12 months to Possibly my best & last ironman

Grand day out – finished by 9:30am

On this soggy Sunday in UK and Denmark I am watching a number of friends on the ironman tracker, the live tv saw the pros women come in hours ago with Anne Haug smashing the course record.

Hoping for better weather next year as I will taking part in the Pirate Champions at Copenhagen, Denmark 🇩🇰 as I experienced the four seasons of British weather in one sprint triathlon yesterday.

As you’ve read in previous blog posts 2019 tri season has been derailed by Shingles. So yesterday’s Portishead Sprint triathlon was and will be my only full triathlon this year. This was a transfer from an earlier DBMAX race and I was looking forward to getting a finisher medal for a solo effort this year and the season not being a total right off.

Heading to Portishead the night before with my pirate shipmate Mrs D who unfortunately had to pull out and become a marshal we drove through torrential rain, but the forecast said Saturday would be dry and breezy – never trust a weather forecast!

Despite the fact my last pool and sprint distance triathlon was 2013 and I was fished out the pool with 2 lengths to go as I was disorientated, in the wrong lane and then blacked out. Turned out to be a middle ear infection but kept lifeguards, lap counter, race organisers and medics on their toes, I was really excited about this race.

Not sure what swim time I put down as I was in the 3rd wave which meant a stupid o’clock alarm. Drank an instant porridge pot ( I added too much water) and coffee got dressed in a tri suit ( normally wear separates) and we were off.

Racking was on grass overlooking the Severn and that island called Wales, the opposite view to my swim/run in Barry Island a few weeks back. It was now starting to look a little dark so a long sleeved top was put out for the bike – a race saver !

7:26 wave sat shivering on the side of the lido for our race briefing, as the rain began. It was a pleasure to get in the warm pool but all too quickly the 3,2,1 count down began and we were off. A few toe taps and switch arounds within the lane but all very polite and controlled. Tapped my watch and jumped out just over 8mins but another competitor had slipped over on the timing mat so a short wait while medics helped them, would have been rude to step over them !

Portishead tri is unique in it has two sets of concrete steps to climb, first from swim to T1 then in the last 200m before the finish. Transition wasn’t a quick change as I wrestled wet socks and cycle jackets onto a wet body.

For a sprint distance this has as much climbing per mile as a trek to Everest base camp. A gentle warm up which mislead many to thinking this wasn’t too bad, until you found the main hill half a mile later. I think the driving rain, fogging sunglasses and river running down the road were enough of a distraction for me to just keep the legs spinning.

I knew I was on top the ridge as I could get back in the big ring and head onto first loop. Glasses on/off until I decided slightly blurred vision and slowing down was better than rain & road grit in my eyes. The roads were flooded and unknown hidden dangers of potholes, drains, debris were hidden under water. Slow & steady, get back safe was my aim. Going through Blackrock another cheeky climb in the rain before starting the second loop. What goes up does go down but you couldn’t just let fly on the decent as too dangerous – self preservation kicked in big time and I probably need new brake blocks.

Back safe and sound although took over an hour, T2 time to ditch the jersey and put on a wet T-shirt as still chilly I swear there was hail at one point. I later empty my waterlogged Kitbix as left lid open .

Off on the multi terrain run as the rain eased but replaced by gusty winds along the seafront. We soon headed off road along grass tracks, narrow coastal paths in a loop, sliding down the grassy banks to come back along the prom and up the last set of steps around the tree and in just over 2 hours it was all done.

Whilst not much sprinting took place from me I enjoyed this spirit tri finish as much as a longer distance. Shingles has taken it out of me this year and I’m not too proud to start my ironman Copenhagen journey again, from sprint to ironman in 12 months.

I only met one other competitor I knew but many familiar marshals who cheered me on.

Race summary – Portishead tri is a great event, and would be brilliant on a dry day Novices should ride a few hills before to be used to them, I saw quite a few pushing bikes. The 33m lido is a nicer than an indoor pool and a first lido race experience for me. I assume the bike would be scenic if you can see it, quiet country roads, a pretty village and around Portishead. The run is multi terrain and was scenic and well supported with marshals and spectators. A colourful medal, water, giant jelly snakes and snacks and smiling marshals at the finish made a great atmosphere. Free massage and hot showers post race were a bonus.

Although I do think that sprint distances are the devils distance! Too short & fast for me usually but everyone had to slow due to conditions. Whilst I’m chuffed I finished without incident I know my loss of fitness had an impact on pace and exhaustion as last night I spelt 11 hours straight !

So today marks a year to my 5th and final ironman, Copenhagen.

Copenhagen is a city race and very similar to Hamburg and should be as fast and flat so looking for a PB 😀🇩🇰🏁

Final steps at Battery Point to the finish

2020 my next ironman destination

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