I recently talked Ironman with Rob Evans, a TCSD member who qualified for Kona with his stellar performance at Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Rob finished IM CDA in 10:15:21, placing him 13th in the tough men’s 40-44 age category.
CZ: What was it like for you to claim your slot to Kona?
RE: We went down to watch the last finishers at midnight and I saw that I was in 13th place and knew the roll down would be close to get a spot. I was pretty disappointed the next day when the roll down made it to the 12th spot and then stopped. To make matters worse, I was only 9 seconds out of 12th place! Later that week I found out that they had awarded only 79 spots and the 80th spot was supposed to go to my age group. I got the call on Thursday of that week that I was going to Kona. It’s hard to describe how happy and excited I was to get the word that I had qualified.
CZ: Wow! That makes 2 TCSD members this year who had challenges above and beyond the race to claim their Kona spot. Kim Brown was the other person at the ½ Vineman. Tell me about your race at IM CDA?
RE: Ironman CDA was going to be my 3rd Ironman and I had progressed from wondering if I could finish to knowing that I could actually race at this distance. I was pretty confident that if I had a solid day I would meet my goal of finishing under 10:10 and being in the Top Ten in my age group. The swim was the normal water polo match of hitting, kicking, etc. The water was the perfect temperature and the crowd and support were fantastic. I felt strong on the bike and just tried to keep it steady and be patient. I got off the bike and started the run knowing I was pretty close to my plan. At about mile 21 I realized that one of my buddies was catching up on me so I kicked it in and ran the last 5 miles faster than any of the previous 21. I opened new “doors of pain” but it was the difference in qualifying.
CZ: How did you get started racing triathlons?
RE: I started in 1985 with the old Bud Light race at Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach. I had a college buddy who “challenged” me to do the race and since it was “only” Olympic distance I figured I could handle it. I almost drowned within the first 10 minutes! I had been strictly a runner prior to Triathlon but really enjoyed the 3 sports and felt that it made me a better, stronger all around athlete.
CZ: What Ironman races did you do prior to IM CDA?
RE: I did Austria 2001 in 10:17 and Lake Placid 2003 in 10:43.
CZ: What Ironman qualifying races other than IM distance have you done?
RE: California ½ Ironman, Vineman ½ Ironman, and Wildflower back when they offered slots. I was never really close to qualifying at any of these races.
CZ: Who will join you for the trip to Kona and what does this mean to you?
RE: My wife, Bari and two kids, Conor and Audree will be over there with me for a week before and a week after the race. This is as much of a celebration for them as it is for me. I will also be joined by my mom, two sisters and their family and a fair amount of friends that I have been training and racing with over the years. I have dreamed of a trip and event like this for so long that it will almost be surreal when it actually happens.
CZ: What advice would you like to share with someone just starting out in triathlon?
RE: Seek advice from multiple sources! It is funny to think of all of the “lessons learned” that I have picked up over the past 20 years. There is so much valuable knowledge out there today that can really assist in training/nutrition and mental preparation. Most of all, enjoy the ride and the benefits of being fit. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
CZ: What advice would you like to share with someone who just signed up for their first Ironman?
RE: After putting together a training plan, make sure you get commitment from your family and friends that this is something that you are going to do and this will require a huge sacrifice from everyone. I think my family is so supportive of my Ironman training because they know up-front what I am working towards. I try to get them involved by updating them on my progress (how I’m feeling, etc.) and planning vacations around the races that I do.
CZ: What do you do for a living?
RE: Software Sales Excutive selling business intelligence and analytics software to Fortune 500 companies in Southern California and Las Vegas.
CZ: What would be your dream job in sports?
RE: My dream job in sports would be to own a professional football team. I think the Chargers could use my help!
CZ: What are your goals for 2005?
RE: My plans for 2005 are to focus more on shorter races and spending more weekend mornings sleeping in.
CZ: Rob, thanks for sharing your story. Good luck in Kona. After so many years in the sport, you have really earned this opportunity. The Tri Club will be cheering for you!