So after the past two years of DNF’s at the full iron distance this year was going to be the year I turned it around and what better place to do it than what is regarded as one of the toughest Ironman events in the world, Ironman Lanzarote. Preparation leading up to the event was very up and down at times but I managed to get enough miles in the legs as I could to make it to the start line. The main goal was to finish and a bonus if I could beat my Outlaw time of 13hrs 20mins. Once I arrived on the Island I soon discovered why it is regarded as one of the toughest events in the world with almost being blown over as soon as I got off the plane. A little couple hour ride on the bike on the Wednesday I soon discovered the wind is another level out here and coming in from all angles. With a wind speed of 35mph TTing was out of the question and soon packed it in and returned back to the hotel. With another dip in the sea and all registered up Race day soon came around and luckly the wind had felt like it had died down a bit but was still in the min 20’s mph.
With a 7am start time I positioned myself ready for the day ahead with a finish time of around 12hr-13hrs in my head. With a mass start of over 1800 people on a 2 lap swim course it felt like I was stepping into a ring with Mike Tyson. People were punching, kicking, swimming over you, under you, dragging you back. For the first 500 metres it was a battle but soon found some clear water to get into my groove, by the time I got to the 2nd turn around point all hell broke lose again and it felt like no one has ever swam open water races before. This was pretty much how the rest of the swim went with the added bonus of the wind picking up in the 2nd lap and creating a bit of chop in the middle part of the course. With a finish time of 1hr 12mins I knew if I wasn’t in a battle for most of the swim I could have gone quicker but this was just the start of the long day ahead.
After collecting my bag from T1 on the beach and running up the sand bank to collect my bike for the ride ahead my legs were feeling good and was hoping for a 6hrs-6hrs 30min bike. With over 2551m of climbing with the adding factor of higher winds than normal, heat, even rain at one point this estimate soon rabidly disappeared and it was more about survival and making it in before the cutoff time. For the first third of the course the legs were feeling great and was keeping in my limit and not over pushing myself. Was passing people with ease on the climbs and was just able to get some time on the TT bars before a sudden cross wind would catch you and you soon was either cycling at a 45 degree angle or getting nearly blown off the bike. Cycling up some of the famous climbs especially through the national park with what can only be described as a long straight road as far as the eye can see which just goes up and up and up some more with a line of cyclist was an awesome sight to see. Making sure I ate and drank as much as possible the wheels soon came off around the 100km mark at the worst possible time as the biggest climb of the day was just getting started. The Climb up to Los Nieves can only be described as hell on wheels for me. I knew at the top was my special needs bag with a mars bar and a bottle of coke in it and this was much needed as this time. I just didn’t have the gears to get into any rhythm and was soon pedaling squares with what felt like the whole field passing me by. Its was going up and up and had to grind it out to the top. With a 10min stop with my special needs bag I was soon onto the decent and as the air temperature was dropping so high up I was feeling really cold and trying to switch back descend while your arms are shivering wasn’t great. So I took it carefully and soon began to warm back up once the sun popped back out from the mist. The rest of the ride was a battle to the end with some fast descents, broken up roads, winds from every direction and the heat I managed to finish the bike in 7hrs 33min, An hour over my expected time but with conditions being what described from everyone I spoke to says that was the worst conditions they have had on the bike course and every ones expected times were out.
So Just a little marathon to go. A change to the route for previous years now took you for one long bike lap out past the airport and back then 2 short 10km laps to the finish. My time goals was to run each 5km in around 30mins stopping at each aid station to drink/eat/water over head & body to the finish. This started off ok for the first 10km out past the airport but my run soon turned into a jog with the feeling of a golf ball blister on top of my toe coming through. I managed to run the first long lap with the crowds in there masses cheering you on along the way. My jog soon ended up being a shuffle walk shuffle with the bike taking more out of me than I thought. I didn’t care how I got to the end as long as I got there that was all that mattered. After shuffle walk shuffling with another athlete for around 10km the time soon pasted by and with 5kms to go and it soon turning dark I was determend to run the last 5kms to the finish non stop. After the past 2 years of DNF’s and disappointment I finally crossed that finish line in 14hrs 18mins. Was slightly disappointed with the time but given the conditions on the bike I didn’t care. The support form other athletes the crowds and the whole island gets behind everyone and every village you either cycled through or ran, especially the climbs in the middle of know where we all well supported and gave you that boost you needed. The views on the bike were awesome at times when I wasn’t in so much pain to look. So that is me done with the Iron distance for a couple of years at least and will be def be back to Lanzarote to compete again as the island and the race is already drawing me back to want more. Next up for me after a little recovery is the Avenger middle where I hope to get a PB over the distance.