Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ironman Hawaii 2008

I ended up finishing 18th I was hoping for better but I gave it what I had on the day.
Warming up for the swim start there was a Turtle swimming infront of the start line close to the surface, I was a little worried for his safety but am sure he moved out of the way. I had a good start and was behind Potts and Sanson but couldn`t stay with them so had to move across to the main group and stayed in the midst of that till the end and came out in 9th a fine start.

Onto the bike and I had been told that the first 10km would be fast and it was. I lost the front group at about 15km and kind of slipped back throught the bike leg although did pick a few off who struggled in the 2nd half. Oh yeah, I also got stung by a bee that flew into my helmet and lost my sun glasses shaking it out of the helmet, that was fun:)

Coming off the bike I was probably in the mid 20’s position. I felt really bad, my back was very stiff and I was struggling to get any pace going, but after the first turn around I got going and tried to push on as best I could but I seeemed not to have much spring in my step. Then my elastic laces on one of my shoes snapped, (I do not know how this happened but it is a nightmere I have had a few times about my shoes falling off during the run, So I had to stop and tie a knot before they came fully out) it did not take long to fix. I got to 12km to go and was catching a few and there was about 3 or 4 guys in catchable distance, so I pushed as best I could and passed 2 and was withing touching distance of 2 more with 2mile to go but I must of used what energy I had as I started to lose ground on them and then was trying to hold off the guy behind who passed me with half a mile to go and I tried to go with him but he left me and I came in 18th.
It was a great race and I learnt alot about how I need to race here.

Then to see Bella finish in 7th was the best and has made this trip a great success. She has worked so hard and smart to achieve this result.

Well done to Chrissie, Erica, Bella, Belinda, Hillary, Donna and Steve.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ironman UK Champion

Well I have done this race 3 times since the first IMUK 4years ago and it has allways been a tough course but this year they managed to make it even tougher!

The swim was the same as allways with a 2 lap around the pretty Sherbourne castle lake in the very fresh (i mean cold) water, then the bike they made into a hilly 3 lap affair which is just short sharp hills all the way around and a nasty wind on Sunday made it double tough. Then the run course was also a 3 lapper with half the lap a fell run around the castle grounds then the other half of the lap a tricky run through the streets and alleyways of Sherbourne village. I thought the course was great and enjoyed it very much. I just hope the first time Ironmen and Women appreciate what a tough Ironman they have just done.

Anyway my race started well, I was smart at the start and knew from last year that we would get helpd in the 16degree water for a long time until all the athletes had entered the water and so I stayed warm on the lake side doing my land warm up then entered at the last min. This worked a treat and I was not too cold at the start and had a great start and swam on Fraser Cartmells feet the whole swim, I probably annoyed him by touching his feet everynow and then, sorry Fraser:) We had 3 others in our front group including Spencer Smith but through T1 Fraser and I went really fast and dropped them all and never saw anyone else for the whole ride.

We built up a 6min lead on Spencer and 10min lead on the rest. Great. But I was not over confident of the win. At the 70.3 earlier in the year I came off the bike with Fraser and thought I would be able to out run him but he was very strong that day and out ran me, so I headed out onto the run. Fraser came straight up to me and followed , I had been told to make it a true marathon, so I set off at a solid pace and thought if you can follow me then good on you. By the top of the first hill about 2.5mile in I had a small gap and so kept pushing. The gap kept opening up and by the last lap I had a good 10mins on last years winner Scott Neyedli after Fraser pulled out after 2 laps. I still felt pretty good although this course really was very strength sapping, but I was able to ease off and not run too hard, with the next 2 months ahead, I have The world IM Championships then the 70.3 World Champs so I wanted to save myself from too much fatigue.

The last couple of miles were fantastic I felt good I knew I had a big lead and I really enjoyed the moment and took it all in especially the final bit to the finish line, I stop to hug my mum and dad then crossed the finish line to win my 2nd Ironman and my home Ironman which was a really special moment.

The day then got even better as I knew Bella was winning, but I didn’t know by how much, in the end she crossed the line 36mins ahead of the next girl. She was pretty exhausted and emotional so I said to her “why did you push so hard, you are miles ahead” but I knew the answer, Bella only knows one way and that is to give everything she has.

It was a great day. I’d like to say a special thanks to our Homestay who were some welcoming of us into there home and so supportive during the whole weekend. Thank you.

And Well done to everyone who completed this Ironman It really is a tough one.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

2nd at Embrunman

In my opinion Embrunman is the hardest race of this distance in the world. The swim starts at 6am in the dark and so involves following a canoe with a light on.

