February 24, 2018

OC Tri Club Annual Auction Benefiting CAF

What: Auction benefiting Challenged Athletes Foundation
When: Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011, 6:30 PM until 9:30 PM
Where: First American Title Company
1 First American Way
Santa Ana, CA 92707

Join the OC Tri Club for for an exciting evening and help support a great cause. Every year OCTC holds a charity dinner and auction to support the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). CAF provides opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.

There are many reasons to attend OCTC auction and dinner. Check out these amazing auction items!!!

1. Personal training with pros Julie Swail Ertel, and Beth Hibbard
2. Triathlon entries to the Los Angeles Triathlon, Mountain Man International and Half ironman Triathlons, Orangeman Triathlon, Turkey Tri, Desert Spring sprint and international triathlons, Big Rock Triathlon, Catalina Triathlon, Wildflower Triathlon
3. Race entries to the Long Beach Marathon, Palm Springs Half marathon, Irvine Half Marathon,
4. Wet suits from club sponsor One Tri
5. Restaurant gift certificates to Plums, and TGIF Fridays
6. Bike Shoes from Shimano and running shoes from Road Runner Sports and Fleet Feet
7. Bike gear and fishing gear from Shimano including a $1200 pair of wheels.
8. Gift cards from Nordstroms ($500), Target ($250)
9. Travel packages to Hawaii, New York, New Orleans
10. This is the best reason of all… because you care about this important cause.

This year we are holding our 12th annual event at the beautiful headquarters of the First American Title Company. The mission of CAF is to provide training, inspiration and equipment to allow challenged athletes to become active. If you need inspiration check out this video:

CAF Transformational Moments

You can register for our event at our web site calendar by following this link:
Auction Registration

This event is the club highlight of the year. Last year OCTC raised over $30,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and sent 7 teams to participate in the San Diego Triathlon Challenge. The event will be hosted by Larry Davidson outdoors at the fabulous facilities of First American Title Company. Please join us a for a great night and a wonderful cause. You can get more information at the CAF Home page tab on OCTC’s web site.


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Interview with Jonathan Pauley – Episode 25

In this installment of TriChatter Ron and Jonathan Pauley, owner of Renegade Racing, discuss Jon’s background in triathlon. Jonathan talks about his company and one of the most famous triathlons he directs; the Magic Mountain Man half iron-distance race with over 7,000 feet of climbing.

“The M3 Long Course Tri is currently the only half Ironman distance race in Los Angeles County, and Santa Clarita/Castaic is an ideal location for such an event. While the course is challenging, athletes can expect breathtaking views of the area in addition to pure satisfaction at the finish. This is one race from which athletes can earn major respect.”

Click Here to find complete details and sign up for Sport Chalet Magic Mountain Man Triathlon.

iTunes Podcast

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The Hottest Women in Ironman

Have you been wondering why we have never done a “swimsuit issue”? So have we, but we’re doing it a little differently. We’re calling them “The Hottest Women in Ironman.”

Naturally, we’ve got a ton of women in triathlon that have amazing bodies. How could you not have an amazing body if you work out 30 – 40 hours a week, right? However, a hot body isn’t enough for you to make it on our list of the 10 hottest Ironwomen.

10. Sian Welch: Sian is the wife of triathlon legend Greg Welch. She certainly wasn’t at her best in 1997 when she and co-Iron-hottie Wendy Ingram crawled across the finish line in Kona.

9. Michellie Jones: I just saw Michellie at the Carlsbad triathlon and for a 40-year old woman, she is still hot! She’s got that cute Aussie face but part of what makes her so hot is how she carries herself.

8. Heather Fuhr: I see Heather around occasionally as well. She, Michellie and Joanna Zeiger compete regularly at various running races around here. Heather still looks great.

7. Julie Moss: Julie has the “girl next door” sort of look. She is one of those rare women that actually gets better looking with age. Of course we’ve all seen her look better than her 1982 crawl across the finish line at Kona.

6. Lori Bowden: Lori was once married to Ironman legend Peter Reid. Must have broken his heart to break up with such a “hottie.”

5. Desiree Ficker: I’ve seen Desiree a number of times at various Ironman events and believe me, she is hot! She has the shape of a woman, not an endurance athlete.

