Posted: 22/07/2015 at 09:46
The first rolling start for an Ironman in the UK apparently. I put myself in the 1:10 group, knowing that I’d been comfortably swimming between 1:03 and 1:08 in training. I must admit, I’m not a fan of the rolling start. I think the lack of option to get in the water and acclimatise is counter intuitive. There was still some biff-age in the water so all in all I think I’d prefer the mass start.
Lap one done in 38 minutes…hmmm? I had no sighting issues and was holding a good stroke rate. Lap two in 37 minutes giving me a 1:15. What the hell? On checking, I clocked the distance at a couple of meters short of 4.5km, nearly 700m extra. Most people I’d spoke to had the same. So, some time to make up!
No big issues, other than the field had turned in to a bog and there was lots of standing water with the rain still lashing down
I’d rode the loop in training and was comfortable with it so had a target time of 6 hours. Before getting to the loop there is a long steady climb. Good to see Horse marshaling, the weather was that bad I felt sorry for him!
I was making good progress, averaging 30kmph to the first big climb at Sheephouse Lane. At the foot of the hill there was a loud bang, a very familiar sound for me given my puncture problems this year. Jumped off to check the wheels and they were fine. Very odd! Back on I was off. My legs felt good and I was confident. I’d noticed A LOT of people with punctures and mechanicals and was just thinking, “Please not me…please not me”. Well, at 60km, it was. Oh Crap Moment #1. A slow puncture in my front wheel! I pulled over to change it and focused on getting the repair right, trying not to think about all the people coming past me that I’d over taken in the last hour or so. Once I’d repaired the puncture I was off and on a mission. I felt strong and thought right, head down and make this time up. The highlight of the course was Colt Alley where there was some great support, but Sheephouse was also brilliant. The rest of lap one and most of lap two flew by. It was great to see Q, Jo, Jordy and Lou giving some great Pirate support.
Oh Crap Moment #2.I was so focused on making up my lost time I missed picking up nutrition after about 5 hours, having dropped the banana I was trying to grab. Bugger!!! That’ meant no nutrition until T2!
A first for me. I had some words with a bloke from Rochdale Tri who was drafting another competitor when I passed. He latched on to my back wheel until I told him politely to do one!
The home stretch, through Colt Alley for the third time and I hit a god almighty pothole, and I mean REALLY clattered it! Oh Crap Moment #3. I knew what was coming. That familiar sound from the back wheel. I couldn’t believe it, there was only about 10km to go. Unfortunately the tire had ripped too, so it was a real patch and hope job and a case of nursing the bike home over the last 20 minutes.
I eventually rolled over the line in 6h 15m. I was fuming with myself. Not so much about the punctures, but the missed nutrition was playing on my mind.