Craig Wisner

Outlaw Ironman?

I’m completely enamored with the thought of a full Ironman distance triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 bike, 26.2 run).  As opposed to simply ultrarunning, I’m impressed by the fact that it requires competence in a variety of disciplines, especially as learning to swim better and further is currently fascinating to me.  I can ride 100+ miles and I can run a marathon…but linking them is a wild idea.  I like the concept of essentially being an all-terrain, multi-sport athlete.  However, I’m not real savvy on the race fees and what I see of the general commercial culture surrounding triathlon, especially the bigger ones.  No disrespect to the athletes whatsoever, I’m simply not sure it’s my style.

So should the goal be to do an Outlaw Ironman:  solo, unsupported (at least not in an official sense), and unsponsored?

So how do I go about linking up a swim, bike, and run of this size?

I don’t see the bike and run as being an issue; finding a 112 mile route followed by a marathon isn’t hard.  I know I can carry all the food and water I need for the cycling without support.  I could likely do the same for the marathon portion, using my car as the transition/resupply point and running with a race vest and perhaps one water drop.

The swim is the most daunting task to do solo, and to do solo safely. As my swimming stands now, 2.4 miles of open water isn’t something I’m confident enough to do yet, let alone solo.  I’m certainly not swimming 2.4 miles in a swimming pool; I believe it has to be open water for the purity of it.  The most likely way to do this would be with someone that could provide a kayak escort.

The advantage of the solo Ironman (which will certainly have to be renamed if I do it…hell, they’ll probably sue me for trademark infringement if I don’t) is that I can do it anywhere, in any terrain that suits my interest, in any style I please.

While I’ve still never done an official triathlon of any length, through my training and research I’m very put off by the membership fees, race fees, bizarre regulations (no sleeveless jerseys in some areas???), and general locations of many of the events.  By going solo, I could do the marathon 100% on trail if I choose, the ride on/off road or in an area I personally enjoy.  It’s simply a matter of doing it somewhere that the swimming component will be close enough to not lose time transitioning to the ride.

Which has me wondering if starting at the Salton Sea could be an option.  Start the swim there with a kayak escort (if they even permit swimming), cycle to Joshua Tree and vicinity, and finish with a  run across the CRHT or similar.

Could this crazy scheme work?  Of course it can.

It all hinges on training, timing, friends that are willing to crew, and finally…simply being able to swim 2.4 miles, ride 112, and then run a marathon.

This is bananas!


2 responses

  1. Adan

    Better you than me bro!

    The distance between insanity and genius is success.

    Another good place to swim 2.4 miles might be newport harbor linked up with a bike ride up PCH, maybe to where it meets the Santa Monica mountains for your run segment? Wow, sounds insane.

    March 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm

  2. Thanks, Adan.
    Yeah, I was also thinking a harbor could be good…but around here that usually means in the vicinity of some very urban areas for the cycling leg, unless I were to head towards the mountains immediately.
    I have to look into local lakes as well.

    March 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

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