IronMan Coeur d Alene
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Driving: ~2300miles
Swimming: 2.4miles
Biking: 112miles
Running: 26.2mile

Back in August of 2003 I did a sprint triathlon right after learning how to swim. It was okay…I prefer team events, butIronman 01.JPG (67630 bytes) I always thought it would be cool to do an IronMan. Sometime last summer I was thinking about an IronMan and checked out the website, I noticed the entry for Coeur d’Alene just opened up and hadn’t filled immediately like they usually do. On a whim I plopped down my $425 and emailed Guy my entry to talk him into signing up as well. Before I knew it, the summer of 2006 shaped up to be pretty huge with a 50-mile trail running race, a Century Road bike Ride, an IronMan, and the Leadville 100. Yikes! With about a year to go I didn’t think too much about it for another several months. At the 14erworld gathering I asked Hakan a few questions, bought the book “Start to Finish IronMan”, and read a few Ironman 05.JPG (82195 bytes)reports of previous years. I knew the swim would be my crux, I could pull off 112miles of biking somehow, and a marathon shouldn’t be a problem. Do any tri’s between then and now? time and too much other fun stuff to do! Oh well. So in January I roughly (very roughly) started a 6-month training program and retired my old steel barely-wheels-spinning road bike for a new Giant TCR C3Carbon bike. The first day in the pool I did about 2% of the swim the book suggested. Yikes! Not a good start. Between skiing, hiking, ice climbing, road trips, and everything else, I tried to squeeze in following the suggestedIronman 08.JPG (82162 bytes) workouts from the book and before long it was the beginning of June and I started getting a bit nervous!
The plan was to spend 2 days driving up to Coeur d’Alene then do a road trip through Glacier NP and Yellowstone NP. Plans changed when Jean broke her ankle but we were able to revise the schedule so she could come along and we could prop her up in the back of the Yukon for the drive, and drop her off at various spots during the w/end. Instead of buying a wetsuit that I probably wouldn’t use again, I found a great source…. These folks are great and for $36 they mailed out an Xterra wetsuit a month early so I could do some open water swims. That’s a whole different story…my first open water swim in Prospect Lake I just about drowned! No big line to follow on the bottom of a murky lake, cold water, and no chance of going straight. I was sure I was going to die. So, Thursday the 22nd we packed up the Yukon and myself, Ironman 10.JPG (82452 bytes) Guy (fellow masochist doing the IronMan), and Jean headed off on the awesome drive through Wyoming and Montana. We spent the night in the very cool and chill town of Bozeman after beers and grub with an old college buddy of Guy’s. About 8 years ago I was driving through Montana on Phish Tour and caught a one second glimpse of a sign that said “so and so county Testicle Festival, Come Have A Ball”. All 500 or so miles of Montana I was keeping an eye out for this sign to make sure it was real. Friday morning my mind was put at ease when I saw the sign once again!!! This time I jammed on the brakes and pulled aIronman 14.JPG (55586 bytes) U-bee in the highway to check it out. We found it! Rock Creek, Montana. We drank a Testicle Festival beer and got info to potentially head back in mid-September for the gathering. ( A couple hours later we driving past the Coeur d’Alene lake and found the resort for checking in and free schwag. It’s pretty amazing how organized these things are. We were staying at friends of friends of friends in Post Falls so headed there for relaxing on the porch and drinking beers. Aaahhhh, it was tempting to blow off the race and stay here the entire time! Rumor had it the temps were going to creep up into the mid-90’s on Ironman 16.JPG (90516 bytes) race-day instead of the mid-80’s they were calling for a week earlier. D’oh!
Saturday was all about checking in bikes, organizing transition bags, then a “welcome dinner” to get ya scared yet pumped up. It was pretty cool, but I had some serious anxiety thinking about the swim. Normally, the night before a race I’m the last guy in the bar, but on this night I was in bed early after some Pepto.
4:45am came way too quickly on Sunday morning and before long I was standing on the beach with over 2200 otherthumbs01.jpg (49067 bytes) people in wetsuits. I stayed WAY to the back and WAY to the right. The cannon blasted and off we went, I was scared shitless and wishing I had flippers and SpongeBob SquarePants water-wings. In the 62 degree water it was like a giant wrestling match…..getting kicked in the face, people swimming over you and under you, leg and arm grabbing, swallowing gallons of water, waves all around, sun in your eyes, etc etc etc. I wasn’t even able to put my head below the water and was ready to drop out immediately. After 25mins and halfway through the first lap I had a little one on one with myself after almost throwing up. At this point I was FINALLY able to start to get into a groove. All the swimming drilling and hints and tips, go right out the window and its pure thumbs02.jpg (44944 bytes) survival mode! I got done one lap and thanked God, then hoped back in for another lap. This one went 300% better and I only almost threw up four times. The beach was soon in sight and I couldn’t wait to get on