Let’s go race in the desert! - Mickey Witte Ⓥ: Triathlete. Neuroscientist. Vegan.

Let’s go race in the desert!

08 Oct Blog | 3 comments
Let’s go race in the desert!

Silverman 70.3 was extremely challenging both in terrain and climate. For sure it was a course made for strong, fearless cyclists and tough runners who can withstand long, undulating hills in the heat. I now fully understand why a version of this course was previously chosen as the Ironman 70.3 World Championship course — it is not for the faint of heart.

The swim was super calm and pretty in fresh water Lake Mead. It ended up being just barely wetsuit-legal on race morning, so I wore my DeSoto wetsuit bottoms (I hadn’t even packed my wetsuit top and I wouldn’t have worn it anyway since by the time my wave started, the water was already warming up and I didn’t want to overheat). Exiting the swim

The swim was over in a heartbeat (though I would later find out that due to a miscellaneous timing chip error, my swim time was erroneously ‘off’ by an absurd amount of time – alarming anyone who was tracking me on the Ironman live tracker). Thankfully, my friends who were there at the race for support were able to report back to those who were tracking me that indeed, the tracker was incorrect, and that they’d seen me with their own eyes as I exited the swim in the middle of the lead pack. (The timing chip error was fixed within minutes of me crossing the finish line – so it’s all good.)

Out of the water and onto the bike: the bike course was out-of-this-world amazing. I can say with full certainty that after this experience, I know that my heart is in bike racing – more so on the endurance side of it, like RAAM. By far, my favorite part of the course was getting to zip down and climb up the desert mountains at full speed. I never touched my brakes for the entire 56-mi bike course, except for one sharp turn because there were other people near me. It was beyond incredibly fun!!! silverman bike

I even got a special shout-out over a loud-speaker system while I was riding through the first bike aid station about 15 miles into the course from a tri friend who now lives in Vegas and was in charge of the aid station. It was a pleasant surprise and super cool to suddenly hear, “And here comes Mickey! All the way from Miami, Florida! Have a great race, Mickey! Go get ’em!” Thank you, Doug Silk! That made me smile. 🙂

My focus was on finishing the bike as fast as I could (without destroying myself for the run) so that I could get off and start the run as soon as possible (because with each passing minute, the day got hotter and hotter and even with less humidity than Miami, you still get baked in the hot desert sun). I basically view it as running in a sauna (Vegas/Henderson) versus a steam room (Miami) — either way, it’s still frrun elevationeaking hot.

By mile 6-8 of the run, I utilized nearly every aid station to get ice for my heart (I literally placed ice inside my shirt, shorts, hat — anywhere that would hold the ice). It was the ice at those aid stations that kept me from having heat stroke (seriously). The hills on the run were unforgiving, constant, and long.

I did the best I could on the day, but climbing so much throughout the entire 13.1 on such a blisteringly hot day made for quite the physical and mental challenge.

The work done in training was truly what made the difference between my body knowing the suffering and pushing through it versus my body experiencing that suffering for the first time.

I’m stoked to have made it through the most challenging 70.3 course in the U.S. and to have finished in the top 10 of my super competitive age group which is filled with lots of tough, badass chicks.


Now, the focus is back on Ironman Cozumel – which is next month. Adios, Vegas!


-Thank you to Lifeproof for being such an awesome sponsor and for giving me the opportunity to race this insanely tough course!!! #goplay!

LetsGo! helmet

-Thank you to Joey Perez, leader of the Wolfpack, and to all of my Wolfpack teammates (two of whom raced Silverman with me!), training buddies, and to the team sponsors and to my personal sponsors – without whom I would not have been able to get to the start line feeling 100% race ready.
There´s a big thanks to David Jones who invested in the race and supporting everything.

-Special thanks to all of the amazing on-the-ground support I received in Henderson while there for the race, in no particular order: Ben Thomas & Chris Kilibarda for being sherpa extraordinaires for all of us, to ALL of the race volunteers – without whom I would not have made it to the finish, Jack Gaglio for the generous accommodations at Green Valley, the Cortes familia for your on-course cheering, JT’s Bike shop for assembly and disassembly of our bikes for shipment from/to Miami, McGhie’s Bike Shop for being the only shop in town to have a Di2 charger for my bike (!) and for generously charging it for me, and to Bonk Breaker triathlete and multisport specialist, Paul Duncan of Outstrip Endurance, for the invaluable pre-race advice, bike shop referral and tips on racing in the desert! 🙂

-And saving the best for last…thank you to my loving husband, Ryan, for his unending support, patience, and understanding – especially when training and racing in this crazy sport takes me away from him for long hours and days at a time. I love you so much, honey! xoxo

Let’s support http://www.choosemysupport.org.uk for making this race possible!

  1. Amanda Remlinger10-21-14

    Awesome job! I did this race too but was nowhere near you during it. It was a challenging day. The heat was brutal and really got to me. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought this was a tough race. Congrats!

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