[PJ and Frank have just returned from competing in the Ironman 70.3 race in Lanzarote. Well done lads, from all your club mates. Here’s Frank’s report.]
This race was chosen by PJ last April and in a moment of madness, I agreed to tag along. Well, what an experience! Ironman branded races are known to be expensive, but I have to say they really pull out all the stops and make it a great event. PJ planned it with military precision from travel, to accomodation, bike transportation to training schedules and everything went like clockwork. I did read the race briefing on the plane though
Thursday morning’s view from the window brought sunshine and high seas – imagine Lahinch without the rain… and PJ had already assembled his bike Any idea of R an R on Thursday and Friday was quickly dispelled with reassembling bike, run, register, bike spin , swim, race briefing, racking the bikes, handing in gear and pasta party (for a bit of carb loading!)
Saturday morning finally arrived and at 6am (after PJ had his pre-race shower before getting into a dirty, smelly lagoon )we were busy making up the drinks and if anyone looked in the window, would have thought we were part of a drug cartel! Out the door and met by a wind that would have hens laying the same egg several times.. There was very little conversation after that.
Wetsuits on and out of transition by 7.30am. Yvonne and Louise (PJ’s sister) arrived at that ungodly hour to wish us luck having got a taxi from the other side of the island. They looked a little worse for wear…it must have been the early morning start!!!
Down to the swim start and the Pros were off first and I did debate going with them but said I’d hang on for PJ! Next thing we knew there was a hooter and off we went in the biggest wave of swimmers I’ve experienced todate – 700ish! Our trial swim proved very useful as a lot of swimmers got caught on the sandbanks during race day and ran aground as we passed by (yes, even me!) on the inside. Heard after that two competitors had a boxing match in the middle of the lagoon, as one guy lost his goggles and grabbed them off the next triathlete swimming by. He picked on the wrong guy by all accounts as he dealt with him there and then and handed him by the throat to the marshalls before continuing on . The swim went well and I couldn’t believe I was only 42 mins. Now where is PJ? Ran into him in transition. He was going out as I was coming in. Race on!!
Headed off on the bike at a steady pace and soon realised that it was going to be even tougher than we had previously thought. The cross winds meant energy was being used on holding a straight line. At one stage, I noted several triathletes leaning into the wind , so their bikes were at at a funny tilt. ??? At one stage, with the wind behind me I clocked 72.8Kph on the flat, but a lot of the route was crosswinds or in your face. Average speed in the crosswinds was 25kph at best. It was a relief when the turn off came for the climb to Haria. This was the most enjoyable part IMO – it was a bump in the road compared to Mount Leinster. Passed a lot on the climb and there was a bit of banter along the way as names and country of origin were on the race numbers. The descent was fast and had some serious switchbacks. I erred on the side of caution on this due to cross winds. One guy known as Johnny 56 from Gotri clocked 87kph coming of this stretch. On the home stretch, I got a hamstring cramp and stopped briefly to release. A spanish competitor stopped to help, however I ushered him on – what sportsmanship though. After a couple of more stops to water the dry ground, and investigate a strange bike rattle (long story…),back to Club la Santa and no sign of PJ. As it turned out he put in a great bike leg, so the possibility of catching him were slim to none, but it’s never over til its over…
Got off the bike feeling reasonable but after a km, got a cramp in the hamstring and stopped to stretch it out. Thankfully that was the only occurrence of cramp and ran (shuffled) the rest of the 21k. Met PJ who was now 10 mins ahead and he was running comfortably, whereas I was suffering. Each time i met him, he was putting more distance between us. The support crew of Yvonne and Louise came into play at this stage with shouts of encouragement and some sports drink. The shouts of encouragement from Mark Lacey (who ran a serious half marathon) of PixelsPromotions along with PJ’s kept the spirits up. PJ only seemed to wane a little on the return journey of the last loop, but overall put in a sterling performance in all three disciplines. Final Results are as follows:
PJ Swim:40:03 Bike:3:27:33 Run:1:52:45 Overall: 6:12:21 Overall Rank:311/650 finishers
Frank Swim:42:14 Bike:3:33:31 Run:2:03:47 Overall: 6:30:06 Overall Rank:400/650 finishers
Immediate thoughts after the race from both of us….”How would you do a full Ironman?” Peter, Jim and James, while I always thought it was a great achievement, I now have a far greater appreciation of what it took to complete that amazing feat. Hoping to get some R&R now as PJ didn’t let me have a minute in Lanzorate. PJ’s taking up ironing for the winter
Very well organised race with a great after race meal and awards night. BTW at the awards night a 60+ lady and a 65+ man completed it in 7.5hrs– the mind boggles! Margaret Sills of GBR was the lady in question and she informed me that she does between 6 and 12 hours training per week! Overall it was a great adventure and we learned a lot from this experience – its now banked for the next one….
A word of thanks to all the 795ers on their good luck text, emails and posts – in the words of El Presidenta -Jim, we completed, competed and conquered!
Keywords over the last few days were: wind, cross winds and refuel. Even the plane on the journey home had to refuel in Portugal!