Nic Walton – #thetrilifereporter – month 4
Post Race reflection
My first race of the season is done and there are some positives, but it is tinged with disappointment.
IRONMAN 70.3 Mallorca… the reason I was even doing the race was more to do with the fact 25 members of Chiltern Tri had signed up the previous autumn. With all the travel and other commitments prior to the May, I had written off the race as nothing more than an early season fitness indicator and a fun trip with so many of the club going.
I awoke on race morning very early to the sound of rain, we knew it was coming, but not quite expecting the deluge. I believe the BBC weather page had a warning for Alcudia (race start and finish) for just about the 8-9 hours of the race. There were quite a few people that didn’t start, but you can’t do that – IRONMAN charge you an arm and a leg – you can’t drop out just because there is a mild storm! Perhaps the most ironic part of the poor weather is that in London that weekend it was 25c and bright sunshine!
So getting ready for the start, in the pouring rain and cool you are corralled a bit like cattle. They had a rolling start which I’d never encountered before. It was really well done, every 5 or 6 seconds they let a group of 5 or 6 people run into the water from the beach. It was very good and saves a lot of the madness of the mass start. I didn’t get kicked in the head too many times. I think this is a great idea, not quite as good for the spectacle of a couple thousands loonies all setting off together, but much better for the competitors in my opinion!
Sea was a bit choppy, but nothing ridiculous. I mentioned in my last update about my trip to Mallorca that I encountered jellyfish, well they were back. I was stung but nothing to really disrupt the swim, some the group I was with though had some horrendous stings. I really didn’t realise they left their mark quite so much, some of the ‘wounds’ were quite nasty!
I finished the swim in 31.50 – I was passing people in the swim and don’t remember being out of my comfort zone, I know I can go a lot faster.
Transition – I chose to have my bike shoes in the bag rather than on the bike this time. I’m not sure what is faster for me still.
Out on the bike it was obviously cool, but not unbearable, the rain was falling harder again. I had time to check myself out in a few shop windows as I rode past. There is basically one massive hill on the bike course going out and up towards Lluc in the Tramanatum mountain range, then you go down and it looks fairly flat after that on the way back. Going up was fine, we did go right into the low cloud and visibility was very poor. The route down is a lovely descent, but you had to take it a bit more gingerly than you otherwise might have done in the dry. I heard afterwards a few people came off on it. The route back on after the mountain is not completely flat and the few lumps you come across come as a bit of a surprise. It does however give you the chance to get out of the saddle and change position to ease those aches. All was going well until km80(ish). Puncture. My first in a race and I wasn’t really prepared. I didn’t panic, but my pump was completely useless…. But why didn’t you know that beforehand? I hear you say. Well… I took the smaller one as it looked better on the bike… it’s now in the bin! It cost me in time dearly. 12 minutes stationary and then I couldn’t inflate the new tube properly. I did the last 10km on the rim at half the speed I would have done. In total I lost around 30mins. Total bike time was 3.06?? I was disappointed as up until then it had been going quite well… anyway lessons to learn, fail to prepare – prepare to fail. I’m getting some CO2 cartridges for racing in the future! Also take some other tyres for wet weather eventualities.
The run was ok, very flat and very wet, but completed in 1.40. I didn’t feel I pushed as hard as I might have done without the puncture, but those are all buts, ifs and maybes. All in all the progress is quite good, but I’m tinged with disappointment due to the puncture. All lessons and better preparation needed.
A thoroughly good race that I’d recommend to anyone – even if it is an M Dot brand event!