I sprinted off the beach and started swimming hard. I found I was leading and led for the first lap with 2 on my feet, we stayed as 3 till the end of the swim, coming into transition I was pelased to see it was 2 athletes with high numbers and I had a good gap on the athletes I was worried about, so set about riding up the first mountain straight out of transition.
The boss told me to take it steady till the strong bikers caught me, Reboul caught me half way up then we rode together till about 60km when 3 others caught us including Le Floch and Zamora Perez, we rode to the bottom of the Col d'Izord then Perez went to the front and lifted the pace Reboul and I followed but I started to lose ground on them and ended up with Le Floch and 1 other to the top.

A quick stop at the top to put clothes on and get some food and drink, then I hammered it down to try to make up some ground, on the penultimate climb I could see Reboul and tried to close the gap, in hindsight I probably worked too hard on this climb and then suffered on the ride back in to Embrun and got caught by Le Floch at the bottom of the last climb, which is a beauty of a climb! So you've done 180km and your back to Embrun but they send you up another 5km climb.

Unfortunately I didn't listen to the boss and save something for this one and lost about 3mins to Le Floch.

Onto the run I was cold, wet and pretty knackered but knew I could run ok, so out I went with my bike jersey, arm warmers and rain jacket on, I quickly caught 4th but had some gaps to the top 3. I got some good encouragement from the boss, well it was kind of along the lines of "get a f in move on" so off came my rain jacket and bike jersey and I gave it what I had. There are 2 big climbs on this 2 lap run course and man they kill after that bike. At the half way mark I was still in 3rd but then saw the boss again and he was even more, expressive, and said "you can win this, get f in going" so I caught Reboul then Perez but Le Floch was running well, I kept pushing. In the end came in 2nd, 2mins 30sec down on Le Floch.

I am pleased with my race. To compete in any ironman you have to be very fit and prepared in all ways, but a race such as Embrunman, especially when the weather conditions are challenging, really is a true test. So I am very proud to finish 2nd in this race on Friday.

And for Bella to win and to break the course record is an incredible achievement and once again shows what hard work can achieve.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2nd at Ironman Austria

Much like the rest of Europe last Sunday, Klagenfurt Austria was very wet, but I think we got slightly warmer temperatures than the other races.

The lake was certainly warm, too warm for wetsuits I think, but I got a good start and came out of the water in a group of 4, with my super fast transition I was 1st out onto the bike, but straight away did not seem to be feeling very strong, and after about 5km(he must be very slow at transitions) Loisel came flying past and I couldn’t stay with him, then Vanhoenacker came past and I really tried to stay with him as I knew that he was the favourite for this race, I couldn’t and so was riding along seeing him dissapear into the distance which is quite de motivating.

So I was riding with the two Storm brothers from South Africa and didn’t feel like we were really whizzing along and at about 70km on the long climb of the course, we got caught by a group of about 10 and they went flying past and I got dropped by them as well, so coming down the decent of the climb I was probably in about 13th place with a big gap to the group in front, I really didn’t feel great in the legs but knew that I had to at least stay with this group so after the decent, I hammered it and after a a bit of a chase caught them back up.

This seemed to bring my legs to life and I now seemed to be one of the stronger guys in this group, but I thought that we must be a long way down on the 2 in front. But after the 90km mark we saw Loisel had punctured and pulled out so we had a 8min gap to Vanhoenacker. On the other climp of the course we went hard and dropped alot of our group so we were a group of 6 and then onto the next climb I pushed the pace and we got rid of a couple more, but they came back on the flat after the decent.

So coming back into T2 we heard it was still only 8min to Vanhoenacker. I thought that it was probably to much but if I can run well and he has not such a great run, then it is possible, so out onto the run in 2nd just ahead of the rest of the group I was with. I started to run, the gap was coming down and I think by 15km it was 6mins, then at 21km it was still 6mins, I then started to tire a little and the gap then seemed to open back up a bit. I also had 2 guys not too far behind, but I pushed the last 10km and was secure in 2nd but 7mins down on the winner.

It was a good race for me, a good swim, and my best ever Ironman run of 2:44 and a British best time of 8hrs 13min.
My bike ride was not fantastic but that will come, so a very positive race.

I then didn’t have to wait long for Bella to come in as she had just done one of the fastest ever timnes by a women!

It Was a very pleasent week in Klagenfurt it is a very beautiful and tranquil place. It was also great to see so many familiar faces from GB, and great to get so many encouraging shouts from them on the coure. Thanks everyone.

