Patrick Fellows is a 5 time Ironman, TEDx giving, 32 miles swimming, endurance coaching, healthy cooking, entrepreneur and musician.  Born in Dearborn, MI, raised in Mississippi and a Louisianian for 30 years, 

Ironman Lake Tahoe-a race report....kind of.

Ironman Lake Tahoe-a race report....kind of.


My decision was made.  I wasn’t doing any sort of race report for Ironman Lake Tahoe.  I have over the years written a few, and in fact, once wrote damn near a novel about a splash in the Gulf of Mexico.  In the days following this race, the more I thought, the more that the things that came to mind sounded like a litany of excuses to explain away not achieving time goals and the like that I had set for myself.  Numbers, that without me attaching goals to them, were just that.  Numbers.  I thought it best to just let it lie.  I finished a long race on a hard day As I sat talking with my wife and friends about the race, the more I was convinced I didn’t need to expound on it at all.  One sentence though, kept coming back to me.  It was something of the sort “I read your whole swim story before I ever knew you and it was inspiring.”  This was by Lindsey Dziuba, close friend and my first coaching client.  This one sentence has been haunting me for 3 weeks.  So I gave it some thought and consideration and have written what you find below.  After that, you will find a satirical race report I wrote for a friend.  I removed the names so I can put it on these interwebs.  I am equally proud of this gem as it really does speak to how goofy triathletes are.  If you are easily offended.  Don’t read that.

When I sit with my friends and talk about racing, we talk about things that make most people cringe.  We are all triathletes or runners, and anything from 5k’s to 50k’s are referred to with the sort of nonchalance given to taking a trip to the grocery store.  As I considered writing this report I realized that no matter how everyday doing an Ironman sounds to my group of friends, to most, this is an unfathomable accomplishment and to discount this seems probably pretty odd.  Let me be clear from the start. I am proud of my finish on a hard day.  While I was in it, I didn’t have anything more to give on that day.  But to be sure, going into it, I was in pretty good shape, and I expected a lot more.  Ironman has a way of changing your expectations on the fly.  I know because I didn’t finish one a few years ago.

So what is there to tell about this race?  What would I have you remember about it?  I could blather on  and on about how different training at sea level is when you are racing at 6000+ feet.  I could tell you it snowed the night before and the mountain passes we were to ride bikes over were frozen a mere 5 hours before the race, but really as I spend more and more time dissecting things, the reality is that it was one day of my life.  A day that no more defines me than today because due to my realization that this is just what I do.  When people congratulate me, I thank them, but don’t think congratulations are in order.  The joy of this sport has little to do with race day for me, but rather, it is the everyday joy and happiness that hard physical efforts on the bike, and long easy runs with friends that I cherish.  I will continue to race and train and likely do more Ironmans, 50k’s, marathon swims, and other outlandish things.  I may be faster than some on these given days, or I may merely survive like in Tahoe.  Regardless, I will continue to train every day to clear my mind, to keep fit, to set an example for my children and to define my world as I want to.  One race is a brick that builds the house of a life fulfilled through sport.  Helping others get involved and hooked is as much fun as doing it myself.

Below is a list of race day highlights.

Race start temp-27deg  w/ the water temp was in the mid 60’s-take your breath away cold.  2000 people in the water stirring up this water in to the chilled air created an eerie fog that made swimming straight very difficult. There was 7000+ feet of climbing on the bike.  This is a lot.  One such climb was 2.2 miles long.  I avg’d 6 mph going up it the first time, and 5.3 the second.  This is slow.

The run wasn’t nearly as “flat” as advertised.

I laughed out loud at how stupid doing this was several times during the day.

It truly was beautiful.

Anyone can do this.


HERE IS my fictional one....


This is a race report for a friend.  She wouldn’t do one, so I did.  It is a work of fiction and unless your workplace welcomes a lot of cussing, this isn’t safe for it.

Let me preface this by saying that I am a badass.  Period.  I’ve raced like 15 Ironmans (8 going into Tahoe), and this one was just like the rest.  FUCKING HARD.  It’s Ironman, what did you ninnies expect.

We arrived in Tahoe on Wednesday, and pretty much just walked around town telling folks we had arrived, and that our state  would represent.  Maybe not with fast times, but certainly with leaving a mark on everything we touched (some good some bad).  The weather was perfect, and the altitude didn’t affect me at all, because per line one of this race report, I am tough as nails.  This also assured me that race day was going to be a total SHIT SHOW, and I was not disappointed.

