Friday, 18 May 2012

HD video of my race

Here is a video of the highlights. (may not work on an iPhone) 

it's a bit hard to see me in some shots. The guy picking up his kid in the finish chute doesn't help!

sections of the race I feature in can be viewed online with the following link:

Tonys tri HD video

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Mallorca 70.3 2012 race report

Short version:
All the training and planning paid off and the race ran perfectly without incident.

Swim - bit casual
Bike -  surprised myself
Run -  scorchio (that’s the temperature, not my performance).

My finishing time smashed my predicted time and one day after, the body feels surprisingly good (this can't last).

Long version:
The calm before the swim
I had a great uninterrupted nights sleep and woke to the alarm at 6:00, dozed for a bit and forced down a couple of bowls of muesli (with water not milk - didn't wan't dairy related tummy issues), a banana, 2 peanut butter sandwiches and a powerbar.

I put my tri suit on and went out to the transition area (just outside the hotel) and made sure Ihad trainers, socks, run visor and 4 x gels in the run bag, helmet, shades and race number belt in the bike bag. I then pumped up my tyres to 100psi, there were still other people's tyres blowing in the heat. Each time one would blow, people ran back to their bike to check if it was their tyre. I filled my 3 bottles with drink, clipped (and elastic banded) my pedals to the bike and put 6 gels a power bar and some nuun tablets in my fuel box.

I went back to our hotel, had a quick coffee with Faye and got the wetsuit on. Then it was just chilling out, waiting for my wave to start.

SWIM 1900 metres (32:30)

The beach start was quite a civilised affair and running for longer in the shallow water before  diving in really helped (glad I rehearsed that  the day before). The wash pool start didn't last for long and after about 200m I was in pretty clean water sighting a tight line by the buoys- ideal start. The fast guys got clear and very soon I was pacing with other swimmers of my ability. There was a lot of opportunity to draft off of them for an easier ride. My toes were being tickled so I'm sure I was towing someone along too.

I didn't feel I swam that hard but I was happy with that as racing 70.3 was a new experience. I was able to see the seabed for the entire swim, which meant I could gauge my speed a little. You also saw a few swim caps on the sea bed, fortunately without the swimmers still attached!

I had about 400m to go and was navigating around a slower swimmer  from the previous wave when I took an elbow to the jaw but with teeth and more importantly goggles still intact I was able to sight the finish arch and exit to the beach still feeling fresh. Wetsuit down to waist,  cap and goggles into the wetsuits sleeve and a quick glance at the watch showed the swim had taken 32 mins and was possibly slightly over the 1900m (others I spoke to after the race had the same data on their GPS watches).

I spotted Faye on the swim exit and told her how good I felt. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her run up the outside of transition to get level with my bike - so now the race (within the race) was on.

just 56 miles to go
T1 was smooth, I picked up my blue bag, sat on bench in the change tent, took the wetsuit off, put my glasses, helmet and race number on, left the suit for a helper to put in the bag and sprinted off to bike.

Faye was there waiting opposite my bike (a small victory). I over shot by a few metres, reacquainted myself with the trusty steed and pushed it whilst running to the mount line. Apparently its the longest ironman transition!

BIKE 56 miles (2:48:15)
I had ridden the first flat section of the route (Alcudia to Puerto Pollensa) the day before, it is a long strip parallel to the sea and was windy with road traffic. Race day was still and the roads were closed. It was 30 degrees but over at speeds of 20mph this wasn't really an issue.

This first 1/4 of the bike route  is flat and good for getting aero. For every speed demon that overtook me I probably was able to overtake a couple myself. This was the advantage of having the older waves go out before mine.  Finally all the expense of the aero kit was paying off!

My Garmin was only giving pace and distance for some reason the heart rate and cadence data was not showing. This was potentially a problem as I had planned for 90rpm and approx. 75-80% max HR for the entire ride. I had to work on RPE (rate of perceived exertion) and not get too lazy with the peddling.

The 12mile mountain climb was really beautiful, the roads were smooth and the views great but it was hot. The going was unexpectedly pretty easy and I was able to chat to a few other cyclists on the way up and was still able to overtake a few and take on fuel as required. There was one false summit at the top but spectators did eventually announce the eventual summit and then the fun began.

