Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ironman Barcelona - 9h03m on home turf

Best race mates singing in the rain , Guille & Toni!!!  Oleee!

This would be the 6th time I started here in Calella - actually each year since 2009, when I raced the first edition of the Half Distance. I train here a lot - I love the flat bike course, which can (and ended up being) fast on a calm day.

However - the day started really ugly. Big dark clouds lured over Calella and I could already see the flashes of lightning over the mountains while getting out of bed. Around an hour before the Pro-start, the clouds gave in like an overfilled water-balloon bursting, and poured a massive amount of water over us - big flashes over the ocean and it definitely looked like at least the swim would be cancelled. Waiting 30 minutes brought us good news - the thunder-gods was taking a rain-check (excuse the very lame pun) and hence, we could start.

Got in the first line of the swim and made it fine around in a bit more than 59 minutes - the water was a bit choppy, but not too bad. I guess there was a bit of current against us on the long stretch and the official measure says 3900m. My age-group wave started way behind in the backseat, so we had quite a bit of hurdles, blue hats, white hats, breast strokers to overcome, with around 2000 swimmers in front of us.

The heavy rain stopped, but the bike circuit was still wet and we had to slow down a lot in the many (40) roundabouts, but apart from that, the legs felt very good and I quickly found the right goal watts. I train a LOT on this circuit, so I know well how and how much. The sky cleared, the wind was not too bad and the sun started drying up the fast, clean tarmac - just tucking into a good position, pushing, feeling good.
Passing lots of bikes and turning in Montgat, I was close to 41 km per hour after the first 70km - the average power was still spot on, with a slight tailwind - so things were going down as expected. I feared that I would get caught up in one of the massive pelotons, which at times can at time get formed at this race. In all fairness, I can't see how you can completely avoid bikes getting too close in this race - but I would say that the folks that I was riding with, was keeping a fair distance. Pushing through to a 4h34m bike which is a personal best on this distance.

Out on the run, the legs feel pretty good too as expected. I kicked off with good cadence and had to hold back, as I was moving around 4:15 on the first 8-10 km. Slowed down and hit the target at 4:20 until 15 km. But from here, a mental struggle started. The old belly start to cramp a bit and I quickly found myself in a quite negative mental state - motivation was really low. I slowed down to a safer pace around 4:30 and kept a good intake going, but shortly after I succumbed to the first of many breaks of walking. Frankly legs were fine - but I was digging a mental hole for me myself, deeper and deeper for each step.

It would be easy to conclude that I pushed too hard on the bike, but riding at an intensity factor of only around 72% and VI of 1.04 would suggest, that I was on the safe side for a good run. But the tummy and and old head wanted something, so just tried to make it through around 4:45 or a bit slower to the end, running in around 3:25. All in all finishing with a PR at 9h03m30s and an 11th place iny AG. Overall times were very fast I'd say, we were lucky with the wind on the bike.

No Kona slots for 11th place. First they cut one slot in my AG (to 7 instead of 8) - then it rolled all the way down to 10th place, who finished 2 minutes in front of me. That'll teach me to consider if walking during an Ironman is clever ...  But hey - fair game! Missing Kona must be a first world problem, eh?

Thanks to all who cheered and support onsite and online!

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