4. Mirinda Carfrae: Must be something about Australian women – we really dig Mirinda. While she definitely does have the body of an endurance athlete there is something about her that exudes sex!

3. Amanda Lovato: Amanda is an amazing triathlete and wife to Ironman stud Michael Lovato. You should have seen her at the Kona Ironman Underpants run!

2. Wendy Ingraham: They call her “Wingnut” we just call her sexy. Wendy was a Kona contender for many years. Those long, tan legs always mesmerized . . .

1. Fernanda Keller: Our all-time hottest Ironwoman is Fernanda Keller of Brazil. Fernanda never won at Kona but she did take 3rd place a total of six times! Fernanda is not only a great athlete but has the hottest body and a great face as well. She could easily make it to the pages of Playboy (or Triathlete Mag) and sell it out!

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Race Report: Vineman 70.3, Paul Nelson

Well, after months of preparation and training, I competed in the Vineman 70.3 Half Ironman today. Other than exhaustion, I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment as this was my first 70.3.

While finishing a 70.3 was never a concern, I wanted to be able to put in as many training hours as I could. My plan was to use this race as a guide to judge my fitness level. I figured this was a solid race, and evaluating the results would help determine what I need to work on to continue to improve. I selected this race for a few of reasons. First was timing, with the summer days in the OC getting longer, I knew I would be able to get in longer morning workouts. Second, with my kid’s summer sports schedule and our family vacation schedule, I knew I needed a race before August, as training during our family summer vacation didn’t seem like a very good idea. Lastly, I figured I couldn’t go wrong competing in the beautiful California Wine Country. So with these considerations in minds, and some input from Ron, I picked Vineman as my “A” race.

RACE DAY…..When I signed up for the race, one of my biggest concerns was weather; I was concerned I would be racing in Napa Valley’s 100 F summer heat. I don’t do real well in heat, and was concerned about overheating. As it turned out, today’s weather could not have been more ideal for a race. Temperatures at the start were about 56, water temp was about 70, and the clouds stayed in place well into the run. The temperature at the end of the run was about 75F. I got up at 4:00 AM to give myself enough time to eat a bagel and get on the road. I was staying about 30 minutes from the swim start and wanted to allow enough time to find parking. It turned out that parking was not a problem, and getting to the start was uneventful.

THE SWIM…..Most of us has at least one strong leg in a triathlon. Some of us are swimmers, some are cyclists and some are runners. I am a swimmer, and I certainly wish this made up a bigger part of the race as my abilities go downhill from there. The swim is at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville. For summer recreational swimming, they put a small dam across the river. The swim start is in an incredible setting, swimming in the Russian River with the Redwoods as a backdrop. It turns out that this is also a very interesting swim. While the river is dammed which does slow the force of the current, there is still a noticeable current running; most noticeable when you make the turn to come back (you get a nice push). There are sections in the river that are very shallow, so shallow that some athletes actually stand up in sections and walk. In these shallow sections your hands are actually scrapping along the bottom of the river. I even attempted to use my hands to grab, or dig into the river bottom in hopes of extra speed, but it doesn’t work. In the end, I just swam thru the shallow sections. The swim coarse markings are great, no sighting issues at all. The course is well marked with buoys and with a very quick pop up with your head; you can see exactly where you are. Transition times are a bit long because you have to pack up your wet suit and anything else you don’t want left behind into a plastic bag the organizers supply as the bike transition and finish are actually in Windsor, about a 30 minute drive from the swim start. I blasted the swim; my goal time was 31 minutes, and I ended up completing the 1.2 mile swim in 29 minutes to end up 6th in my age group out of 130.