my bike! Out of the water after 1hr and 25mins and I thanked God once again and stumbled through the gate to the “wetsuit strippers”. Now this was starting to be fun! Ya sit on your butt with all limbs in the air and two people strip the wetsuit off of ya before going into the transition tent! I was placed around 1700 out of around 2200 at this point still thankful that I was alive. My neck ended up being pretty raw from the wetsuit rubbing so several more hours of sweat and sunscreen didn’t feel oh so good. On with the bike stuff then time for a little ride! I immediately started stuffing foodIronman 21.JPG (88505 bytes) down my throat…electrolytes, Gu’s, Junior Mints, FudgeRounds, Frito’s, and granola bars. Right out the gates are thousands of people lining the streets all screaming and cheering you on. Jean and our friends were right on the corner and I shouted out “I survived the swim!!!” while going by. The weather was heating up quickly but the views couldn’t be beat. I had no goals or expectations for this race and just wanted to finish. I figured I’d throttle way back on the bike so I’d still feel good for the run, so the bike was quite enjoyable! The first 20-some miles is mostly hills heading towards Washington then you turn back towards Coeur d’Alene into a headwind but all on flats. The aid stations were about 10miles apart and I was trying to drink about 40oz of Gatorade and water between each while dumping a bottle of water on myself as well. The volunteers are amazing and hand you whatever you need while cruising through. I made an effort to thank each and every one of them, all 4000 of them! Near the end of the first lap, Jean and our friends were set up in the shade with chairs and beers and looked like they were having fun. I stopped and chatted for a couple minutes then off for lap two. I could tell I was hydrated (probably from drinking 9 Ironman 23.JPG (72852 bytes) gallons of lake water) since I had to stop 5 times on the bike to pee. It was pretty obvious that a lot of folks pushed way too hard on the first bike lap, and they were falling apart. I just kept cruising through, passing folks left and right and thinking about everything I could except running a marathon. Only at one point I felt like crap but that was quickly resolved with more Gu’s and grub. It’s wild the entire range of emotions you go through during something like this too….feeling on top of the world, to wanting to get off and quit right there. After 112miles and almost 7hrs I was pulling into the hordes of people in town again after moving up about 200 spots. Once again, the volunteers are great…as soon as you jump off your bike someone grabs it and disappears, another person is lathering you up with sunscreen and handing you ice cold rags, while another person is running towards you with your transition bag! Okay, one more section to go and I felt awesome! I started off jogging slowly thinking that I justIronman 27.JPG (93228 bytes) need to bribe myself one mile at a time so I can walk the aid stations. The miles started ticking away for me at 10minute intervals and I walked through each aid stations chowing and chugging while relishing the fact that I was one mile closer to finishing. The ice under the hat trick never felt so good and sponges of ice cold water were awesome. About 50 neighbors had their sprinklers in the streets too, that was a life saver! I was able to jog the entire way just cruising past people. Some were dropping out, some were laying in the shade, and some were puking their guts out. I was real thankful I took the bike leg slowly but kept in the back of my mind that I’d hit the wall around mile 20 like usual. Mile 20 came and went just like all the others then I started having a personal countdown to beer. Thinking stuff like….Holy crap, I’m actually going to pull this thing off after only a sprint Tri!; 30 minutes till beer and pizza!; glad I don’t feel like that guy; I survived the swim!; man I stink; I swear I’ll never wear a one-zee; etc etc etc. Another handful of miles and I was just blocks from the finish and still running strong. I thought I would bawl my eyes out but was way too excited!!! I was looking around for Jean so she could hobble across the finish with me on her crutches, but couldn’t find her. Slapping Ironman 28.JPG (93905 bytes) people hands, screaming outloud and doing backflips inside I finally heard….”Jeff Kinkle, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!!” They pronounced it “Kinkle” instead of “Kunkle”, but oh well! 13hrs and 6mins and I was finished, I couldn’t believe it!!! I even managed to pass another 600 people during the run. People grab you and see if you need medical help, then they give you your medal, a finishers t-shirt and more schwag! Awesome!! A couple minutes later Jean and friends found me and handed me a beer then we laid in the grass taking it all in. More beer, pizza, beer, food, beer, and then it was off to sleep with a giant smile on my face. Two days of driving back through Montana, Eastern Idaho, and Wyoming with plenty of breaks and food stop.
Would I do it again? Maybe. As for now....time to spend some quality time with my mtn bike and start running for Leadville.

Swim: 1:25:36 (1700 position)
Transition 1: 10:01
Bike: 6:56:08 (1509 position)
Transition 2: 6:19
Run: 4:28:19 (854 position)
Overall: 13:06:23
Final place: 854

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