St Croix Ironman 70.3

May 3rd, 2010 by

5th place, 4.13.07

I can safely say that was the hardest racing experience I have had for some considerable time, if not ever! What a course – choppy (but beautiful) sea swim, hilly and technical bike capped off with a brutally hot and energy sapping run route. I believe I told myself time after time during the second 10k of the run that I would not be returning to race here anytime soon!

Working the rollers out on the bike with Richie and Crowie behind

It is no surprise to me that the heat and humidity has been seriously hard to acclimate to in a short few days. I was worried how those conditions would affect my ability to race, especially against such accomplised athletes. I therefore approached this race with a little more caution than I perhaps generally tend to. I didn’t want to fall apart on the last 20k of the bike, knowing how exhausting the run was going to be. I believe I found a reasonable half way house out there yesterday – I am pleased with my top 5 result, but know there is much to go away and work on. As always.

leading out the swim

The swim went great. I hit the front early on – where I like to be if I can get there. I traded places with Tim O Donnell and mnaged to hit the exit ramp first – first 2 feet down wins the wim prime we were told, so that was a satisfying start.

Very quickly the pace was on during the bike. A young french guy pushed off the front with Terenzo Bozonne and Tim slowly slipping away too. I found myself in a strong quartet including Craig Alexander, Richie Cunningham and Fred Van Lierde, and I think we all made the mistake of believing between us we would reel them all back in. Not so. By mile 30 Craig had taken a potentially horrific, but thankfully nopt serious crash into a pothole (it sounded awful) which ruled him out of the race and the 3 of us simply could not close the gap. We battled the winds, ever increasing heat and rollers of the last 20miles and succumbed to a 1.40 deficit into T2.

heading out at the start of the run

I believe everyone suffered on the run course. I didn’t get into a great stride during lap one, but came better as the 2nd lap progressed and moved into the top 5 around 15k. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t much fun, but I got to the finish chute in one piece, and thankful of that. Thoughts of racing again here next year are far from my mind right now, but as I have said so far in the blog, it is one of those iconic races I am glad to be able to tick off my list.

I have had a real nightmare with my travel home – a cancelled flight off the island last night has left me stuck here an extra day which has resulted in me missing my return flight to Edinburgh this evening from Tampa. I will now hang out in St Pete with my ever accomodating homestay Carolyn (thanks so much!) till the next flight home on Wednesday. What a journey!

Huge congrats to Catriona – she stormed it out there and certainly turned a lot of heads in the process. Man, she came 10th overall!