After the Yak Attack, I started training for the Ironman Austria 70.3 (Half Ironman) and instantly noticed the difference weight makes on performance.
I lost nigh on 7kg's in 10 days whilst limping around the Himalayas with a bike on my back. Not the ideal way to get to a 'race weight', but effective way none the less.
Just a week before going to Nepal, I received an email from The British Triathlon Association confirming I had indeed been selected to represent the in the 25-29 Age-Group in Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain on the 27th of June 2010. Great success.
Pretty exciting times. Although the prospect of running 18 miles after swimming 4,000m and cycling 120km is something I wasn't looking forward too...but, it gave me a good idea into what a full blown Ironman will be like...oh, and I entered Ironman Austria for 2011. This will entail a 3,900m swim, a 180km cycle and a marathon to finish. In one day. Well, 16hrs.
In between arriving home from the Yak and competing in Austria, I raced in Llanelli (a local open-water sprint (550m/25km/5km)). Last year I bagged my first ever tri related trophy (3rd Senior male) and the pressure was on...well, not really...
I finished in 10th from a much bigger field than the previous year with over 200 people completing the race. Last year, a meagre 50 turned out in the rain, hail, wind...armageddon.
A poor swim, a strong cycle and a good run on the day meant I finished 3mins faster than the previous year. Obvious signs that the winters training for the Yak had put me in good stead for the remainder of the season. I also remembered to take a bottle out on the bike this time unlike last year...luckily, as it was the hottest day since records began. Ever.
I missed out on a sprint finish with a Cardiff triathlete, but in sportsman like fashion, I smiled into the line...bastard.
I won the local regional title, Carmarthenshire's fastest sprint triathlete. Get me.
Following this, I went to St Polten, Austria with a "friend" of mine, Richard Jeggo. Despite obviously trying to send me in the wrong direction (I think he was worried I'd beat him?) and packing me onto the wrong train...which did actually start moving with me on it...to Belgium (probably), I manfully unloaded our bikes and Jeggs honey onto the platform and like a ginger Indiana Jones, lept off a moving (1mph) train to a raptuaous applause (nope).
Anyway, this was my first taste of a Ironman branded event and WAW, it was amazing! Organised, busy, expensive, sunny and full of lycra clad ponces wondering round flexing their 70kg bodies. It was a homosexuals wet dream....I think Jeggs enjoyed it too. Easy fella! ;)
Also a shout to some of the other guys we met out there, Matt (who's had a disgustingly good season) & his giant mate (who's name escapes me...?), Carl and Big Dave who put up with me and Jeggs hitching up for the free rides around town. Cheers mate!
St Polten was such a great place though, I'd recommend this race to anyone. Honestly, simply brilliant!!
My own race went...err...ok. Swam badly due to shite placement, biked well and ran better than I thought.
The swim was divided up into two lakes, which ment I felt like a superstar running accross a bridge in my wetsuit, swim hat and goggles smelling of piss with spectators cheering before diving (falling) into the second lake for another loop. Swam it in 34mins I think? Poor, poor...poor.
The bike was pretty cool, three climbs, a long drag along the Danube and even a section on the Auto Bhan which was like cycling on one of those airport convayer belts...fast and effortless. It's worth it alone to see the German/Austrian guys smash the bike leg before walking a half marathon. Good option guys. Took around 2:35 for the 90km. Pleased.
Run was littered with spectators and included multiple laps of a running track, a tennis stadium (amazing) and then out and back onto an industrial estate twice. Really good course in all. 1:34 for the 13.1 miles. In new trainers which I bought the day before. I recommend this. I think it they said after the event that there were nearly 50,000 spectators around the course? Just a little bit more than Llanelli.
Anyhow, finished 59th in my Age-Group and 450th from the 3,000 odd that entered. Racing in Europe is a different class and I was privileged to race against the World Ironman Champion, Chris Mcormack. He beat me.
After Austria came the European Long Distance Championships in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. It was a well run event with a surprisingly small field including a load of Brits, Spaniards, Portugesers, Russians, Danes, Swedes, French...etc
The distances were pretty mental, a 4km (2.5 mile) swim, 120km very hot bike and a 30km run. This distance was all new to me and it showed. Some rookie mistakes like picking a black aero helmet with limited vents and not eat a single thing on the bike due to an upset stomach. Basically, the helmet cooked my head...I couldn't replace the fluid I was loosing through sweat as I couldn't drink the energy drink without heaving...not sure what went on, but it's a lesson learnt. I can't race in nearly 40 degree heat.
The swim was done in 71mins, biked 3:40 including a 10min drafting penalty (which was bollocks!!) and then run/jogged/walked the 30km in 3hrs.
Total was 8hrs 07min. 12th in my age-group. Tough race that.
Here's some photos of the events I did and the year through my phone ...I'll do the other half of what has become a season review blog another day. I've bored myself with talk of "Km's" and "mins". So if you made it this far, you probably need to get a life. Thanks though.
Dog eating energy bars...5 of them.