The next 1/4 of the ride was the best cycling experience I have ever had. It was fast, scenic and dynamic with lots of tight switchbacks up the top. I was able to hold my nerve and overtake whilst most cyclists were showing caution.

The last 1/4 was flatter but still fast, only slowing for a few villages. I took the opportunity to fuel up and rest a little, preserving the legs for the run.

I didn't have to stop a single time to refuel on the ride as taking water from the outstretched hands of the volunteers at the aid stations was easy (great organisation) . I used 3 x 500ml of fluid and all 6 gels in total. The powerbar was not pleasant as it was hard to chew and breath at the same time.

ready for a run?
I got my feet out the shoes, dismounted and ran (slowly) to my bike slot in transition. I put my helmet on the bike and drank the remainder of the Gatorade in my aero drinks bottle.

Running to the change tent was hard and long and my feet took a pounding (maybe they were also a bit sore from the ride).

I got my red bag, sat down, put my socks, trainers and visor on and after being reminded to spin my race belt round to my front exited transition ready for the run.

RUN 13.1miles (1:50:58)
The half marathon was in 3 laps this year which was perfect, one to get some rhythm, one to build pace and one to go for it - we'll that was the plan.

looking fresh.... feeling hot
Did Imention it was hot? The first lap went well with the pace holding steady at 7:30/mile. I had not spotted Faye again (faster on the bike than expected and came into T2 earlier than I had told her). There were 3 aid stations around the course (one every mile and a bit). I was able to get a cup of water/isotonic drink at each as well as putting a cup or two over my head and shoulders - I was dry again by the next aid station. I felt pretty good, just a few stomach cramps (not sure why - maybe due to coughing a lot with the previous weeks cold).

I decided to drop the pace to 8:30/mile for the second lap as I could feel my quads tightening (never had this before, may be a factor of having just ridden for nearly 3 hours or just cramping in the heat) and I wanted to make sure I finished. Also I saw lots of runners who had already completed 2 laps (had 2 of the 3 coloured hair bands they give you on lap completion) walking and stretching.

200m to go

I was on my last lap when I saw Faye and gave her a big high 5 slap announcing I was onthe last lap (her cue to get to the finishing chute). I tried to raise the pace but in actual fact struggled to maintain existing 8:30/mile.

job done
I took care to ensure that my drinks actually went in my mouth by walking the last 3 aid stations rather than just splashing off my face, I also put about 4 cups of water over my head in an attempt to stay cool. This did make my trainers a bit spongy.  I collected my last (pink) hair band took the diversion over the wooden bridge to the blue carpeted finish, a quick glance behind, no one for about 20 meters but two people in front so sprinted like a madman to the finish arch. I saw Faye just before the line, and then it was all over..... 5 hours 20 minutes and 23 seconds.

I was given my medal and was totally out of breath from the last sprint. An official noticed this and offered me the medical tent but I just needed to calm down a bit. I filled my tri suit with ice cubes - I wish I could have done this during the run! 

I had a quick stand under a shower and waited for Faye.

We took the short walk back to the hotel whilst I rabbited like a excited kid.

I will look back at the race later on to see what went well and what areas I can improve on. 

One area that cannot be improved is the support, encouragement and tolerance from Faye and the kids. They have been husband/fatherless for too long without ever complaining and I truly could never achieve this without their help and love, besides, it gets harder from here.... 

Full Ironman?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

5 hours 20 mins 23 seconds

Race report to follow.... and a spectators report from Faye! Until then, here are the stats!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Pre race nerves

Finally got to the hotel at 1:30am as the flight was slightly delayed! There were at least 3 stag doo's on the plane, Mallorca... A venue for stag doo's.... Forgot about that.

Took the shuttle bus across the island to Alcudia (no stag doo's). Couldn't resist building up the bike in the room so got to bed by 2:00.

The hotel is excellent (bloody better be for £150/night to! They are holding the pro press conference for the race at our hotel, however I haven't been approached for an interview yet? I have chatted with a few fellow 'athletes' (that's what it says on my wrist band - and they don't lie!), they range from those who think they will do the race in about 4:20 to those who 'think' they will complete it. After training in the 30 degree heat today, I am siding with the 'just finishing' crowd (even the fish were sweating).

Had a mile sea swim (first open water swim of the season as Leybourne lake is still 11 degrees) and it felt good, salty but good.

