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Ironman 70.3 Eagleman

“It’s a lot of work for very little meat.”

“Yeah, that’s why its more of a social thing.”

We were eating crabs. Actually its called crab picking. An apt name as you spend all your time picking at the  thing for little morsels of crab meat. But it was fun and a good way to end my trip to Maryland thanks to the good people at TriColumbia. I’m pretty sure they get taught that line at school in Maryland though, cos every time I mentioned how little meat I got it was met with the same line, verbatim.

We drove up to Maryland from Redtail Mountain Resort in Tennessee where I had spent two weeks recovering from Ironman Texas and training. Coach Robbie did a sterling job driving the B-Team van (it looks like the A-Team van from the movie – I pity the fool!) through torrential rain for nearly 10hours. It should have been 8hours, but our GPS took us on the scenic route through Washington DC, but we did get to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and Capitol Building, albeit glimpses through the traffic. The rain continued for 3 days and only cleared on race day. And it poured the day after too. Lucky.

The race itself started in the Choptank river where there was a noticable current, which seemed to come from the bank somehow. It made for slow swim times but my swim was ok, if not great. Out on the bike with a 2:30 deficit to Andy Potts and 1:20 or so to Greg Bennet and co. The pace was furious for the first 30km and the group we were in was narrowed down to just myself, Victor Zymetsev and Jordan Jones. We kept the pace going the entire way and could hardly believe we hadn’t made up time on the leaders when we rolled into T2. But they must have ridden hard too. I was happy with how my legs performed 3 weeks post-Ironman and couldn’t have asked for more from them on this day. A 2:08 bike split was hard work when the course is totally flat – you couldn’t stop pedalling for a second!

After negotiating the transition (due to the rain plus 2000+ athletes transition was a mudbath meaning a dis-mount and bike-on-shoulder cyclocross-style run), I was out on the run with still a 2:30 deficit and in 4th I knew I just had to go till I blow. It’s a risky strategy but sometimes it’s the only one. I went out hard and then hung on. I pulled back half the deficit to Andy Potts and 3rd and 2nd place in the first half of the run. But Andy came home hard and the 1min gap just seemed to hang there. I could see the pink shirt of the lead bicycle up the road, but just couldn’t close the gap. I kept pushing hoping to expose some crack in Andy’s game, but he was too good today. A 1:12 run split couldn’t bring him back and I had to be happy with 2nd. And I was. After all this was a fitness test – the best test of fitness is not always how fast you go, but how fast you recover and three weeks after IM Texas, I was apparently pretty well recovered.

Big thanks to all my sponsors, and my homestay in Cambridge, the McCrays for making me feel right at home!

Now I am in Leysin and once I am over the jetlag it will be head down training until Challenge Roth on 14 July. I am feeling better prepared at this point than I was last year, so am confident I can defend my title. Wearing number 1 will be added motivation!

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