I again made up places in transition and was off onto the run. There was no way I was going to do my usual triathlon fast first mile as I needed to flush out my legs and the rain was now hammering down. However, I was glad to be running and not still out on the bike. The run at The Outlaw isn’t very exciting. A loop of the lake followed by a long loop out past the football stadium into the city and then back around the lake before another long loop and 2 more laps of the lake. I was slowing down with every mile but knew I just had to keep plodding on to beat my target. In hindsight now I wish I had kept a better pace but I probably couldn’t have run much faster.
By the time I had reached half way I knew I was on for a good time but 13 miles is a bloody long way to run when your tanks are running on empty. I was taking on coke and High5 as much as I could to get the quick energy boosts but now needed proper energy so was getting desperate for each feed station. About 19 miles in I knew I was bonking so stopped at the feed station and ate a banana and some Jaffa cakes and walked for a bit. This worked and within 5 minutes I was running again back towards the final two loops of the lake.
If you have ever run around HPP lake you’d know what a soul destroying place it can be. However as I began the first loop I heard a shout “Come on Hutch.” It was a well known book writer Pirate and a few other friends who had come to see Sid finish. This gave me a much needed push so I kept my mincing run pace all the way around the last two laps of the lake. I had about 30 mins to do the last lap and it was absolute agony but knew that if I pushed on I’d be below 11 hours and finally as I went onto the red carpet I knew I had it crossing the line in 10 hours 57 minutes, 14 seconds an Iron distance PB by 3 hours 24 minutes and a finishing position of 124th!!!
I was into and out of T1 in record time for me as I knew I had a good bike time in me and I wanted to get the bike done before the rain if I could. Mounting the bike with so many others in a small space was a bit of a nightmare and I was lucky not to hit a bloke in front of me who couldn’t clip his shoes in. I was soon out onto the road and set about doing the best I could. One guy on a road bike was absolutely flying and there was no way I could keep up with him even doing the 22.5mph I was averagingat that point. However, I was getting past so many cyclists there was no way I was ever going to be accused of drafting. I was soon motoring along and went through the Pirate feedstation giving my “arghhhhh’s” but not taking anything. My mission was to break 5 hours so I had to push on. I looked at my Garmin at 56 miles – 2h28 so I knew it would be a push to keep the pace going and it was. The wind was picking up in the second loop and it felt like we were going into a headwind for about 10 miles as we went back to the third loop with my average speed gradually dropping towards 21mph. I was still overtaking other cyclists though but I was seeing fewer and fewer so knew I must be getting up towards the business end of the race which was a bit of a shock. I was soon heading towards the Pirate feed station again and grabbed a much needed banana.
The rain eventually arrived about 95 miles in and it was soon causing the roads to become treacherous on the bends so speed was again reduced. I now had a few other cyclists behind me trying to keep up. They might have been drafting me but I wasn’t going to turn and lose concentration. As we approached HPP the good roads were replaced by a crappy bit of track for a couple of miles which was horrid as I was so fearful that a puncture would lose me a good bike split. Once that was safely negotiated I quickly downed a Clif Bar ready for the run.
After a good nights sleep Sunday morning arrived. I got up at 4am and was showered and at bike racking by 4.45am to make sure my tyres were pumped to 110psi. Knowing rain was due I wasn’t confident I’d escape with a higher pressure as punctures could be a nightmare.
I was in my wetsuit by 5.30am as I needed a wee and thought I’d avoid the queues and pee in my the wetsuit!
The weather was fine and everyone must have been keeping their fingers crossed for it to stay that way.
I briefly chatted with Red Stripe before heading off into the lake for the swim.
Setting myself down into the 3rd bay (my IM swim PB was1h25) I made my way to the front in the hope that there were no speedy swimmers who would clamber all over me. I was amazed how many swimmers hadn’t listened or been to the briefing as many of them weren’t sure which way we were swimming and others still thought we had to stay to the left of the red buoys until the turn.
Hooter went off and I was soon into my rhythm. No jostling or fighting for space! My usual sighting to the right only meant I was soon drifting right but I kept aiming left of the safety canoes. I was in no trouble and I knew I was doing OK.
It did seem to take forever to reach the orange buoys and by the time I got there I was ready for a wrestle to get around…. which didn’t happen! I was soon around the second orange buoy and headed back to T1. I was again to the right of the pack and out of trouble. Exiting the water I had managed my best ever IM swim! Wow!
I entered The Outlaw last year to try my hand at a flatter course than Wales and Wimbleball. Its got a great reputation for being quick.
I have trained really hard this year especially on the bike, and lost quite a bit of weight. Last summer I had done Wimbleball in 7hrs30 and IM Wales in 14hrs21 but the training hours I have done meant I have set my standards a bit higher. A sub 5 hour Cotswold 113 was completed in June so I knew I had form.
Before I left home on Saturday I had written down my predicted times. Swim 1h20, bike 5h30, run 4h15. Never a good idea I know but its always good to have a time in your head. The forecast for Sunday was pretty crap so I was worried that my bike time might not be so great.
Saturday night was spent in Mud Claw in West Bridgford with some good friends for a few beers, a paella and what I would describe as chocolate heaven pudding – it contained about 1000 calories.