Well, over the weekend we had Jenni and Evan racing at Ironman UK Bolton and Colin racing in his first ever Iron distance event (and fairly new to triathlon) at Cotswold 226. Very exciting racing all round!
I am sure, once they have recovered we will get a bit more information from the athletes themselves, however it was nerve racking following them! Both Jenni and Evan illustrated in their swim just how much they have improved this year, with Evan posting a 1:12 ranking him 10th in his age group, and Jenni 1:15, before setting out on the undulating 2 lap course. ( I have to say I think overall the prize for general pfaffing in transition now goes to Evan) They both rode sensibly, pacing the ride well, and made up ground in their age groups. Unfortunately Jenni was suffering with stomach issues, and lost about 8 minutes due to stops, and having to wait in queues at the toilets (you would have thought that IM would predict this!), but still managed to post a 6:42 split, Evan coming in ahead in 6:24, ranking him now 8th in his division. Jenni was also in a similar position at this point. So, onto the run, which is where both of them put in a huge effort! All of the chaps in Evans age group were very close to each other, so it was set to be an exciting finish, and Evan went to work, picking them off one by one, and put in a huge effort in the last few kms, to secure himself a 3rd position and a podium slot! (However, not that I want to dwell on the importance of transitions, but his swim bike run times were quicker than 2nd placed chap) Saying that only 3 minutes separated first second and third, and literally seconds between 3rd and 4th so it must have been very exciting racing out there! (all be it exhausting!) Just shows that Evan is a true fighter and a real competitor! As for Jenni, well it was always going to be tough out there on the run, due to the damage to her ankle a few weeks ago, however, she got off to a great start, and also slowly worked her way up the field, finishing 4th overall, just missing out on a podium slot. An amasing result considering what the last few weeks have been, and a huge improvement in all three disciplines, so very excited to see Jenni race again, fit and injury free!
Finally, but by no means least, Colin, over in the Cotswolds also put in a great race. Again, illustrating how much his swimming has improved over the last few months, he posted a 1:11 swim, and paced the ride well, coming in just a shade over the 6 hour mark. However the latter part of the run, the wheels did fall off, and it was a real battle of fatigue and general sickness towards the end, slowing the run down closer to the 5 hr mark! We have all been there, its horrible and a real sign of mental toughness to push on and get to the end! However, he is already planning the next one, and we will re think fueling strategies on the bike / run!
As for me, well, I decided that before my operation on Tuesday (tomorrow, aghhh) I would go for a last final blast in a half distance event. Probably wasn’t one of my best ideas and against the better judgement of Ade and Joe, but knowing that its going to be the best part of a year before I get to race again, I figured it would be worth it. Well in some ways it was. It illustrated to me how I hate racing injured, how much I need to get this ankle sorted, so I can actually go into an event competitive, rather than just trying to get to the end! The bike was tough, no let up, flat into a head wind most of the time, so my poor ankle, foot calf, and quad was so fatigued, cramping, weak, felt like I was riding with one leg. I made one lap of the run, but it was off road, very lumpy, difficult to see the terrain under the grass, and I could not stay upright, so rather than risk damaging myself further, I pulled out after the first lap despite being in second place.
So, after my operation I will be taking a fair few months off to make sure my ankle recovers properly and is strong for the 2017 season, and I am looking forward to travelling out to the races I was meant to have been lining up with my fellow Goalspecific athletes, and watching them perform instead! Not sure I will be fit to get out for Alpe Dhuez long course to watch Jon in the long and Derek in the short, but I will be there for Wiesbaden European 70.3 Championships to watch Mark, Clodie and Evan race.