Flew out to Mallorca with James Cribbin on Tuesday night 5/4/16.. Up early Wednesday morning to collect my TT bike which was shipped over by ShipMyTriBike...but got email to say bike pickup delayed until Thursday morning. Not a good start as I had plans to get out on bike early Wednesday morning. Did a swim set with James in local 25m pool with deep water race starts.. Later we did a stretching and mobility set at the hotel gym.
Staying in a lovely hotel just 5mins walk to race location..... Weather reports were not good so luckily I had extra gear for what ever was going to come on race day... It was 30 degrees last year at this race, but the weather was not promising for this years race. Monsoon rain forecasted for race day. Another concern I had was an Achilles injury which I have had since January..Very little running done since then so taking part in this race was hanging in the balance.. Over the next couple of days my mind was distracted with this problem.. Slowly but surely the pain in the Achilles was subsiding... A lot of rubbing with anti inflammatory gel and pain killers..Looked promising but still unsure.
On Thursday we got to collect the bikes from ShipMyTriBike.. Good way of transporting bikes to races safely.. Great service and have used them many times before. Got to out on the bike then for an hour with a few efforts. More stretching and mobility set. Later I went to race registration to collect my race package. Great buzz as always with Ironman races. People from all over the world were here. Registration complete I went to find James. I found him looking very down. No sign of James on the start list. Luckily he had an email confirming entry and payment made. People from Ironman were sorting the problem and would eventually be rectified. Jimmy would be racing. Back to the hotel and sorted my race numbers on my bike and transition bags. Race belt with race number attached #2981..
On the evening before the race we racked our bikes in transition.. Organised our run and bike transition bags.. Over 3400 people taking part so all those bikes and people in one area was very busy. Everybody concerned about the weather next morning. Alot of worried looking faces..people covering bikes with bags was not a great sight. Got to meet a very famous lady who was packing her run transition bag beside me..Nicola Spirig ( Switzerland) the current Olympic Triathlon Champion.. Very nice woman and we spoke for a few minutes before she kindly stood for a photo with me. She would finish 2nd in the women's pro race.
Woke at 5am to hear rain lashing outside... Dark and miserable... James was up before me so he had a full weather forecast for me.. We discussed at length what gear we needed for bike and run.. The bike would bring us very high into the mountains so hypothermia was a concern.. We had brought base layers and jackets with us. Shoe covers brought also.. Didn't believe we would need these but glad to have brought them with me as temperatures had fallen. We had prepared our own porridge the night before. We had the porridge then went and had something light in the hotel restaurant. The Restaurant was full of worried faces.. People with jackets, hoodies and hats. Not good. But this was the hand we were dealt and everybody was in the same boat. We left the hotel at about 6am with all our gear. We would come back later to get wetsuits on for swim start. Walked from the hotel to transition in pouring rain. I set my transition bags up with the extra gear for the change in weather. I then set up my nutrition on my bike. Two 700ml bottles. One with a carbohydrate drink and and another with a mixed gel drink. In my food pouch I had shot bloks and figs..Bike was in the right gear and my bike computer set for the race. All with the Bike was ready. I walked through transition to familiarise myself with my routes in and out on the bike and run. Transition is one of the biggest in the world. Approximately 700 metres long. I was happy with my setup and was good to go. I returned to the Hotel room at about 7am. Our swim time was 8.10am. I wanted to get down to the swim start area to get into the water for a warm up and to get into the right starting pin.
Wetsuits on and ready to race I went down to swim start. The swim was a rolling start after the pro men and women had gone. James and I decided to go in the first wave which was the 20 -29mins swim times. I had swam 30 mins last year so was hoping to go a little faster this year. The water was rough with a nice chop in the water. Water temperature was good which was a plus. Into the pin for wave 1 start. Five swimmers off every few seconds. Left the starting area and sprinted out into the water dived in and off. Got into my rhythm fairly easily. Good space around me with nobody on top of me yet. Water was very choppy going out but kept my rhythm and stokes nice and smooth. All of a sudden I got a stinging sensation on my left hand and face. Just got stung by a jelly fish. It was very sore and now I was thinking would this cause problems for me during the remainder if the race. Kept going but could see these jelly fish everywhere now.. Jaysus..got out of the water fresh enough ( 33mins which was not what I was hoping for but conditions were so different from last year and even the pros had slow swims).. Nice distance to T1. Wetsuit off then grabbed bike transition bag and into the tent. Underarmer/socks/gilet/helmet/ and bike shoes with covers on. Ran the 200 metres to where my bike was racked. Out onto the bike course. Water everywhere. Roundabouts where treacherous and very sloppy. Attacked the bike as best I could. Got to the bottom of the mountains and into climbing mode. Visability was poor and conditions very very wet. Mind was already thinking of the decent off the mountains which had very sharp switch back turns. Climbed well ( new Cannondale Slice bike was doing the job on the climb) got to the summit and began the descent. Normally I would fly down in 8-10 mins at speeds of 60kph. Not today. Totally lost my nerves on the bends. They were like glass. Saw three very bad crashes which didn't help. All I wanted to do on a day like this was get off the bike safe. Eventually got down through all the descent and through some small villages ( great support from the locals) and out into the flat. Rain still lashing down. Knew I had lost serious time on the descent I was fighting to make up the time so was pushing that little bit harder. Now I was conscious of pushing too hard and not leaving enough for the run. Got back to Alcudia 90k completed. Soaking wet and Into T2 and racked the bike. Collected run bag and into the changing tent. Off with the bike gear. Runners on and started out on the 21k run. Temperatures were ok but still very wet. This suited me as I tend to run ok in the rain. Achilles was behaving but ran conservatively for the first 10k. Huge support on the run route. Then I realised I could push it a little more. With very little run training done I was surprised that I was going this well. I said to myself I would give the last 5k of the 21k a right go. I did the last 5k in under 20mins.. Up the the ironman carpet and through the finish line. Got my finishers medal. Great atmosphere and huge crowds up the finishing line. Full commentary and all. Finished the run in 1.51.. Which I was delighted with considering the injured Achilles. Two weeks ago I wasn't going to do the race with the injury. So I will take that. Into the recovery/athletes area to see if I could find Jimmy. No sign but we had planned earlier that we would not delay after finishing and back to the hotel. Wrapped in foil blanket and plastic cover I quickly had something to eat in the recovery tents and then back to the hotel.
Overall pleased with fishing this race. Was hoping for a way faster time than 5hrs35mins but weather conditions and injuries dictated otherwise. Great race though and great location. Ironman events are an unbelievable experience but maybe time to try different venue. Another Ironman 70.3 completed. Now back to the races in Ireland.