Race Reports

IRONMAN WALES 2013

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Pre-Race

Got a late entry to IM Wales via Nirvana Travel. A triathlon addict's impulsive last minute decision to race. Paid only a small premium for getting a place this way after the race had sold out. Would use Nirvana again if need be, because the package included a great hotel (a stone's throw from race start) and free cancellation insurance. The Nirvana rep organized a cycle course tour by car with a local cyclist as a guide.

Everything (Hotels, Expo, Registration, Briefing, Transition, Swim) is in one place at Tenby. Straightforward drive from Sussex. Totally hassle-free. The locals are super-friendly and take great pride in hosting the race.

 

The Swim

Near perfect conditions with calm relatively warm waters in the beautiful Bay. Mass beach start then an unfussy 2 lap swim, punctuated by a short dash along the beach between laps.

The run to T1 is 1.3km through the centre of Tenby. Longest transition run of all ironman races. An extra transition bag for shoes is racked at swim exit in order to do this 1.3km run. Last year an elite competitor lost his Kona slot because he handed his wetsuit to his girlfriend on the way to T1 and therefore got DQ'd after he had finished the race.

 

The Cycle

Very scenic ride on mostly closed roads in a coastal National Park. Some opportunities to make the most of a TT bike during the first 50 miles, but after that the course is particularly hilly and technical with some very steep winding downhills. My brakes were inadequate in the wet on those steep sections, so lots of time was lost by having to be over cautious.

Biggest mistake of the day was leaving my nice warm jacket in T1. It rained several times during the ride and by mile 50, I was freezing and shaking uncontrollably. To have accepted outside assistance might have risked a DQ. Fortunately, I discovered that I had got a plastic cape in my pocket (as you do), so I put it on to get warm. Ruined the aerodynamics somewhat. During the ride, I heard onlookers shout "go batman". After the race, I heard people chatting about a cyclist wearing a bin bag who had become known as "the bubble".

Tenby has a "heartbreak hill" that is almost as good for crowd support as Challenge Roth. Tenby has half the competitors and less than half the crowd numbers but the vibe is superb.

 

The Run

Barely a flat section on the four lap course. Lots of lively crowd support through the town, passing pubs and hotels. Plenty of walking uphill and running downhill. Good banter between athletes and plenty of switchbacks to keep spotting people. Lots to take one's mind off the usual drudgery of the ironman run. Ideal cool temperatures and dry conditions for this part of the race. Got a bit confused at the end of the third lap and took a wrong turn towards the finish line. Had to double-back a few hundred metres to restart the fourth lap. Great joy visiting the finish for the second and final time.

Results

  • 20 DQ'd for dropping litter
  • 10 DQ'd for drafting
  • 4 DQ'd for failing to serve a penalty

Not a fast time for me (almost 2 hours slower than my Lanzarote effort a few months earlier). Not surprising, considering the neglect of training during 3 weeks backpacking in Sri Lanka (got home just in time to taper 2 weeks before IM Wales).

Loved the race and loved the location. Usually, as I cross the finish line I swear I'll never do another ironman. This time I immediately rebooked the hotel for next year and paid the registration fee as soon as entry came on-line a few days later. Upgraded brakes and a warm cycling jacket should make Tenby 2014 even better.

 

Rank:25

Overall Rank:582

 

BIB:

1686

Division:

AK M50-54

State:

 

Country:

GBR

Profession:

 

Swim:

1:22:59

Bike:

6:38:30

Run:

4:53:15

Overall:

13:09:35

 

 

Jim "Bubble" Graham

ITU Aquathlon world champs

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The race is a 1km swim and a 5km run.

05:00 the start of what was going to be a great day except for the 05:00 alarm call. Its great doing aquathlons as you only have a wetsuit and trainers to sort out, but this does make transition very strange, only a set of trainers in there nothing to set up nothing to tinker with..... and how do you find your trainers amongst 1500 other pairs.....
 
My start was 10:10. ITU rules are in the water 30 secs before the horn and you have to have one hand holding the pontoon. I take up my usual position of the centre line which is the most direct route but quite a lot have the same idea and its a bit cramped, unlike deep water starts you cant make space for yourself, there we are my chest tight against some other guys back and some other guys chest against my back a bit snug you might say.
 
This is going to be a proper bun fight, I quite like a start like that as it fires you up. Wow the klaxon went and I got proper mullered. I have been in starts with 3000+ guys and it was not as bad as this, pure white water fists, heads, feet really bad then bang I take a full on hit to the right temple which moves my goggles to my forehead... I take another at the first turn again shifting my goggles, on both occasions I manage to get them back in place without stopping but after the third time I thought bugger it don't bother, they stayed in place but were full of water. I had to remind myself that the main thing was to focus on what I was doing and not panic, yea not panic just focus. It worked, although I couldn't see where I was going I made the last 500m without too much issue.

