ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Use this to post your race reports, posts must contain references to your obligatory mid pee fart...

ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby ris » 15 Sep 2015 19:44

Where: tenby, pembrokeshire.
When: 13 september 2015
Organiser: irooooooooooooonman
Course details: dirty great long distance - all of them hilly, especially the swim
Distance(s): 3.8km sea swim (2 laps, aussie exit), 180km lumpy bike, 42.2km lumpy run.
Marshalling: plenty, many of them cheery and helpful, lots of slow down waving for pesky corners.
Facilities: expo (mostly overpriced), change tents, portaloos all over the place, night lamps, lots of aid stations, mech support
Technical: chip timing, closed roads, draft busters (apparently)
Freebies: tech tshirt, medal, pizza, massage, the adoration of the crowds, tired legs, bruised egos.

and so, my season closes with a bang. and perhaps a whimper. mostly a bang.

it was all about this race, really. another pop at long distance after loving IM Kalmar far too much than was sensible and really wanting some family support there this time. IM wales really appealed for the course as well, particularly the bike, which on paper would suit a skinny bastard with a love of hills. i signed up with a macmillan charity place almost immediately the race opened, knowing that if i was going to go through all this again it had better be for a decent cause, and at that time there was no better one i could think of then the people that had helped my mum in 2013.

and then in january i wished that i didn't have to do it for a decent cause that were making a difference to her in 2015. load of shit, but at least i knew why i was there! my main objectives were to raise a bundle of cash, not be injured (as 2014 was such a delightful year off) and perhaps get my im marathon time under 4 hours. the first was achievable, i the second feasible and the last one a stretch. i knew that on a course like IM wales i wouldn't get close to my overall kalmar time.

winter and spring, even summer had my body holding up pretty well, with the problems in my back largely a faded memory of bad times past. i did some short races and enjoyed them, i did some long rides and long days and sort of enjoyed them, too. i probably didn't do enough long bikes but with my lifestyle they aren't really an option. i did fairly well with what time i had. i was also using and getting into the habit of riding my new-to-me tt bike, which at times would make me blisteringly quick and other times irritatingly steady.

i booked a place to stay for the weekend (no camping this time!), organised the family (mum, luce, vee) and by the middle of august i reached training saturation and a period of really busy weekends - my brother's stag do, then his wedding, a weekend home, and then IM. i also had (and still have) a ton of work on, and have been travelling up to manchester weekly for a while, which has done my training little help (tiredness, not eating properly, missing swimming sessions in particular). on the drive up to the stag do i felt an unwelcome tightness in my back again, which i tried to be relaxed and sanguine about. i stretched and tried to look after it, but 10 days later it was still there. i booked some physio and it started easing out in the weekend before the race. i felt like i'd dodged it.

i could really have done without all the pissing around with kit in the week leading up to the race, but such is life. eventually, the manufacturers admitted defeat and i raced in the green kit i bought from wiggle. new kit, box fresh, never worn before. i know, i know...

i had a late vacillation about what bike to use. while i loved my tt bike for the crazy charge about on the flat pace i'd never felt totally convinced about how well i climb on it. partly this is confidence and approach and partly gearing. the moda road bike has a broader cassette (11-26) but i am a lazy git who hates using the front mech, so i know that the tt bike cassette (12-23) has more to it than i give it credit for if only i would change gear more. i decided to take both bikes and let the weather decide - if it was wet and windy i'd take the roadie, drier and calmer i'd risk the tt.

i drove up on the friday, aiming to make the 5pm registration and maybe the briefing and traffic conspired against me. the weather had eased from wet all day sunday to wet in the morning and late evening. the wind was remaining fairly strong, though. i had the friday evening to myself (family followed on saturday afternoon), so went into tenby to get some supper and recce the place a bit. i had a nice pizza and walked around a bit - located transition, expo, registration and the sea. the wind was really strong from the south, the sea looked rough and it was raining - i was not feeling the love.

