Triathlon Vitoria Race Report My objectives for this event
▪ This was my A race of the season - aim was to come in around 10:30 ▪ Swim – be very focused and just get the swim done without it taking anything out of me ▪ Bike – ride a solid bike leg aiming for an average of 180W ▪ Run – aim was to run 3:30 (8 min per mile pace/5 min per km) this should put me in sight of an age group win
The last few weeks leading into this race I’d missed a few training sessions as was busy with getting athletes sorted for their own races but I knew this training was the icing on the cake so I wasn’t that stressed – honest! The days leading into the race I felt good and relaxed but race morning felt pretty nervous which I haven’t done for some time but all being well I knew it would pass.
Being Spain nothing happens that early so Elites head off at 08:00, the women are 5 mins later then at 08:10 the Half race starts and finally the Iron Distance at 08:20. Being an anti clockwise course I entered the start area from the right, and got away clean. This was probably the worst swim I’ve been in for getting smashed though, some of it has to do with the fact that I actually sight well so will swim pretty much on the buoys but you get pretty beat up at the turn. I was kicked in the throat on the first out leg, the guy meant to kick me which is just so dangerous and it’s not like we are going to win! I swam wide after that. It’s a 2-lap swim course so you have an “Aussie Exit” up and across the beach for about 30m then back in for lap two. Of course it had thinned out a lot in the second lap and I came out in 1:14 which I’m happy with. All the bike bags were on racks in an open transition area and I found mine and pulled on a long sleeved skins top to keep me at a good temperature and protect from the suns rays on the bike. I was away well and pleased with myself for a reasonably slick transition all things considered.
The bike course is a beautiful undulating course where you cycle in some fantastic Basque rural countryside. Both the Iron and the Half courses do a short lap, which the Half then repeats but the Iron distance does a further two longer laps. I rode well although there was some huge peletons forming, it was difficult not to get caught up in these as some were 20 strong and 2 or 3 abreast. On the second lap I could see that I was riding with a couple of guys in my age group (funnily enough one was the eventual winner and I kept thinking I can smash you in the run!) and I stayed with this group until the end of the bike course.
I am a good climber but would drop off the pace to keep my power down but you could see the Spanish get very excited and smash it up every climb to ecstatic shouts of “Venga Venga, Animo, Vamos” from the extremely excitable spectators. I’d catch the bunch again on the descents and rolling flats, go past them and then realize that I was doing a “Tom Boonen” and pulling them all along so would sit up and settle off the back. I came off the bike with a 5:20 split and it felt good.
This is my strength and having come off a great run in the Honu 70.3 in Hawaii I had high hopes of keeping to the conservative 5 min per km pace however this was not to be. I have had an Achilles issue for about 5 weeks now but I knew that adrenaline would see me through so no excuses. Injury wise I can pretty much kill myself to finish a race. The run course is a 4-lap affair and is run within the streets and parks of Vitoria-Gastiez and again is extremely well supported. I went ‘old school’ and changed completely into my Bristol and West run vest and run shorts and wore compression socks (ok so not fully old school) to try and support my Achilles. Technique wise I tried to run light, using a gentle heel strike and hold my hips high. It’s never easy in an Ironman but I felt my technique stayed reasonable throughout.
The crowd support was fantastic and I genuinely do not think I have come across such enthusiastic supporters – which is quite annoying when you just want to walk! My first two laps were pretty much on target but by the end of the third lap I had strong waves of nausea and was starting to fatigue – I also had the onset of the “never again” feelings. The final lap was a death march I tried jogging between lamp posts, jogging for a count of 50, then 20 but pretty much walked most of the last 10k to finish the run in 4:15. It’s not my worst Iron Distance run but it is my most disappointing. My final time was 11:02. Incidentally the guy who I thought couldn’t run - he ran a 3:29 and came first in the AG. If I had run to plan I would have won.
Swim – I stayed focused and got it done without it taking anything out of me Bike – I’m in better shape than last year and I felt good and rode a sensible but reasonably quick bike leg keeping to the power I had aimed for Run – Not my slowest Iron Distance run but pretty disappointing. I’m better than this.
Overall a bit less nutrition than normal but it worked pretty well for the most part and I had no issues on the bike. The run was a different story.
▪ We always take our blender and I had a protein powder, fruit, coconut oil, almond butter shake with some granola sprinkled on top.
▪ 7 serves Ucan ▪ 3 tablespoons MCT Oil ▪ 30 Master Amino Profile tablets crushed ▪ All of the above blended with ice and water and put in two bottles. ▪ 4 x Bonk Breaker Bites ▪ Water
▪ 2 x Double Expresso Clif Shot Gels (caffeinated) ▪ Water ▪ Some Coke ▪ Aimed to have more but stomach was rebelling badly by halfway
1. All my gear worked great and I did not get too hot or burnt. Huub wetsuit, Cervelo P2C (This was it’s last outing as I’ve just bought a P3 – If you are interested in a 56 Cervelo P2C, Zipp 404, Q Rings, Rotor Cranks, QuarQ Powermeter then e mail me!!), Adidas Tempo run shoes. 2. I handled the mental side well in the swim and the bike and raced my own race. I was disappointed on the run and allowed negative thoughts to enter. 3. Nutrition worked pretty well in terms of not bonking at all on the bike – not sure about the run might need a rethink 4. Confident that if things go well I can put together a 3:30 or faster on the run
Negatives / Work On's:
1. My run was poor but this was not anything to do with running per se. 2. Possibly nutrition. I need to think about that for next race 3. Not being able to push on the run
All in all I’m pleased I finished – it is so easy not to.