Out of the water in under 16 mins not too bad, the problem now was finding my trainers amongst 1500 other pairs.

Lungs are burning and I realise how hard it is to run after the swim, I pull the pace back and control my breathing and heart rate, it works after a 1km I start to settle into a 4:30 per km pace. The run is great although hard as I have only had about 3 runs in the past few months but my body starts to remember what it has to do.

This was a great day everyone I met was chatty and friendly and it was an honour to compete for Ireland and hang out in the Irish athlete tent situated opposite the GB who by far has the most athletes there, it also worked as a great recky for the Standard distance on Sunday.


Swim 15:53
T1 01:03
Run 22:49

Total 00:39:44 this puts me in 50th AG place

 

Steve Mac

Zippy the Zombie Wheel and a 12hr Time Trial

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This tale begins many years ago on a dark stormy night (OK, that last bit was poetic license) when I was a small boy watching a television programme about Jim Peters and his dramatic collapse at the end of the 1954 Empire Games. For those who do not know Jim Peters was expected to win this event for England despite the midday Melbourne heat. He had a lead of 3 1/2 miles going into the stadium but had become dehydrated and confused, collapsing with 400 yards to go (it was before metric existed). Thinking his rival was close behind he got up and staggered on with the capacity crowd roaring him forward. With only 200 yards to go he collapsed again and was unable to finish the race to take the gold medal.
        
I was overwhelmed by the courage and determination of this runner. Ever since I have harboured an admiration of endurance feats in all sport and exploration.
        
Up until my 30's this admiration took a very passive form (drinking, driving, eating - and not all at the same time) but a gentle introduction to cycling enabled me to really feel what it must be like to push your body and mind to its' limits. As I came to love cycling and racing I had the opportunity to see how I could perform. The "race of truth" is the name given to time trialling and it is a very simple, pure test of man and machine against time. No one to draft behind and no team tactics.
        
Initially I was content with 10 mile and 25 mile time trials but I hankered for something more. 100 miles - not quite enough. 12 hours to see how far you can go? Now that is a test of endurance.
        
So, in my "prime" I became something of an expert at these managing to come 3rd in the National Championships twice and recording 276.5 miles at my best.
        
Then came mortgage, job responsibilities and (happily) family. With these came a lack of opportunity to ride 300 miles a week in training and an age related slowing down.
        
To counteract this trend I discovered triathlon (or more precisely a bunch of triathletes at the Dolphin bar) and a new world of extreme pain and suffering opened itself up. As someone who didn't learn to swim until I was 26 I was surprised to find myself able to take on and complete an ironman.
        
OK, you are asking what an earth has this got do with Zombies - let me explain.
        
If you were at the club middle distance triathlon (or indeed within 20 miles of Ardingly) you may have heard an unearthly rumbling emanating from the region of my rear. It was not the after effects of "Friday night is curry night" but an unfortunate puncture of my tyre on the downhill off camber descent into Turners Hill. Of course I had no repair kit with me. Not thinking very clearly I decided to try to ride on hoping to make it around the course and complete the race. I soon got used to the bump, bump thud of the flat tyre and the unpredictable handling and was able to continue at a moderate speed by keeping out of the saddle. I even became quite adept at controlling the rear wheel slide that occurred when I strayed off the crown of the road. However by Balcombe the noise had changed to a deep metallic rumble and the handling was now non existent and terrifying. I stopped to take a look and wished I hadn't. The tyre had completely disintegrated with the sidewalls entirely missing and a small strip of rubber nesting between the aluminium sidewalls of the rim.
        
I am not sure if you have tried riding on two 3mm bits of shiny metal but I can inform you of two notable characteristics of this technique - you can't get much traction to move forward and you cant get much traction to stop the bike going sideways. These weren't desirable attributes particularly on the descent towards the viaduct and just as undesirable on the ascent after the viaduct. Happily I needn't have worried too much as my inner tube decided that the steepest section of the uphill by Copyhold Lane was the right place to wrap itself around the axle, seize the wheel and throw me into the hedgerow. Emerging from the shrubbery I took another glance at my £1000 Zipp disc wheel and realised that the rim and braking surface had been more than somewhat abraded by the top quality road surfaces that grace our part of the world (as Austin Powers would say -  it was "totally shagged").
        
I freed up the wheel as best I could and reluctantly teetered the quickest route back to transition along Copyhold Lane to limit any further damage.
        
After I finished the run I was greeted by hoots of derision and mockery as my wheel had become a source of fascination to spectators and competitors alike in my absence.
        
Telling everyone that I had a 12 hour time trial the next weekend and had no back wheel just compounded the ridicule. Mentioning that my new bike was fitted with a special aerodynamic spares storage box and it was empty didn't help matters. And I really shouldn't have said that I had just sold my only suitable spare wheel.
        
