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IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips
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I couldn't find a good forum on this race and a race strategy as a first-timer. Does anybody have experiences, race reports, tips, advice, must-dos they want to share?
Training tips appreciated and any opinions on the heat training & grass running appreciated as well
Last edited by: Blizzard: Apr 25, 19 11:17
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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Did it 3x from 2011-13. Before they changed the run course.

Assuming the swim and T1 is the same...
  • Make sure to sight the buoys well on the long section parallel to the beach. It's really easy to follow people on a bad line because the buoys can be hard to see as they bob up and down in the swell.
  • When you get to the mount line, it's going to be on an narrow uphill. Make sure you're in you're in an appropriate gear and run 15 feet past the mount line before trying to get on. Almost everyone will try to mount right after the line and people will be swerving all over the place trying to get clipped in while going uphill.

Bike course
  • I think they moved to waive starts so it's not as bad, but coming out of the swim there are a ton of people on the course. If you're a slower swimmer and faster biker, plan to skip the first aid station. There are always seemed to be crashes there as you have people trying to grab bottles at 10 mph and other people trying to grab them at 18 mph.
  • Stay in aero riding up Hawi as much as possible. Not only will you be faster, but you also make yourself smaller and lower your center of gravity.
  • Don't burn your matches on the uphill to Hawi. It's not that steep and you will need to pedal coming downhill as well as the climb coming back out of Kawaihae.
  • For the same reasons as the uphill, stay in aero riding down Hawi. The smaller and lower your are (and in turn the faster you ride), the less crosswinds impact you. Anticipate the crosswinds that will hit you buy looking at the topography of the land. When you see exposed areas (like mini valleys), expect there to be gusts coming through and be prepared to lean appropriately. The people who all say that the crosswinds were terrifying...ask them if they were riding on their aero bars or on the horns...they all ride on the horns which makes it even worse.

Run course
  • Pray that you did not over bike
  • Get creative on how you can stash ice. Under a hat is common, but one year I brought a small mesh bag that I would refill and then shove that under my hat. It allowed me to get more ice in there without it all falling out when I put my hat back on.
  • Survive...

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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Jason N] [ In reply to ]
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good stuff. thanks
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Jason N] [ In reply to ]
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That's a great summary. A couple of additional notes:

- The swim is now rolling AG wave starts - within your wave, they send a few swimmers off every few seconds. It's really spread the field out compared to what it used to be.
- The swim is now in the opposite direction of how it used to go - clockwise instead of counter. That's made it a bit easier on the eyes as the sun rises.
- The bikes are racked now by order of when you check in the day before, so it's a bit of extra work to remember where you racked - can't use your bib number for that.
- The run is now two identical loops, so it seems like more golf course. It's still miserable, but that's part of the fun, right?
- I live on island and ride the Akoni Pule (the highway from Kawaihae to Hawi) fairly regularly. Wind conditions vary considerably day to day and even hour to hour. Most often the crosswinds are not on the actual descent from Hawi but after you make the left bend near the turnoff to Mahukona beach park - that section of rollers up to about Kohala Ranch (gated community on the left as you return to Kawaihae) can be brutal. Or it can be totally fine. Think about maybe not riding an 808 front unless you're heavier and/or super confident in those conditions - most people (including me if it's blowing hard enough) white-knuckle that part.
- If you're not staying at the Fairmont, know that they are pretty strict about not letting athletes onto the hotel grounds from the finish area (they have lists of guests that they check you against). It's also kind of a pain to get back to where they make you park on race morning, especially if you're shattered after the race.

It's still a great race - good luck!

Ian
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [sneeuwaap] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for your input.
In regards to your point below, does that mean it is first come first serve when you check your bike in or when you check in for your bib? And sounds like there is no rack benefit for AWA athletes?
"The bikes are racked now by order of when you check in the day before, so it's a bit of extra work to remember where you racked - can't use your bib number for that."

