4km swim, 120km bike, 30km run
Time 7hrs 0Mins
40th in age group
I really enjoyed racing this distance compared to Ironman, however it was always going to be difficult to do well coming off the back of Ironman UK.
The start was at 8.50am (so a lot more sleep than normal)
Each age group went off in waves, separated by 5mins or so. This time my plan of getting on someone's feet and chilling out worked well. They were taking a good line so I just chilled out behind them. I think some of the motivation to do this comes from the compete contrast of finding the swim awful for several years and now feeling totally in control. Half way through I started passing different coloured swim hats and this spurred me on to try and overtake more. I did leave me with the feeling I could have swam a bit more aggressively from the start though.
Again I ran past my bike (they all look the same!). The course was fairly flat and hardly anyone went past me. A headwind did seem to go on forever. The second lap of the course was more eventful - I took a corner too fast and left the road to end up straight in a ditch. Somehow I managed to unclip from the bike and it was fine, I however got a fair bit of road rash to the legs and right shoulder. A group of Spanish spectators put me back on my bike and started pushing me down the road (felt like the tour de france!) Unfortunately for the next 10-15km loads of people past me, I couldn't get my speed up above 30km/hr having averaged 36km/hr previously - I put it down to being shaken up etc, I stopped and found the front brake pad was rubbing - gutted but easily sorted.
I managed to take on all my nutrition which i'd made from scratch the night before. 90g of carbohydrate/hr this time (Bolton was 60g) - I was just on the edge of vomiting most of the way round so tried to take on as much water as possible and sit up when going down hill. The torpedo style drink holder on the front was amazing - 100x better than the aero bottle - I'll be sticking with this.
I had plenty in reserve on the bike, the position seemed good with just a little bit of left knee pain (i'd taken the wedge out, so will put this one back) Lots more people passed me coming into town - i'd flicked the quick release on the front brake so was nervous i'd not be able to stop.
Data wise - I was only aiming to average 30km/hr (Bolton effect) so was happy with 34.6km/hr. I think without the crash and a little more focus i'd have been a lot faster - On a good day i'd want my heart rate around the 139mark which I was way off.
Again I spent ages looking for my bag - I got the orientation of the tent the wrong way round so went to the opposite corner - D'oh. Once i'd found it I was quick. The plan on the run was to take a gel at every aid station (difficult after an hour!) and take a 30sec walk break. There were 4 laps of 7.5km, I planned to get round 3 and then hammer the 4th if I had anything left. The right glute/hamstring issue was in the back of my mind but it stayed away. Mum was out on the course and popped up without notice all over the place. The support from the crowds was fantastic. Pee-ing wearing a trisuit was a new experience - it would just pull down enough but it wasn't pretty.
It was wonderful to finish so strongly - I passed about 100 people on that last lap. I learned it is much better to have a slower total time and finish strong with a smile than to be completely spent (unless you're trying to get to Hawaii)
The winning time was 6.15 approx. I know Matt Molloy who came 2nd as we raced in Hawaii together. Best case scenario I would have been about 15mins behind (30mins quicker)
Learning points (to go quicker)
1. Weight - I was 4kg lighter last year! - this makes a huge difference - changes needed; less sports drinks (don't worry so much about refuelling), more sleep, exercise before breakfast.
2. Swim - Need more commitment on race day. Stroke rate work and Paddles (I never use them) would help.
3. Gym - to sort out unbalanced strength which shows up as wonky bike position and right posterior chain problems on the run.
4. Bike - Need to work in the 140hr zone in races, and sort out position. This could all be done by starting road time trails, turbos in aero position, one leg drills with higher watts, very slow cadence work with good form. Most people had watt meters, they just locked onto the wattage they can do for 3hours and job done, this could really help. I've been waiting for Garmin to bring theirs out but it's been delayed again.
5. More effort into finding bike/bags in transition. I think something fluro I could put on the front of the bike would work well.
Make bike distinctive