Saturday while it was snowing, I was drinking beer with my feet up, surfing the web, watching everyone piss and moan about “what ifs?” and questioning their gearing and crank length.  The only thing shorter than the crank length on my bike, was the crank length of all the sissy mary boy’s , who were hunting Truckee, high and low for a MTB setup to retro fit to their bikes.  The passes were to be frozen, but I didn’t give a fuck.  I climb like a mountain goat and descend like a banshee.  You know that crazy chick you dated in college, that’s gonna be me screaming past you on Brockway’s descent.  If you thought you heard “You said you’d call me!!!!!!!!!!!!” at 50 mph, that was me waging some mental warfare on your ass.  Yeah, I’m happily married, and was never “that chick”, but I know all men fear “her”, and now was as good a time as any to wreak havoc….


“Oh no!! It’s 27deg!”  Sac up Nancy.  It’s IRONMAN, they ordered this weather for you.  The water is cold too.  Lucky for me, I’m a diesel engine of ass and thighs, and in my peed up wesuit, I was cozy as all fuck before the start.  Meanwhile, Mr. 3 % Bodyfat is quivering like a hairless cat beside me, blue lips and all, blathering about his avg HR in Zone 2, a place he wouldn’t see for the next 14 hours.  BOOM!  Mr. 3% craps his suit and runs into the person in front of him, as it was only the pro start.  PAY ATTENTION DUMMIES!  10 mins later, BOOM!, I am walking backwards towards the water, directing traffic, because I can, and I know the more sheep I can get to blow up in the first 50 yards, the less of you I have to pass later.  Plus, I am as cozy as pig in shit.  No need to hurry, we have all day.

The swim was long?!?!?  Wait WHAT?!?!?  No it wasn’t and any of you asking for “time back because you had to walk to shore,” should have swam faster.  The damn snow capped mountains made me tear up, with all sorts of “soaring bald eagle, we hail from MURICA!!”, type of bullshit.   I thought just for a moment about swimming right over the top of all you flailing jerks who thought you were going to peak today and drop 50 mins from your 1:59 pool practice swim time and who are now gasping for air and swimming west when you should be swimming south.  NEWSFLASH-The swim is 2.4 miles-please go to a pool and learn to fucking swim properly!!  It’s mostly men, who think that since they have balls, they can wing it and not start behind us chicks.  Know whats tougher than balls?  VAG-and I got one and you don’t.  Outta my way.

T1-I grab my shit and head towards what I will now refer to as “Silicon valley”.  Titties everywhere, and I nearly got an eye put out by an errant nipple.  That bikini will serve you well today m’am.  Me, I’m channeling Johnny Cash, as I am head to toe in black ass spandex and fleece, still warm, while you are DNF’ing.  But hey we all got to see the “work” you had done while you missed the bike cutoffs. 

BIKE-Look!  A mountain pass.  I am dropping men like it’s going out of style.  One is going so slow, I count 56 teeth on his aero chainring.  Great job!  You are walking your bike, and I am eating a pulled pork sandwich, and contemplating popping a wheelie.  Brockway Schmockway.  Hugs and High fives all the way up…black streak of love on the way down.   I’d comment about “Martis” but really it was just a nice time to chit chat with folks I was passing as they struggled to maintain 40 cadence.  Me, I’m at 140, but my HR is sub 100.  I’m either really fit or y’all suck.  Wait, it’s both.

T2-Oh where are all of the insane people running around crazy?  Still on the bike?  Or dnf’d.  I kick my feet up, do a complete costume change and then eat like 5 Bonk Breakers.  “Sunscreen?” they ask, as if this skin needs it.  PFF!   My skin is pales as a babies ass, but due to extra estrogen, or some evil hormonal shit, my skin is sunburn proof.

Since I hit every one of my power goals on the bike, and under rode the course, while still making every cutoff and passing people like they were standing still; my legs feel so fucking good I decide that today is the day I go from a heel striker to forefoot.  Wanna see my power files?  UP YOURS-Suffice to say I pushed more watts than there were little naked dongs in the mens  T1 tent, and let me assure you, it was hundreds. 

The form clinic I am giving is second to none as I make the forefoot conversion without NEWTONS?  In fact, how bout I just trade shoes with any of you and show you how it’s done?  Lot’s of pissing and moaning about “How hard the bike was.”  We are running pussies, the bike is over!!  I decide to have a side goal and see if I can eat 2 whole bags of potato chips, one Dixie cup at a time.  Shouldn’t be an issue as I am putting so much time in the bank that I again walk backwards while volunteers pour cups full of Ruffles, right down the gullet. 

I look up and realize,  “Shit, 1 more mile to go!!”  I am sad it’s going to end as today was FUCKING PERFECT!  The winners could have only hoped to execute as perfect a race as I just did!

MIKE REILLY-SPEAK UP!  I’m about to finish my 19th IM! 











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