Only a few hundred meters to go... then a 112-mile bike ride... and then a marathon
"It was amazing" said Firestar. "Seeing the crowd so close was very emotional."
Out of the swim, into the transition area, a quick change, find your bike and out for the second leg of the race. Well, that’s the idea, anyway.
"Rubbish!" laughed C1 POL. "I couldn’t get my wetsuit off, I was all over the place. Ten minutes in transition. Rubbish!"
Finally out on the bike, the tough undulating course and hot, humid conditions began to take their toll. The main Pirate support crew had positioned itself about a mile from transition, to whip up a storm of noise for all competitors (even Fritz and Helmut who had disc wheels and didn’t waste any energy smiling!). After this emotional lift, the hills began.
"It was almost as hard as Lanza!" claimed Bouncing Barlist. He was referring to Ironman Lanzarote – the toughest Ironman course in the world – which he had completed with a small group of Pirates two months earlier.
At the front of the Pirate contingent, battle for the coveted forum Ironman trophies was fierce. In the men’s race, Iron Mike built on his lead out of the swim by gaining time on Mr M, closely followed by outstanding newcomer CRAB. The women’s race was closer, with Mellifera, Iron Lindi and Petal all jostling for position. Towards the back of the field, as always, the race became an individual struggle for survival.
The hills got steeper, the sun got hotter, the faces got grimmer and the cut-off at 5:30pm loomed ever closer. The pirates dug in and kept pedalling.