Ironman 70.3 UK, 2013


June 20th, 2013 by



Despite some …em .. typically British Summertime weather to contend with, this was my 6th time racing at Wimbleball, and I must say it was almost as memorable as any of the occasions on which I was fortunate to have won the event. I very much enjoyed my race on Sunday – it was my birthday after all! – and I was pleased to see an old friend in Richie take his first (or many I have no doubt) Ironman 70.3 victory.

0404_13335

Sharing the podium with good friends; Ritchie Nicholls and Tim Don

Ali and I flew down to the South West of England this year as last year I drove down over a couple days beforehand and collected Ali at Bristol airport after work on the Friday evening, and that was a tiring affair! – This year we decided it was best to get down there a bit earlier, arriving first thing on Friday to make sure we were less rushed and a bit more relaxed.

Unfortunately we were well aware of the weather predictions for the weekend. Wet and windy seemed to be the order of the day, which certainly put a dampener (pun not intended) on our spirits. – The remote location of Wimbleball, being deep in the Exmoor hills with grassy fields making up the majority of the race site (and run course) means that rain is never particularly welcome! The full spectrum of conditions had been forcast, but that meant when race morning arrived we were relatively (or maybe that was just me??) relieved. It was dry at least and not at all windy. One could even have said it was warm(ish). Maybe that’s pushing it.

0404_11659

As always when I have raced here, I was keen to work hard in the swim as the swim exit to T1 is a rather demanding grassy climb. It can knock the wind out of you and from years of experience I have learnt it can be a crucial aspect of this race. I swam well, and exited right behind Tim and did my best to hold onto his pace up the slope to the change tents. I had decided that it really wasn’t cold enough (I hoped so anyway) for me to need any extra clothing – mostly as I just hate having to try and wriggle into extra clothes whilst soaking wet!

With Ironman Frankfurt only 3 weeks after this race I was really hoping I would feel like I had moved on a little with my bike strength since my last major race at Abu Dhabi back in March. This bike course is reputed to be the toughest if not certainly one of the toughest on the 70.3 circuit. After all these years racing on it – I wholeheartedly agree! And so I was really keen to try and ride a pace that could potentially stretch the other guys in the field. Very quickly I realised it was just myself and Tim with Ritchie riding up to and past us in the first couple of miles that lead away from the Lake. These first few miles are like an exercise in pushing the boundaries of your aerobic capacity! So it is never great for more info

the confidence when you are digging as deep as you can and someone floats on by with apparant ease. Thanks for that Ritchie!

0404_13982

I was fairly confident I was riding fast. Unfortunately it wasn’t fast enough to unhitch either Tim or Ritchie, although I would’ve been surprised if I had managed, as I know exactly how good they are at riding a bike, especially when the terrain is rolling to hilly. And they have a few kilos to spare on me for a start! – The Laws of Physics can be a pain 😉

Our run started in slight rain and that only continued to fall as the run progressed, although we were lucky to be out in it for the least amount of time. I felt awfully sorry for the poor folks still out there in the hours afterwards as the rain came down like steel rods and turned the already technically demanding run course into a complete mud bath!

0404_04184

I felt relatively comfy heading out for the half marathon, although watching Ritchie vanish off into the distance made me realise he clearly felt a lot better. I ran alongside Tim for the first couple of Ks and the looped / out and back nature of the course allowed me to have a look at who could be chasing from behind. I couldn’t see anyone and so I settled into my own race.

0404_10302

I was essentially running solo the rest of the day and although the results suggest a close tussle with Tim, the reality was that he was a good two minutes in front of me for the majority of the run and only started to feel the effects of not quite enough calories as he approached the finish line and as such he slowed considerably, but still well out of my sights for any chances of a step further up the podium.

0404_13330

I was happy with how I raced on Sunday. I felt strong over all three disciplines and that I hope bodes well for racing over the full Ironman distance in a couple of weeks time. Both Ritchie and Tim are only just starting to move up to these longer distances but it didn’t surprise me at all to see them racing so well, and with Will Clarke racing hard behind it was a great front end to the race, made even more so as it was an all British affair.

0404_13350

Thanks to all of the race team for such a superb event yet again. The weather didn’t really matter (much!) but many thanks to all the volunteers out there who had to brave it for hours on end throughout the day. Superstars! I said it after I finished, but i’ll be back, thats for sure.

0404_08965

 And finally, but of course by no means lastly, huge thanks go to my sponsors, without whom I wouldn’t be even close to the starting line. – You make it all possible time and time again.