Well… I finally put together a solid swim, bike, and run over the Iron Distance. But still I am honestly not happy with my 7th place finish at Embrunman as I do believe I left several minutes on the course. However, up until this point I have either cracked on the bike or run and have been unable to put them together on the same day for 9 + hours so I am pleased that I was able to hold my place off the bike and still finish in the money.
Pre-Dawn Swim Start
Coming into this race my goal was to finish top 8 and while being interviewed by the race M.C. the morning of he asked me if I was afraid of the Embrun course and what my goal for the day would be, I quickly responded, “No of course I am not afraid of this course and my goal is to finish top 8” Well the gentleman quickly shot back with, but Scott this is your debut Embrunman do you really think you can finish top 8, in which I responded, “Yes I understand that but I just finished very well at Alpe d’ Huez and have been training all summer in the mountains in Switzerland with my teammates so I feel very prepared!” He then added, And yes going to Alpe is the best way to prepare for this race but this is Embrunman and the course is much tougher than Alpe d’ Huez. I finished off with, “Well I guess I will find out!!” And for the record….he was right Embrun is much tougher than Alpe but I can hold my head high placing in arguably the toughest race in the world.
After a coming out of the water a bit better than I had at Alpe I was very happy to be on my bike to really enjoy my last ride in the Alps for the year. What I wasn’t prepared for was the 7k climb we faced immediately out of transition. Even though it was tough starting like that I was pleased we were headed up because it was pretty cold and the sun was not really out.
I had no idea what position I was in but was pleased to see Xavier Diepart as he finished 7th in Ironman France back in June so I was hoping we could ride together for much of the day. Unfortunately for Xavier he did not have a great day as I pulled away from him after the first descent.
It was good to see Brett and Fiona as we headed out towards the Col d’ Izard where Brett told me to concentrate as I was in 22nd position and had to start picking people off. I don’t really recall any point in the day other than the first 15k of the run where I felt like I was going comfortably. The bike got tougher and tougher as each 10km sign passed. I knew I was going pretty well when I caught sight of Brandon and Stephen about ¾ of the way up the Izard. Brandon and I reached the top together where we were met some pretty cold temperatures and fresh snow on the top of the mountain. I was kicking myself for not putting gloves into my special needs bag as my hands were frozen by the time we reached the valley. I knew that from that point on I was going to suffer and boy was I right. It never stopped, all the way into the transition I was on my limit as we were greeted with climb after climb. I held it together for most of the way until we got back to town and had to do the final 4km. I am not sure how much time I gave up but I was barely moving up in that village and am pretty sure I lost several minutes on the guys in front of me. The demons really started to come out at this point as I was pretty desperate for coke and just kept trying to remind myself that nothing could hurt as bad as some of the training sessions I have done over the past few months.
Le Col de I’zoard
Onto the run my legs came alive immediately and I was starting to think I might run myself into the top 5. Because I had yet to put together a solid marathon off a 180km bike my plan was to go conservative for the first half and then try and really hammer the 2nd half . Well at about 10kms Doc pops out of the bushes and is screaming at me that there were 6 guys in front of me and 5 of them were running like donkeys so if I would stop being Mr. Conservative I might have a shot at picking a few off. I put my head down and picked up the pace. At25kms I ran by Matty and he informed me that I was gaining on Stephen and was just 30 seconds down.
Just after passing Matty things started to get really tough as I became quite nauseous. Passing Doc once again around 30kms he told me it was now or never but there wasn’t much I could do. I was still moving forward and gaining on Stephen but at the out and back section he got glimpse of me and took off, forcing me to go into survival mode. I suppose if I had of known the gap behind me I might have taken a risk at tried to go with him but realizing that I was about to finance the next few months with 7th place I kept the effort steady crossed the finish line satisfied with my best effort to date.
This was for sure a tough day but I really loved every minute of it and cannot wait to come back next year hopefully a bit stronger on the swim and bike so that I can get on the podium. Big congrats to T-Mac for getting the win, to James for his second place finish, and to Stephen, Bella, and Brandon for having very solid days just 2 weeks after Ironman UK. Also, congrats to Matty for his 8th place in the short course race. Thanks for the support out there Matty and to Brett and Fiona for traveling to see us race!! We got the best coach in the world with the most supportive wife in the world!!
It’s been a great summer with more progress made as I get closer and closer to summiting the mountain I have been climbing for 18 months now. Its back to America now where James and I will continue training side by side for the next few months as we prepare for the Rev 3 and Ironman Florida.
Special congratulations to my mate Andy and his new bride Naomi who got married this past weekend in Horsham, England. It was an honor to be in your wedding party and I must admit I had more fun at your wedding than any other wedding before!! I must be recovered from Embrunman as my legs felt great on the dance floor!
Look out Jersey Batman and Robin are coming to town, with Cat Woman or is it Wonder Woman? in tow as well…