With no forthcoming offers of a loan ringing in my ears I went home and sadly dismembered my pride and joy. My Zipp was dead.
        
Or was it....
        
Scouring the internet for bargain or second hand discs revealed a dearth of wheels meeting my criteria - round and less than £500. An e-mail to Zipp suggested a repair price of £800.  So I took a very good look at old Zippy. Whilst the delicate aluminium rim had definitely been comprehensively reprofiled it seemed that not much metal had been lost. Realising that I had little to lose, I set about a 4 hour marathon of filing and sanding by hand. Doing this by hand gave me a very good idea of how thin the aluminium was and how sharp the edges were. Too much sanding would have left the rim too weak to hold the tyre on and too little would have left sharp edges that would destroy the tyre. At 2am I went to bed dreaming of exploding tyres and man eating wheels. Zipp had been raised from the dead. Zipp the Zombie wheel lives.
        
Never one to let inadequate preparation get in the way of racing I only reassembled my bike and pumped up Zippy to (nearly) full pressure the day before my 12 hour race. As nothing gave way immediately I decided to go to bed and was slightly comforted by the knowledge that Steve (A) had loaned, against good advice, his tri-spoke as a spare.
        
Race day started in the usual way - pitch blackness, sense of dread, last minute carbo-loading (which for me was 3 bits of toast with peanut butter and bananas and a slice of cake at the HQ), getting lost en-route to the HQ and remembering what you had forgotten to bring just when it is too late to turn around and get it. In my case I had forgotten to bring the spare back wheel.
        
I opted for a modest 120psi as I readied my bike for the race. I had no support crew for the first 3 hours and had taped various bits of food to myself and my bike with 1.5 litres of High 5 to keep me going. However, the real limiting factor would be the afterlife of Zipp the Zombie wheel. Would it last 12 second, 12 minutes or 12 hours? Anything less than 12 hours would mean a DNF.
        
You may wonder what the state of mind is as you start a 12 hour and I think this is critical to how you manage your physical and psychological state as the day progresses. I viewed this as a nice day of training at a moderate pace and if I got tired I could always take it easy or stop for a rest.
        
You may also wonder about the logistics of a 12 hour race where the result depends on measuring how far you travel in this time (obviously any time you spend off the bike will mean less miles)? It is very cleverly organised so that all riders complete 3 or 4 different circuits of 10-30 miles before ending up on a "finishing" circuit. This circuit has timekeepers every mile or so with a spotter who identifies the rider number. When you have reached the timekeeper just after your 12 hours are up you can stop. Your mileage is worked out by adding the numbers of laps you did of the first circuits, the number of laps you did of the finishing circuit and the number of timekeepers you passed on your last lap and a calculation of the distance you covered between the two final two timekeepers (the one you passed just before 12 hours and the one you passed just after 12 hours who you may have kissed for telling you to stop).
        
Like all time trials, riders start at minute intervals. Out of the 72 competitors I was number 70 and was soon enjoying the countryside around Ashford and Rye. After a couple of hours I had almost stopped worrying about Zipp and was buoyed by the sight of helper at 10am. Helpers are allowed to hand you food and drink but must not follow behind you, hand up supplies on the move or overtake you more than once every 10 miles so we decided to have a set point on each circuit where I would expect to see my helper. This reduced the amount of driving he would do and meant I would know where I could get any assistance I needed.
        
Being such a long event means you get to see a lot of the marshals, riders and their helpers and I made a point of greeting them all. After a while you can sense where you are in relation to other riders. I had managed to catch all but 2 of the riders and had been caught by the last man off (the favourite, last years winner, Andy Miles) by 120 miles and was pleased that Zipp was holding up well and, apart from an increasingly sore undercarriage, I was holding up pretty well too. This was a nice surprise as my training had consisted of getting shingles, not training and then doing the club middle distance race. Of course a lot could happen in the next 7 hours. With 6 hours to go I stopped for my first wee (probably setting some sort of record for time and volume). At 5 hours to go I recaught number 72 and left him trailing. Even with my diminished mental functioning I knew this meant I was in 3rd or possibly better. Reaching the finishing circuit at 200 miles my helper informed me that I may be first or second as I stopped again to relieve myself over my own foot. This was possibly where things started to unfold. I stopped being focussed on staying hydrated and thought more about keeping my stops to a minimum to maintain my position. I was also becoming increasingly unable to sit on my saddle as it was the first time I had used it and it wasn't proving as comfy as the manufacturer claimed. At 215 miles I went to take a bottle on board but dropped its contents over my knees. This had 2 consequences of note. The first was that I would have ridden 50 miles without a drink and the second was that I had become a wasp magnet. I noticed the wasp just a little too late and it was probably the sting that alerted me to its presence. In trying to brush it off I managed to get another two stings and watched in dismay as my knee started to swell and become really stiff. I guess I should be pleased that I didn't spill it over my shorts!
        
