Saturday 29th September 2012.
I had wanted to enter this race for some time, but with the heel issue still lingering, it was actually the Tuesday before race day that I was convinced the heel was not going to be an issue.
I had convinced Rich Harris to race here too, although he was concerned it was gonna be a chilly one. Another good friend was making his 'debut', and I was very excited to see Huw Phillips take on this tough race.
This race is in an area of outstanding natural beauty, in the Gower Peninsula, and the weather on race morning certainly helped it look even more amazing.
|Lining up for the swim start on Port Eynon beach.|
So, after leaving Mum's house at 6am, Ange had kindly driven me to Port Eynon for the 7am start.
I was there in good time, and racked the bike right next to the bike exit.
Having met up with Rich and Huw, banter was exchanged before heading for the sea.
The sun was so bright, it made it difficult to see the first buoy, but once we were off, I just followed the group in front, and that worked nicely.
The was quite a bit of jostling out to the first turn, and it got quite feisty around that first buoy.
The swim was, from then on, uneventful, as the pack spread out, and I completed the 2 lap swim in a time of 27.05 (ranked 98th* out of 193 starters).
*All rankings do not account for the people who participate in a different race to us, on the same course as us, but at the same time. - i.e. 'relays' (wtf?)
I suspect the swim was a little short in a straight line, but I think I would have added extra metres on, due to my swim not always being pin straight.
Still, out and up to T1, and overtaken by Rich on the sand!!
Again, more banter was exchanged.
|He's done me!|
T1 was OK. Timed at 2.11 (ranked 81st).
Note to self.
Put socks on before taking wet suit off.
20 seconds lost.
Out onto the bike, and the steep climb that is upon you within 30 seconds of getting on the bike.
As the weather was quite good for riding, I decided to hit it as hard as I could on everything but the real climbs.
I passed quite a lot of quicker swimmers, and had a enjoyable ding dong with 2 riders, one a much older guy in all green kit.
I eventually managed to stay ahead of both of them to the end, though the green kit guy was just a second or 2 behind me when we arrived at T2.
Overall, it was an enjoyable ride, with again a majority of the ride spent on the aero bars, except on the 3 biggish climbs.
I got it up to 72.5 km/h coming over Cefn Bryn.
|I'm catching you!!|
On getting back to the village of Port Eynon, there is the very steep, narrow hill to cruise down, so I got out of the shoes before the descent.
This worked nicely, as when I was about 20 metres away from the dismount line, I was already over the top bar, and perched on one pedal. I then hit the ground running, and scampered into T2 just ahead of green kit guy.
My bike time was a pleasing 1.14.41 - ranked 44th, and a very pleasing 14th in my age group.
The bike has been my strength this year, and now a very solid winter of turbo work will help maintain this.
Now onto the least enjoyable action of the morning, and the area I will need to take a long hard look at for next year.
This run was always going to be a struggle, what with me running only for roughly 5 hours or so in the 6 weeks leading up to race day. Still, even with that excuse, its clear my run needs some real work.
I had some awesome support whilst lapping on the run, with Iron Family Ange, Jacob, & Charlie in attendance as always!
Also in attendance was Mum, Dad, Barbara, Jon, Cerys, Anneira & Tom, - all giving out the noise and cowbells.
It is so motivating to hear and see them at races like this.
Also, I must thank newly crowned Welsh Ironman Rob C , & the best Gower Tri marshall (& 2013 Welsh Ironman) Rob G for their attendance & vocal support.!
The run went something like this - soft sand, hard sand, dunes, VERY steep hill up to Bank Farm Caravan site, long draggy climb up through said site, to a turn point, and then 'fall' all the way back down to the beach, back to finish area, and repeat for another lap.
My run was OK, up to the dunes on the second lap, and then an enforced 'power walk' up a small section of the steep climb up to Bank Farm.
Although I was passed by about 4 or 5 runners at this point, I still power walked past two who were 'running'
Rob G was the voice of reason here!
I do not have splits for the laps, but I'm sure that lap 2 was somewhat slower than the first, as when passing by Rich, he was making up time on me.
I caught up with Huw on the hard sand back to base, and roughly remember muttering some obscenity on my lack of enjoyment during the run, as I shuffled along past him.
I picked it up somewhat on hearing the PA, and realising my run would be over soon.
I finished with a run time of 53.29 - ranked 99th.
|That damn run!|
On reflection, it was a very enjoyable outing, made even better by the amazing support I had, & the amazing job done by the many marshalls out on the course helping, directing, and encouraging!
And the cream on the cake was to see Huw finish strong, happy, and motivated to look enthusiastically to his future goals.
Welcome on board bud!