Also a big thanks to the South Africa contingent who came out to race and support, you guys really are great:) Sorry I didn’t manage to do my winners dance at this race for you:)!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

2nd IM UK 70.3

The race is in a beautiful part of the English countryside, with lots of rolling hills which is a big feature of the race.

My race went well, I swam ok, The eventual Winner Fraser Cartmell had a 30sec lead on the rest of us at the end of the swim. Onto the bike and after T1 I was in 2nd and felt surprisingly spritely on the bike. Somehow my bike legs returned for this race (fastest bike split(not sure I have had that before:)). Luke bell and myself went about catching Fraser and just after the half way mark we caught him and I made a little break on a decent, they both eventually came back to me but seemed content to just follow till T2, I entered T2 in 1st and was onto the run with a small Gap to Fraser and a 30sec gap to Luke, I thought well lets push now and see if I can get away. But no on the the 2nd uphill Fraser came back to me an immediatly put in a strong surge which gapped me and I had to work very hard to coles back up to him.

The run continued in that fashion with Fraser pushing hard on all the uphills and then I trying to push on the downhills and flats, but we were not going to get rid of each other so it came to the last 500m which was a Grass uphill finish, Fraser went for it and I didn’t have enough in my legs to match him and he won by 13secs.

Well done Fraser, You were the best athlete on the day.

Both Fraser and I went faster than Chris McCormack’s course record from 2 years ago. I think we both felt it was great to have such a competetive race with each other. Next time I will work on reversing that result though:)

Bella was once again an inspiration, showing what grit and determination(everday) can achieve.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ironman South Africa Champion!

Finally, no 4th place this weekend.

I did my first Ironman 3years ago in Lanzarote and finished 14th over 45mins behind the winner. From that day I have been working so hard and have seen improvement, but it is certainly not easy to win an Ironman race. But yeaterday in South Africa I pulled it off.
I had a good swim coming out in 2nd and riding with 1 guy at the front. After 60km I was actually leading the race by over 1min after a puncture by a strong riding Austrian left me all alone up front, I was riding a bit to hard and when Chaboud and then Tissink came past I was unable to match there pace. But I limited the gap to a reasonable time.

Onto the run and I didn’t feel brilliant, but did as the Doc prescibed, got some food and drink in over the first 2km, then got going and gradually the gaps strated coming down, I moved to 4th then to 3rd then I could see 2nd, then with 8km to go I coaught Tissink and was in the lead. But he was tough and hung on with me for another 4km and then with 5km to go I gave it a surge and I was alll alone and then ran as hard as I could to the finish.

The sense of satisfaction and happiness I felt was incredible and only matched by when Bella(my hero) won a sprint. I neally killed her I was hugging her so hard as she crossed the line.
Well what a day for us both.

Thank you to everybody for all there congrats, it is very much appreciated. And thanks to Doc and my team mates.

I didn’t have to do a speech at the awards, but did a dance instead.

A really big thankyou to Craig and Leisel and there 3 wonderful kids for looking after us so well all week, you are very special people.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

4th at Ironman NewZeland

Well I ended up 4th, again! I am getting a bit fed up with finishing 4th all the time, but I promise you I am doing my very best to make it better than 4th and 4th is better than 5th so it’s not so bad.

It is the day after the race here in Taupo a beutiful place for an Ironman, and the weather in the days leading up to the race was beautiful and sunny, but race day decided to be overcast windy and wet:) It was fairly warm though!

My swim went ok, I didn’t quite manage to stay with the 3 leaders so came out with a group 2min 30sec down, I felt ok on the bike and we gradually caught 2nd and 3rd with the lone leader, Kieren Doe, doing a good job working hard alone up front.

At the end of the first lap, of 2, I had to work hard on a decent to stay with the group of; Bell, Brown and Van Lierde, and we hit a small uphill and I rolled to close behind and heard a whistle and was told I had a 4min drafting penalty, bugger! Oh well, I had to just accept it and stand at the side of the road and wait for 4mins.

So I ended up riding the last half of the bike all alone and was 7mins down on Brown and Van Lierde at the end of the bike and only a min behind Bell, as he also got a drafting penalty during the bike.

Onto the run and I was in 5th but quickly passed Bell, and tried to run as fast as I could to catch any of the 3 in front, in the end Brown and VanLierde ran well and I couldn’t catch either I was gaining fast on Doe but didn’t quite have enough in the legs to make up the 3mins 30sec I needed to get 3rd, which I would have been very happy with rather than another 4th.

Anyhow I am happy with my performance, I gave it what I had on the day. As always room for improvement.

So onwwards and upwards.