It has been too too long since I've posted here. I probably should have posted only here and then pointed to this link as I've blasted this all over the houses.
Here we go!
Ironman Wales 2013 Report
arrived at Tenby on Friday afternoon after a +4 hour drive from St
Albans. The Ironman village was in a car park at the highest point in
town which meant that it was the breeziest place in Tenby! As the
weather had suddenly become autumnal within a few days prior to the
event, Sunday’s conditions were looking pretty mixed, so that breeze was
not a positive. The registration was pretty pain-free as we were
processed and tagged and out the door pretty quick! Luckily, there
wasn’t too much kit to buy, so we ended up buying the standard Ironman
swag. Then it was suddenly time for the event Pasta Party. Not my thing,
but we got a chance to meet up with Sue from Watford Tri. It was good
to catch up with Sue as she and her friend Claire had been to Tenby
I had my customary pain au chocolate,
banana, a bit of porridge, and coffee at 4am to get myself fueled up for
the day. I had a look outside and it had already rained itself out and
was about 6C. Hopefully, the weather could only improve. We got to
transition with plenty of time to spare at about 5:30. Pumped up the
tyres, loaded my drinks up and time to drop off my dry kit. What was
different about this event is that the transition is about a mile from
the swim start requiring a short run back to transition. So we were
provided with bags to stick our running shoes to hang along the railings
on the zigzag ramp down to the sea. Our walk down to the start was a
surreal procession with 1600+ athletes in wetsuits and running shoes.
What a spectacle that must have been. I realised that I ended up at the
front of the procession and standing next to me was the legend who is
Magnus Backstedt! He really is a nice bloke and was completely
approachable. Nice meeting you Maggie!
was pretty pan flat. It’s a two lap affair consisting of a big triangle
with an Australian exit. I got a bit caught up in the crowd at the first
turn which held a lot of us up. The rest of the swim was pretty much
uneventful until we got to the last straightaway. Unfortunately, that
bit was absolutely chockablock with people at various speeds and I
absolutely couldn’t pass anyone. I got completely blocked. I guess
either I need to get more aggressive or learn to swim underwater! Upon
exit, we ran up the zigzag ramp where our T0 shoe bags were for the
intermediary transition. The whole route leading up to T1 was rammed
pretty smooth. I did notice however that I must have brushed against a
jellyfish as my left side of my face was a bit numb. Anyway, I started
with what felt like an easy 32 kph pace and most people were pretty
chilled for the first part of the 40 mile loop. Unfortunately, I
punctured at about 10km as I caught some flint. It was absolute carnage
as there were punctures all over the place! I road my heart out to catch
up to the group I was riding with. Then about 15 km later another
puncture and another piece of flint. I road through some really
beautiful wind swept countryside and finally got to the secondary loop
that we were to take twice. It really got hilly here. Up and down one
country lane to another and then it started raining. There was no
letting up and very few flat bits on this part of the course. Then,
again it happened, I punctured again! I felt like chucking it in at this
point as I was out of spares and sat down at the side of the road. This
would have been my second Ironman DNF for the season and I was pissed!
Suddenly, a fellow competitor asked if I was okay and he circled back.
He actually gave me a spare tube and a CO2 canister and road on. I was
absolutely gobsmacked at his generosity. I crossed my fingers and got to
fixing this final puncture (hopefully). I finally made it around to the
hard bits of the last part of the first lap. Geez that was tough! Scott
Neyedli passed me on that 16% climb. He was looking strong and steady.
Marek (men’s pro second place) passed me on heartbreak hill, but he
looked totally flat. I pushed a little harder and road along side him
until I had to peal off for special needs. The second loop was a bit of a
survival fest for about 30km as I hit that infamous bad patch. I got
some gels down me and finally got my act together. This was probably one
of my worst performances on an Ironman bike course, but shit happens
and that’s Ironman for you!
out of T2 I actually felt fine. The 4 laps of this marathon were both
mentally and physically. The run out of town to the first out and back
was uphill and long. It wasn’t until I got back into town on the 1st lap
that my wheels fell off. My left achilles started pinging at this point
and as this is a seriously hilly run course it’s not exactly forgiving
for such injuries. I had to walk the uphills for about 2 laps until a
handful of ibuprofen would kick in. After lap 2, it started to chuck
down again and didn’t stop! My achilles finally cleared up for the last
lap and I was able to run all the way to the finish line.
Overall Time: 14:14:41
done most of the tough Ironman courses out there and Ironman Wales
hands down is one of the toughest out there. Even with more than an hour
lost to mechanical issues, it is a knacker cracker! It’s got the hills,
the weather and erm... more hills! However, it is one of the most
beautiful courses that has great local support. It certainly is a world
class event that I will surely do again!
Also, BIG thanks to Ian
Pickett who served as my personal Sherpa for the whole of the weekend
last week! You are a great friend and will do well at Kona next month.