May 6, 2017
Ironman 70.3 St. George Utah. Ken Zell, 70-year- old. Took first place this weekend in his Age group. The event was in St. George Utah - Ironman 70.3 Utah. Here is what he had to say about his day! Well done Ken!
"St George Utah provides a spectacular and challenging 70.3 middle distance triathlon course. This year's event brought 2200 athletes from across the USA and around the world from the best of the best pro's in all age groups to the first timers, A diverse field of athletes came to compete. Having competed for years, I am not sure that I would recommend St George as a first timers venture i.e... 70.3 and is a challenge course. The Ironman website states that the weather is generally mid 70's this year it was high 80's with winds sometimes above 20 mph. Last year it was low 30's at the start with many athletes dropping out for good reason. The start of the race this year was speeded up to avoid some of the heat and wind. The cloud coverage at times helped with the heat and wind, which 50% of the time was in our favor. On the one hard climb, snow canyon it helped push us uphill, however on the other side of that climb was 8 miles downhill with a strong headwind. Good news was the descent, bad news was the big wind all but nullifying what could have been a screaming downhill. The swim was crowded due to the condensed send off to get everybody off early. The water was 62* and very choppy at the last 400 yards. Bike course was spectacular, especially snow canyon even though we were climbing. I love climbing and athletes should be aware the course involves a 3700 ft in elevation gain, if you don't normally climb or can train on moderate to somewhat steep hills this race will not be any fun. I saw a few athletes walking up the last bit of snow canyon, reason be they were not used to the climb, snow canyon is not an overly difficult climb. The run has 1250 ft of elevation gain. The first 3 miles are slightly uphill, then you hit about half a mile of 9% uphill grade, I did not burn energy trying to run this hill I walked briskly. I practiced doing just that it is a skill that came in handy. The rest of the run course is flat and rolling, When I came to the 9% on the way back I just let the hill pull me down. The final 3 miles back to the finish beginning at the bottom of the 9% hill found the wind at 20 mph holding me from an easy finish. Ironman found 3000 volunteers to help with the race - they were terrific. Ironman outfitted us with a bracelet that we could give to our favorite volunteer - apparently, there was a contest. Mine was thrilled when I handed it off. What a treat this was in the middle of the race."
"I spotted Gary Wallesen from Athletes Lounge the day before the race in the Ironman Village. We visited about the old times and I shared how much AL meant to my development as a triathlete. Many athletes who spotted Gary shared my sentiments. Everyone was glad to see him, know he could attend the event with the blessing of Western Bikeworks. He shared his stay and confirmed this new partnership should provide triathletes the same things that the stand-alone AL provided. Gary was out on the course greeting me as I excited T1 and T2. What a boost his smiling face provided when I heard my name and his encouragement. Thanks Gary I hope to see you again and again as the seasons and years progress."
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