2012 Antwerp Ironman 70.3 Race Report

My attempt to collate the wondeful blur of the past weekend Antwerp 70.3 into something meaningful and possibly useful. After arriving Antwerp on Friday evening, and registering the following day the reality started to materialise while digging into my complimentary pasta meal at the pasta party. Delicious pasta and good value at the additional €10 per ticket for the girls. Yes, my loyal supporters, wife and two daughters, had travelled with me to Antwerp to behold my latest assault upon myself, and help me get through it. The dawning reality so far consisted of a gift rucksack, T-Shirt and bottle of champagne. All of which I decided must wait till I found myself worthy post race.

I had decided to ignore some of the male swaggering which included arriving with either one’s bike designed through extensive wind tunnel research, or carrying your three-spoked carbon wheels with you to see registration (they must get lonely left on their own). I jest not. I was confident there would be plenty of bike gazing the next morning at the actual event.

The morning did not disappoint. After the longish walk from T2, the recommended parking, to T1 on the opposite side of the river reached by accessing a subterannean tunnel via a historic wooden esculator, the oldest of it’s kind apparently. The triathlete equivalent of “Debbie does aero bikes” started rolling when I enetered T1 to rack up, with a plethora aero carbon frames and full carbon disc wheels being almost the standard. But I was determined to be cool, I had the better engine right, right? Racking up was easy, clearly labelled, but with only part of my kit laid down since this was a split transition did leave me feeling a little odd, if not bewildered. As did the late start, I think I would have boiled half alive if I had zipped straight into the wet suit waiting in the pods. The 1130, Wave 4, had quite a long wait.

The swim went well, with me taking my time to whittle down the competition in my wave slowly, by the time the final stretch was in sight I was passing the stragglers of the previous wave. Up and out for the short run to T1 without misadventure. Rip off wetsuit and stuff it all into the blue bag that would be dropped off at T2 for me by thoughtful organisers, and after a quick wave of confidence to my supporters, I was off on the next part of the adventure.

The cycle course was not quite the mythical pan-flat course that gets bragged about in my opinion and I did find the wind direction very variable but thankfully not overly strong. I would think a windy day would be a real challenge out there in the open. Three laps of main course seemed to go by quickly without misadventure. Although despite seemlingly strict refereeing being in place I did notice something of a peloton go blazing past me at some piont (happily penalties were dispensed, thank you ref).

At T2 I happily found my running bits and peices waiting for me, and my wet suit from T1 neatly placed. Thanks Iron Man people! Unfortunately my happily non eventful triathlon ended here and the real pain and challenge of the day began. I set out at my normal half-marathon pace, ok, maybe a bit faster, closer to the Olympic distance pace. It felt good for about ten minutes or so, then… cramp here… cramp there .. pain there.. legs getting slower and uh-oh really in trouble now.. keep going … sore… keep going.. all stop as I lost all my electrolyte drink and gels, while staring into a very interesting Antwerp storm drain. It may have been too much electrolyte in the mix and my hamfisted measuring of the mixture for my second bottle. Or perhaps I had just gone to hard on the bike not sure really. Anyway the wind was really out the sails now. After the very welcome sight of Susan (my wife) and two girls, I managed to run-walk the rest, for a dismal bleak 2 and a half hour 13 mile run. I am pretty ashamed of that time, considering I normally dip comfortably below two hours during training, or quicker during race mode. But as a consequence I am now electing to run harder in training, and more maturely train for the longer run. I think probably the main error on my part.

It was the cheering on of my wife and family that kept me going when things felt the toughest. That and the shouts of “Gooo Basingstoke!” or “Come on Basingstoke!”, club colors really stand out.

So to wrap up. While feeling very confident and almost competitive at the Olympic distance I found the half-Iron a big step up and a real test of will power. I need to work harder on the run and run harder during training, but am happily surprised and pleased with the my cycle strength. The Pros of course make it all look so easy. I feel pretty hooked to the 70.3 distance. My total time 5H58, so catch you next year Antwerp.