I could sense my slowing and by the time I had stopped for a drink I had lost any ability to try and push on. I then managed to lose my chain twice necessitating more stops and, more importantly, one of my tribar pads. This left me unable to put my arm in an aero position as there was just that really hard, bristly Velcro and a protruding bolt to rest on. Now I was really up against it mentally but the happy appearance of Daniel, Daisy and Alice (my long suffering family who had come out for the last hour) made me determined to finish.
        
As the sun started to set and the breeze drop I enjoyed my last lap at a leisurely pace along the scenic leafy lanes and said a last thank you to the crowds (yes, really), marshals and timekeepers. My 12 hours elapsed and I coasted to a grateful halt with my family and helpers not far behind.
        
Back at the HQ there was a lavish selection of food and many stories of individual adventure and endurance being shared amongst our community of long distance lunatics. As the timekeepers reported their findings and mileages were put onto the results board it seemed I had managed 3rd place and a total of 258 and a bit miles.
        
As I wearily packed my bike back into the car I am sure that Zippy gave me a knowing wink. Yes Zippy the Zombie wheel lives on, and I was the grateful dead.
        

Loz Wintergold

 


        
This tale begins many years ago on a dark stormy night (OK, that last bit was poetic license) when I was a small boy watching a television programme about Jim Peters and his dramatic collapse at the end of the 1954 Empire Games. For those who do not know Jim Peters was expected to win this event for England despite the midday Melbourne heat. He had a lead of 3 1/2 miles going into the stadium but had become dehydrated and confused, collapsing with 400 yards to go (it was before metric existed). Thinking his rival was close behind he got up and staggered on with the capacity crowd roaring him forward. With only 200 yards to go he collapsed again and was unable to finish the race to take the gold medal.
        
I was overwhelmed by the courage and determination of this runner. Ever since I have harboured an admiration of endurance feats in all sport and exploration.

        
Up until my 30's this admiration took a very passive form (drinking, driving, eating - and not all at the same time) but a gentle introduction to cycling enabled me to really feel what it must be like to push your body and mind to its' limits. As I came to love cycling and racing I had the opportunity to see how I could perform. The "race of truth" is the name given to time trialling and it is a very simple, pure test of man and machine against time. No one to draft behind and no team tactics.
        
Initially I was content with 10 mile and 25 mile time trials but I hankered for something more. 100 miles - not quite enough. 12 hours to see how far you can go? Now that is a test of endurance.
        
So, in my "prime" I became something of an expert at these managing to come 3rd in the National Championships twice and recording 276.5 miles at my best.
        
Then came mortgage, job responsibilities and (happily) family. With these came a lack of opportunity to ride 300 miles a week in training and an age related slowing down.
        
To counteract this trend I discovered triathlon (or more precisely a bunch of triathletes at the Dolphin bar) and a new world of extreme pain and suffering opened itself up. As someone who didn't learn to swim until I was 26 I was surprised to find myself able to take on and complete an ironman.
        
OK, you are asking what an earth has this got do with Zombies - let me explain.
        
If you were at the club middle distance triathlon (or indeed within 20 miles of Ardingly) you may have heard an unearthly rumbling emanating from the region of my rear. It was not the after effects of "Friday night is curry night" but an unfortunate puncture of my tyre on the downhill off camber descent into Turners Hill. Of course I had no repair kit with me. Not thinking very clearly I decided to try to ride on hoping to make it around the course and complete the race. I soon got used to the bump, bump thud of the flat tyre and the unpredictable handling and was able to continue at a moderate speed by keeping out of the saddle. I even became quite adept at controlling the rear wheel slide that occurred when I strayed off the crown of the road. However by Balcombe the noise had changed to a deep metallic rumble and the handling was now non existent and terrifying. I stopped to take a look and wished I hadn't. The tyre had completely disintegrated with the sidewalls entirely missing and a small strip of rubber nesting between the aluminium sidewalls of the rim.
        
I am not sure if you have tried riding on two 3mm bits of shiny metal but I can inform you of two notable characteristics of this technique - you can't get much traction to move forward and you cant get much traction to stop the bike going sideways. These weren't desirable attributes particularly on the descent towards the viaduct and just as undesirable on the ascent after the viaduct. Happily I needn't have worried too much as my inner tube decided that the steepest section of the uphill by Copyhold Lane was the right place to wrap itself around the axle, seize the wheel and throw me into the hedgerow. Emerging from the shrubbery I took another glance at my £1000 Zipp disc wheel and realised that the rim and braking surface had been more than somewhat abraded by the top quality road surfaces that grace our part of the world (as Austin Powers would say -  it was "totally shagged").
        
I freed up the wheel as best I could and reluctantly teetered the quickest route back to transition along Copyhold Lane to limit any further damage.
        
