Ironman 70.3 UK 2012

June 27th, 2012 by

I have to laugh at myself after re reading my previous post, where I signed off with “fingers crossed for a fourth” in reference to my trip to Wimbleball for the UK 70.3…. well, it seems one should be careful what they wish for, as a ‘fourth’ is exactly what I got. Unfortunately my reference was to a fourth title and not a fourth place!

I’m not sure if mum is just happy to see me finish or laughing at the ‘Red K Swiss men’ to her right?!

As ever this year I am late in sending out a report from a race, and as is oft’ the case in these situations, the longer the delay post race the less happy the athlete is with how they performed. No difference here I am afraid. 4th in this race from that field, isn’t something I am keen to shout about from the rooftops. But hey ho thats racing. Ups with the downs.

Wimbleball has always been one of my favourite events I go to. Largely as its the first 70.3 event I ever did, and at that I won on that occasion. So there are obviously happy memories from the course. Added to that there the bonus of it actually being in the UK (albeit at the ends of it!) and so family and friends are at least able to try and watch me race, which is always good. This year mum and Abbie flew down plus Blair was also on course for ‘stato support’! I don’t find it an extra pressure to do well as I always try to squeeze the last drop out when I race, but I do feel I let them down when I under perform like this year.

The weather gods turned the days prior to the event (there is a theme to my racing this year) such that the whole event area had turned decidedly more ‘mudbath’ than I think anybody would wish for … mud was certainly a theme of the weekend! Added to that the extra rain didnt do the temperature of the lake any favours, and it was a chilly 14C in there. I was happy with my swim, exiting in 3rd place with Harry Wiltshire and Mark Threlfall.

I have raced here 5 times now. I know how hard the race is and this year I put my eggs in the ‘going out hard’ basket. I have twice led out of T1 only to watch as Phil Graves powers away during the tough 5k climb towards the bike loop. I figured if only I could get to that loop still in the lead, be able to settle my heart rate and get into my cycling rhythm then I would be able to stay in touch with Phil on the faster section of the course (yes, there is such a section).

I managed all that. I even held Phil off for the ‘flatter/faster’ section… only to watch as he descended like a stone and ride the technical sections way quicker than I am capable off. The boy can cycle that is for sure! So, I figured I’d do what I always do when racing Phil; limit my losses and hope that I can peg it back on the run. In my mind I was willing to accept a 6minute deficit, given how fast he had ridden the month previously in Lanzerote. Blair gave me a 5.30 split on entering T2 and I thought the win was still achievable, a tough ask nonetheless. – I do love this course and have had some great run legs over the years here for some reason.

Given it was my 5th time racing at Wimbleball, it is fair to say Blair was justified in a few choice words at the midway section of the 1st run loop when I finally emerged from the tress, not in a slightly-closer-to-the-lead 2nd, but in 6th! Yeah, I ran off course. Not only did I run off course, but knowing full well that I should be running down a steep hill (as the course does) I ran to the very bottom of this identical twin brother of a slope! Idiot I said to myself as I knew exactly what I had done, only too late. – if you are ever going to go off course; going downhill is possibly with worst option. The only way is up!

Faced with the choice of either give up, be annoyed and sulk, or try my best to get back in the race I soldiered on with the only option. I did not bad either as the remainder of the first lap was a right off, and indeed I lost further time, but by the middle of the final loop I was within a few seconds of the podium, which would at least of salvaged something from the mornings work.

Unfortunately I ran out of energy a few K short and had to settle for 4th place. I can say it’s more than frustrating to start a run in 2nd, finish in 4th and to not be passed by a soul. Furthermore the only person running quicker on the course that I saw was some good ways behind me. – It was good to catch up with Paul Amey afterwards however, as I hadn’t seem him since I was part of the epic race he produced at Ironman Arizona last November.

As mum pointed out afterwards “you won’t do that again” – not a truer word spoken and no, I certainly won’t! Entirely my own fault and something to put behind me and move on from. Nobody likes a 4th place though! Very well done to Phil with his win though – a deserved reward for his efforts on the bike course alone.

Next stop is Ironman UK in Bolton on July 22nd, which gives me just under a month from now. So not long at all. It’s always great to be racing at home in the UK and I hope I can put together a race I am pleased with, as this will be my 4th attempt at the Ironman including my win there two years past … I’ll finish with a slightly different twist as to how I started this post: “fingers crossed with the fourth“!

Many thanks to Richard Melik from Freespeed for some of the above photos, and to my wee sis Abbie for the others 🙂

And of course thank you to all my fantastic sponsors. without whom none of this would be possible: Trek Bike, K Swiss, Blue Seventy, Kinetica and Oakley.