Post Antwerp Ironman 70.3

Day 3 after the M-dot. Will post at some point my full inglorious race report, but for now. After getting back in from Brussels last night am happily back into training this morning. Have a good 25 miler on the bike and albeit warm 4 mile run, certainly not painless. Interesting item of note, all the yachts arriving of the rich and glamorous in London for  the Olympics. For example Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, little pulling machine below. Who says you have to be good looking?



Apparently there is place for a helipad on the mega-Yacht. Poor guy probably doesn’t get to train much lugging that lifestyle around with him.

12 mile run

Did myself a twelve mile run this morning or there abouts, possibly a little further. Although still having top foot pain from Sunday’s race or Monday’s run. I found the run mostly ok, and no real pain afterwards. Although walking around normally, seems to have hurt it again. Damn you number one metatarsal. Hopefully some rest will fix!

A tough week

Because of the imminent IronMan 70.3 I haven’t had the luxury of a recovery week, having to keep the training up. It has been tough, and of course have a foot injury from the run in the last race. Hopefully it will all come together, am holding thumbs for recovery next week.

Bournemouth Olympic

Where: Bournemouth
When: 8 July 2012 – 7.45am Start
Organiser: Concept Sports
Course: Sea swim, flat-ish cycle route, out-&-back seaside run (gorgeous!)
Distance(s): 1500m swim, 40km Bike, 10km Run
Marshalling: Marshalls, clearly signed
Technical: Chip Timing
Freebies: Redbull & event T-Shirt

After gazing on the stormy sea on the Saturday afternoon after registration I was anxious. Despite feeling equal to fair sized swells and waves it wasn’t looking like the most welcoming of environments. Sunday dawned dry (almost) with breaks of sun through the cloud.

Racking up at transition was more challenging compared to last year. Numbers were out of sequence and missing in some cases. Luckily I had my space, although very cramped, less than the 40cm needed for a handlebar width. Some guys had to rack along the perimeter as a consequence. This was the only technical disappointment of the race and is probably down to the success of the event, I am sure it will be improved for next year.

Luckily again as with last year race day resulted with a calm sea (in fact later in the day completely flat). Feeling privileged to be beginning a race on such a wonderful beach in such a stunning location my race started with a whistle blast.

The swim was fairly uneventful, apart from making a mental note in bold to make a comfort stop before the start of my next race, not a welcome distraction and eats into time Ashley. I came out with the first place swimmer after my now typical under whelmed start to the swim. The only catch to this all was the banana I had eaten few minutes before the start threatened several times while I ran up the beach to transition (about 150 metres) and T1. Not a pretty sight a green faced Dad, for my eldest, Cassidy, cheering me on. So I am left with two mental notes, both of which I really should know better. That will teach me to think I am being clever substituting beetroot juice for banana.

Running out of transition was a breeze and I got to up close enough to my wife, Susan and daughter on the way out to hear shouts of encouragement. The cycle was flat-ish after a hilly start in the town centre, the route taking you out and back along one of the main ‘A’ roads into Bournemouth. Being in the last wave there was a lot of competitor traffic to navigate, I supposed it helped with any boredom. Typically I prefer to settle down and focus if it is a luxury I have. My cycle completed almost uneventfully. Other than I had to stop at a red light of a pedestrian crossing for a father and kids. One of my competitors decided not to be bothered with that and shot through past me. Number 45x*, not cool.

The run out of transition clearly marked I got to see my family again. Unluckily I don’t think I took enough energy on board towards the end of the bike or over did it, not sure which. Because the run hurt, cramps almost everywhere at one point or another. Which was a real pity, so I had to run slower than I would have liked. Still, I had a great time, doing a nice race.

Total Swim T1 Bike T2 Run
2:28:59.75 0:23:49.76 0:01:25.40 1:10:38.92 0:00:57.39 0:52:08.26

* Withheld to protect those involved