If you saw my post earlier this week, you know that my brother, Jordan, and his friend, Nick, accomplished the amazing feat of becoming Ironmen! If you are unfamiliar with the Ironman competition it is a grueling test of the human will, dedication, and endurance. Participants swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and finish it off with a marathon (26.2 miles) coming to a total of 140.6 miles.
To support Jordan and Nick our family happily traveled down to Cabo San Lucas to cheer on the duo! In total we had a group of 13 (Nick, Jordan, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Debbie and Uncle Wayne, Aunt Karen and Uncle Dan, Nathalie [Jordan’s gf], and Kyle and myself).
Before I get to the details of the race let me give you a little bit of the back story. About 6 months ago Jordan decided to do an Ironman. He signed up and we started making travel plans to support him. For the months leading up to the official training he had been building a base with a lot of biking and swimming. Due to his diligent training he was very well conditioned once the training began.
At the start of December, about a week after racing a half ironman and about four months out from his Ironman, he found out he had Melanoma In situ on his foot. This is stage 0 of Melanoma, meaning it is contained to the upper layers of the skin and has not spread. Within a few days, during Christmas break, he went down to Houston and had it removed. Praise the Lord, it had not spread and the doctor was able to removed all of the cancer tissues!
Initially, he hoped he would only have to take a few weeks off for it to heal but he ended up having to take 6 weeks off. 6 weeks with basically zero training. Once the doctor cleared him, he dove back into training with only two months to go until race day.
So come Sunday he raced with essentially only two months of training and as you already have noticed he still finished!!!! He finished until 14 hours after taking off 6 weeks! Words cannot even begin to describe how incredibly proud I am of him. Through everything he has had an amazing attitude, spirit, determination, and work ethic that few could match. Jordan you are my hero!
Check out the shirt we made to surprise Jordan and Nick! Young Gunz is their cycling group in Loma Linda!
Well let’s get back to the race. Usually, I am the one in the races, so unlike my usual “race recaps” this one is a “spectator recap.” I must say I was honored to be on the sidelines playing cheerleader!
Starting line: The night before the race we stayed at one of the race hotels so we did not have to drive to San Jose from Cabo earlier in the am. After missing the shuttle that Nat and the boys took to the starting line, my parents dropped me off at the start. While the boys got organized and ready to start, I quickly found Nat and we went down to the water to stake out a good viewing point.
(I’ll add more photos as I get them from Nathalie)
The Swim: After the gun went off and the boys were in the water we headed over to the end of the swim. Jordan thought he would finish around 1:30 and Nick was hoping for 1:45. As a spectator the swim is the most anxious segment. In all honesty we just wanted to the swim to be over! While we waited we met an amazing lady who has completed 11 Ironmans with almost half being Kona! Her husband was on race number 11. Close to the hour mark she noted that an abnormal amount of racers were finishing in under an hour! So we hoped this meant the boys would be in soon and they were! Jordan got out of the water at 1:07:35 and Nick at 1:15:26!
Transition: While the boys transitioned into their cycling gear, we transitioned to our cycling viewing location. To our great surprise our hotel ended up being the absolute perfect location, situated on a corner where the bike (just before the turn around) and run (mile 2, 11, and 20) passed multiple times.
This was our hangout while we waited for the boys to get to our viewing spot.
The bike: The bike course consisted of 3 loops. As a racer I would probably hate it but as a spectator it was awesome because we saw Jordan and Nick 5 times each. Since Jordan finished the swim a bit faster and transited quicker, Jordan was about 20-30 minutes ahead of Nick.
Kyle got this awesome photo on the GoPro as Jordan passed us!
Both boys did awesome on the bike (maybe a little too awesome?) Jordan finished the bike in 6:40:23 and Nick clocked in at 6:58:44.
Transition 2: After Jordan passed us a final time, half of the cheering crew headed over the run course (located just in front of our hotel), while my dad, Kyle, and I stayed to cheer on Nick a final time.
The run: They say the run is where the race really begins. Starting the race Jordan and Nick thought they would be spaced out by about by 20-3o minutes going into the run with Jordan slightly ahead, the goal was for Nick to catch Jordan on the run.
Mile 11: I think both Jordan and Nick would agree that the run was the most difficult part of the race. By the time they started they had been racing for close to 8 hours ! I would also say that as a spectator this was the toughest leg to watch. Especially knowing how difficult a marathon is, I cannot imagine doing one after swimming + biking! I missed Jordan the first time he passed our hotel but saw him at mile 11. This was tough to see, he was running low on energy and still had 15 miles to go! Shortly after, Nick came into view. He was looking strong and narrowing the distance between he and Jordan. We all kept wishing they would met up so they could power through together!
Mile 17ish: After both Nick and Jordan passed the 11 mile marker we headed closer to the finish. After walking against the running traffic for a mile or so we finally crossed paths with Jordan. This was the most difficult moment of the race for me to witness. Jordan was walking and he looked like he had nothing left! But he still had 9 miles to go. I tried to stay strong but I was choking back tears. Kyle and I walked/ran with him for bit and then stayed to wait for Nick (Nat was just around the corner so I knew Jordan would be good!). About 2 minutes after Jordan left, Nick was there! As soon as we saw him we let him know how close he was to Jordan and he was off.
The final miles: Aunt Karen, Kyle, and I made it to the finish line and scouted out our viewing options before the rest of the Team Young Gunz support team arrived. When we finally met up with the rest of the group (mom, Nat, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Wayne, and Uncle Dan – my dad was in the car following Jordan and Nick along the course) my mom told me that Nick and Jordan finally met up and that Nick told Jordan they would finish together at whatever pace Jordan needed to go! Nick you are incredible! As soon as I heard this my emotions were put to ease and I knew they would finish strong!
The finish: Kyle and I had an awesome view at the finish line, Nat was on the bleachers in the finishing chute, and my aunts and uncles were at a roof top restaurant that had a perfect view of the finish line. Kyle and I had it all set up to get an epic video of them crossing the line with the announcer saying “Nick Bucholz, you are an Ironman” and “Jordan The, you are an Ironman.” We had the GoPro charged and ready, the iPad attached to a pole (with magnets), and my camera set to take photos. Well…even the best of plans sometimes don’t work out. My mom sent a text saying their were coming, so we thought they were about 5 minutes out. And then BAM they were there, crossing the finish line! Nick crossed so fast I barely realized it was him. Kyle was able to hit record just as Jordan stood in the finishing arches. Thankfully, Nat got a video of them running in front of her and passing through. You can see it all in Kyle’s amazing video!!
Post race: Wow! Wow! Wow! There really are no words that can adequately describe witnessing an Ironman competition. Jordan, Nick, and all the other finishers you AMAZE me! As a marathoner I can only partially understand what you went through this past Sunday. You have inspired and move me to accomplish great things!!! All I know is that after watching you guys become Ironman, a fire was lit within me! One day I will join the Ironman club.
Right now I am setting the gaol: The year I turn 30 I will do an Ironman! But until then (I need some time to build my swimming and biking…and save money, these Ironman races aren’t cheap) I am going to have to settle for running…that’s right I am going to conquer 26.2 again. See ya in Victoria for round 3!