THE BIKE…..Ok, I use to think I was a pretty strong bike rider, but racing in triathlons has made be re-think this, some of these athletes are just animals on the bike. One of the disadvantages of being a fast swimmer is once I get to the bike leg, it seems like I watch all of my competition pass me. In actuality, they didn’t ALL pass me, but sometimes it sure seems like it. You have to keep your mind focused on your own race strategy and try not to pay too much attention to the athletes that are passing you. The bike course couldn’t be more incredible. It takes you thru the rolling hills and back roads on the Wine Country. It’s hilly enough to work your legs, however, with the downhills, you can still average a pretty quick speed. There is one hill everyone talks about, Chalk Hill, however if you are used to doing Bake Parkway or Glenn Ranch Road in Lake Forest/Foothill Ranch, Chalk Hill is a shorter version of these. It’s just that it hits you at mile 45 when you’re pretty much ready for the ride to be over. One word of caution, you have to be careful not to violate the course rules. I was hit with a 4 minute “drafting” penalty in the middle of the ride. While my intention was not to be drafting, I found myself stuck in a group on a section of road that had a bit of an incline. I was sitting behind a few riders waiting to get closer to the top before I passed when the coarse marshal came up beside me and Called-Me-Out. My fault – lesson learned. My goal time was 3:00 and I finished in 3:06. This put me 85th out of 130 on the bike. With all of the training time and miles I put in leading up to this race, Ron and I will have to evaluate what I need to do different in my training to keep improving.

THE RUN…..I was most concerned about the run. In early April and again in early June, I strained my Achilles tendon. As a result, I put in very little time running. It’s been feeling good the last few weeks so I put in as much time running as I thought was prudent. I kept the mileage under 4 miles per run, knowing that if I strained it again, my race would be over as there would be no recovery time. You have to understand, before I started doing triathlons last year, I had never even run a 10k. So the thought of running a half marathon, 3 1/2 hours into a race, with little training was a little intimidating. I had to come up with a strategy, which would allow me to get in a good run time, but not burn out. I decided that I would walk at each aid station, not a long break, but enough to get some Gatorade and water, then back to running. There are aid stations at every mile marker, so I really began to look forward to these; I actually used this as motivation not to walk between stations. I would just tell myself, just a little bit farther and I have earned my walk. For me, this was the right strategy. It gave me much needed time to properly hydrate and it gave me that little bit of rest to help me keep going. I was actually able to pick up my pace time a little in the last mile and finish strong. As for the run course itself, it has plenty of rolling hills, and one pretty tough, but short, climb. The turnaround is at the La Crème winery and actually takes you through the fields. I have to say, the highlight of the run was the winery, not just because it’s a beautiful winery, but also because you know you’re heading to the finish. My goal time was 2 hr – 10 minutes and I hit this finishing with a 2:10:23, 65th out of 130.

At the finish in Windsor, they did a great job with post race food and cold water and soda. The only drawback to having the swim at a completely different location than the start is retrieving your car and bike. The race organizers do a great job providing shuttles back to the swim start to retrieve your car. However you then have to drive back to Windsor to retrieve your bike. In all, this took nearly two hours. Having just finished a race, this was not how I had imagined my post race activities. This is not a reflection of poor management by the organizers; there is just a lot of distance to cover and a lot of traffic in Windsor.

I’ve heard many of my more experienced triathlete friends say that it takes a few years of training and competing to gain the experience needed to race in triathlons. There is a lot of strategy and experience required to understand how to properly pace yourself and know at what level of effort you can sustain. Just as important is to be able to overcome the mental part of a race. It’s easy to get discouraged as you watch your competition pass you on the bike. It’s also easy to start questioning your pace as you get to the middle of the bike leg and know you still have a 13.1 mile run ahead. In the end, I think you have to trust your training, keep pushing and stick to your strategy.

My goal for the race was for a top 50 finish and a finish time of 5:51:00. I ended up placing 51st with a finish time of 5:51:45. I was very happy with the race and now know what I need to work on to improve.

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Race Report: San Diego International Triathlon

Ron Saetemoe

If you’re a competitive triathlete keep this in mind: how you place may have everything to do with who shows up on race day!

As a competitive M55-59 age-grouper I’m used to finishing on the podium (most races this is 1st – 3rd, but some races have podium spots up to 5th). That said, I know plenty of guys that can beat me at every triathlon distance.

At the San Diego International Triathlon my main competition (as far as I know) would be Kim McDonald. Kim is a legendary sprint-course guy having won the world sprint championships in Australia a couple years ago. He raced the Olympic worlds the next day and took 4th! Clearly he’s in a totally different league.

The last time I did SD Intl. was in 2006. Guess who won? Yep, Kim McDonald!

No matter, these short races are great speed sessions for me as my next “A” race would actually be Ironman Louisville.

