ITU Long Course, Lorient 2007

4:09:53 7th in Age Group (35-39)
0:44:30 – 3 km swim
0:03:00 – T1
1:59:39 – 80 km bike
0:02:05 – T2
1:20:38 – 20 km run

Race Analysis here

Having still not mustered enough motivation to get  a decent block of training done in the 3 weeks since Ironman Switzerland I arrived at this race in a relaxed mood and almost felt a little bit of a fraud having done no specific preparation for this. Having said this I knew I was swimming well, the last bike I’d done was 104 miles in 5.75 hours and the few runs I’d done had been at a good pace and I felt strong. I knew I was carrying between 14 and 20 lbs of weight into this. A flat bike meant I wouldn’t feel this till the run so my aim was strong swim and bike followed by an ‘effort’ on the run. Ie push hard, make it hurt and measure the performance on how hard I work rather than the time.

I also took the opportunity to try some new things out with regard to pre race. For this race I didn’t eat anything before the race. On the bike I had 500ml of carbo drink and some gels in my pocket (just in case) which, in the end, I didn’t use.

In the moments before the swim start I felt a little hungry but felt in great shape to race – it felt like skipping breakfast had worked. The start was hanging off a pontoon. I was in the first, and by far the largest wave, and there was hardly enough room for everyone to hang on. The initial minutes of this race were gonna be hectic to say the least.

BANG ! Not disappointed – it has hell, nah ! not hell it was fun … I’m learning to enjoy this but it was rough. I went all out … I tell you the sports psychologist has worked with this part of my race. I just redlined from the out and was not gonna stop till I had decent clear water. I had people grabbing my lower leg, swimming straight over my legs but I could see I was in the lead line and had a little clear water to my right with all the argie bargie to my left. I drifted over till I was up next to the swimmers off to my right. Still working hard, having to breath every two strokes and my lungs bursting. I was well up the field and after about 5 minutes had enough space to ease down to my steady state pace for the swim. From there on it was great – didn’t managed to get feet to draft but was able to swim at the pace I wanted. At the end of the first lap we had to run up a ramp onto the pontoon and then back in – I managed a running dive and discovered the joys of water rushing down the neck of your wetsuit. the slight break from swimming made the next 100m or so feel great. Another steady lap and exited in 44 minutes plus some seconds.

Raced to my bike and out. No dramas.

Round the first corner someone shouted I was 7th brit. Our wave was 20 – 39 but I’d only noticed 2 or 3 bikes near me gone … so I must be high up in the brits of my age. I was looking forward to this – good fast rolling course. It was awesome – I was seeing over 25 mph most of the time I looked at my computer until I hit the first speed bump and it stopped working. To use a phrase from the “Ginger Bullet” I felt like a god on the bike. I flick up a gear and still be able to spin it. I was motoring by people. Headed past a GB guy who’d run me down at Dambuster last year – afterwards he said I’d gone by him like he was stood still. This is such good fun – the work this winter has turned my bike splits around. Until this season it was a massive weakness, now it feels like a weapon and is my strongest discipline. It feels good – there’s something about powering by someone when you’re down and dirty on the tri bars. I was now just thinking “push push push’ – I needed to get a cushion for the run. Onto the second lap and I still felt so strong. I worked as hard as I could dreaming of the sub 2 hour bike split for 80km. Into T2 1:59:39 !!!!!

Unbeknown to me I was now in 2nd place in my age group a mere 30 seconds behind the leader. I headed out onto the run determined to push. Jane said that this was the only time she could notice I was carrying alot of extra weight and though I was running strongly compared to most she said I looked laboured – she was not wrong, I felt strong but I felt heavy of foot. A french guy came by me on the first lap  – it turns out he went on to win beating me by 5 minutes with a run split 6 minutes quicker than me. I kept pushing and felt I was running well… it was certainly hurting. The run course had taken everyone by surprise with 5 decent climbs every lap (3 laps). I think it suited me in the shape I was in as it gave variety and lots to focus on. Drive up the hills, relax and let the brakes off down the hills. With about a km to go a GB guy came buy me…. I stuck on his shoulder for about 100m and then he pushed the pace – I didn’t stick with him. I crossed the line having done just over 1.20 for 20km. Not bad given my shape to do more or less back to back 40min 10k but still a long way off the 36 min 10k pace I was managing last year in Olympic tris.

In Transition afterwards the guy that had come buy me told me he’d got a text saying he was in 6th and I was in 7th. I was chuffed to bits !

Now… with hindsight. I’m a little bit gutted

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