My last blog was 100 days to ironman Wales and I was still deciding whether to go for it having missed a couple of months training.
I have done many hours and miles in the saddle in Wales, in mid Wales, west Wales, South Wales, Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire all to get mountain miles in my legs in the last 50 days.
It’s a tough decision and still tougher times and miles to come – but I be decided to go for it – ironman Wales 2018 I’m coming to slay you ! Dragon 🐉
Quoting a couple of friends –
” Ironman Wales is not the toughest Ironman in Europe. It is the toughest Ironman in the world. Not my opinion, but the opinion of Ironindex.com which rates level of difficulty of all 140.6 Ironman and Challenge events (and in endorsed by Ironman). I live in the states, and I know that Wales is a whole other level of crazy. The bike course is legendary. Enjoy the day! ”
” If you want time to go quickly enter an Ironman!! ”
So 50 days to go and every weekend counts and is planned as mid week training is still limited with work hours and location. Good news my contact has been extended by another month to October, fingers crossed for longer.
My Welsh training events include :
Mid Wales – literally the middle of Wales in a bunkhouse with Sherston Velo. After a couple of train rides I was picked up and then driven to the middle of Wales literally if you dropped a pin in middle of the country this is where we we stayed. Pound coins for the electric meter, a dial pay phone and no phone signal was all very off the grid but quiet, beautiful and a perfect base for us to ride out to the west coast. Day one 85 miles round trip for fish & chips & ice cream 🍦 finishing for refreshments at a pub.
Sweeping roads used in Top Gear, reservoirs, farms, moorland and coastal cliffs. Sunday was a shorter recovery ride along the Efan valley & reservoir. All good miles with plenty of climbing.
Dragon Ride 🐉 – third time I have been at this event, last year we endured 90 miles wet, windy, cold, hailstones and braved hyperthermia and couldn’t see our way. This year was glorious sunshine ☀️ . I wasn’t feeling the love in the first third and nearly decided to drop,to the 60 miler but carried on and so glad I did, I git stringer in the middle third and flying by last third ( ok most of the hills were done by then ). More solid miles in the legs & testing the lungs.
Lakesman Half – 70.3 Very much a training & social event. Great event, nice lake, rolling ride and mixed terrain run. Already planning to go back next year to race this one. Cold water kicked off my asthma and nearly pulled out 500m into swim ! Relaxed and carried on, bike was a little wet but sun came out for the run. I messed up my Garmin and timers messed up my race splits. Good weekend with the Pirates which won’t be forgotten for s long time with flip flops & frock rum in egg cup pool party !
Fresh Water recci ride – I was invited to join Belinda and Lucy to ride the long IM Wales loop (70 miles), staying in what was a garden shed with electricity, water and a shower and a short bed ! Our two local guides took us around the loop, starting about 15 miles into the loop near Castle Martin. Focused on the four main climbs – sand dunes, Wisemans Bridge, Saundersfoot, the long haul plus Narbeth. All climbed relatively comfortably and good to get some landmarks and reference points. Second time this year on the FELT race bike, got a few more teeth on the rear cassette which made a huge difference although gears shifter came loose so mid ride mechanics required. On the Sunday we ran a loop of the ironman run from T1/T2 again a loop with four significant climbs – but what goes up comes down – it’s a hill get over it !
LCW – this is basically a deconstructed triathlon based in Tenby on parts of ironman course for swim & bike – you swim on the Friday night, ride Saturday and run Sunday. A really great event and distances from long course 140.6 miles to kids, you can mix and match from full, half, swim & rides plus shorter bike and 10k & 5k run.
Friday 3,800m swim was my sixth swim of the year, first sea swim in two years and fourth open Water of 2018. Two laps of the ironman triangular course, the swim to the first buoy seems to go on forever, with the sun hanging over the cliff on your left side. One quick puke to feed the fish as I rounded the buoy. A few jellyfish but none of the big barrel types. Aiming for the lifeboat station on the back leg was a bit of a chicane through the boats and I ended up with two different lines. Heading back to shore was tricky to sight as straight into the setting sun and nearly straight into the big rock luckily a kayaker pushed me wide. Aussie exit 45 mins on the clock. Lap two still squinting to sight and a different trip around the boats, miss the rock, throw up then back in the sandy beach. For me a success only two sick stops, swam an extra 500meters 4.325m in 1:31 so lots of positives – Redbull & ginger biscuits seem to work.
Saturday ride 112 miles on ironman course – not feeling great first thing thinking maybe after affects of motion sickness from sea, but had my usual breakfast, filled the water bottles and my pockets with food & fuel for s long day out. Planning to ride this like race day, minimum stops at feed station just to refill bottles. The temperature rose to about 28c from 18c at 7am and the sun shone all day. 30 miles in and I seemed to lose my breakfast on the road side, made sure I kept topped up with liquids I drank my bottles and refilled ( didn’t like the watermelon energy drink). By the time I was coming to the end of the first loop I’d been sick a couple of times and knew something wasn’t right. The finish wasn’t open so got guided around to 66 mile feed station where I met with 6 club mates, two of which were stopping due to sickness and two other who had also felt bad but were carrying on. I dithered as whether to stop or not ?
Knowing the first 15 or so miles were relatively flat after a few bananas and refilling my bottles I headed off again on the bike. Needless to say the next 30 miles were not my finest riding, more survival that admiring the scenery . At last feed station I just threw up, got off my bike and sat in the shade for half an hour. Must have looked grim as a paramedic came to question me. Seems many other also being sick and feeling rough. 20 miles to go I decided just to break it down and keep rolling forward even though I knew I still had Wisemans Bridge and Saunderfoot to climb.
Just shy of 100 miles I was off my bike, decorating a lay by before I laid on my back looking at the sky pleading for the crows to swoop down and just finish me off pecking me to death ! A few last text words to friends then pushed on in three mile bursts.
I made it half way up a Wisemans before pulling over to puke and walk. Managed to ride Saundersfoot and then knew one last climb then down hill into town and it was all done.
Sunday more was funday not run day for me. I twisted my ankle on Wednesday as was worried the sprain would stop me running, ironically it was the sickness that stopped me, but in hindsight the sickness gave my ankle time to heal. Three limp alone enjoyed the indoor & outdoor pools at caravan park, played on slides, relaxed in jacuzzis and chilled in splash pads. Then went to support runners finishing.
So a sickness virus / salt water / heat / endurance exercise messed up my weekend. I’ll never know what the cause but will remember the affect !
However many positives for me 1:30 swim which was 500m long and only sick twice – sighting will be easier on morning swim on race day.
I rode 112 miles feeling like death and stopping half a dozen times to be sick in 8:18 riding time ( elapsed was over 9 hours) so 8:30 on race day is possible. I rode all the hills and know I’m strong enough to ride the distance.
Run – my ankle is rested ready to run again this weekend.
So 50 days to go – my weekend session are planned, no going back now in going for it. Wish me luck as I will be flirting with the cutoffs.
MID WALES WEEKEND