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National Sprint Championships, Big Cow 2014

National Sprint Championships, Big Cow 2014

This is the first time I have entered this race. Neil Giles said it was a good one. SatNav said it was a 2 hour drive from home and as my start time was 8.10am I could drive up if I had an early alarm start.

Breakfast was 4.15am, I arrived at 6.20am and drove the bike loop for a reconnaissance. It looked good, a bit flat for me, I like hills these days. The first wave was age 18 to 39, and I had a good vantage point to observe them on their 750m circuit. I was in the 50-54 age group, J, tattooed on my left calf, just like Dambuster. Starting far right was the best swim line.

The lake water was warm and I got a great start, and seemed to be in the lead group, sighting, I could not see many ahead of me. T1 went well I emerged on the bike in the lead group, how exiting. Before the group broke up I counted 5 Jays, and 2 were behind me  which meant I was 4th. How very exciting.  A Jay overtook me and disappeared up the road. 5th. A Jay faded, 4th. Into T2, and out on the run. I could see a guy about my age, about 60m ahead. I was very very slowly catching him. My eyesight goes a bit blurry on the bike and it wasn't until about 30m that I could see his calf tattoo. It was a Jay! OMG I could be 3rd if I could overtake him. It took me for ever to catch him, about 2km.  "Come on Jay" I said as I overtook him.

No idea why I said that. Mmmm he sat on my left shoulder, taking my pace. Oh dear. I could see another guy about our age about 50m ahead. I was making no progress, Jay overtook me...we chased him down together taking each other's pace. It was Kay! That's no bloody good. Jay was now suffering, I think he was hacked off it a Kay. As I overtook Kay, he wasn't bothered by me, he let me go. I had about 1km to go, no oldies ahead, and I could no longer hear Kay and Jay behind me.

I settled into my Jedi running. Blurred vision check, shoulders hurting check, chest on fire check, stomach burning check, legs in agony check, calfs in screaming agony check. I was in great shape. Was I really 3rd? Pat pat pat pat pat pat I heard from behind. Oh dear. Pat was coming up fast. As Pat came past, Pat had grey hair, bad news, Pat looked about 50, I made him come around to my left as we swept around a long right turn. Pat was wearing GB blue. Oh dear. This could be very bad news.

I could see the finish inflateable arch about 200m away. Pat had better not be a bloody Jay. I could now see his left calf until he was 2 -3m ahead of me. Pat Bloody well was a Jay. PatJay was now pulling away.....but then I held him. 100m to go. Come on Martin come on. 50m to go, come on come on, this could be for 3rd. COME ON, GO, GO, GO. I could not pull him back. Finish. If I am 4th I am going to cry all the way home I think. 

Shattered I go over to PatJay to say hello, his wife was there. "Bad luck Andy, I think you were 4th" she says. PatJay and I have a chat, "I think I am going to cry all the way home" he says. "Don't" says his wife. Jay The 3rd, was 58 secs ahead of us it turns out, and JaySwim1st, was a fish, miles ahead in the swim. So I was 5th.

If you had said I would have come 5th in the Nationals a year ago, I would have laughed so much, I would have had a hernia. You have got to do this race next year, there were only 25 in my age category, so a great chance for a medal. Wouldn't it be cool if you had been there and won one. A MSTC member with a National Championship medal, that would be super cool.

Martin, 7th July 2014

Ironman Nice 2014

Ironman Nice 2014

First of all thank you to all MSTC coaches for their tuition this past year. 

This was my first attempt at the full distance Ironman and it quite rightly needed to be treated with respect. I went into the event feeling pretty good, apprehensions of the swim had faded after some decent simulated distance swims in training. 

Swim

(3.8km) - Open water sea swim, double 1.9km loop with Australian exit after loop 1. The start is possibly best described as a scenario whereby a ferry as sunk and 2800 people are clambering for 1 lifeboat! It was extreme and didn't settle down until atleast 1km in. I opted to not follow the crowd and concentrate on my own navigation which proved to work out quite well with alot of competitors swimming too far. Finished strong and perhaps should have gone 10mins quicker. 

Bike

(180.2km) - Don't try Ironman Nice if you're looking for a flat ride, the first 85 km are spent climbing almost 1200m into the Alpes Maritimes, in fact you're so high up you go past Greolieres which is a ski resort! There is another punishing climb about 110km in and then it is fast downhill all the way back to Nice. The weather can be very unpredictable in these mountains and on this occasion it was no different, the remaining 70km were extremely hard in the rain, no one had dressed warm enough and it became a real slog , I counted 4 ambulances along the way with many people going off including the a few pros at the front of the field, in fact I'm told the winner came off twice.

Overall it went ok, I knew the course pretty well and was able to manage my way through it, biggest mistake was not packing some water proofs in the special needs bag at the top of the mountain. I also made the mistake of altering my nutrition strategy from something I'd tried in training; i took sodium tablets with the water and i suspect these didn't work too well with the gels. However i stuck to my plan and took in about 310 calories per hour plus 750 ml of water/sodium per hour.

Full respect to the guy that was doing this event with 1 leg. 

Run

(42.2 km) - From hypothermically cold to 30 degree heat on the Promenade, 4 x 10km loops was the next stage. First 15-20km were not too bad and I was able to hold my target pace, support from the crowd was immense and this helped alot. Wet feet then became the next big issue, they were soaking from the bike leg and new socks in transition 2 had not helped enough, the run through showers only made it worse and once the blisters set in it became extremely hard. Drying your feet properly in transition 2 is probably worth 20mins off your finish time. The 2nd half of the Marathon on an Ironman is a real test of will power and fitness and I was mightily impressed by the other competitors and how hard they all pushed themselves. Crossing the finish line is what it's all about; some sprinted, some dived, some jumped, some carried their children, some laid down on a stretcher and some crawled.  

Result

Overall a rewarding day that was organised very well. Learnt alot for next time..

Swim (1h22) Bike (6h48) Run (4h:14) = 12:39

Anthony Vince