And the golf course, any insight on the grass to cart path/pavement ratio?
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [ In reply to ]
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I participate every other year with 2019 being my 3rd (so 2015, 2017) and jsut to add a bit:

The swim changed since 2015 in that it is a run-in start rather than in-water. Last couple years they did a rolling AGE GROUP wave start, which I absolutely hate. Should be one or the other IMO. Clock-wise swim, if you can breathe to both sides, right on the way north and left on the way back.

x200 on the mount line advice given

Hawi hill is such a long slow climb you hardly need to get out of aero, if at all

The one point to be very aware of in terms of crashes is the immediate short steep hill in Kawaihae just north of the tri-tipped intersection of queen K and Kawaihae rd, it goes down as you are going out and it is such a jump in speed with some rumble strips that you'll see some nutrition, water bottles and other debris and I have seen and heard about more crashes there than anywhere. The way back it is uphill, it's steep enough to be out of the saddle but you get a nice long down after that.

x200 on 'Survive' for the run
The run course nowadays is two loops and much better than the past set-up (at least in 2015) with 500 OABs. The two things you should try to prepare for are the many very short and steep dips that occur as the golf course tunnels under roads, those can be quad killers and downhill strength/technical is just as important as uphill strength and secondly that nice soft grass, while a nice reprieve from the asphalt running does have its own challenges as it is very soft.

The long OAB near the end of the loop is the mini-energy lab but you get to do this one twice. Be especially aware of holding on to water/ice through this stretch, especially on the second loop since you still have 1.5 miles after that. My last mile in 2017 I absolutely fell apart because I had gone through that piece thinking "I'm almost near the end! I'll wait on water for the finish line"

I don't like to carry a water bottle in races since there is usually enough on the course and while I do see many people successfully kill this race without their own bottles, I did find that carrying a small handheld bottle and refilling it between aid stations helped me tremendously whether it was used for more sips between stations or squeezing more water on my head and arms.

If you can afford to stay at the fairmont, do it. makes the logistics much easier (parking is a b*tch if you stay at another hotel but if you have someone who can drop you off, then that works fine)

See you there

808 > NYC > PDX
2019: 70.3 Canada, 70.3 WC, IMLou
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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Blizzard wrote:
Thanks for your input.
In regards to your point below, does that mean it is first come first serve when you check your bike in or when you check in for your bib? And sounds like there is no rack benefit for AWA athletes?
"The bikes are racked now by order of when you check in the day before, so it's a bit of extra work to remember where you racked - can't use your bib number for that."

And the golf course, any insight on the grass to cart path/pavement ratio?

I don't recall there being an early benefit to AWA in 2017 but there wasn't a huge line to drop off early since many people were still out riding or something. Looking at the 2018 guide, it was purely FCFS. And remember you need to leave your bike gear bag with your bike upon check-in however you get to futz around with it race morning. Run gear bag also needs to be checked in, you don't get to see that until T2.

Of course, all that is based on past years, 2019 guide should be coming soon, I hope.

I tried looking at my strava record and can't really see but I want to say it was about 20-30% grass, the beginning and the end of the loops are definitely grass dominant with pockets throughout the loops.

808 > NYC > PDX
2019: 70.3 Canada, 70.3 WC, IMLou
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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Blizzard wrote:
Thanks for your input.
In regards to your point below, does that mean it is first come first serve when you check your bike in or when you check in for your bib? And sounds like there is no rack benefit for AWA athletes?
"The bikes are racked now by order of when you check in the day before, so it's a bit of extra work to remember where you racked - can't use your bib number for that."

And the golf course, any insight on the grass to cart path/pavement ratio?

Correct - no AWA benefit.

Ratio...hmm - maybe 2/3rd cart path:1/3rd grass? But then there's also that stretch of "Road to Nowhere" that subtracts from the total amount of grass.

