Ironman 70.3 lanzarote pt 2

Wow , What can I say . I finished it , however it was no easy ride .

I first heard about Lanzarote from two very good friends of mine . One being the Ironman guru Mr Ian Dickens. I’d already decided that 2018 would be the year I go out and take on the half , little did I know that it would come a lot sooner. For those that don’t know anything about Lanzarote it’s the host of a 70.3 and 140.6 Ironman . The 70.3 is located at club la Santa and is considered as one of the toughest events in the world….’what am I letting myself in for’

When Louise won herself a free place and bagged free accommodation too at club la Santa I jumped at the chance of an invite to join her . Although in two minds about competing I thought why not ! What have I got to lose . I’d already done Bolton back in July so surely I’d have something still left in the tank . Our mind set was lets hire some bikes and wing it… My plan was to go , enjoy and take it all in . Certainly not to race as I’d taken a well earned break after my intense 7 1/2 months of training for Bolton so I was most certainly not 70.3 fit but more sprint fit ! But hey what have I go to lose . We arrived on the Thursday and smoothly picked up the hire car.

IMG_0036Friday we registered collected our bags and sorted out all our kit . (Got myself another not to shabby back pack ? ). We then went to see Maria and Steve at pro bikes to collect our hire bikes ! This was a nerve racking experience to say the least as completing a 56 mile ride on an unfamiliar bike would be no easy task. The bike was a Scot carbon with 105! With a big ‘comfy’ saddle or at least I thought !!! As I left the shop I got a puncture which was quickly sorted but seen as a good sign. We rode the bikes back to club la Santa then ran back to collect our hire car . Bike and run brick / test done ! Now time for a swim in one of la Santa’s 3 , 50m pools . What a dream . It’s beautiful and clean. Swim prep complete . Bikes and bags were then checked in . The bikes were being racked in the centre of the race track which saw the start and finish of the run. Now was the time for race briefing , rest , relax and fuel. The race briefing was short but to the point . The main one being ‘no accidents’ then onto the pasta party we went where we met others and took on some well needed advice for the bike course, that being become friends with the wind, get low and don’t fight it .

The start on Saturday was 8:05 for us age groupers so we set alarms for 5:30 and leisurely got up and ready . Down to the transition area we went checked our bikes for the last time , loaded our nutrition onto our bikes and we were set . Now time to slip into our wetsuits and head to the beach . We were allowed to get in and have a swim prior to the start which plenty took the opportunity to do . I had a little dip but nothing too crazy .

The swim was brutal . The pros set off at 8am and then us at 8:05 The start was in the water although I decided to position myself at the back to save being 14483376_10157483908020471_527762290_npunched , dunked and squashed . So I was still on the beach when I horn went . Arms , legs and goggles everywhere . Nothing like Bolton . It was crazy . I tried to get into my stroke but unable to, I held back and breast stroked for 30 meters or so to let the crowds pass , after being kicked in the stomach twice and nearly losing my goggles I chose not to waste energy fighting . I eventually had space and clear water to get going . Sighting was okay and I began to enjoy the swim . When I came to end I walked through transition and took in the crowds cheering and the atmosphere , swim complete in 39:21, I even had chance for a refreshing cup of water to wash away the salty taste in my mouth and a shower just before the T1 tent . I then grabbed my blue bag and entered the tent to change . It didn’t dawn on me till re packing my wet suit in bag that I was in the men’s changing area ? oh well I’m sure they’ve seen it all before .. He he ….. I ditched my blue bag then went to find my bike. I ran straight past it at first as I was unfamiliar with its colours and markings . Then on I got and off I went . As soon as I got pedaling I felt the wind . I needed to pick up a bit of speed to stop me falling off . I followed the signs , waved to the crowds and off I went . The marshals through the bike course were awesome . The bike course I can honestly say was beautiful but brutal , 14483536_10157483907515471_669087738_ndid I mention it gets very windy in Lanzarote . Well if not it does and the winds on Saturday were 25 plus mph head winds ,It hurt a lot , I can’t even begin to describe the pain , Everywhere I turned another head wind . The roads at times were long and you just looked into the distance wishing you were already at the end. The ride was however picturesque . It took my mind off the wind at least for a bit, My favourite part on the bike was the 10k climb , living in Shropshire gives me plenty of practice on hills so this for me wasn’t a challenge in fact I actually enjoyed it . I kept bumping into a chap from Ireland called mark on the bike , he’d done the event before but said that this was by far the worst conditions ever so serious kudos to me . It made me feel a bit better for a second or too but I still needed to finish it . The heat didn’t make it easy either , We hit the climb at 28 miles and once at the top had a well earned rolling down hill section , finally less wind . The decent was so technical that speed was not the priority it was getting down in one piece . Once at the bottom you guessed it more wind . I was getting frustrated and disheartened at this point. It felt like I was going backwards . I dropped my gears and just spun my legs . I figured why waste energy in a high gear fighting it . Almost all of the cyclists I over took on the climb over took me on the way back to la Santa . They looked to be pedaling with ease . Where as little old me was travelling at as little as 4mph at times . Definitely pays to be a bigger heavier cyclist in those conditions , my size and a carbon bike did me no favours . As I took the final roundabout to la Santa I almost hospitalised a marshal as the wind took me and the bike 5 meters side ways . I skidded straight towards him screaming like a girl (sssssshhhiiiittttt) ha ha was fun looking back . Finally it was over and I got to get off my bike . My arse was killing from the not so ‘comfy’ saddle , but I was back safe . Bike 4:01

I again walked my way gently into T2 having a little bop to the music playing . I was in no rush to hit the road . I sat in T2 next to a lady called Martina from Italy , we attempted to communicate admired each other’s trainers and left for the 13.1 run . I collected my yellow first band of 3 and left the track , I over took quite a few people on lap one as I smiled and hi fived the marshals . As I made my way on the first of my 3 laps I saw Lou coming back in the opposite direction, I gave14483677_10157483906415471_1005589418_n her a shout out and plodded on . Many flew past me with there blue (lap2 ) and red (lap3) bands . I looked on in envy . I eventually collected my blue band and hit lap two completing the first 10k in well under an hour , I was pleased but the pace would never stay .
I saw Lou on every lap where she was smiling we offered each other plenty of encouragement . When lap 3 came I was feeling it and began to take some walking breaks through the feed stations , The bike and lack of training took its toll and I figured I’m not going to win so just do what you can . So I did. I met so many different people , chatted to lots and encouraged those walking like me when I eventually got back into a shuffle . Overall the run was lovely , very Much similar to Bolton in terms of an out and back course . The support from the marshals was unreal .

If I can encourage anyone to take part in an over seas triathlon it would be this for the support you get throughout . Every feed station was drilled , they were like an army , water , cola , energy, banana, orange , energy bar , repeat ! It was brilliant and the drinks plentiful !

IMG_0037Finally the finish line was in sight and I was welcomed home over the microphone , run 2:17, Louise was there to take some fab pictures for me. I collected my medal , t shirt and went for a well deserved massage which was bliss . I got the works done . Finish time 7:07:27

I can highly recommend club la Santa as the place for a family holiday as well as a training camp . There’s so much to do .
Bike hire from Maria and Steve at pro cycles . You’ll be well looked after and not disappointed . Thanks so much to Louy too for taking me with her . So nice to finish the year on a high !!
As for recommending the 70.3 ! I’m glad it’s ticked off my list and done a year earlier than expected but I certainly won’t be rushing back for more ! ?