After I finished the run I was greeted by hoots of derision and mockery as my wheel had become a source of fascination to spectators and competitors alike in my absence.
        
Telling everyone that I had a 12 hour time trial the next weekend and had no back wheel just compounded the ridicule. Mentioning that my new bike was fitted with a special aerodynamic spares storage box and it was empty didn't help matters. And I really shouldn't have said that I had just sold my only suitable spare wheel.
        
With no forthcoming offers of a loan ringing in my ears I went home and sadly dismembered my pride and joy. My Zipp was dead.
        
Or was it....
        
Scouring the internet for bargain or second hand discs revealed a dearth of wheels meeting my criteria - round and less than £500. An e-mail to Zipp suggested a repair price of £800.  So I took a very good look at old Zippy. Whilst the delicate aluminium rim had definitely been comprehensively reprofiled it seemed that not much metal had been lost. Realising that I had little to lose, I set about a 4 hour marathon of filing and sanding by hand. Doing this by hand gave me a very good idea of how thin the aluminium was and how sharp the edges were. Too much sanding would have left the rim too weak to hold the tyre on and too little would have left sharp edges that would destroy the tyre. At 2am I went to bed dreaming of exploding tyres and man eating wheels. Zipp had been raised from the dead. Zipp the Zombie wheel lives.
        
Never one to let inadequate preparation get in the way of racing I only reassembled my bike and pumped up Zippy to (nearly) full pressure the day before my 12 hour race. As nothing gave way immediately I decided to go to bed and was slightly comforted by the knowledge that Steve (A) had loaned, against good advice, his tri-spoke as a spare.
        
Race day started in the usual way - pitch blackness, sense of dread, last minute carbo-loading (which for me was 3 bits of toast with peanut butter and bananas and a slice of cake at the HQ), getting lost en-route to the HQ and remembering what you had forgotten to bring just when it is too late to turn around and get it. In my case I had forgotten to bring the spare back wheel.
        
I opted for a modest 120psi as I readied my bike for the race. I had no support crew for the first 3 hours and had taped various bits of food to myself and my bike with 1.5 litres of High 5 to keep me going. However, the real limiting factor would be the afterlife of Zipp the Zombie wheel. Would it last 12 second, 12 minutes or 12 hours? Anything less than 12 hours would mean a DNF.
        
You may wonder what the state of mind is as you start a 12 hour and I think this is critical to how you manage your physical and psychological state as the day progresses. I viewed this as a nice day of training at a moderate pace and if I got tired I could always take it easy or stop for a rest.
        
You may also wonder about the logistics of a 12 hour race where the result depends on measuring how far you travel in this time (obviously any time you spend off the bike will mean less miles)? It is very cleverly organised so that all riders complete 3 or 4 different circuits of 10-30 miles before ending up on a "finishing" circuit. This circuit has timekeepers every mile or so with a spotter who identifies the rider number. When you have reached the timekeeper just after your 12 hours are up you can stop. Your mileage is worked out by adding the numbers of laps you did of the first circuits, the number of laps you did of the finishing circuit and the number of timekeepers you passed on your last lap and a calculation of the distance you covered between the two final two timekeepers (the one you passed just before 12 hours and the one you passed just after 12 hours who you may have kissed for telling you to stop).
        
Like all time trials, riders start at minute intervals. Out of the 72 competitors I was number 70 and was soon enjoying the countryside around Ashford and Rye. After a couple of hours I had almost stopped worrying about Zipp and was buoyed by the sight of helper at 10am. Helpers are allowed to hand you food and drink but must not follow behind you, hand up supplies on the move or overtake you more than once every 10 miles so we decided to have a set point on each circuit where I would expect to see my helper. This reduced the amount of driving he would do and meant I would know where I could get any assistance I needed.
        
Being such a long event means you get to see a lot of the marshals, riders and their helpers and I made a point of greeting them all. After a while you can sense where you are in relation to other riders. I had managed to catch all but 2 of the riders and had been caught by the last man off (the favourite, last years winner, Andy Miles) by 120 miles and was pleased that Zipp was holding up well and, apart from an increasingly sore undercarriage, I was holding up pretty well too. This was a nice surprise as my training had consisted of getting shingles, not training and then doing the club middle distance race. Of course a lot could happen in the next 7 hours. With 6 hours to go I stopped for my first wee (probably setting some sort of record for time and volume). At 5 hours to go I recaught number 72 and left him trailing. Even with my diminished mental functioning I knew this meant I was in 3rd or possibly better. Reaching the finishing circuit at 200 miles my helper informed me that I may be first or second as I stopped again to relieve myself over my own foot. This was possibly where things started to unfold. I stopped being focussed on staying hydrated and thought more about keeping my stops to a minimum to maintain my position. I was also becoming increasingly unable to sit on my saddle as it was the first time I had used it and it wasn't proving as comfy as the manufacturer claimed. At 215 miles I went to take a bottle on board but dropped its contents over my knees. This had 2 consequences of note. The first was that I would have ridden 50 miles without a drink and the second was that I had become a wasp magnet. I noticed the wasp just a little too late and it was probably the sting that alerted me to its presence. In trying to brush it off I managed to get another two stings and watched in dismay as my knee started to swell and become really stiff. I guess I should be pleased that I didn't spill it over my shorts!
        