saturday morning i went in early to get registered and then headed home to pack bags and get kit together. i then cycled into tenby to rack up in my allocated hour window. it was pretty easy, no faff. in, hang kit, out. i did all the mucking about at the house, checking lists etc. i chose the tt bike and backed myself to cope with the descents and wind, and that my legs would get me up the hills on that stupid cassette.

once i'd done that i met up with a uni friend who lives in the town and did the race last year. she gave me some useful tips (putting a water bottle in the shoe back for the run to t1 from the sea) and i enjoyed a coffee and chat. almost as soon as she headed off ewan came into town and so i continued the relaxing chat! then my other half, mum and vee arrived just before ewan and i went to the race briefing.

all done and dusted i headed home for some early pizza, set my stuff out and went to bed as early as possible. just so that i could lie in the dark and not sleep much. alarm at 4.30am. my goals for the race - ideally to finish 10mins either side of 12h, and perhaps with a sub-4h marathon. being realistic, i figured a 1:05 swim, 15mins for t1 (1km run in there), 6:30 bike, 5mins t2, and 4h ish for the run.

up with the lark, got ready and had a little bit of brekkie. bad news morning - my back ached. i lay on the floor for a bit and tried to open it up, used my foam roller (be prepared!). nothing i could about it and from experience i can ride, swim and run ok when it is sore. i drove in to town, parked up and then spent 20mins in the queue for the pay machine. fairly suddenly i had another problem - transition closes in a little over 10mins! i get there fairly asap and then immediately have to turn tail and jog to the sea for the start area. the town is heaving at 6am, absolutely rammed. barriers either side of the route are 4-5 deep already and the atmosphere is great.

i spot ewan and chat to him for a bit, before letting him go to an earlier spot in the rolling start pens. i positioned myself in the 1:05-1:10, figuring i could use the people in front to pull me along for a bit. i take it easy at the start, walking briskly rather than running into the water, figuring there is no point to getting too adrenalined up so early on. the sea wasn't that cold but it was pretty choppy. i could barely see the turn point buoy (it was 700m away so no surprise) but there were plenty of canoeists, smaller yellow markers and a lifeboat out there. where is dave when you need him, i thought.

early on the swim was fine, a lot of people arsing about and swimming all over the place, but mostly free from the kickypunchy stuff. about 200m from the turn buoy it was much harder - the swell was bigger, the breakers higher and swimmers being lobbed about more. after the turn it was worse - the wind was now more in the face and you were climbing the swell. best i could do to sight was to aim at tenby and hope that it was where the buoy was! got plenty of mouthfuls of water, lots of erratic swimmers around and a genuine challenge. once we were back in the shadow the headland the sea settled down a bit, then it was a turn back to the shore with the tide behind you, out onto the beach for the aussie exit and back into the water.

i knew what was coming this time and was more prepared for the sea crazy at the turn, but it still impressed me how many people were getting thrown off course. i could see a line of swimmers further out while i hugged the bouys and canoeist line. no point in swimming further than i had to in those conditions! back to the beach and a look at the watch to see 1:06. bit slower than i'd have liked but not offensive given the conditions. up the switchbacks to get my shoes while stripping the wetsuit. opted to take it off there and sling it over my shoulder for the run to t1, while rinsing my mouth with the bottle of water i'd left in there.

got a great cheer from the butlers and weeksy as i bimbled past. first bit done i was on the way - into t1 for my bag of bike crap and headed to the 'strip' area of the changing tent as i'd been advised it is usually quieter in there and more room, which there was. i took a few moments in there to make sure i was wearing what i thought i needed - putting on arm warmers as it was still brisk. i'd put sun cream on at home in the morning just in case, but wasn't expecting it to be needed. i put bibs on over my tri shorts and a cycling jersey as that worked will in kalmar. as i left for my bike i saw ewan going into get his. good to see a friendly face, even if it meant he might have had a trying time in the swim - was pretty sure i wouldn't see him again, though!