I went through registration, bought the obligatory t-shirt (if you look carefully, you can see my name in the pic.) and mug and went for pasta and pizza. Then took the bike out for 10 miles (flat and fast). All is fine but I did throw up a mouth full (nerves???) and I don't need to be wasting all that nutrition!

Went to the race briefing on the beach. Free food & drink etc... All seems pretty clear!

I then checked in the bike. A few of the Tri bikes suffered tyre explosions, where they had left their 100psi tyres in the heat (deflate today, inflate in morning is the order of the day!). The volunteers here are excellent. They said they would fix the tyres in the riders absence and they would never know - how nice!

I mentioned on the last post that I would take a stab at predicting my performance.

I reckon sub 0:35 would be ok.

3:10 should be achievable, the 'hill' I keep hearing about is a big unknown!

In this heat, anything under 2 hours would be ok

It's over 500m long and 300m from the swim exit so I will allow for 7 mins for t1 & t2 total.

That makes 5:52. So I should get under the magic 6 (I just made that up - I actually thing the 'magic' starts when you go sub 5), however if it all goes perfectly the total time could be nearer 5:30. At this moment, I will just be happy to get the finishers medal around my sunburnt neck!

Oh yeah, as you can see from the balcony shot, Faye is finding all this ironman stuff pretty stressful!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Nutrition and bike set-up

I have been calculating my nutritional needs for the race and setting the bike up with all the spares and repair stuff I will need for the race. So far the list reads:

6x Gels bike & 4 gels run (SIS GO)
2x power bars for bike
Aero bottle up front (carb based drink)
2x cage bottles behind seat (electrolite based drink)*
Spare inner tube
2x co2 canisters & inflator
2x tyre levers
patch repairs
chain split link
I will also pick up a Vittoria 'pitstop' (self inflator/sealer) from a bike shop in Mallorca when we get there

*the 2x cage bottles are sacrificial and can be replaced with full bottles at the water stations and decanted into the aero bottle along with an electrolite tablet (Nuun) This is based on needing 300-400 cals/hour and anything up to 750ml/hr of fluid. I will also most probably learn that I didn't need to take half the food and drink as it was available at the feed stations - I was always one to over pack!

Quite a shopping list but it's an expensive trip and I wouldn't want to fail due to puncture or nutritional shortage.

The tools alone add half a kg to the bike and I will probably only have to pick up a few waters from the feed stations to complete the nutritional requirements. The 'sock' (I might patent the idea) holds all the tools and is wrapped around the bottle gave mounting. Note the inspirational 'come on daddy' fixture on the bottle - very cliché.


Rear bottles
The 'sock', between saddle and cage - genius!

The Bike
It's as ready as it's going to be. I really needed to put some more road miles on it before the race. To date I have done about 750 training miles on the this bike but only about 60 of these have been on the road.

Ready to roll!

Frame/forks: Felt DA 2010
Wheelset:     Mavic Cosmic Carbone SR's
Groupset:     Shimano DA/Ultegra/105
Bars:            Vision & Profile Design aero bars/bottle
Saddle:         Plannet X
Tyres:          Continental GP 4000s
Cages:         Tacx holder & Plannet X carbon
Pedals:         Look Keo

Packing Up
I picked up the 'bikeboxalan' yesterday (yes it is really called that). These boxes retail at £450 but are only £40 to hire and i've seen how the baggage handlers operate! Squeezed in the box is the nutrition and bottles, bike shoes, helmet, track pump and tools!
Now you see it
Now you don't

I may take a stab at predicting my performance and setting goals for the race....... dangerous game that though.

Friday, 4 May 2012


Finished my last big session before the taper to the race. It was going to be bigger but I have had Eve's cold for the last 5 days which has meant any effort has resulted in a coughing session. For once I have been a good patient and rested.

So I biked one and a half hours on the turbo trainer and ran for 9.5 miles at 7:45 pace. I tested gel/water intake intervals (which seem to go pretty well - no belly issues or lack of energy) and also some new laces. I found the new elastic laces online and it turns out that the owner of the company 'Flatlines' lives the next street down. The laces are essentially swimming goggle straps. They worked well, the trainers were comfy and the foot pain I have had of late hasn't returned. However the hilly run has tested the calves (they are hopefully just sore not torn this time, still the run next week is flat).