I could sense my slowing and by the time I had stopped for a drink I had lost any ability to try and push on. I then managed to lose my chain twice necessitating more stops and, more importantly, one of my tribar pads. This left me unable to put my arm in an aero position as there was just that really hard, bristly Velcro and a protruding bolt to rest on. Now I was really up against it mentally but the happy appearance of Daniel, Daisy and Alice (my long suffering family who had come out for the last hour) made me determined to finish.
        
As the sun started to set and the breeze drop I enjoyed my last lap at a leisurely pace along the scenic leafy lanes and said a last thank you to the crowds (yes, really), marshals and timekeepers. My 12 hours elapsed and I coasted to a grateful halt with my family and helpers not far behind.
        
Back at the HQ there was a lavish selection of food and many stories of individual adventure and endurance being shared amongst our community of long distance lunatics. As the timekeepers reported their findings and mileages were put onto the results board it seemed I had managed 3rd place and a total of 258 and a bit miles.
        
As I wearily packed my bike back into the car I am sure that Zippy gave me a knowing wink. Yes Zippy the Zombie wheel lives on, and I was the grateful dead.
        

Ardingly Middle/Standard distance

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After all the recent good weather, it was a bit of a shock when we awoke to pouring rain for the 4th Middle Distance Race. The long course was exactly the same format as in previous years, but this time there was a short distance option, and in the end the majority of competitors took it, no doubt influenced by the weather.

13 people and one relay squad went for the long course, 18 and one relay team for the short course, 6 just did a swim, and 4 others did other distances (a bit of a mixture).

The race got under way at 7.45am, just a few minutes late, to allow time for the EGM to vote for a change in the club constitution. Once done everyone got in the water and there was a short countdown to the start. As the countdown got down to 3 there was a flurry of activity and Steve Mac dived in to just make the start in time.

There were 43 swimmers at the start, so there was plenty of action, but it was Dave Gorley who rapidly pulled away from the field, and completed the 1900m swim in 31.49, nearly 3 minutes ahead of Neil Giles, who is not exactly slow!!

After the swim both Mike John and Steve Mac had to pull out, both were feeling queasy - Mike had a bug and felt too unwell to continue. That was a shame as he has been training well.

Everyone knows how challenging the bike circuit is, whether it is one circuit or two. Unfortunately a few people got confused as to whether they were doing 1 or 2 laps and tried to go round again. Next year we will get some more specific signs for this!!

If the bike course was not hard enough, Loz and Lucy both got affected by punctures. Lucy did the sensible thing and waited to be rescued, but Loz was on a mission - he just kept riding flat out with a flat rear tyre. He got away with it for a few miles but eventually the tyre came off the rim, and he was riding on aluminium. The bike became difficult to handle and he came off at one stage, and was forced to cut the second lap short in the interests of safety. By the time he came in to T2 - it was not the sight of his wrecked wheel but the sound it was making - I have heard quieter tractors!!

Dave Gorley was unaware of Loz's problems and pushed really hard on the run. His winning time of 4h43m35s was excellent but missed out on James Dear's 2012 course record by 14 seconds!!

Both John and Kate MacTear kept going extremely well, and ended up winning the BAR race and are the MSTC Middle Distance Champions. Dean showed his strength in recovering from his recent Ironman to still come out and complete the long course in 7h05m - to huge applause.

After the miserable weather at the start, the sun eventually came out. By the time David Ricketts got the BBQ going, the conditions were perfect for relaxing and enjoying everyone's company.

Leicester Tri Club won the Inter Club competition comfortably - taking back the trophy that we won last year.

Thanks to the people who helped out. It is a 'no-frills' race, but everyone mucked in with the registration and body marking, and Roger and Graeme were around most of the day timekeeping. (There may be some errors or missing times, so if there are any corrections please let me know). Also thanks to Tim and Claire and to the guys at the Activity Centre.

