A break from the norm the last few weeks and lessons learnt along the way….
Starting with my the first trip away from Leysin…. Heading to Zurich. Must admit was straining at the bit a little in the days before departure… just to get a change of scenery. The Summer sees the arrival in Leysin of more summer camp students than you can possibley fathom. The village had become a spralling mass of teenagers and navigating your way through Co-Op had become increasingly maze-like.. … That’s before you consider the necessary swerving down the hill rep route to avoid the lollypop suckers. Basically until such time we have been relatively spoilt by the solitude of the environment… and now it is frothing with teenagers on tour. Have reprimanded oneself for upset caused by sudden busy-ness of the place by remembering the vast sums of Daddy’s cash which little Chad blows on Haribo in said Co-Op hence fuelling local economy and potentially a ? heated outdoor pool ☺ for next year
Sooooo… anyway.. Zurich. Had made an agreement with the boss that could go to see my man who would be racing IM Switzerland on the Sunday, earlier if I raced the shorter race on the Saturday… faired income I thought. … be nice to give the fast twitch fibres an outing;)
So my ‘little’ race turned out to be rather bigger than expected when hundreds of competitors turned up for the non-wetsuit swim start. Took me a while to get my head around the non-wetsuit thing, given that it was pouring down with rain… hmmm. …
It was a bit of fun the race, but I was surprised to see some of the girls speeding off on the swim, me thinking… nope not gonna happen. Thankfully I can put a out a few watts on the bike so after 20K I was in the lead and on to the run for a solid 1st place finish nearly a minute ahead of the next girl and breaking the 1 hour mark which was a secret aim. It was nice too that when I arrived back in Leysin the owner of my favorite bar ‘Lynx’ greeted me with ‘I saw you on TV in Zurich!…. running fast.’ hihihihi
So the Sunday was the IM Suisse and I had my supporters cap on. After a sleepless night (thanks to Decs pre-race muscle spasms which literally rock the bed) and a wake-up call at 3.45am I was in a great mood for a 12 day hour day…. N o t. In such situations I seek out coffee like a pig hunting truffles.. aaaah that’s better.
I have never been to an IronMan event before so standing on the side lines I was baffled my the sheer numbers of competitors. How are the all going to fit I thought??… on the course that is… but of course 180K is lot of road!
A nerve wracking day for me as I saw Dec come out the swim a lot later than I expected. (the swim was 3-4mins long Doc tells me) Turning on my data-roaming meant I could keep an eye on athlete tracking and was able to see progress through the day. I had in my head… 13 AG slots for Kona and Dec had come of the bike in 24th… work still to do.
With me shouting pace times and AG placing at him, he worked his way through the field to finish 9th in his Age-Group and of course got the Kona Slot. Happy Days although the 2 hours I spent in the medical tent with him weren’t exactly pretty and opened my eyes to the level some will push to obtain a goal.
Next up… road trip over to Alpe Duez… Never been up the climb before so the first glimpse I got as we approached the village at Midnight… blimey I thought… are you sure we have to climb this at the END of 105K? It makes the ‘hill’ up to Leysin look like a gentle slope!
Stunning place Alpe Duez. Surrounded by mountains, but being higher at altitude they feel a lot closer than in Leysin.
Race day itself… was a loooong day… starting at 7.30am with a ride down the mountain to the lake… arrived freezing having underestimated the wind chill factor… doh!
(pics to come!)
Wont go into the race in detail as Brett’s covered it well in his report. But for me… it was a very testing day and I what my mother would term ‘character forming’. The swim was really rather chilly and seemed to go on for ages… but in retrospect it did go on in comparison to Olympic distance racing to which I am used… couldn’t feel my feet coming out of the water so was a wobbly run into T1! I’m always relieved to get out of the water in a race and get on to my favorite part the bike, where I can usually make up time. I kept saying to myself… hold back hold back…. It’s a looooong day out there.
Then… coming up the hill out of T1… I was fiddling with my shoes and going pretty blimin slowly when a motorbike pulls up and holds a card at me and says I’m drafting… well actually they didn’t say that, because they muttered the French equivalent, but I got the drift. My protests that I wasn’t even near the guy in front and that we were going so slowly up the hill at that point ant drafting would have been utterly fruitless… were met with deaf ears and the marshal sped off to claim his next victim. Now, perhaps my protests ,which were sans expletives but were non the less uttered in anger/disbelief had irritated said marshal as 15 minutes later minding my own business on a flat section of road a group of French riders passed me and spread out across the road… the road then narrowed and with cars coming the other way it was impossible to pass… so I sat up to slow down until I could pass again. That’s when Mr Marshal smacks me in the face with another drafting penalty. U t t e r disbelief. I’ve never had a drafting penalty in my life… and two within 15 minutes….. come on!
Onwards and upwards. The bike leg of this race was nothing short of spectacular. The first Col tested the legs and I held back all the time thinking of that beast which I’d have to climb at the end. Crowd support in the villages we passed and on the climbs was awesome and really helped take the mind off the leg groans.
Ascending Alpe Duez I’d moved into second place and felt strong coming up the climb… It was very special for me climbing Alpe that day as I remembered by Dad climbing it back in his Pro cycling days in the tour. My step mum passed away this week after a year long battle with pancreatic cancer so I climbed that pass thinking of all the good times we had and hoped that I’d make them proud.
Coming into T2 I was thinking, ok, so I’m tired, but not thaaaat tired… run should be ok… Then smack No.3.
Penalty Box – 10 minutes! Standing – no food/no drink. I couldn’t quite believe it and as a result wasted far too much energy being angry and frustrated to ultimately no end… deaf ears… ‘making an example ’ the Marshal said. Thanks.
10 minutes over and I speed out of T2 only to find a minute later that my legs felt like lead… ok, I thought…. I’ll run into to it ‘find my rhythm’ as coach said. But it never came… and the getting through the 3 laps was amongst one of the hardest physical efforts ever… I have had a bruised bone in my toe for a while and the pain waxes and wanes but today with the terrain and gradients I was in agony after 20minutes. But I’ve never been a quitter, and no matter how much my body/mind wanted to stop, I pushed through and crossed the line pretty exhausted.
The Team had a successful day all round and I was sooo happy for Scottie podiuming and posting such a storming run split. James was solid start to finish and achieved a thoroughly deserved win. Jodie was simply outstanding and along with Chrissie to me represent the bench mark for the sport.
Next up… back to the homeland… after a testing 11 hour drive!
London Triathlon on 8Th August… this was where it all started for me as my first ‘proper triathlon’ back in 2007 so looking forward to it.
Train smart guys.
I Couldnt do what I’m doing without the help of my sponsors so a special thank you to:
Baxendale Walker LLP.
The Priory Group.
The Bike Boutique.