out of t2 and onto the bike i was looking forward to the first bit, which was more rolling, and a chance to see my support crew on the edge of tenby. the cheers i got as i passed them were really appreciated, and i was soon well on my way. i chose to avoid drinking for 30mins or so to try and let my stomach settle the sea water and then only took on small amounts until an hour when i started eating. the first aid stop was at 24miles, and by then i was in the mire - my back was sore and i couldn't sit back and power up the hills. the best i could do was to stick it in 39/23 and crawl along, any harder and i could feel it tightening up. being on the aero bars wasn't much better.

i was quite worried by this, i had a long way to go and didn't know if this would deteriorate further so i tried to conserve the load i put through the pedals accordingly. by half way, in narbeth, i was coming to the conclusion it wasn't getting any worse and standing on the pedals was ok. i was getting concerned that if i couldn't bike i wouldn't be able to run, either. i was prepared to walk the marathon, though, and finish come-what-may.

i was eating and drinking ok, probably not quite enough, but regularly at least. i took water at every aid station and as the sun came out i took the armwarmers off and popped some nuun tablets into bottles. i'd heard a lot about narbeth, the climb up to it, and how strong the crowds and support is there and it didn't disappoint, but it was wiseman's bridge, saundersfoot and tenby that really took the breath away. the first had a 16% climb out, that my gearing and legs weren't really up to. straight from the top is the descent into saundersfoot and then an immediate 12-15% up through a single-file, close-up spectator frenzy up st brides hill. the atmosphere and crowds were extraordinary, like something from the tour! from there it was into tenby and the crowds in the centre all going wild.

the second lap was a bit more of a slog - i was getting very tired and could see my hoped 6:30 time drifting away as my legs died off. i spent a lot of time in the 39 just to take the load off my back and a couple of times felt a little light headed. i took a gel to try and combat that, but again, it told me that i wasn't in a great place and still had the run to do. the thought of wiseman's, saundersfoot and tenby kept me going, though, despite knowing what they would mean in terms of climbing. 16% after 105mi on busted legs, with a 23t on the back - i really can't recommend it - some hubris for me! i had backed my legs and climbing ability to see me through and got shown up.

i'd enjoyed bits of the ride, there had been some good banter and camaraderie from those i'd been yo-yo-ing with (overtaking on the hills, being taken back on the descents, or coming past when i stopped for a 'luxury fart' at an aid station). there had been some drafting though - little groups of 3's and 4s all tightly grouped up - and pretty much no sign of any bikes. i think i was overtaken twice by draft busters. bit of a shame.

as i came into tenby for the final time i was glad to get off the bike, i'd had plenty enough, and just had to hope that my legs, back and stomach were up to the run. again i took some time in t1 to compose and get all my stuff together before heading off. i took the bibs and jersey off and put a tri top on, racing flats (fresh out of the box - i know!) and headed out. i felt ok, running smoothly enough. i had hoped to run between the aid stations but knew the hills might stuff that plan up, and promised myself i'd run the hills if i wanted - ideally a one minute walk but whatever worked each time.

i saw a recognisable top as i closed on the first aid station - the yellow of flowers and butterflies - and eventually caught up with ewan about 2-3miles out. he said he'd had a tough time in the swim and bike, i said likewise! i was run-walking and so let him go. when i next saw him he had a 3-4min lead on me, but i wasn't running his race and was just conserving what i had. the aid stations didn't have the hyrdo gels that i prefer and trying to sip down the more concentrated ones was horrible, so i switched to flat pepsi quite early. i walked pretty much every aid station and took a sip of water and a couple of pretzels.

i was still hoping for a 4h mara, which would get me 12:15 or so, but was only on target after halfway and figured i'd fade toward the end and gave it up. i started thinking 12:30 might be a decent backup goal, given where i was and how long the hills are on the run. each lap i walked a little more and ran a little less. the heat went from the day and as it clouded over it got a bit chilly for a tri-suit. somewhere i caught ewan again but i can't remember where, but everytime we saw each other there was a motivational high-5 which was massively appreciated by me. once past half-way i think i was just happy to mooch along to a finish.

