Well it all started over a few beers Christmas 2008, where Andy, a fellow cyclist told me about the Lanzarote Ironman.
Even more beers later we had agreed to start training to do the event in 2010. When the light of day had come I then realised that I had never done a triathlon before let alone done any running for the past 15 years!
Over the course of the first couple of months we also convinced another friend of ours to do the event also, Kevin had done it 5 years ago with Andy and now it seemed that we were all fired up to do the event and the training.
On 22 May, Andy Taylor, Kevin James and I completed the Lanzarote Ironman.
Nearly 1700 competitors lined up for the race in Puerto del Carmen bay. The swim started at 7.00 am. We had placed ourselves in the middle pack – just behind a green marker that was meant to split out the group with predicted swim times of 65 minutes or less. As the klaxon sounded we ran into the water, which was already thick with swimmers, and the battle commenced.
On the first of two swim laps I was constantly using kicking and arms to fend off fellow swimmers –it was a proper fist fight!
On the second lap I consciously avoided this by taking inside line and not following the group even if it made me work a little harder.
Out of the water, I ran towards T1. All of our kit was hanging on hooks on the beach itself and the changing area located next to the bags. I had decided to wear full cycling gear over my Tri-suit because of the amount of time I would be in the sun. I then ran the reasonably long distance to the bike rack area then straight out onto the bike.
Swim splits: Myself (1:14), Kevin (1:16) Andy (1:27)
Bike – 112 miles/180 km – 3000m ascent
The bike course started with a short 3km out and back heading east and then back west along the sea front. Once this out and back was finished it was out of Puerto del Carmen on a gradual uphill.
After this we had a long gradual downhill heading South-west, where I was getting some decent speeds –up to 50 mph– but it was on these sections that the benefits of my Felt b2 TT came into its own.
The road carried on to near the bottom corner of the island towards El Golfo along a number of rolling short hills and twisty corners. This was a visually stunning part of the race as the waves were to our left crashing against the jagged lava formations. The road then turned north to the first major climb of the day through the Timanfaya national park. This was a long straight gradual with a number of steeper steps upwards that seemed to take an age and is in the most barren part of Lanzarote with lava fields either side.
The next section of the bike was super-fast again with the descent into La Santa and the north coast of the Island. Another uphill then back down to the coastal town of Famara. By now the early morning cloud had come out in full and on the climb of the day up to the market town of Teguise .Going through the town was great as the supporters were out in force – so that gave me a little lift after the long climb.
The two major climbs of the day were still ahead. Haria and Mirador del Rio. The first of these has a few switch backs before a longish straight steep section to the top. At the top of Haria was the point where the organisers had placed our special feed bags. We had handed these in that morning. I had stashed a few extra energy gels, a spare inner tube, as well as a can of red bull and a bag of jelly babies.
After a fabulous super fast and twisty descent, the difficult Mirador del Rio was ahead. Probably the worst bit is out of the village where it ramps up to round 15%.
At the top of this climb I knew the bike section was pretty much there – all downhill to Peurto del Carmen into a head wind!
Bike splits: Myself (6:10), Andy (6:11), Kevin (6:40)
Run – 26.2 miles/42 km – flat (ish)
I was now on the final leg of the IM, ahead was one long loop (19 km) and two shorter loops of just under 7km each with the halfway point of the first lap as the turnaround point.
The conditions were hot to say the least – 34 oC. But I was feeling ok. Reaching the turning point it was back towards the start I had decided to use a run-walk strategy with the combination of heat and fatigue taking its toll.
By now the victims of the IM were fully apparent. Lots of people walking, lying on benches and unfortunately a couple of guys with medics attending them, the previous winner Bella Bayliss was also resorting to walking obviously having some difficulties.
Job done at 13:34, a little longer than I’d hoped but never the less a great feeling crossing the line.
All that was left was to get a massage and down a beer in celebration, with lots of talk of what we would do differently and how much faster we would all be next time!
Run splits: Kevin (4:16), Andy (5:01), Myself (5:49)
Final times: Kevin (12:27), Andy (12:51), Myself (13:34)