Ian
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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Last year was the only time I have done it.
I loved the rolling age group start. Beautiful swim.
Know where you parked your bike
Up hill out of T1, plan for it.
No wind last year on bike, but some rain near Hawi. But loads of wind the day before so ........
The run was so bloody humid. I melted. Just awful, no fun, will not go back. Any breeze at all would have helped.

Team Zoot/Canyon So Cal
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [hadukla] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you to you and the others who have replied with lots of information. Like the OP, I do a detailed race report for each major race and found recent information about Hawaii 70.3 a bit scarce.

Two questions:
1 - Is transition set up as Ironman, ie gear bags and change tents instead of putting everything by your bike?
2 - You mentioned parking is difficult.Is that the parking at Hapuna in the morning? We're not staying at the Fairmont. What advice do you have for parking?
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [hyr00] [ In reply to ]
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hyr00 wrote:
Thank you to you and the others who have replied with lots of information. Like the OP, I do a detailed race report for each major race and found recent information about Hawaii 70.3 a bit scarce.

Two questions:
1 - Is transition set up as Ironman, ie gear bags and change tents instead of putting everything by your bike?
2 - You mentioned parking is difficult.Is that the parking at Hapuna in the morning? We're not staying at the Fairmont. What advice do you have for parking?

Speaking from 2017 on Transition set-up, T1 you can have your bag ON your bike (not on the ground) or onnthe run in from the beach which by the way, is a nasty uphill so don't sprint the last part of the swim. Conserve your HR. For T2, the gear bag I think was hanging on a rack and the bastards actually FORCED you into a change tent, even if you didn't want to change. Hopefully they changed that rule last year but there is a change tent in case you want.

You can't park at Hapuna on race morning, you have to park at Fairmont and take a shuttle. If you try to park at Hapuna early before they block the roads, good luck finding your way back to Hapuna after the race. If you are meaning to have a spectator bring you to Hapuna, that is fine but they can't drive out until the bike course is closed so they'll be at the beach all day long.

808 > NYC > PDX
2019: 70.3 Canada, 70.3 WC, IMLou
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [hadukla] [ In reply to ]
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In the past, spectators in vehicles have always been able to leave Hapuna as soon as T1 is closed. I’ve done the race six times and spectated at another couple. I’ve never had a problem getting dropped off at Hapuna by a spectating friend who has then parked at Hapuna and gone back to the Fairmont area after the swim was over.
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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Nail your nutrition. It's an unforgiving course, especially if it's windy on the bike. The run starts out on a gradual grass uphill and it's really easy to put yourself in the red in the first mile. The aid stations on the run hand out cups of ice. Pour them down the back of your top, under your hat, and in your shorts to cool your groin (sounds weird, but really helps keep the legs fresh). Include some short, steep hills in your run training. If you can do those runs on grass all the better. It's a beautiful race. Good luck!
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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i've done this race twice in the past (2016 and 2018). I would second a lot of what has already been posted, but I'll add my thoughts.

You have to get your bike out to T1 the day before the race (about 7 miles). Most people choose to ride to T1, so there's a long line of athletes heading out there. Some choose to push this ride while others take it slow. There is a shuttle to bring you back to the Fairmont afterwards. The morning of the race, there are shuttles from the Fairmont for athletes and visitors (no bikes allowed for visitors on the bus). There is a small uphill from the swim exit to T1.

The swim is amazing. Hapuna beach is beautiful. The water is crystal clear. The surf can vary in size but was manageable both years that I did it. When I have done this race, it is a clean transition...meaning you have your gear in a bag which is lined up by bib numbers. You then pick your bag up from the side of the road leaving the swim exit as you enter T1. There was a changing tent next to the trail, but not many people chose to use it. The first year that I did this race, we racked bikes by bib numbers while the second year, it had changed to free racking (lots of people dropped bikes off as soon as bike drop opened so they could get the choice spots).

