Thanks to Ben Martin for the following report:
With the weather in England constantly raining for 2 weeks in a row I couldn’t wait to head off to Mallorca to the sunshine and compete in my first Ironman 70.3 race in what was a build up to the Outlaw later on in July.
With arriving a few days earlier than the race so I could acclimatize to the weather and do a couple of reky bike rides, runs & swims of the course I felt ready to take on the longest distance so far I have raced in Triathlon. I can also see why so many triathletes head out for training camps in Mallorca as the views on the bike were amazing.
This being the second edition of Ironman 70.3 Mallorca it had the most nationalities racing which I believe was 63 with the majority being from the UK.
With all my training done & with my bags & bike all racked up on the Friday afternoon before the race I headed over to the race brief meeting down by the beach & half way through being told to deflate your tyres before you rack your bike other wise they will burst in the heat. (Every bloke & women from the UK soon had a quick stare at each other & headed over to their bikes to deflate there tyres before the race in the morning).
Come race morning I suited up & headed down to transition to make final preparations to my kit (including re-pumping up my tyres) and headed over to the start line for my first beach start.
With not a mass start but waves I was in the 3rd group to set off after the pros & ladies. I found my spot near the back of the wave group as I didn’t want to get caught up in the mad dash to the sea and when the gun went off I headed off into the 1.9km 18 deg sea temp swim with the masses. I was confident that I could pick off the swimmers who gone out too hard at the start & after about 300m into the swim I finally managed to get round a couple of people who were splashing around holding me up and set off into a comfortable rhythm & started to make my way through the field. The way back to the beach was a bit of a struggle with the sun being low & directly in my eye line when I breathed I managed to just see the buoys to the beach. I managed to exit the water in around 39 mins and did the 300m dash over to transition to collect my bike gear.
Once I was all set for the ride I collected my bike & made the over 500m (longest transition in the world, even longer running in bike shoes) to start the 90.1km bike ride. After doing some of the ride a couple of days before I knew the first 20kms would be fairly flat before you hit the the 10km climb up the mountain to Inca & its double peak. A quick toilet break at the first aid station, which I was holding in since the start and was ready to tackle the climb. After doing it a few days before I knew that I could keep quite a highish pace up the climb & pick off a few riders who were caught out or not great climbers. To my surprise I managed to start passing a number of people on the climb some looking a bit shocked on their 2/3 grand TT bikes & aero helmets as I started passing them on my £550 road bike who a few km’s before had passed me. The views on the climb definitely took your mind off the fact you were climbing and once I got to the second peak & got some much needed fresh water bottles on board I started to make my descent down. Descending the mountain was the only part of the course I was a bit nervous about as I have never really done much switchback descending before & with there being a sheer drop if you went over the edge I took a bit morecare going down the long descent with a few more experienced athletes passing me as we went down. Once the climb & descent were out of the way the rest of the course around the count side on closed roads was fairly flat with the odd little sneaky hill to catch you out. Once I got back to transition I managed to finish the bike course in 3hrs 8mins, which is better than I expected with a mountain climb. I made the long dash through transition, racked my bike & got my running shoes on ready for the half marathon.
Once I started the run I checked my watch & was about to start the run course just under 4hrs from starting & was on course for a sub 6hr finish. I started off at a steady pace with a plan of running to each aid station, walking through getting enough water & fluid on board & run to the next one. This was working well for the first lap & a half of the 3 course run loop but by this point with the unseasonable hot spell Mallorca had over the fri & sat temperatures were hitting 36 degs on the run instead of the normal 24 degs in season. With little or no shade on the complete run course & only one splash of sun cream put on at the start of the race the heat started to get the better of a lot of athletes including myself, it was then a case of making it to the finish. With not running it that heat before especially with the cold & wet weather we have been having in England recently my aim of a 5:30-40hrs finish soon went away & it was a case of run/walk lots of water on board, lots of cups of water over your head & body to try & cool down & sponges stuffed in your tri top to keep cool as well to make it to the finish. Once I finished the final lap & made my way down the finish shoot to cross the finish line I managed to do a slow 2hrs 20min run when in better conditions I could do around 1hr 40/45mins.
I crossed the line in 6hrs 18mins 35 secs. Considering the conditions & being my first Half Ironman distance race I was pleased with end result & even with the struggle on the run I never felt tired throughout the day which has given me confidence as I aim to complete the Outlaw in 6 weeks’ time in much cooler conditions. The support throughout the whole course & event was amazing especially on the run when you needed that extra boost. I will definitely be looking to head back next year and look to improve my time in hopefully not as hot conditions.
Overall rank: 1285 / 1834
Division position M25-29: 128 / 172