Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/tbbh/public_html/blogs.teamtbb.com/wp-includes/ms-load.php on line 113
Ironman UK Race Report Part I…aka A Texan’s Trip to England « Brandon Marsh's Blog

Login


Ironman UK Race Report Part I…aka A Texan’s Trip to England

Trust me, there will be a race report to follow in Part II!

I think that the conversation went something like this…

Coach: I want you to think about doing Ironman UK.

Me: OK, sounds good (I had been “Jonesing” to race a European race).

Coach: The roads are crappy. It’s going to be cold and wet. The Europeans hate England. But, I think you should go do it.

Me: Wow, sounds like a great race, I can’t wait. How do I sign up!

So, Thursday I left the confines of Leysin, Switzerland with TeamMate Donna Phelan and headed to Geneva to go to Manchester, England. IMUK is in Bolton, which a couple of Brits assured me was not how all of England was. Gee I thought, this trip keeps getting better!

Got to Manchester quite delayed. Got the car, and yes the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car for an American. I upgraded to an automatic, and got a GPS. Both of which I would be thankful for later! I have never used a GPS for traveling, and I soon found that postal codes mean a lot more in England than in the US. After passing “The Highgrove Inn” probably 5 times, I got to the hotel.

This'll be FUN!!

This'll be FUN!!

Immediately, I walked towards the Bolton Town Centre to find something to eat. No one seemed to have a “Jacket Potato”, so I settled for a Chicken Tikka Kebab on Naan bread with Chips (fries for you US folks). According to Stephen (Bayliss), curry or kebabs are kind of the unofficial national dish of England. I guess they are like Mexican food in Texas…there is a curry or kebab shop on every corner, sometimes 2. Unless you wanted a pub or some “Texas Chicken” instead. It’s called “Church’s Chicken” in Texas, but same logo and all! To top it all off, it was cool and rainy!

Not far from the Hotel

Not far from the Hotel

It's actually Church's Fried Chicken in TX

It's actually Church's Fried Chicken in TX

Pub on Every Corner

Pub on Every Corner

Friday morning I woke up and had a traditional “English Breakfast” of eggs, bacon (what we would call ham), sausage, and a grilled tomato…I declined the baked beans. After that and a short run, I made my way to packet pick up and T1. Then it was off for a half-failed attempt at driving the course. I say half-failed because I had the street by street and turn by turn (about 30 per loop, seriously) directions from the website, but no reliable map, and my trusty Tom-Tom GPS. Once I figured out what “stay right on the round-about” and “go through the round-about” meant, I was good to go…oh yeah, and making sure I looked right instead of left when approaching intersections. Tom-Tom and I sat off to check out the course. I made it from T1 to what I assumed was the start of the loop. I think that Tom-Tom and I made it about ½ way through the loop and then I got turned around…literally. I drove around with the turn by turn directions and Tom-Tom, but couldn’t seem to make the two match up, and my keen eyesight did no better. So, it was back towards the hotel…to top it all off, it was still raining! And yes, the roads were indeed crappy.

We Rode Out There Somewhere

We Rode Out There Somewhere

Luckily, on the way to the hotel, I passed a “leisure center”. The same one that I found online that had a pool. I did get in a bit of a swim, and that was a bonus. The day ended fine.

Saturday I was supposed to check in my bike and gear bag between 9 and 10am. Not cool. And, it was still cool and rainy. I got to T1 about 9am and did a little ride to make sure the bike worked. I put the bike in the transition area and then proceeded to head to T2…a different location all together to drop off my run bag. Done and done, back to the leisure center for a stress-relieving swim. The pre-race meeting was at different location #3, home of the Bolton Wanderers football team, Reebok Stadium. Oh yeah, the finish was at different location #4, Bolton town center.

T1...Location #1

T1...Location #1

Location #2...T2

Location #2...T2

Did I mention that I ate lunch and dinner (Friday and Saturday) at ASDA…the English ‘Wal-Mart’? I figured it was a safe bet, and cheap!

Englist Wal-Mart

Englist Wal-Mart

I also decided that the English are a bit confused! The speed limit and distances are in mph and miles, but you fill up your gas tank using litres. I had every intention of getting some pictures of some of the scenery along the course and countryside, but the weather put a damper on that.

Bolton Town Centre Church

Bolton Town Centre Church

Stay tuned for Part II, coming tomorrow.

Please leave your comments on the forum.