There is a small hill leaving T1. There were volunteers along the hill to push some people up if they were in the wrong gear.

The bike course is hilly with a steady climb into Hawi. The descent from Hawi is always fun. This race is almost always windy, but the degree of the wind varies. The first time that I did this race, we had a rain shower up in Hawi which made the descent a little bit unnerving. Stick to your hydration as the sun can be brutal out there. Remember sunscreen (lots of people looked like a lobster the next day, including me the first year).

The run...well, the first year that I did this race, I knew that some of the run was on the actual fairways of the golf course, but I didn't realize exactly how much. At least 5-6 miles of the run is on grass. The rest is on the gold cart paths and the road to nowhere. This made for hot and humid running conditions. There were some sections that were very wet and a little muddy from the racers. There were lots of gnats and bugs flying around and I know that I ate a few and had the rest plastered to the front of my chest and legs. The road to nowhere is hot but I didn't find it any worse than the fairways. There isn't much a breeze on that stretch of road, but I enjoyed the short time on paved roads again. As for fighting the heat, most people poured the ice at the aid stations into their kits. The first year that I did this race, I just poured the ice down my top and shorts. The second year that I did this race, I wore a DeSoto cooler top for the bike and the run. It kept me from getting sunburned as well as gave me 2 pockets (one between my shoulder blades and one lower on my back by my kidneys) to stash ice in on the run course. I also poured some down the front of my top. This really helped me stay cool.

Staying on your nutrition and hydration is important in this very hot and humid race, but it's a gorgeous destination. We have used this race as the kick off to a Hawaiian vacation. The first year we stayed on Hawai'i while the second year, we hopped over to Maui for the remainder of our trip. The options for inter-island travel are great (and cheap) so you can't go wrong with whatever you choose.

The first year my husband and I stayed at the Fairmont which was really convenient for him (since he doesn't race). We got upgraded to an amazing suite on the waterfront (which probably ruined us for staying there in the future because the following time I raced, we knew we wouldn't get such an amazing room again). The second year, we ended up renting a house in KaMilo which is less than a mile up the road from the Fairmont. It was easy for me to ride my bike to athlete check in but kinda sucked for him spectating. It also sucked walking home a mile or so after the race when all I wanted to do was sit down and relax. It was probably a good thing to keep me from getting sore but I really didn't like it.

All in all, we love this race and using it to kick start our Hawaiian vacation. We plan to do it every other year, so we will be back in 2020.
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Rdracer99] [ In reply to ]
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Great info. Thanks to all.
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks Blizzard for the questions and all other who have replied. This is my first Half in Hawaii as well and have couple of other (maybe stupid for some) question in mind but would really appreciate any insight.

- Can we put on bike jerseys after the swim in T1 if I am planning to swim only on swim shorts?
- Do we get to tape Gu packs/other nutrition on the bike on the race morning? or does that need to happen the day before?
- Similar question on Water/Gatorade, can we bring the cold drinks on the morning or if we want, we need to leave them on the bike the day before?

thanks in advance
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Habbahabba] [ In reply to ]
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I have done this race 9 years in a row, this will be 10. Take your cold/frozen bottles with you in AM and load onto your bike. You certainly can tape your gels to your bike before bike racking. They call this a “clean” transition race so everything will go into your bag or be attached to your bike. DO NOT try and mount bike with shoes already clipped in, as already stated the mount line is narrow and on a 5% or so hill.

Pace up to Hawi, that is just the warm up.

We will be hosting a pre-race swim on Friday AM so if anyone is interested let me know. We are bringing out 24 athletes to race Honu this year.

Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have.
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [mrw42976] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the response. That is an impressive number of races for sure!
I have been watching some you tube videos and can see some of the male athletes swimming only with Tri shorts, so I guess that answers my question related to bike jersey as well.
I will post back if any other questions come to mind or if I can join your group for the swim.
Regards,
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Habbahabba] [ In reply to ]
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Yes you certainly can swim bare chested. I would advise a full zip jersey for t1 as it is very difficult to sloppy something on while wet :)
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [hadukla] [ In reply to ]
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hadukla wrote:

You can't park at Hapuna on race morning, you have to park at Fairmont and take a shuttle. If you try to park at Hapuna early before they block the roads, good luck finding your way back to Hapuna after the race. If you are meaning to have a spectator bring you to Hapuna, that is fine but they can't drive out until the bike course is closed so they'll be at the beach all day long.

Two things:

1. Your spectators/dropoff people who park near Hapuna CAN get out long before the bike course is closed. It just takes a little while. The Queen K isn’t closed.
2. You can’t actually park at the Fairmont unless you’re staying there - this includes the Friday drop of your T2 bag (they do let you park there the days before, though). On race morning, you’re directed off into an off-road lot that’s about a mile from the Fairmont - it’s next to that long service road that’s part of the run course. There may of course be a few local “hacks” to get around some of this.

Ian
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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FYI - Athlete guide is available and it seems bike racking will be by bib number, not based on ‘first come’

Dan
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [DanCT] [ In reply to ]
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I just saw that. Good news. Hopefully AWA rack benefits will apply as well.
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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Are the Hapuna A-frame cabins good to base from? If I just parked there and could get around on foot to everything?
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [JYoung] [ In reply to ]
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JYoung wrote:
Are the Hapuna A-frame cabins good to base from? If I just parked there and could get around on foot to everything?

On race day for spectating? The only parking allowed is in the Hapuna north side lots. They block parking on either side of the old resort from Puako. In past years some parked on the hill along the north side of the Hapuna access road, but I think they stopped this last year because it was jamming up bus access.

Not sure if you're familiar with the course being split transition and asking for anything beyond info on the swim venue at Hapuna.
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Re: IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAI`I tips [Blizzard] [ In reply to ]
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Check your Age group on the list below, this could affect your swim. Reminder this is not just each AG going off at once, this is a self-seeded rolling start WITHIN each AG. As far as race strategy, this means you could have slow swimmers to navigate around but it also means more difficulty in finding competitors around your speed to draft off from start to finish. e.g. in 2017, I swam 33:21, around me there was a 33:07 and 33:35 and beyond that, it would have been too fast or too slow for me so I spent most of the swim on my own only catching 10-20 second drafts off later AGs blowing by me near the end.

I'm thankful to be lucky in the 3rd AG this time but that still means being a 33 minute swimmer (nope, no improvements in two years :( ) that the fastest from 30-34 will swim over me and I'll need to navigate around the slower 60+

I've said it before, I'll say it again, "Age Group Wave Rolling" is the stupidest F*ing start possible. It does nothing to allay the concerns for the racers who prefer competition and AGs starting together, nor does it do anything to spread the race out in a manner that is best for ALL athletes by making the fastest females swim over and through the slowest males. While I prefer a pure rolling start to all, if it were actual AG waves (with each AG en masse) that would still be better than this bullshit. /rant

MALE 40-44 6:30 AM
MALE 60-75 + 6:35 AM
MALE 35-39 6:39 AM
MALE 30-34 6:44 AM
MALE 55-59 6:48 AM
MALE 50-54 6:51 AM
MALE 25-29 6:55 AM
MALE 18-24 6:55 AM
RELAYS 6:55 AM
MALE 45-49 6:58 AM
FEMALE 40-44 7:04 AM
FEMALE 45-49 7:07 AM
FEMALE 55-59 7:10 AM
FEMALE 60-75 + 7:10 AM
FEMALE 35-39 7:12 AM
FEMALE 30-34 7:15 AM
FEMALE 50-54 7:19 AM
FEMALE 18-24 7:22 AM
FEMALE 25-29 7:22 AM

808 > NYC > PDX
2019: 70.3 Canada, 70.3 WC, IMLou
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