I haven't mentioned many specific times or performances but the results are elow:

 

Number NAME SWIM BIKE RUN FINISH Position
SHORT COURSE
39 James Dear 00:20:11 01:36:37 01:16:26 00:29:22 02:05:59 1
15 Paul Newsome 00:17:59 01:38:33 01:20:34 00:29:37 02:08:10 2
7 Bob Norton 00:22:06 01:44:50 01:22:44 00:32:52 02:17:42 3
35 Rob Hoodless 00:19:35 01:45:38 01:26:03 00:32:56 02:18:34 4
12 Mark Jordan/Martin Sanwell Relay 00:18:55 01:35:20 01:16:25 00:44:38 02:19:58 Relay
9 Mike Jaffe 00:21:41 01:53:50 01:32:09 00:31:16 02:25:06 5
8 Rupert Robinson 00:22:32 01:44:44 01:22:12 00:40:38 02:25:22 6
4 David Ricketts 00:21:37 02:15:10 01:53:33 00:37:34 02:52:44 7
36 Mike Hook 00:26:10 02:17:23 01:51:13 00:39:28 02:56:51 8
5 Bee Furber 00:18:19 02:16:53 01:58:34 00:44:44 03:01:37 9
38 Jane Faulkner 00:24:41 02:27:22 02:02:41 00:51:17 03:18:39 10
28 Liam Collins 00:19:21 02:29:32 02:10:11 00:53:00 03:22:32 11
1 Dale Moore 00:29:19 02:43:33 02:14:14 00:48:39 03:32:12 12
20 Neil White 00:19:57 02:27:55 02:07:58 01:09:04 03:36:59 13
23 Ashley Langton 00:20:30 02:17:53 01:57:23 01:24:42 03:42:35 14
18 Les Frost 00:19:57 02:27:43 02:07:46 01:15:07 03:42:50 15
25 Ann Pearce 00:25:44 03:59:38 03:59:38 16
6 Lesley Booth 00:24:28 02:52:27 02:27:59 01:07:33 04:00:00 17
19 Elly Pullen 00:25:44 02:17:53 01:52:09 01:46:17 04:04:10 18
3 Simon Barton 00:19:32 02:03:10 01:43:38 no run
21 Steve Mcmenamin 00:18:02
24 Tiffany Mackness 00:24:35  
34 Kay Mcmenamin 00:24:54
32 Mike John 00:25:54 Dnf
ODD DISTANCES
29 Neil Giles 00:34:25 01:53:22 01:18:57 00:29:10 02:22:32
30 Clare Strachan 00:46:09 02:36:25 01:50:16 00:35:06 03:11:31
12 Martin Sanwell 01:45:57 01:45:57 00:26:02 02:11:59
LONG COURSE
14 Lawrence Wintergold 00:37:20 03:02:24 02:25:04 01:38:28 04:40:52 short bike
26 David Gorley 00:31:49 03:09:07 02:37:18 01:34:28 04:43:35 1
22 Martin Burder 00:38:12 03:20:40 02:42:28 01:30:42 04:51:22 2
31 Emma Tilbury 00:41:48 04:21:40 03:39:52 00:49:48 05:11:28 short run
40 John McTear 00:37:02 03:48:29 03:11:27 01:41:49 05:30:18 3
41 Kate McTear 00:41:53 03:54:52 03:12:59 01:35:26 05:30:18 Fem 1
37 David Beale 00:43:33 03:43:14 02:59:41 01:49:50 05:33:04 4
11 Sadie Murphy 00:38:20 03:51:40 03:13:20 01:44:37 05:36:17 Fem 2
16 Laura Davison 00:37:09 03:49:38 03:12:29 01:52:27 05:42:05 Fem 3
13 Nick Deakin 00:41:11 03:37:26 02:56:15 02:07:19 05:44:45 5
17 Paul Pearce 00:42:36 03:53:09 03:10:33 01:59:40 05:52:49 6
27 Julie Williams 00:47:29 03:52:12 03:04:43 02:18:12 06:10:24 Relay
2 Lucy Williams 00:56:37 04:58:50 04:02:13 01:58:59 06:57:49 short bike
42 Steve Harley 00:40:37 04:58:50 04:18:13 01:59:34 06:58:24 7
10 Dean Allen 00:55:53 04:33:19 03:37:26 02:31:57 07:05:16 8
43 Pippa Crouch 00:40:45
33 Jason Cole 00:41:10

 

 

Steve A

 

Ironman UK, Bolton 2013 -anything is possible!

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My triathlon journey has been a long one, my first one London 2003 was done as a charity challenge and the Olympic distance was completed in 3 hours and 56 minutes!

My first mid Sussex triathlon was the following year, I finished in 193rd place out of 195 with a time of 1 hour and 50 minutes!  Over the years I enjoyed the multi discipline of triathlon but never really took it seriously until I joined the MSTC last year. So enrolling to do an Ironman was a big big challenge for me!

The preparation for the Ironman had gone reasonably well up until three weeks before race day when I strained a calf muscle on a steady lunchtime run. I did not do any further exercise apart from swimming until the big day, now that's what you call tapering!!

