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2011 Ironman New Zealand – 5th place pro

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

What a day!!! I had an exciting go out there today, was fun mixing it up with the likes of Cameron Brown (10x IMNZ champ), Terenzo Bozzone (5x world champ), Mathius Hecht (13th Hawaii Ironman 2009), Keegan Williams (IM PB of 8:12), the legendary Petr Vabrousek, and friends.

Image from

It sure was fun finding myself in the lead just after the first turnaround (45km mark). A little tip my old coach gave me was to look like you are in agony when you pass people who you don’t want following you. So when I passed Terenzo and Mathius then, I grimaced and wiggled my body to make it appear like I was killing myself. Not sure if it helped, but I continued distancing myself from them. For interest sake, at this point in the bike, my average power was 271watts.

photo: Delly Carr/Sportshoot

photo: The Manawatu Standard

Throughout the entire ride, it was steadily raining, sometimes light, sometimes heavy,..but there was never a dry spell out there. I spoke with the guys from Hed the day before, as I was a little worried about rain coming into the deep section of my Hed 3Deep – they encouraged me to find a less deep wheel,..even a training wheel, as the aerodynamic benefits of a deep section wheel become moot if the rain is significant. Since I didn’t have any other options at my disposal, I ended up taping all the gaps where water could get in. Anyways,…my concerns about water entry was soon forgotten, when I realized during the race that things were working just fine! I felt particularly at ease with my Guru frame, as there is a water hole at the bottom to drain any water that might make its way in.

Riding in the hard rain
photo: Mark Essak

I didn’t use a time crono on the bike (or watch on the run),..but I did have power as a gauge,..however I largely used perceived effort as a guide. I kept a steadily increasing effort throughout the second lap,..though my energy and overall body felt great,..I did complete my second lap slower than my first — it’s amazing how this distance can take the pep out of ones legs.

I was feeling confident that I was going to run strong, further spurred on by the excitement of having a lead on the field. I started the run with good legs,…I felt like I was relaxed and smooth, and most importantly I was breathing well. Now historically I would try to ingest the MAX calories/hour that would be recommended,..which sometimes, I think, has led to poor digestion, and running around with a big bloated stomach. This time, I erred on the side of caution and only consumed 300calories/hour, in the form of Carbo Pro. So I think this contributed to my stomach feeling sensational too.

On the run, I was consuming coke, and grabbed the odd gel at aid stations where I squeezed little blebs of gel in the side of my mouth and let the sugars from it absorb through my mouth’s mucosal membrane – anything to ease the burden on my stomach.

Scott and Cameron
photo: Universal Sports

At the 8km mark, Cameron Brown ran past me confidently,..looking amazing. I tried to go with him for 2 seconds, before quickly realizing his pace was too rich for me. Forging ahead, at the 10.5km turn around mark on the run,..I was very happy to see that I had a sizeable gap on Torenzo and Mathius who were running in 3rd and 4th. Although they both looked to be moving well,…at this point, I was doing everything I could to maintain this gap. I started to have the odd ‘low spell’ where my energy plummeted, which seemed to be relatively well reversed by taking in more calories – which is what I did. At the 20km mark, Torenzo passed me, tapped me on the butt and gave me a word of encouragement. By the 26km mark, it was time for me to be visited by Mathius who was next to pass me. With about 12km to go, Keegan passed me,…this time, I was able to tuck behind him, and stay with him for about 8km. I knew that I needed to keep running as fast as I could in order to hold off Petr who was running in 6th, and fight for 4th place,…possibly in a sprint finish,…or who knows what might be happening ahead – the possibility of a meltdown by any one of the guys ahead certainly could happen.

So I fought and fought and fought, and gave it my all – which resulted in a 5th place finish. It’s a good feeling to know I gave it my all – I can leave this one behind with a good memory.

Thank you everyone who supported, helped, and cheered – contributing to the events success!


Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2009, Race Report

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

This past weekend was my second time racing IMCDA.  After a long and drawn out winter in Calgary, I was able to get a few solid weeks of training under my belt just in time to make me feel quite confident that my body was fit and ready to race.  I spent a good chunk of my bike training riding up and down hills, trying to best simulate the race terrain.  I also emphasized always building my bike efforts with the aim of even splitting the 2-looped bike course.  I emphasized hitting my goal run pace during my transition runs – striving for efficient speed.  My goal for the race was 1) to swim well, with the leaders, 2) even split the bike, staying in control,…easy up every hill, building on the flats, and punching the downhills, 3) run an even split marathon, aiming for a 3hour marathon, arriving at the half way mark in under 1hr30min.

I woke up at 3:50am, drank 400cal of CarboPro right away, cooked up some steel-cut oats, had some branch-chain amino acids (Recover), Vantage (V02 max), B-vitamin, Calplex (Ca, Mg, zinc, selenium..), green’s powder, and 2 motivator capsules (providing a precursor of caffeine, supporting metabolism/energy production without causing the shakes).

Body marking

It was good to see adopted-Canadian rockstar Olly Piggins in the race, we both wished each other good luck.  Another Canadian I knew, Trevor Wurtele was also racing – told him that he’s got my vote of becoming a star long distance triathlete.

It was beach water start.  Eventual winner F. Pontano is at the far left with the green cap.  I tried to wish him good luck in English, but he didn’t understand; I asked him if he spoke french, and he replied, “un peu”, I then offered, “bonne chance”.

There’s not much to say about my swim, other than it was bad.  Just a poor showing.  Evidently, I need to learn how to swim in choppy conditions – I was sighting poorly, I had trouble staying on people’s feet.  I felt very little authority and feel for the water.  On a positive note, I had excellent energy, was able to breathe very well (air quality was very good I found).  I finished the swim in a shocking 10th place in the pro division in 57:50.  Ouch.  All I could do is stay calm and focused for the day ahead.  “Stick to the plan”, I told myself.

