2014 Ironman 70.3 Monterrey

2014 Ironman Monterrey logo

Right: Competitor #1551, Daniel Castañeda, 2014 Ironman 70.3 Monterrey

Daniel Castaneda

SUNDAY, MARCH 16, MONTERREY, MEXICO.

(Photos from Ironman 70.3 Monterrey Facebook page and Daniel Castañeda.)

2014 Bikes on SaturdayWith a few minutes before an 8:30 cab ride to the Monterrey airport, I unfold today’s El Norte newspaper to a photo of hundreds of bicycles lined in neat rows. What the paper terms a “macro parking lot,” is actually a major avenue closed to vehicular traffic yesterday, along with a large part of downtown. The 350-acre Fundidora Park and the man-made river that connects the park to downtown were also closed to the public while athletes from 24 countries practiced for the 2014 Ironman 70.3 Monterrey.

This Half-Ironman and its 2000 participants run, bike and swim from 7:15 to 5:00, today. Street closures include the express lanes on the two largest east-west thoroughfares in the city. The main route to the airport involves one of these avenues.

2014 Ironman Monterrey swimmingThe cheerful taxi driver arrives early and explains that the company prescribes alternate routes for such occasions. “Morones and Constitución,” he says, “will be a mess. The race is only part of it. All the people who come to watch make it a lot worse for us.”

My flight is delayed, so I track the Ironman’s progress on its Facebook page. First, participants swim 1.9 kilometers (1.2 miles) in the Santa Lucía River/Canal. Next is the 90 km. (56 mi.) bike race with three laps around a route that includes the long thoroughfares. Finally, they run 21.1 km. (13.1 mi.) between downtown and Parque Fundidora where they started. In all, they cover 70.3 miles.

Ironman Monterrey BikingFor participants, there are additional commitments besides the extensive training and preparation. When the non-refundable, non-transferable registration opened last July, the cost was $300 US dollars. After February 13, the price went up. Membership in the Mexican Triathlon Federation, $357 pesos per year ($27 dollars) is required. Conveniently, international competitors can purchase a one-day membership for $10 dollars. For out-of-towners, add in hotels, meals, transporting your own bicycle, possibly airfare and time off from work, and competing isn’t cheap. Even so, the event sold out.

Thousands of metro Monterrey’s nearly four million residents will be inconvenienced during the street closures from one am to five pm Sunday. On the plus side, the event will pump an estimated $50 million pesos (nearly $3.8 million dollars) into the state’s economy.

2014 Ironman Monterrey winnersShortly after 11 am, a Facebook photo pops up of Englishman Tim Don crossing the finish line to take first place with an unofficial time of 3:46:59. The next five runners-up are from Mexico, the U.S., France, Spain and Brazil. 2077 competitors—77 more than the announced limit—finished.

Through the Facebook page, I later connect with Daniel Castañeda (top photo) who lives an hour away in Saltillo. This was the 40-year-old sales representative’s first Ironman, although he competed in four Triathlons last year. He’s already registered for Cancún’s September Ironman.

As to what Castañeda enjoyed the most, he replied in English, “All the track, and though the Macroplaza route was bumpy, it was the most crowded, thus loudly supporting part of the race. I also loved to have my family there walking together with me when I was swimming and also throughout the race. The support from several runners and sports groups as well as the volunteers was awesome. “

Castañeda’s story of his biggest Ironman challenge is a powerful testament to the importance of family in Mexico. (See last week’s post in “The Other Side of the Peso–Mexican Success Stories.) About the bike race, he wrote, “I was doing very well, beating my expected split times. (I forecasted to complete my first ironman race between 6 and 6:30 hrs.) When I had almost completed the second lap, all of a sudden at the first hill at Macroplaza streets, my bike left pedal fell off. I did not know what was going on, but I knew it was serious.

“I stopped and went back to pick up the pedal from the middle of the street. Then I jumped back onto the bike and kept riding with the right pedal only, looking for an aid station. I could not find any until leaving the Barrio Antiguo zone when we joined Constitución express lane. The crank left arm thread had galled, and there was no way to fix the pedal. The guys there were kind and tried to put it back with tape, but it only lasted like one mile. That is when my second race started.

“I had promised my only brother I would do 56 bike miles for his birthday (which was on March 14th) and had done only 38 miles. I thought about quitting the race but recalled my promise. So I switched to a new strategy. Now it was all about finishing the bike split before the cutoff time of five hours. It took me at least two hours to complete the last 18 miles with the right pedal only. Other racers and medical aides were very supportive and offered help because they thought I had cramps. I even stopped at the last aid station again, and they used tie wraps that worked around three miles this time. My right leg was doing all the job, but there was not a comfortable spot to rest the left leg at, so I had to switch to odd body positions throughout the third bike lap. I arrived 13 minutes before the cut off time to the second transition, and then I enjoyed the 13.1 miles run to finish the race. I completed the race in 6:53:17.”

I expect Castañeda’s brother, wife and children would join me in saying, “Daniel Castañeda, YOU ROCK!”

Comments

  1. Fernando Castañeda says:

    Thanks for this interview my brother, I am proud of all your accomplishments in this life, is a wonderful human being. Thanks to life for letting me have my side to an incredible family (mom, sons, brothers, brothers, cousins​​, uncles, and many friends)

  2. Fernando Castañeda says:

    I can say? My family is wonderful, my mother is a woman who taught us to fight this life, she is a warrior who has battled cancer twice and both came out victorious, my father died when we were very young, but the taught us to be good sons and brothers. My mother taught us to be firm and loving, she has taught us to love one another as brothers, our family is very close and it’s nice to be part of it. Thanks for taking the time to publish this article, greetings from Mexico City

Speak Your Mind

*