SD is a great race for those that aren’t that confident in ocean swimming because the entire swim takes place in the harbor – no waves. It’s also a great spectator event so bring the whole family.

The swim start is a deep water start and we go off in waves. Our wave probably had 200 people in it. My goal was to go hard all day and see how I felt.

I seeded myself at the front of our wave just a couple guys down from Kim. The gun went off and away we went.

Because the swim is in the harbor the water was perfectly flat. It made it easy to navigate, and to see your competition.

I got my swim into a fast groove but couldn’t find anyone to draft off of (do this anytime you can). I could see Kim out ahead of me, slowly pulling away.

My swim was fast and I felt great!

I ran into transition and there was Kim still getting out of his wetsuit. I got out of mine very quickly and left several seconds after him.
The bike course is quite hilly as it takes you to the top of Point Loma and you make a second loop. I went hard on the bike thinking I could catch Kim . . . guess again! He kept pulling away from me. Oh, I forgot to tell you, besides being one of the best sprint triathletes on the planet, he’s also about 5’ 6” and weighs about 130 pounds. His power to weight ratio is like “off the charts!”

While I didn’t pass anyone in my age group (according to their ages written on their calves), no one passed me either.

A good T-2 and I was off to the 10K run. Due to the lengths of the different events, this was going to be a “runner’s race.” I’m a good runner, but not a great one, so I knew I’d have to go hard in order to hold my place; whatever that was (I figured 2nd).

With my new Nike Free’s I was off. Amazingly, I felt really good on the run. I was clicking off 7:00 miles quite easily. I did see Kim on the run course but wasn’t able to close the gap. I got a few “atta boys” from other runners I was passing. I do have to admit I do enjoy passing guys that are 10, 20, 30 years younger than me!

I finished strong and ended up taking 2nd place. A really great training day for me, and I don’t feel the least bit bad finishing 2nd to Kim.


Athlete Swim T-1 Bike T-2 Run Total
KIM MCDONALD 0:12:21 0:01:38 0:46:44 0:01:08 0:42:46 1:44:37
RON SAETERMOE 0:12:56 0:01:20 0:51:23 0:01:16 0:43:52 1:50:47
JON POWELL 0:15:04 0:02:16 0:48:17 0:02:22  0:45:48 1:53:47

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Race Strategy to Qualify for Kona – Episode 24

This week Ron and Sherry talk about Ron’s race at Ironman 70.3 Hawaii (Honu) and his strategy to qualify for Ironman Hawaii

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Buffalo Springs – Ironman 70.3

Race: Buffalo Springs-Ironman 70.3 (aka Half Ironman) Lubbock Texas – June 26, 2011
Athlete: Larry Davidson

I had given myself two shots at qualifying for the 2011 Hawaii Ironman earlier this year. In both cases I came up short. On the strong push of my friend Gary C., I got into the Buffalo Springs Long Course Triathlon (BSLT). I knew virtually nothing about this race; the course, the weather, or the area in general. The only thing I knew, it is one of only 5 Half Iron distance events in the world that have slots for the Hawaii Ironman. This would be my last attempt to get to Hawaii for this year, as I have many other commitments to attend to, and after already doing one half ironman, and a full ironman this year, I felt no need to burn myself out.

The good news is that this race has Kona slots. The bad news is that there is only one slot per age group. That meant I had to go for the win, which was a tall order. Many other top athletes converge on this race with the same aspirations. The overall field for this race is relatively small, but the competition is exceptionally fierce. After a somewhat disappointing Ironman race in St. George in early May, I wanted redemption. I craved redemption. I needed redemption. And, I really wanted to make it to Hawaii in October. My sweet wife Kim had already booked us a condo for the Ironman during Kona race week, and I didn’t want that to go to waste!


Flew to Lubbock Texas. Got off the plane. Walked outside. The stifling 105 degree furnace I was met with was a complete shock to my wimpy Southern Cal adjusted body. Immediately cursed Gary for telling me to race here. Checked in to a pretty cheesy Holiday Inn. Had dinner at a pretty decent Italian joint by myself, and could not resist the ice cold Stiner Bock on tap. It was one of the best beers I have ever had. Went back to the airport to pick up my friend Art (a young gun), who was also racing and doing the race with me. Got him at 10:30pm, still 95 degrees outside. Went to bed and sweated.