A delayed set off and horrendous traffic meant we arrived in Bolton a lot later than expected and didn't get chance to register or attend the first timers briefing , this meant we had to do a lot more running around pre race day than expected . We did however get everything done and I enjoyed a chicken and pasta meal and was able to settled and relax in the room to get an early night! Now you would have thought that a hotel that doubles its standard rate for the Ironman weekend would not hold a wedding reception the night before hundreds of triathlete's had to rise at 4 am to complete one of the toughest endurance races going! Of course they did, two floors below our room, people outside shouting, cars hooting until after 2 am, just what you need.

Notwithstanding this race morning went well, I awoke at 4.30 am to have my usual pre training breakfast of some cereal bars, bananas and a hot mug of tea, the only plus side of the hotel was that it was a 5 minute walk from the swim start at Pennington flash, I was therefore able to put my wetsuit on in the room and walk directly to the lake.

We were ushered into the water for a prompt 6am start, I was planning to go to the back of the mass start but inadvertently found myself right in the middle of the pack, this made the first few hundred meters interesting with lots of arms and legs flailing everywhere. It did soon settle down and I managed to swim at the pace I wanted to. All the coaching I had received and the swims at Ardingly had paid off as I felt comfortable throughout the 3.8km swim and exited the lake in 94 minutes, which was around the time I had estimated.

I took my time in T1 to ensure that I was ready for what I expected would be a seven hours on the bike , the only glitch was that I had managed to lock the buttons on my Garmin and was therefore unable to get it to operate after the swim ! The bike ride started well I seemed to overtake more people than overtook me and I managed to continue doing this even when I started to eat the buffet I had prepared on my crossbar. As those of you who have completed Bolton know the main feature of the bike ride is Sheep House lane, it's bad enough the first time let alone the third, most of my training rides had been from one point to another, having to do three 50 km laps really seemed to affect my enthusiasm and I was really feeling tired by the third lap. The third climb was really tough and not wanting to do the walk of shame I kept digging in but this caused my quads to cramp a few times which was quite unpleasant. I kept the wheels turning albeit very slowly .This was further impounded by a change in the weather as torrential rain had joined the wind that was already quite strong. I was secretly hoping to finish the bike course in less than seven hours but actually finished ten minutes short of eight hours, towards the end of the ride I was really feeling fatigued and couldn't wait to reach T2 and dump my beloved bike.

I had stayed on my bike for the whole duration so I enjoyed a walk and stretch around T2 wondering where I was going to get the energy to run a marathon. As I started my run I seemed to regain my enthusiasm, running was a luxury after spending that long on the bike! I knew I still had just under seven hours to run my marathon , I kept informing myself that even I could do that ! Even in the first few miles I passed people who were already walking, I wanted to run as long as I could without having to stop, I did this for probably the first 25 km or so. After an initial point to point run there was again three 10k laps to complete, again this didn't help, knowing you still had to do the same run another two times after completing the first lap. I kept at it though and even started to believe I would now become an ironman, I started walking up the steep parts of the route, the continuous rain seemed to help and the vocal support of the locals really spurred me on! Complete strangers shouting your name really does help you along! I stopped each time at the feed stations and took on anything now, gels, drinks I had never heard of, I even drank cheap cola. I was certainly getting my money's worth ! Entering the final lap seemed to give me a new found burst of energy , my quads and calf's still felt really tight and my knee and ankle joints were hurting like hell but I know had the determination to get this over with and decided that I was not going to walk any of the last lap , I kept running even at a slow pace and felt good as I passed many people , as I turned to finish the last turn I knew I had about 5km to go , I continued running as I knew that finishing before 9pm ( 15 hours ) was possible . Even setting myself this target I did still have to have a rest and walk parts as even the downhill was hurting my knees. These breaks were short and I did run for the remainder of the race , it was such a relief to turn into the finish and hear the noise of the spectators at the finish line , although I wasn't quite expecting what confronted me , the noise , spotlights , camera flashbulbs , this was my minute of fame ! I almost felt like a celebrity! I wish now that I had savoured it more and had stopped to embrace my wife and family and walk over the line high - fiving all the kids along the finish straight, but I just wanted to get over that line and went for the grandstand finish and ran to it. I was seven minutes over the 15 hours but that was irrelevant now! I had done it , as the announcer bellowed from the sound system " Dean you are an Ironman "

So back to the Ironman's logo of anything is possible , well this time last year I never ever thought I would be able to finish an Ironman and if Dean Allen can do it anyone of YOU can do it !

Many of my fellow club members have been so instrumental in helping me achieve this goal, your advice; coaching, training and race tips, support and encouragement gave me the confidence to believe that "anything is possible ". My sincere thanks go to you all! Thanks also to those of you who have sponsored me; I have raised nearly two grand for Help for Heroes.

I also want to make special mention to Jeff Woodall who trained so hard for Ironman 2013 only to have been seriously injured in an accident two weeks before the event. Jeff would have finished a lot quicker than I did. Hope you are there next year mate!

Dean Allen

August 2013