race under the belt. I always believe that you learn a lot from the races that don’t go as well as you hope. So now, I can take those things that I learned during the race and apply them to my training for Ironman Lake Placid.

    With the race done, what was left was the remainder of the mini-camp and of course for Roch and Huddle, the clean-up. After the race, another pro-panel was held. This time athletes had a chance to ask questions about what the pro’s did during the race as far as nutrition and pacing etc. Lots of information was shared and then it was off for some R&R. One of the highlights of the post race festivities was a trip up to the beautiful SUNDANCE resort for dinner. The resort – the brain child of actor Robert Redford is just outside of town and nestled in the hills at 6000 ft. It is an incredibly beautiful place with an abundance of trails for biking and running. It was a wonderful place to relax and with temperatures at least 10 degrees cooler it was refreshing.

    The final events of the weekend included the Sunday morning “breakfast with the Pro’s” followed by some short seminars on Bike set-up and Swim technique. We all chowed down on some great food and enjoyed chatting with some of the athletes that completed the race. Roch and Huddle did their usual dog and pony show, making even bike set-up and swimming seem interesting.

    While there may have been some glitches along the way, all in all , the weekend was a great success.

    Utah ½ Ironman Results:
    Men 1.Cameron Brown, New Zealand, 3:57:15 2. Bjorn Andersson, Sweden, 3:57:21 3. Michael Lovato, Boulder, CO 3:57:32 4. Tony DeBoom, Boulder, CO 3:58:40 5. Craig Alexander, Australia, 3:59:27 6. Raynard Tissink, South Africa, 4:03:31 7.Peter Reid, Canada, 4:05:27 8.Matt Seeley, Polson, Mont., 4:07:21 9. Matthew Clark, Australia,4:14:23 10. Thaddeus Reichley, Aspen, CO 4:15:01
    Women 1.Lisa Bentley, Canada, 4:23:17 2.Monica Caplan, Boulder, CO 4:27:33 3.Heather Fuhr, Canada, 4:32:45 4. Joanna Lawn, New Zealand, 4:36:57 5. Jenny Tobin, Boise, Idaho, 4:38:55 6.Mary Uhl, Santa Fe, N.M., 4:40:33 7. Lynley Allison, New Zealand, 4:41:09 8. Dolly Ginter, Irvine, Calif., 4:43:55 9.Amanda Gilliam, Boulder CO 4:47:09 10.Rhonda Guzda, Canada, 4:58:34