Slept in late. Did not want to go outside. Had an enormous breakfast. Watched Art eat twice what I ate. He is a machine. He is a strict Paleo-athlete diet guy, and he eats all day long, and even gets up at night to eat several times. Art drove me out to “preview” the swim/bike/run course. After this preview, it seemed like a fair course with 7 climbs on the bike, and 3 formidable climbs on the run. My assessment was that this would be a very fast race. After this, we drove to the lake and did a swim. Even with the oppressive heat, the lake is spring fed, and the water hovers between 74 and 76 degrees year round. If it is over 76 degrees, then competitors vying for a Hawaii slot are NOT allowed to wear a wetsuit. I like being able to use a wetsuit, as I swim much faster when wearing one. After our swim, we had no need for towels. The blistering 107 degrees it got to on Friday took care of that.


Slept in late again. Art kept getting up and eating, and saying how hungry he was. I kept eating too because I was bored. The air conditioning unit in the room could not keep up with the heat. It ran at 100% the entire time we were there, and I had to sleep with no covers at all. Art and I went out for a 40 minute bike and a 15 minute run at noon, and it was an absolute cooker. There were high heat warnings out, and I kept thinking, Gary is really a bad guy for sending me this Hell Hole out in the middle of nowhere. It is nasty hot, desolate, windy, and just about the worst place I have ever paid money to fly to and stay at! We did all of our registration crap, and prepped our bikes, equipment, and other race gear for what was going to be a Hellish…Hot…Windy day in beautiful Lubbock. The weatherman said it would get to 110 degrees on Sunday, so we were in for what was to be a very tough day from a weather perspective.

Art had a very restless night of sleep, and he was up every hour or so getting more food. It didn’t help that the hotel fire alarm was going off most of the night, but I think everyone was too hot to do anything about it. The air conditioner was not even coming close to cooling the room, and then it decided to make some horrible noises that sounded like a bad car engine ready to die.

Sunday/Race Day

Alarm went off at 4am. Pounded a banana and a protein shake. Headed to Buffalo Springs Lake at 4:45. My wave was set to go at 6:30am. We got our bikes, swim, running junk all organized in transition; a few porta-potty visits, and then off to the lake to warm up. The temperature was already 75 degrees, and they said it was going to 109 degrees as the day wore on.

I got my wetsuit on, and into the lake at 6:10am. It was still dark, and I conked heads with some guy, and got a knot on my forehead. It was a beach start where you run into the water, get to “dolphin” dive your way out to the first buoy with hundreds of others. The first turn buoy of any triathlon is really an adventure; and usually not a pleasant one.

The professional triathletes went off at 6:25am, and my wave at 6:31. Gary said I should swim hard, and to really push the pace, so I had that in my head. I also had in my head that my last triathlon swim was a disaster, where I was hyper-ventilating and thought I would not make it. I was also a little nervous to be in a full wetsuit in relatively warm water.

Swim 1.2 miles:

Off we went. I lined up wide left to try and avoid the usual traffic jam, and full on body contact assault that can happen if you line up straight on to the first buoy. Great choice! I had clean water all the way out to the first turn. This was fantastic, and I was warm, but not burning up. I had a few moments of contact with a couple other swimmers, but this was by far the cleanest swim I have ever experienced. I ended up with a personal best swim, and came out of the water 6th in my age group. At the time, I had no idea how I did on the swim, but when I got to my bike, the guy (Mike), who I felt was my major competition for this race was already gone. Swim time: 30’49″.

Bike 56 miles:

I had sized this course up as NOT overly difficult. I was flat out wrong. The bike begins with a nasty climb out of transition, and it does not let up for several miles. High heart rate, burning thighs, and still a long day in front of me. The wind was already blowing hard, and the heat seemed to be increasing, but it was not terrible. I got into rhythm, and was really pushing pretty hard early in the race. I questioned myself if I was going too hard, too soon in the race. My early assessment of the race was from an air conditioned SUV, and did not factor in the rising heat, and the building wind. If you have never been to West Texas, it is a barren wasteland of oil fields, and wide open, treeless, shade less big country. The climbs that seemed so benign in the car were more difficult than I had thought. The wind which was already blowing when we woke up that morning was really going strong. As I pedaled along, into a relentless headwind, I was a bit discouraged and wondered why I was doing this race in the first place. At mile 30, Art came by me, and tried to get me to go with him. He is just too strong for me, and after a couple of miles, he pulled away from me. At this point of the ride, I was asking myself, do I really want to go to Kona that bad? Is it worth this kind of suffering? I fully admit, this was the farthest thing from fun, and I wish I was back at the Italian joint having a Stiner Bock.

I forged ahead, sometimes a tailwind, but the damn headwinds were really obnoxious. At mile 50, a referee on a motorcycle pulls up next to me, and I received a penalty for “blocking”. I had passed someone, and did not move to my right, so I was forced to go to the next “penalty tent” and register, and tell them I got a “yellow card” for blocking. I kept thinking that “uber biker” Mike was going to get so damn far ahead of me, I would have no chance. I was very demoralized at this point. It cost me 1 to 2 minutes to get off my bike at the tent and go through this process, but I just complied and got into T2 shortly thereafter. It turns out I had the 3rd best bike split in my age group, and unbeknown to me, I had moved up to 3rd pace.

Bike time: 2h47’14″.

Run 13.1 miles:

I had “spent” myself on the bike. I was cramping and I was NOT looking forward to running a half marathon. I zoomed through T2, deciding that running sock less would save me precious seconds. My legs felt like they weighed 100 lbs. a piece and I knew I better get a move on if I was to have any kind of chance. The mercury was climbing, and fortunately, they have aid stations every mile to douse yourself with water, ice, and replenish your depleted body with hydration and electrolytes. There are 3 “bad boy” hills to navigate, or should I say “survive” on this course. I am a self-proclaimed “great” hill runner, so this should be good. My quads were really screaming and my hamstrings not much better. I kept running, and I was passing people, and some “young guns” were passing me. I struggled to run the first hill, and that was a really bad sign. I felt some twinges in my calves and hammies, and that is a precursor to full on cramp city! I kept moving, and thought why am I out here? I cursed Gary a couple of more times, and then thought, the quicker I run, the sooner this misery will be over. I plowed ahead and at mile 6, I saw Mike who was already at mile 7… he was a full mile ahead of me. He was running like Frankenstein’s Monster, but even so, it would be tough to make up the mile that he was ahead of me by. After seeing him, I started to push about as hard as I possibly could, but was struck with cramps, and had to stop several times on the run to stretch them, and get them to cooperate.

At mile 10, I saw Mike, and said to myself, “HOLY SHIT, I can catch this guy.” I can win this thing! I blew by Mike like he was standing still. After a few minutes, I looked back, and he was long gone. I thought to myself, wow, I am going to win this thing. That turned out to be an erroneous assumption! I eased up a bit, as I was on the edge of cramping again, as my dehydrated body was “spent”. I kept running, and was damn glad to get to the finish line. As it turned out, I was the fastest runner in my age group, and after crossing the finish line, I was taken right to the med tent for an IV.
Run time: 1h46’16″.

After a nice soak in the lake, I was curious about how I had finished, but not in a big hurry, as it is what it is. The IV was “money”. And this race had beer on ice for the finishers. After a nice cold brew, I chatted up some guys and told them I may have won my age group, but I was not certain. I was quickly informed that a guy named Scott Hammond had finished just a minute ahead of me. I couldn’t believe it. They went on to say that Scott had “already” qualified for Kona earlier in the year, and that I would get the Kona slot! He beat me by 1′ 10″. The bike penalty would have likely neutralized that margin. I am relieved that was not a factor.

I instantly thought how brilliant my friend Gary was for recommending this race to me!
I wanted verification of all this, but thought they must be right. Turns out they were.

World Championship Bound:

It will be a busy fall. I am in two championship events now. The 70.3 AND Hawaii Ironman Worlds. I couldn’t be happier.

It was sweet to go the awards ceremony, chat with Dave Scott (6 time Ironman champ), and pay for my Hawaii slot. Art was very happy for me, as he is a Kona veteran too.

My training posse are such cool dudes; they were peppering me with congratulations, via email, text, email, and phone calls. We are a band of brothers who really care about each other. My pal Scott deserves a special call out, as he and I train together a lot, and he is always helping me out, and giving me great advice.

