SOUTH AFRICA RACE REPORT

Posted on: July 9th, 2012 by admin

Ironman SA Race Report

 

Pete “Casey Ryback” Hayward and I had trained well although the harsh UK winter had thrown a few grenades at us with me crashing on ice twice and nearly breaking my neck and Pete being taken out by a twig whilst going around Regents Park. We left for South Africa in good spirits and Pete was eager to get racing as he had unfinished business to take care of. We landed in Jo Berg and transferred to Port Elizabeth where the Ironman takes place settled into the hotel rooms built the bikes and checked all was in order. Pete’s energy powder had exploded over his kit so I had visions of people sucking his race kit on the marathon in a desperate effort to get hydrated, he would be like a walking gel. We went for one of our many walks soaking in the sun and trying our hardest to intimidate anyone who looked like a triathlete with our Bodylab death stares learnt from Grand Master Wilson.

 

We swam each day and got stung in the face and body by Blue Bottle jelly fish which had been blown in by a strong wind. The locals wouldn’t even get in the water and were again impressed by the Bodylab spirit of who dares swims. We both felt good and continued to eat well and Carb up for the race at out local favourite café “the blue water café” Gaelle arrived a few days later and Pete’s sister and nieces also arrived with her boyfriend who all gave us fantastic support during the Ironman and certainly kept me going in the baking sun.

 

 

Race Day

Alarm went off and I crawled out of bed and into a warm shower to get the blood flowing. Knocked on Pete’s door and went for a breakfast at 5 30. Went down to the bikes added Gels to top tube pumped up tyres and went back to the hotel to change arriving at the swim start with 7 minutes to spare. The African dancers were in full flow probably because they knew team bodylab were in town and Pete and I shook hands patted each other on the back and said to each other “just make sure you finish”

 

 

Alarm horn goes and we go crashing into the Indian Ocean for 2 laps and a run onto the beach. I felt ok but never really felt super strong but was pleased with 59 minutes based on my limited swim training which started 6 weeks before the event in Lanzerote. Pete came out just behind me and I am sure we must have been in T1 together but didn’t realize at the time. Probably just as well as I had to urinate on the seat I was sitting on as I didn’t intend to stop on the bike and this was my last chance as I was changing not to loose any time. I felt awesome on the bike but I don’t use any form of computer so just go on feeling and perceived effort. I have no computer no power no heart rate but just felt great and flew up the 3 x 10km climbs on each lap in the big chain ring and at a good speed passing a good few age groupers and a couple of Pros. I saw Pete on laps one and two and again he was close to me so at this point we were both going very well. We both cramped on lap 3 but Pete was in a lot of pain and had to stop as he couldn’t turn the peddle, I managed to get out of the saddle and pump my legs whilst drinking 500ml of electrolyte and my cramp subsided and I pushed a hard gear to get the legs working. Towards the end of the bike I went pass Rob Johnson the Full time sponsored British triathlete and another 2 other Pros although one passed me just before T2. I felt great and I suspected I had done around 4 hours 57 which turned out to be 4 hours 55 and I was delighted. (23 mph average) Pete did 5 hours 37 which given his cramp was an excellent time and put him well up the field.

 

 

I took my time in T2 and pulled my compression socks on and 7 gels which I stuffed inside my race kit and set off. Rob Johnson ran ahead of me and I planned to try and stick to him although I knew he was a 3 hour man so did think about this but he ran past his girlfriend and stopped and pulled out which made up my mind for me. I had spoken to Bodylab chief Chris “the human powertap” Wilson and I was going to run easy and then aim to step it up which worked until the third lap when the average of 38-40 degree heat basically baked me from the inside out and I just couldn’t cool down. After the race I found out that over 300 people had pulled out and the marathon times were the slowest I had seen in any Ironman based on the intense heat and no shade. There was no wind and it was virtually unbearable although one pro managed less than 3 hours and I take my hat off to him for that. On reflection I have decided that I will start wearing a watch on the marathon as I need to decide on a split time and stick to it as I watched some Pros do this and their consistency paid off with good times rather than my approach of running on feeling which resulted in big irregularities and me getting slower although the heat did play a big part. I finished the marathon in 3 hours 42 mins which gave me an overall time of 9 hours 45 and 24th position overall which I was thrilled about. I led my age group until 2 miles from the end when a south African local ran past me but he was a really nice guy and as we had both qualified and I was having an ice cream I couldn’t care less as I thought to myself I would have him in Hawaii when it matters J

 

 

Pete was still suffering from a loss of fluid and cramp and in that heat it is virtually impossible to get back to hydration. He pushed on and finished in 13 hours 9 mins. He knew he had Ironman Switzerland in July so it was about taking the positive swim time and bike time and preserving as mush as possible so he could get back training for Zurich.

 

 

At the time of the race I did not know I had qualified and I have to say that when I was told it was one of the best feelings I have ever had. I had not expected to qualify at SA and was aiming for Zurich but I was delighted. I went to the award ceremony and received my trophy and bumped into third place in my age who was devastated that first and second had taken their slots and he had missed out. It just shows how harsh tings can be as 35-39 had some roll downs and they had 4 slots.

 

 

We were both pleased to finish and thanked Pete’s family for their support. Gaelle was amazing and is probably the best supporter in the world and I was so happy to qualify so she didn’t give me a bollocking like last year as I crossed the line. The little French one has a fierce side J

 

 

Team Bodylab had left its mark and we are looking forward to the next step on the Ironman journey. Thanks for the emails and support and I look forward to returning the support when you race. Apologies for any spelling errors but have to rush off and have not proof read

 

 

Thanks again and kind regards

 

Rich