Professional Ironman Triathlete

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Three weekends, three races, three top tens… (installment one!)

So, I know I’ve not blogged for a while… three weekends, three races, three top ten finishes. In reverse order:

London triathlon 6th August

This is one HUGE event. With something like 13000 triathletes competing over the course of the weekend, it literally fills a warehouse where the transition areas and expo are situated. The Timex stand was large and loud at the expo, and as ever I was happy to be stood in front of a 12 foot tall Kyle Marcotte. Kyle did you know you are plastered all over our UK expo stand?

Dan managed to get me an entry to the race the day before, which was good as I wouldn’t have been sure any earlier if my body was ready for a little hit out post Ironman UK the weekend before. I wasn’t expecting much, but an intensity training session makes the trip to Docklands over the weekend a bit more rewarding from a training point of view.

Sunday morning and we were feeling the logistical headache that holding a massive tri festival in East/Central London brings. The closed bike course that heads all the way into Westminster and the Houses of Parliament caused major traffic diversions, and combined with the usual London weekend road works meant that driving round London with two other athletes was quickly turning into a comedy of errors with directions and diversion signs.

Arriving at the race venue about 40 minutes before race start (and about an hour later than planned) meant that there was minimal faffing – rack the Orbea, which hadn’t seen much love since a similar time the weekend before in Bolton, quickly check where bike out/in and run out were, a fleeting note to self that maybe I needed contacts because the transition was SO big that I could barely read the signage at the exits, and it was off to swim start.

The docks, as ever and despite passing EU water quality standards, tasted decidedly strange and was very brown/green. Deep water start and a horn and the ‘fast’ wave were good to go. The event is so large that the field is broken into waves of age groupers and a ‘fast’ wave (sub 2:30) which is supposed to be the most competitive part of the race. The only guys going faster than us today would be the elite, draft-legal ITU race happening a few hours later.

So off we go. I think I started quicker at the ironman last weekend. Arm turnover slow. Heart rate staying really steady state. O yes – the effects of racing last weekend were clear already: zero top end. But that’s good too. This is supposed to be my fun race, to get a bit of work done and shock the body back into training ahead of the next hard 4 week block leading into IMWisconsin. Keep going! The good thing about having done an IM the weekend before is that 1500m goes REALLY quick.
The same thing wasn’t true about T1. Out of the water, onto a pontoon, along the dock, up some stairs into the Excel centre, running around T1… still running around T1…. A bit more running. Several minutes later, thanks to the enormous nature of the race, your lucky enough to be somewhere near your bike. I only missed mine by a row so I think I did quite well. Helmet, race belt and off. At this point I am patting myself on the back for not going for the usual ironman transition which tends to include socks, a bit of food and drink etc etc.

The bike course is uniquely London – Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament happen at one end, and the Docklands dual carriageways and a beautiful stretch of the A13 at the other. It couldn’t be more representative of the capital if it tried. Somehow I managed to keep pushing, though my legs weren’t wanting to go very hard. An hour passed quickly and uneventfully and we were back into the cavernous transition area and out onto the run.

No spark on the run, but I hung in to pass a few people and managed to avoid the splash back from someone vomiting on themselves next to me mid stride. Lovely. 4 laps later the finish happened, but I pretty much headed straight to the Timex stand for a debrief and chat. It was only the next day that I found out I came 6th – a happy bonus!

A good day’s work considering one week on from IM UK. And a lot of fun had on the stand with the Timex/Assit guys. Hats off to Dan Calvert for a storming first Olympic race too. Good job Dan!

Views in the expo/transition area (warehouse!):