the course goes up out of tenby, probably for 2.5miles, then you turn back, down the hill and do a short weave through the town, where the support was consistently bonkers. by 6pm it was heaving with quite drunk crowds all cheering and offering you beer, and loads of kids all wanting high-5s and really appreciating it when you did. again, i was yo-yo-ing with a few other racers, passing them when i was running and being passed when i walked. eventually i would slowly move past them - the run-walk, when you actually run, is extremely effective. my personal cheer group were walking up the hill toward the mid-point macmillan cheer station on the second lap and i got to say hello properly on the third. it looked like going under 12:30 wasn't quite going to happen and i decided that was fine! i hadn't had to walk the mara so it can't have all been bad.

the finish was brilliant, being able to take the turn away from 'lap', go round the corner and to the crowds at the mat and arch. by 7.30pm it was just dark enough for all the arc lights to be on at the finishing chute, which make for a fabulous spectacle. i saw mum and vee at the finish and gave them a wave and then made the most of red mat. a long day, probably harder than i'd expected, but worth it.

ewan was only a couple of minutes from his finish but somehow i missed him in the post-finish area. i was probably already having the massage my back so badly needed. i found i couldn't eat anything - my mouth was very sore from the sugarry crap i'd been eating all day. despite quite fancying a beer afterwards when i actually tasted it i changed my mind. bad bad times. i caught up briefly with cat, andy, chris and mama weeks after, before getting my stuff and heading home. as much as i'd liked to have stayed to the end i think mum, luce and vee needed to be home and i wasn't going anywhere once we were back. just as we got home, about 9pm, the heavens opened - so glad to avoid it.

so... long and short of it... i feel ruined. my back is still sore and i must spend this winter strengthening it up more. it's taken nearly 2 days to be able to eat properly again. did i enjoy the day?.. nearly. the reality is that at both long distance events i've felt let down by my bike and that's basically because i don't do the 100mi rides often enough and probably never will. if i can accept that then i might do another. i like the challenge and the finishes and crowds are worth it, and tenby delivers on those in spades.

swim - 1:06:57 (lap 1 - 32, lap 2 34 ish) - 144
t1 - 15mins
bike - 6:48:57 - 435
t2 - 7mins
run - 4:12:33 - 375

overall - 12h:30:32 - 375

375 out of 2000+ is really good, and better than kalmar! the swim position looks amazing, though. shows what i'm capable of in tough conditions. happy times.

more importantly, i raised over £2,300 for macmillan. every pound there is worth those hills and that stupid cassette choice!
most disturbing in lycra, 2010, 2012, 2013
club champ 2015
User avatar
ris
 
Posts: 4445
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 15:15
Location: wilts
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby King Sad » 15 Sep 2015 20:19

Boom, first to reply :ninja: 375 out of 2000 is pretty f#### awesome in my book :D

Well what can I say pretty damn fine effort, bloody well done :D
It seemed like a good idea at the time :? .



http://www.KingSad.UK
User avatar
King Sad
Clearly spends too much time on forum
 
Posts: 2138
Joined: 28 Mar 2011 07:05

Re: ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby Bopomofo » 15 Sep 2015 20:44

Bloody hell, ris. That was a brilliant effort and a great read.

Choked a bit over your 3rd para... on a much smaller scale I've done Cancer Research races for reasons that made me wish I wasn't there. Wouldn't surprise me if it had some effect on you and the day, too.

But, the positive: you raised a shed-load of cash taking on a genuine challenge. If you'd wanted me to name the people in this club that stood a chance of maximising their abilities on the IM Wales course I'd have put you and Ewan in the frame. The fact that you both had such tough days out is really telling.