IMCdA Swim

The ‘thumbs up’ sign,…despite knowing I was way down from the leaders, I knew my strongest leg was to come.

Scott Curry Cycling IMCdA 2009

I met Larry Rosa – legendary triathlon photographer while I was racking my bike the day before.  He was super friendly, and took a few of the following photos of me during the race.  The bike was a 2-loop course, I was looking for what I call ‘easy speed’ early on, and build upon it throughout the race.  I settled into an effort that was defined by being relaxed and controlled, while emphasizing efficiency and using the ‘prime movers’ – notably my gluts.  When I needed more “umph” for the second half of the bike, I called upon more hamstring and calf muscle activation.

There were portions of the race whereby the wind was so strong coming from behind, that I got out of my aero-position, opening up my hip angle, in a more powerful position.  On the second lap, I noticed I passed a lot of age-groupers who stayed in their aerobars during parts of the race where they probably didn’t need to.   I even split the bike, with my second lap being exactly even with my first.  I was in 8th place by the end of the 1st lap, then moved up to 4th place by the end, in a time of 4hr50:09.

Scott Curry Cycling IMCdA 2009

This is a funny photo, I’m passing someone on her first lap on the bike.  She’s PUSHING her bike up the hill – I’m sorry that I ruined her photo op.

In T2 I took 2 Motivator capsules, 1 thermolyte (electolyte), and 1 Vantage VO2max capsule; I felt amazing starting the marathon, nothing hurt, i felt springy, I had calories and energy.  My focus was on the technical aspect of running, I was focusing on activating my gluts to pull my leg behind me, openning up my hip.  I also worked on keeping my turnover high, and arms/face relaxed.

Scott running at IMCdA

After about 15km, I over took Brian Rhodes who was struggling with pain in his achilles tendon.  Was then in 3rd place, and still felt really strong.  Just before the 1/2 point, the cyclist who was leading me through the course turned down the wrong street,…leading me down Front St instead of Sherman.  I naturally followed her, but soon had an uncomfortable feeling that we had turned the wrong way as it just didn’t seem like part of the course.  I called out to her, “are you sure this is the right way??!!”.  I then turned back without her, she then turned around and started leading me again.  This reaffirms the belief that you must learn the course yourself, don’t expect guidance from anybody.

I completed 21km in 1:29min, and was holding strong systemically, however my right foot started becoming quite bothersome.  In past races, I’ve been reduced to dropping out from the same issue,…this time however, was completely workable; I openned my can of ‘suck it up’, and did the best I could from this point on.  I lost a tonne of time over the last 21km,…finishing the second half in 1:44, with a total time of 3hr13min.

Scott Curry finishing IMCdA 2009

I was happy to feel good about my efforts at IMCDA, and all the preparation that went into this race.  Ironman is such a brutal sport; it has no mercy for weakness, and rewards only the bravest efforts.

I finished in 7th place overall in a time of 9:04:45.

Next up: Osoyoos Desert Half Iron (Canadian Long Distance Champs) on July 12th.  A Joe and Sarah Dixon Outback Events Race, will be an excellent event.


Wildflower Triathlon race report

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Leading my preparation for Ironman Coeur D’Alene, I opted to race the Wildflower triathlon as a springboard for developing early season fitness.  I think my strategy worked well – seeing that this race clearly was a prime motivator of getting me out the door to train during our unusually long and snowy winter.  With a foot deep of snow, and unpaved roads up to a week before the race – lead me to some creative measures in getting my workouts accomplished.

In contrast to my usual pre-race gitters particularly for a season opener, I was quite calm and relaxed before the race.  I felt little pressure, and only the desire to test the limits of my fitness.

The swim started without a hitch, though it wasn’t perfect as I felt like the group I was swimming in slowed down considerably after the turnaround.  I really can’t complain however, particularly given that I was enjoying a draft and unwilling to drive the pace at the front.

I exited the water just behind Chris Lieto, Jordan Rapp, and the likes of a number of other athletes that I was content exiting with.

The run up to the bike transition was notably steep and long – I took a relaxed approach to running up it so as to conserve a few mg of glycogen, and keep the blood pH in check.  As others were sprinting up the ramp, I noticed that veteran/superstar Chris Lieto was casually and smoothly running just ahead of me, I decided to take the same approach.

The bike was technical to start, with a few quick twists and turns.  I picked off olympian Victor Plata on the first hill, and felt good early about my effort in relation to how I was keeping in the race.  I around 20miles, I passed a couple of friends, Jonathan Caron and 1999 olympic distance world’s silver medalist Paul Amey.

Just before the final, big climb of the course I was passed by Lars Finanger, Ain-Alar Juhanson, and Rutger Beke.  On the other side of the climb I was able to take back positions from Ain-Alar and Rutger before the transition.  With about 5mile to go, I passed an ailing Thunderbear – Torbjorn Sindballe,…evidently his day was over and was just riding his bike to the end.

Starting the run, systemically and energy-wise I felt darn good.   I conserved a lot of energy on the bike by choosing not to blast the hills.  My only complaint was cramping in my quads – they were seizing and almost in a state of spasm.  As I extended my hips, my quads felt like they were being ripped to shreds.  The final 1mile is entirely downhill – I looked behind me a couple times in order to keep myself safe and clear from cyclists just finishing the bike leg.  On one of my glances, I noticed that 2006 Memphis in May champion Greg Remaly was right behind me and closing in on me fast with about 1km to go,…I kicked it in overdrive and gave everything I had to sprint to the end.  I had a good race overall, finishing with a 4hr17min, in 14th place.

See you next time in Coeur D’Alene!