Bloody broken concrete…..
Lanzarote Ironman 70.3
How do you race a 70.3 again?! Despite being in and around so many races with Tri Harder over the last few years I haven’t actually raced a longer course triathlon since 2015. Add in the fact it was my first ever race abroad and there was plenty to think about. What do I need again? How does it all work? How do you get a TT bike big enough for a giraffe in a bike box?! Fortunately on that front Carl Mace Cycling was on hand to make the seemingly impossible, possible. It was nice to have the buzz of a big event again though and the added bonus of some sunshine added to the excitement. 5 of us were travelling with bikes so packing light wasn’t really an option! On the plus side, we tested plenty of the luggage options from Orca, Endura and Polaris! Despite travelling with enough kit for a years training the journey went well and our accommodation in Puerto Calero was stunning.
Once the bikes were all pieced back together it was time for a little test ride to make sure everything was running as it should be and that all the batteries for the Di2 were charged! I had casually looked at the map and said that a nice 15mile bimble from Puerto Calero to Club La Santa looked ideal to get the bikes to the race venue and also help us get a few acclimatization miles in. We left the villa and started to climb, and climb, and climb some more! Maybe this wasn’t the best idea the day before the race after all…….Jimmy decided it definitely wasn’t right for him so went back to grab a taxi. I ploughed on along with the others (who weren’t racing so didn’t care!). It was hot and much harder than I anticipated but certainly gave me a clearer idea of what lay ahead the following day. I had decided to take my TT bike despite a lack of training miles riding in that position. It was a close call but I had started to enjoy riding the bike and wanted to have a go at the race no matter what in the end. I was riding a Quintana Roo PRFive with some 60mm Reynolds carbon wheels. I’m not the most powerful of riders so anything deeper would have been too much, particularly with the amount of climbing in the race. The bike did feel good though and although I’d have loved to climb on my road bike the flats and descents were exceptionally quick on the aero bars and I would be able to drink more easily on the go with the Profile Design aero bottle in situ. Registration and racking went smoothly and it was back in a taxi for the journey back to the villa.
The customary stupid-o-clock alarm for race day was followed by rice pudding and jam for breakfast and the relief that our taxi had turned up without any drama. The journey itself was quite something as I don’t think our driver could see very well in the dark so crawled along! I actually thought they were falling asleep so had to ask if they were alright! Although a slow journey we arrived safely and of course the first job on arrival was to find a toilet! I checked the bike and loaded my nutrition on board. This would be the first proper test for me of Maurten energy products. The plan was half a bottle and one gel each hour on the bike to give me my carbs. It was still very dark as the race start approached and we soon realized that we would be going off in low-light and my polarized lens Aqua Sphere Kayenne might not have been the best choice! I personally found the walk to the swim start in bare feet over broken concrete harder than the swim itself!
I was quite pleased with my swim as I have not been in the pool too much this year, particularly after breaking my wrist in February by being a t**t on the bike in ice! My transition here was reasonable too by my low standards! Out on to the bike course and the road started to head upwards…..and upwards….and basically did that for 18miles! But once the down hills came boy were they fast and my decision to ride the TT bike was vindicated. It was a tough bike course and the second lap from La Santa up to the turn around point was brutal. The temperature had ratcheted up and those drags seemed steeper and longer than first time around! I was happy with my nutrition though and for the first time I can remember I had stuck to my plan! It was with delight I reached the turn around point as I knew the return would be rapid and the run was coming my way very soon! I had hoped to be quicker on the bike but you cannot escape a lack of fitness, although the Quintana Roo PRFive had handled everything beautifully.
It was so good to see the support team as I came in to T2 and my legs felt pretty good as I racked the bike and headed out on to the run course. I had a couple of good miles but the heat was rising further and eventually I had to back off and ultimately never fully recovered, needing to take regular breaks from running and trying to cool myself down with water and sponges. My favourite treat on the run was the orange segments at the feed stations! I continued to take the Maurten 100 gels and their unique consistency was so much easier to digest on the run than anything else I have used in endurance races in the past. I was also pleased to not have had any gastric problems like the which have plagued me in the past. The run was a war of attrition and I was frustrated with myself and my lack of fitness. It was a great feeling to be heading back into the grounds of Club La Santa for the final time and knowing this lap of the track ended with the finish line and not another coloured band for my arm! I was completely shot and knew I couldn’t have gone faster this time and also knew I was desperate for some shade!
Overall I had thoroughly enjoyed racing again and it was a very challenging race, making it that bit more satisfying. It was also brilliant to be racing with James Simons and travelling with the best support around. However, it wasn’t a ‘special’ race and lacked a little in terms of big race feel despite being well organized. Other than my fitness I was delighted with my kit choices and wouldn’t adjust much in those terms for next time. Which leaves the question, where next?
Lanzarote Kit List:
Wetsuit – Orca 3.8 – incredible flexibility and massive buoyancy for my long legs!
Goggles – Aqua Sphere Kayenne Polarised – superb goggle but no need for the polarized lenses this time!
Bike – Quintana Roo PRFive Di2 – responsive and comfortable, just the rider that’s the issue!
Wheels – Reynolds Aero Carbon 65 – climbed well and remained stable in strong cross winds.
Helmet – Kask Protone – super comfortable and cool in the conditions.
Shoes – Saucony Kinvara – love these shoes and great without socks still.
Tri Suit – Orca Custom Tri Harder Sleeveless – remained comfortable for the whole 6 hours!