I have been putting off writing this entry but had to write it at some point so here I go.
As many of you are aware last weekend was the Monaco 70.3 Half Ironman, a race that I had been training for all year and my first race over the longer Half Ironman distance. The race start on Sunday was 7am so it was up at 4am for breakfast and to prepare the last few items of kit before heading down to transition to pump up my tyres and hand in my ‘street wear’ bag.
The swim warm up was scheduled for 6:30 and I took the opportunity to get in the water and get in the mood before the mass beach start at 7am!
Above: A picture of my girlfriend, Chris (Serpentine and RG Active client), Chawnalee (a new friend from New Mexico) and myself before heading to the beach for the start. The race started at 7am on the button and what a start it was, a mass start with 1200 people running in off the beach …… we got mashed!
I have never been involved in a start like it, I got punched kicked, swum over, dragged back but I gave as good as I got, by the first buoy I had some clear water and could get into my rhythm. I exited the water in 31 minutes so was happy with my swim, through the showers and into the bag area where you collect your ‘bike bag’ and change before running to T1 and ready to start the 90km bike that would test even the best of cyclists!
I set off out of T1 and the course started climbing, I was with a group of athletes including a couple of Elite men and women, but didn’t get carried away and go off to hard, so settled down into my pace and at this point felt good. I got to the top of the first climb and through the first drink station taking on board more water and happy to finally have a bit of flat road knowing that the hardest descent of the course was coming next! ……… Then it all went wrong!
Towards the bottom of the descent my rear tubular tyre blew and I had to pull over to the side of the road and change it. I got my second tub on and went to fill it with the first of my two canisters but all the air escaped and nothing went into the tyre? I tried again, took my tub off again and checked everything, retried to inflate but NOTHING! I was finished, there was obviously a problem with the tub and I had no more canisters left so I took my seat on the side on the road and I was not happy! I waited for the best part of an hour as I watched hundreds of athletes pass me, and then it appeared ‘the Broom Wagon’ (the van that follows the course picking up people with mechanical problems, crashes etc). There were 4 athletes in the van when I climbed in and over the next few hours we slowly filled up.
Possibly the hardest part of the day was at about 35km into the bike course, at this point I was in the van and we had pulled over to stop for yet another athlete on the side of the road, only this time it was my girlfriend at the side of the road. I got out of the van to make sure she was ok and thankfully she was, but her seeing me in the van and really fed up didn’t help her state of mind and early on in a Half Ironman your state of mind is as important as your fitness, she would have to dig deep now to get round!
As you can see above, she did get round and I was there to see she was home safe and into T2 ready to start the half marathon and with the temperature up at around 30 degrees it was going to really test everyone who was still out there racing!
After watching my girlfriend and a number of friends and clients run the half marathon and cross the finish line my Monaco 70.3 experience came to an end!
I watched my girlfriend cross the finish line and was so happy to see her, I had a hug and told her what had happened to me and why I had been in the van. She told me that after seeing me it had been very hard to carry on and remain motivated as she was gutted for me, but she got on with it and finished for the both of us she had really dug deep which is a good test for even the strongest person, and she had done it!
I have now been back from Monaco one week, and tomorrow I race the London Duathlon at Richmond Park so can say I am over the disappointment of the Monaco race. I have been over the Monaco race again and again, and have taken as many positives as I can from the day and this is all I can do, a DNF never looks good on a results page next to your name but there was nothing I could do, I had such a great time training for the event and up until the time of the puncture I was having a great race and a really fun time so it was not all bad!
Some of the things I can take away from the weekend are:
1) I learnt about transitions for long distance racing, the bags and changing tents.
2) I fell in love with the sport all over again, I love the life style that goes with triathlon and having my girlfriend with me to share the training and the racing with is fantastic!
3) I learnt that no matter how hard you train and how fit you are, in triathlon sometimes there are things that you have NO control over and that I am afraid is that!
4) I learnt that we do this sport because it is FUN, it is more about getting the finish line and not about how fast or what position you finish, sometimes it is just about getting to the end of the race with a smile on your face. The races where you have things go wrong or you have to dig that little bit deeper are the races that teach you the most and make you a better athlete!All in all I have had a great year training with my girlfriend and the numerous groups that I have trained with, I have made some new friends, experienced my first long distance race and got a good sun tan!
As I said I am racing tomorrow in Richmond Park, and I have penciled in Lanzarote Ironman next May so I will be cracking on with Winter training soon, so I will leave this entry here and speak to you all soon with my results from the Duathlon.
Have a good weekend, good luck to Jenson at the Grand Prix in Monza Italy and speak to you all very soon!