Seems that all the swim training has paid off handsomely: not bad for a skinny amateur! 8-)

The bike sounds horrific... You've properly put me off ever contemplating this race, although it wasn't really a properly formed thought anyway.

The run, well, you kept going.

And your overall time/position was, as you say, really good. Wonder what you'd have done with more longer rides and less of a comedy cassette choice. :D

Well done old chum.
I had fun once. It was awful.
User avatar
Bopomofo
 
Posts: 5125
Joined: 11 Jan 2010 16:21
Location: Southampton
Blog: View Blog (3)

Re: ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby Kevy427 » 15 Sep 2015 21:17

New kit on race day. Twat. TT bike with a 23 cassette on a lumpy course. Twat. Finishing an Ironman and raising money for a good cause...chapeau! :D

Well done!
Pedalling between cake shops
User avatar
Kevy427
 
Posts: 4282
Joined: 06 Nov 2010 18:39
Location: The Principality of Pagham

Re: ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby IanM » 15 Sep 2015 22:01

Absolutely awesome Nick. Just think though, if it wasn't for the "luxury fart", you might have gone inside 12:30
User avatar
IanM
 
Posts: 3954
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 14:53
Location: West/East Mids border

Re: ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby ris » 15 Sep 2015 22:26

hahahaha - true! it wasn't quite the best fart of my life (that was at IM kalmar), but a close second. :D

i've just realised i've lost a pad off my aerobars - it fell off after about 70miles after getting stuck to my arm. i fashioned a makeshift replacement with a small velcro pouch i'd pointlessly attached to my top tube 'just-in-case'. turns out it was perfect and meant i could actually the bars still. anyone know if they are easy to get replacements for?
most disturbing in lycra, 2010, 2012, 2013
club champ 2015
User avatar
ris
 
Posts: 4445
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 15:15
Location: wilts
Blog: View Blog (26)

Re: ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby Worrying Will » 16 Sep 2015 00:53

Brilliant. Ris

Sent from my C5303 using Tapatalk
Thinks to much about it all
User avatar
Worrying Will
 
Posts: 2372
Joined: 10 Apr 2011 17:01
Location: South Derbyshire

Re: ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby IanM » 16 Sep 2015 06:22

ris wrote:
i've just realised i've lost a pad off my aerobars - it fell off after about 70miles after getting stuck to my arm. i fashioned a makeshift replacement with a small velcro pouch i'd pointlessly attached to my top tube 'just-in-case'. turns out it was perfect and meant i could actually the bars still. anyone know if they are easy to get replacements for?


Reasonably easy, if you know the model of the bars - Profile Design do a full range, and mine are ~£15 for a set of replacements. Having said that, I've moved to using foam pads that I cut out myself as I was getting through pads every 2 months due to the PD ones being crap and becoming thin very quickly. Means I can alter the pad thickness too - eg I might put thinner ones on for a ten where comfort is less important as it's (possibly) marginally more aero.
User avatar
IanM
 
Posts: 3954
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 14:53
Location: West/East Mids border

Re: ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby Sir Jibbenstein » 16 Sep 2015 07:39

Awesome stuff Ris. Well done! Sounds like a race worthy of a BCTTT'r with the kit choices, but Nick Hodges, you are an Ironman! Well done, and well done for raising much.
User avatar
Sir Jibbenstein
 
Posts: 4151
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 15:12
Location: Southampton
Blog: View Blog (3)

Re: ironman wales - 13.09.2015

Postby Jack Hughes » 16 Sep 2015 08:55

It was a lot easier watching the tracker.


Incredible stuff. And you should be extremely proud of the amount you have managed to amass for Macmillan.

And you (and Ewan) smashed that Emma Pooley in the swim (she took 1:17).
Omnia Vanitas

Immortal (for a limited tme).
User avatar
Jack Hughes
 
Posts: 11085
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 17:19
Location: God's own county

Next

Return to Race Reports

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron