Ironman Wales 2013 Race Report
Spent he morning before racking my bike and checking in my kit at the transition area. Spent the afternoon shaving off any hair that would slow me down or rub my skin off.A few beers and a Chinese to celebrate Johnnys 18th birthday put me at ease and help me get to sleep earlyish. 4.30 am wake up. Had breakfast then drove into Tenby to check my Bike and kit. As the 39th youngest athlete my bike was racked right in front of the pros who were getting ready and being interviewed by their own camera teams, which was very cool. Everyone walked down to the beach together as the sun came up over the Atlantic. A little wait on the beach and then it started. A light jog into the sea( not the horror i had heard about of the beach mass start), but then we went around the first marker. As people started swimming, on purpose or not began kicking and elbowing each other, a lot. Few instances of goggles being knocked off and people trying to swim over the top of you. After the first mile though people had spread out enough to let me get into a rhythm. Second lap I swam into a boat and then went slightly off course and started heading out towards America only to be stopped by one of the marshals resulting in a slightly slower second lap but an overall time of 1 hour 22 mins ( i guess quitting smoking( 2 months) has paid off) . Despite it being fairly calm I still managed to swallow a few gulps of sea water. Out of the water a quick strip off then a 1 mile run to the bike area. The bike began well and I munched down a banana despite Issy's warning after it had come all the way from Norfolk in a very warm car. This probably combined with a tummy half full of sea water resulted in some stomach cramp for the first 20 miles so i didn't really notice this bit of the route. On about mile 30 the chain came off near Anglesey on a very steep hill. I luckily managed to get out of the clip in pedals before falling sideways and spent a few mins putting it back on as it got jammed between the front gears and the frame. I had to run the bike up the hill to a flatter bit though before i could get on. From this I realized my biggest problem for the day, the fact that i had trained for only 2 months on a real bike and none of it had been on hills as steep as the ones in Pembroke. I had therefore not had to use the lower ten gears on the bike or developed the right physique for climbing. Every flat or low gradient I would easily take 5 or 6 places but each hill was frustrating as I lost 6 or 7 places to others who seemed to glide up. The chain came off again at around mile 70 and mile 100 despite having stopped to adjust my front derailleur. It rained on and off for the majority of the bike which made the roads slippy and me cold in my skintight suit. if the hills were frustrating to climb, they were poo your pants scary to come down at speeds of over 40mph. The wet roads and tights corners meant that brakes had to be applied all the way down some of the hills and at one point began to smoke! I got off the bike the first time to pee but after having stripped off my one piece, gone, then redressed, decided it took too much time so resorted to baby tekkers. Luckily a number 2 did not call. By the end of the bike my knees were in agony and I was pretty cold. Once the ran start though i warmed up pretty quickly as the sun came out. Not one bit of the run was on a flat surface, something my ankles and knees did not appreciate much. I ran the first two laps of the four 10km laps slighlty faster than i should have resulting in me crashing on the third. I spent time at the aid stations walking and stuffing in as many bananas, powerhorse drink and energy gels to get me going again for the last lap and a half. Went over to the dark side for a bit to keep pushing me on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFYO43UCMYE. Luckily Issy was in the crowd to encourage me on so i went back to the good side of the force. it finally came down to the few hundred yards and Dad jumped over the railing onto the route shouting encouragement at me. Worried that he might try to assist me resulting in disqualification i began to run faster and faster until the red carpeted last hundred yards. With the sight of the finish line in sight a burst of final adrenaline and energy came through so that i sprinted the last bit overtaking another competitor , meaning that the wrong name came up on the big screen as i finished. It also means I finished 617th not 618th as the results show. The buzz you get is insane, you are quite literally drunk on endorphins, and i didn't notice myself zigzagging into other people and barriers. Apart from a one blister on my foot and a swollen black nail my feet were fine. My right ankle has swollen and bruised while my legs in general felt like two bits of wood. My elbow which has still not healed was a bit bloody but ok. The entire time i was doing it, i kept thinking, thank **** that I never have to do this again, but now I have finished and reached the target i aimed for, I want more than anything to do another one. Not a wales one again for sure, I never want to walk or bike up a hill again, but perhaps a south of France one or Bolton one in July 2014 if anyone else is thinking of it. I hope this will tempt others to push themselves and see what they are made of, but be warned these things are apparently quite addictive. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me with training related or un-training related stuff over the past months, and with all the very generous donations. I have one month to reach the collection target so any more donations however small will st
ill be greatly appreciated. Almost there.