Erich Wegscheider

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One Last Hurrah

To prepare for the Mongolia Bike Challenge, I rode more often, but still swam and ran for variety. To prepare for the Dick Collins Firetrails 50 Ultra-Marathon, I ran a lot, but still swam and rode on occasion. Long story short, no matter what event I focus on, I will always be a multi-sport athlete at heart. Chlorine, lycra, and short shorts just about sum me up.

In all honesty, I thought I was done racing for the year after the 50-miler.  My plan was to focus on putting together a timeline for the events listed on this site for 2014. Being that I’m a competitive person and very much care about the effort I put forth in any event, I signed up with a coach. I told him about the madness and what I’ve been up to race-wise and hinted that Ironman New Zealand is in serious consideration. Without hesitation, he asked, “Why not Arizona?” Without much thought, I blurted out, “Okay! I’ll race!”

I’ve always considered myself too discipline for my own good, but damn, can I ever be impulsive!? Amazon 1-click shopping exacerbates that too…

While I do very much care about the effort I put forth in a race, I’m racing Ironman Arizona to see what fitness I gained from suffering in Mongolia and then running a 50-miler. So, I really have nothing to lose. Especially considering that the time in between registering and racing will be 3.5 weeks.

Faced with the challenge of getting ready for an Ironman on such a time crunch, I dug out my triathlon bike – which hadn’t been ridden in some time – and got to work. Giving into my impulsive side once again, I went to Tahoe on a whim for a few days to train. Snow was forecasted, but snow is awesome, so I went anyways.

The first day was marvelous. Seriously, the weather was that good! I rode around the lake and went for a run. All in all, it was a solid training day. That night, the snow started to fall… and fall… and fall some more; lake level received ~ 6-inches of snow. The next day called for a training triple, but I was still beyond excited to do the work even if that meant doing everything indoors.

I awoke to a true winter wonderland and better yet, Tahoe was basically devoid of people on holiday. While training throughout the day, I kept grinning like an excited little kid – yes, I like fresh snow that much – and couldn’t wait to cuddle up somewhere with a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate. Though, the training for the day was actually kinda long and tedious. I swam a hellish 5k, rode 3-hours on a trainer in a pilates room while a elderly personal trainer trained an even more elderly women, while playing some really quirky olde-timey music. Then I got to run on a treadmill and watch CNN.

So, am I ready for Arizona? Uh… as ready as I can be! I haven’t done an Iron-distance event since Challenge  Henley-on-Thames and Challenge Barcelona in the autumn of 2011. I did Henley on a whim and Barcelona two weeks later, so there seems to be a trend with me jumping into Iron-distance events at the last minute. However, Mongolia was a solid bike block and definitely taught me a thing or two about suffering. The 50-miler was a great run build and the race itself was a long, grueling day. Then there’s swimming. Admittedly, I hadn’t been swimming very much, but I’ve ramped up the yardage in the last 3 weeks. Call me naive, call me an unrelenting optimist, but I’m ready to race!

You’re welcome to mock my so-called Ironman build.

Stealing lines from a previous post, but true nevertheless: The race has the potential to be a shit show. It could also be a great success. Truthfully, I don’t know which it will be. One thing is for sure though; Sunday will be hard.

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