I flew into John Wayne Airport on Monday night, Kim picked me up, shuttled me home, and I was welcomed with a congratulatory banner on the garage door (made by my son Tony), and a group of my good friends. The root beer floats Kim made were fantastic.

My faithful, and biggest fan Kim Marie; wife of 30+ years is my biggest support mechanism. She was tracking me all day, and I know she was on “pins and needles”. Quietly she does it all behind the scenes. Couldn’t do it without it Kimmie.


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Race Report: Ironman Hawaii 70.3 (Honu)

Race Report: Ironman 70.3 Honu
Athlete: Ron Saetermoe

As promised, I’m making an attempt at getting caught up on my race reports.

Last newsletter I reported on my Ironman St. George race. I DNF’d at that race – my first ever! It was a calculated DNF, however, as if I couldn’t qualify for Kona I was going to pull the plug after one loop of the two loop run course. That’s exactly what I did after determining my probable finish would have been 7th when there were only three Kona slots.

Since Honu was only four weeks after IMSG I would save my energy and hope to have a good race there. It was a good plan and I felt confident, that if I put a good race together, I could qualify.

Several of my pals were also racing including Charlie Brockus who finished 4th behind me last year. I wouldn’t have to worry about Charlie this year because he aged-up out of my age group. What a relief!
However, just like last year, the winner, Kevin Moats was registered but like last year I wouldn’t have to worry about him because he already had his Kona slot. And, like last year, the #2 finisher Nicholas Kaiser was there, but since he lives in Honolulu he’d take an “islander slot.”

Not that it would be easy but I felt like I had a good shot. I researched everyone doing the race at www.athlinks.com and noticed there would be a couple of additional contenders. The problem with Athlinks is that not everyone shows up with a race history. I learned this lesson the hard way last year at IM Arizona where the eventual winner didn’t have an Athlinks history!

Anyway, I was going to give it all I had no matter who showed up.

I got some bad news at registration. Seems they changed the “islander slot” process. In years past the islanders got 44 slots total (between Hawaii and all of the other islands’ residents) and the slots went to the fastest people in their age group. This year the slots were allocated based on a lottery. In other words, it didn’t matter how you finished, you just had to finish to get a slot if you won the lottery. Guess what? Nick Kaiser didn’t get in on the lottery.

This was bad news for me because Nick kicked my butt last year by nine minutes and I would have to race him head-to-head this year! He would be my main competition.

Honu is probably my favorite race after Kona. I love the Hawaiian islands and would eventually like to spend a couple months a year there. The beach for the swim start is one of the best in all of the islands – it’s called Hapuna Beach.

There were threats of big waves race morning as there was a storm offshore but they never materialized. Good for the poorer swimmers, not as good for us better swimmers.

The race start is a deep-water start and the water was flat, warm and clear. I’m guessing there were about 1,800 triathletes there so it was quite crowded.

We were all treading water and the gun went off! I’d been practicing my starts leading up to this race by going out hard and counting100 right-hand strokes before settling into my race pace. That was the plan, and that’s what I did.

Naturally, there were plenty of fast guys out ahead of me but I missed the pile-up at the first turn buoy. I had a very nice pace going for me and managed to find clear water for most of the race. Last year I got boxed in and didn’t go as fast as I wanted. I hoped to catch a draft but that didn’t happen.

Swim split: 31:46. Last year was 34:14. Off to a great start!

T1: 2:35. Last year was 3:35. Even better!

The bike course heads out of the Hapuna Beach area on to the Queen K – same highway as the Ironman World Championships. You head south for a couple miles before turning 180 degrees and heading toward Hawi.

My plan was to go hard on the bike and maintain a heart rate of about 155. I was focused on heart rate this year more than my power because that is how I’ve been training.

I felt good on the bike but wasn’t passing anyone in my age group. Of course, at this race, like IM Worlds, your age isn’t stamped on your calf. However, the competitor numbers are in sequence based on your age group. I was number 168 so people with race numbers just below and above would probably be in my age group.

Anyway, I didn’t pass anyone that could have been in my age group but I figured my swim was good so there may not be anyone out in front of me. Turns out, there was one guy that beat me on the swim, but I never caught him on the bike . . . or did I?

Bike split: 2:41:50 (20.76 MPH). Last year was 2:47:36 (20.05 MPH). This is good!

