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TThomo

Ironman Wales

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Well finally back in australia after about 7 weeks so ill try to remember a bit about Wales Ironman .

Good news the weather gods turned it on for race day .

Firstly the anthem at the start is just something you have experience for yourself words will never describe it just spine tingling and straight after that they played thunderstruck so your pretty much ready to go after that .

With no warm up swim allowed I still wasn't sure how cold this was going to be as I hadn't been in the water at all , I do like to have a warm up swim to set the goggles and get a bit of a feel for it . Started about the 1 hour marker and remember looking and thinking there's a lot of people starting behind me hope there not all going to be swimming over the top of me ! Start of the swim was surprised as the water temp was a lot warmer than I thought it was going to be no where near as cold as coles bay in tasmania , had a quick rinse out of the goggles and away we went , filled up a couple of times and had to reset them ( that's why I like a warm up). First lap done and as you do a exit run up the beach quick look at the watch about 31min so was looking ok , Heard them call my name over PA from the land down under and then off for the second lap I like to take the swim pretty easy so you get out feeling as though you haven't done anything before the real stuff starts . Getting out in about 1.04 with a very controlled swim good start to the day . 2nd in the over 55s about 150th overall 

Long run up the ramp to find my pink bag as my bag was pretty much right at the top I grabbed it and went up to the road put my shoes on and started the run to transition pulling the wetsuit down half way for the run , gave it a lot of thought before about taking it off for the run or not don't think it matters either way there seemed to be about a 50/50 split who did and who didn't. My plan was to at least start the bike about 1.15 and was pretty much spot on so all good .

Id broke the bike up into 3 parts in my head , the first loop being down the coast and back to Pembrokeshire , then the 2 loops round saundersfoot. This part of an Ironman I spend getting passed by quite a few people as I'm not that strong a cyclist , The first 60 km loop is probably the easiest part of the ride still plenty of hills and would be the most effected part of the ride if the wind was up but not quite as difficult as the last 2 loops the plan was to ride that in under 2 hours and ended up being about 1.50 something maybe a little to fast if anything , The 2nd two loops are where the fun starts , The constant up and down (Not to much flat stuff here) and some of the down hills on them very narrow roads or tracks you could call them ( very very bumpy) you have to be very attentive on and you'll need some strong braking to get around the sharp corners at the bottom .I was planning on riding maybe just over 2 hours for each lap but maybe didn't give it as much respect as I should have without really Knowing what was out there. I think the first lap was about 2.10 and the second about 2.20 and I was dying out there towards the end of the bike . The highlight is Saundersfoot hill Area as from the time you hit the coast the crowds are building and there's still a couple of climbs before you get to Saundersfoot hill with plenty of support on them but when you hit Saundersfoot its like the tour de france you have about 1m wide of road left you can see and the rest is just masses of people cheering , Just sensational, you hit that about 110 kms and 170 kms and gives you such a buzz . Lastly as your coming back into Tenby its not quite over as another climb to get you back to T2 waits just to freshen you up for the run . As I had my Australian Shorts on there was a lot of support from other competitors asking are you from Australia and chanting Aussie Aussie Aussie as they road past . And there was quite a few that road past , although when I got to T2 as you have to rack your own bike I remember looking around thinking there weren't that many bikes there compared to when it was full . Total ride 6.23 ave speed just over 28 ish 2500m of elevation  7th In the over 55s and 315th overall .

I was hoping to get out on the run in about 7.30ish was about 7.45 so was starting to lose a bit of ground as to what I thought , I really did think I had around 12 hours in me and thought that running under 4.30 was very achievable , Unfortunately for me rolled my ankle the weekend before and 2 days before we left australia I was still not convinced I was even taking my bike ( I know get out the violin) My ankle was still blue and swollen when I raced , 7 weeks later still not what I would call great. So that being said I went out on the run very consciously especially around the town running on the cobblestone roads .The run has hills in it and a lot of them they just keep coming not to much flat stuff I can remember but The support around that run course was the best I've seen at Ironman and managed to run the whole way (or may have been a shuffle) 4 x loops which I hoped to do in about 1.05 ish each but really couldn't manage that and just kept telling myself don't walk because as soon as you start walking your done . After that bike course that run is very difficult and was still getting passed by quite a few , but in saying that after about 2 laps I don't recall seeing so many people walking at an Ironman . As the longer the race goes the crowds get bigger especially around the pubs in town and they get louder the more they drink and the roads get narrower as the crowds gets bigger , I feel a little guilty not high fiving all the kids out on the course but there was just to many to keep it up . All in all had a great day and would love to do it again some day , hey you never know . Run time 4.43 : To get 8th in the over 55s in 12.27 pretty happy with that .

If your thinking of doing an overseas Ironman and you can put your PBs away for the day I cant recommend this race enough It was just fantastic in many ways , After doing Ironman Canada at Whistler a couple of years ago I went in thinking how much harder could it be ! ............Well Well Well.

 

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Excellent report mate and a well executed race, especially as you didnt know what you were in for. I’m jealous of the weather you had haha.

Its hard to describe how epic the race is, from the course to the immense crowds. I always forget how tough that climb into Narbeth is but the crowds help a lot there.

Like you, I would recommend it to anyone that doesn’t mind some climbing and a ‘slow’ time against their name.

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