Wimbleball 70.3 2016 Race Report – Michelle Peckham – thetrilife.com Coached Athlete
While the race is on Sunday you can get involved from the Friday. Registration opens, you can take advantage of the IRONMAN shopping experience (who knew you needed those IM tea towels?), an opportunity for a dip in the lake and a chance to get orientated with the course and transition. Run reconnaissance reveals it is NOT flat but very spectator friendly and takes in plenty of stunning lake views.
It’s not a bad idea to register on Friday as you can collect your transition and post-race bags early allowing plenty of time for a good faff with all your kit. It also helps to get your head round how transition will work and exactly what you’ll need and when.
On Saturday you rack your bike and hand in the aforementioned bags. IM favour a system of hanging up all your transition gear in these bags on numbered racks which I think works well. You’re responsible for finding your own bags (they are well marked in rows and blocks) and getting all your kit in and out of said bags and back on the pegs on race day. Numerous toilets noted in transition – tick.
Spectators are well catered for with a range of food and drink vans (my fellow club members can provide more details on the mobile sweet shop and specifically the candyfloss).
A little bit of patience is required getting on and off site throughout the weekend but a traffic management system is in place and there is ample parking.
Saturday night and Horsham Amphibians Head Coach is appalled by the chat from the girls. Race plan? Technique? Pace control? Forget it. It’s all about when and where you’re going to get to a toilet pre and mid race. Enough said. What goes on tour stays on tour.
Sunday morning. A new strategy for IM, the rolling race swim start. A highly civilised affair with the self-seeding process working very well. This is followed by a cheeky hill into transition. A rummage through the T1 bag and on to the notorious bike course. A fellow Horsham Amphibian and I were very grateful to a former club member now living close to the bike route for giving us a guided tour of the course back in April. This really paid off enabling us to pace this tough course well. I have to say the legs felt a lot better at the end of the bike on race day than they did when we practised!
T2 and more bags on pegs. Very helpful marshals on hand to help out. I also discovered while the club Apex Link tri suit is rather nice it’s a bugger to whip off in a portaloo when you’re in a bit of a hurry.
Run – lumpy but lovely. I had the usual ‘feels a bit of an effort’ for the first three miles or so then switched to ‘bloomin loving it’. It’s a 3 lap course and I found myself running past a lot of people who had started the run after me. Always makes you feel better. Then into the finish line. Classic IM, lots of fuss and big crowds down the finishing carpet with a lovely bit of bling (pictured) at the end. 6hrs 5mins and 47seconds. 6th in my age group (40-44). Love it.
Further to the above I must state I’ve never felt so well prepared for a big event. Leading up to Wimbelball I didn’t have any of the usual pre-race worries about my preparation. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and feel I reached my full potential in the swim (00:32:47) bike (03:34:28) and run (01:48:31). I also felt ten times better than at the end of the 70.3 I completed in Luxembourg last year that was on a much easier course. All credit down to Richard Jones who has been writing my plan since November 2015. Looking forward to the next 8 weeks. Vichy IM BRING IT ON!!!
The only wee fly in the ointment – I came down with a sore throat and headache on the Monday and Tuesday post-race. This progressed to fever and vomiting and a swift visit to the doctors. The prognosis is bacterial tonsillitis that I suspect I picked up in the lake, I’ve subsequently learnt there were warnings for blue-green algae in place. Fortunately it seems to be disappearing as quickly as it came on and I’m hoping to be back on it early next week!