T2: 1:35. Last year was 1:16. What happened?

The run is tough. By this time of day the temperature is going up and the course is hilly. Not only is it hilly but a lot of it takes place on a golf course. That’s right; you’re actually running on the grass of the golf course! Now you’ve got the heat, the hills and the EXTRA humidity coming off the grass.

My goal for the run was to keep my heart rate in the 160 – 165 range, which I did. The pace felt hard throughout the race but one that I felt I could maintain.

Again, I wasn’t passing anyone but no one was passing me that could have been in my age group. I did see Charlie out on the course. It looked like he was really working hard.

I also saw my main competitor, Nick Kaiser. Nick was about five minutes back and not gaining on me. Was I actually in first place? Turns out, I was!

I don’t think I could have gone much faster when competitor 182 blew by me. As soon as he went by me at about mile 10 I said “uh oh” I’ll bet he’s in my age group.

He looked completely fresh as he went by at about a minute a mile faster than me. There was no way I could have hung on. Oh well, nothing I can do about it other than hope he’s NOT in my age group or hope he’s an islander with a lottery slot.

Turns out he was in my age group and from La Jolla, California. He beat me, and took the Kona slot.

Run split: 1:48:42. Last year was 1:52:33. Great job, but not good enough.

I beat Nick Kaiser – the guy I thought would be my main completion, but got beat by a guy I never heard of before – Chris Vargas. Again, no real Athlinks history to reveal.

Keep this in mind when you go to these races: there is usually someone there you never heard of or someone that really steps up on the day you didn’t expect. For that reason, you’ve always got to do your best.

Overall: 5:06:28. Last year was 5:19:14. 12 minutes and 46 seconds faster than last year and only took 2nd.

Actually, I’m very happy my performance improved so much, but bummed I didn’t get my slot.

Better luck at IM Louisville!

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Book Review: I’m Here to Win by Chris McCormack

I think it was 2002 when Chris McCormack came to the Orange County Triathlon Club meeting. The thing that strikes you about him is his friendly presence and his cockiness.

I didn’t know much about him when he paid his visit but I had heard of him before. Chris spends a lot of time in Southern California and does a lot of the local races.

As he ran down his race resume you can’t help but be impressed. He’d won races against the world’s best in every distance. The only thing left to add to his resume is a win at the Ironman World Championships in Kona – which he was confident, would come.

We now know it didn’t come as easily for him as he, or anyone else, expected. His new book “I’m Here to Win” is an accounting of his career including his greatest accomplishments and his lowest lows.

The book gets very personal including passages about his mother and his best friend from Australia Sean Maroney, his early training mate.

It’s an interesting journey he takes you on as he describes his accomplishments and his frustrations. He goes on to describe some of his training secrets and actually puts his training plan in the book – one I challenge ANYONE to duplicate.

There’s a lot in this book that a seasoned triathlete knows but it’s always good to have reinforcement. For example, he talks about really understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and being honest with yourself. We’ve all got them and he states the obvious solution: concentrate on your weaknesses and make them your strengths.

It’s funny, but when I saw Chris at the Pacific Coast Triathlon in 2010 I just sensed that he was going to win Kona again. I think he and I were the only two on the planet that picked him to win, and he did.

I enjoyed the book immensely and recommend it to anyone interested in triathlon. It might be of interest to those outside of the sport, but I wouldn’t waste my money if they weren’t.


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Mountain Man Triathlon – Special Offer

The Magic Mountain Man (M3) in Castaic, California is a great 70.3 distance race and the only half-Iron distance race in Los Angeles county.

Put on by our pals at Renegade Racing, this race starts at beautiful Castaic Lake and the bike and run portions include some amazing views.

I did this race in its inaugural year and can recommend it highly. It’s a very tough race — not one for the faint of heart — but one you’ll have a great sense of accomplishment having completed.

You can get a free entry to Turkey Tri when you register for the Magic Mountain Man Triathlon. It is limited to first 100 to registerers.

Once this deal expires you can use the discount code “tc2011” for 10% off registration for any of the M3 events on October 8 & 9th. This can be use online at active.com or by mail or fax, just deduct the 10% from payment. Please note that they do not accept any discounts on race weekend registration.

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