Ironman 70.3 UK recap

Race weekend was finally here. Wimbleball is 3 and a half hour trip from London and so I set off early on saturday to go straight to the lake and register and rack my bike. I was a little apprehensive about how the whole bag scenario was going to go and how intense it would be at the race briefing. I shouldn’t have worried as everyone was incredibly nice, welcoming and laid back. There were however some really serious athletes. I could’t get over their bodies!

Lots of people in the briefing were new to the distance so I wasn’t alone. I headed back to the car in the sunshine and spent some time organising my bags. Putting stickers on everything before heading down to transition to rack my bike and put my bags away. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to touch them meant it’s slightly nerve-racking leaving them, but it was time for dinner and bed as it was an early start on Sunday.

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I woke up in a sweaty mess but no time to panic as the best part of the day was coming up - putting on number tattoos. I care how stupid they make you look, you feel like a badass. With my war paint on I drove over to the lake super early and fussed with my bike tires. Before I knew it I was in the water and the gun had gone off. 

I had a thoroughly uneventful swim, with no blows to the face, flying elbows or getting lost. I came out of the water in a steady 38 mins feeling fresh and calm. The bike I know would be tough but manageable after my recce and as long as I kept up my average speed I would get round within the cut off. I wasn’t going to hammer it either though, as I wanted to make sure I would have as much chance as possible on the run. The hills were easier this time round as I felt comfortable knowing where they ended allowing my to just spin up them in my own time and not blow half way up like a lot of people did. No getting off the bike. It was going to be a hot day and the sun came out on my second lap. It was a nice boost and I was making steady progress. All I could think was don’t be unlucky enough to have a mechanical. Which thankfully I didn’t and came rolling into T2 in 4 hours 6 minutes. 

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The run was the best bit. I had 3 and a half hours in the bag before the cut off and you can walk a half marathon in that time so under the 22 degree sun I set off running the flats and walking the hills, of which there are a few and quite steep. It was an all terrain course with a fair few sections on grass so terrible it felt like sports day. I just coasted round enjoying every last minute and crossed the line in 7 hours 31 minutes with a big smile on my face and a thought, “Well that wasn’t so hard”. I am stoked that the race went smoothly and I that I enjoyed it. The only problem now is - I WANT MORE. And I know I can go faster.

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Wimbleball 70.3

This has been labelled as the world’s toughest 70.3 to complete.

I will be completing my first triathlon (slightly bigger than OD) in November this year and really like the sound of Wimbleball!!

If anyone has tried this one before and would like to share your experience of it or are considering ticking off this one next year, please reach out to me on: derrick.yap@ge.com

Registration for Wimbleball opens at 16:00 on Monday 15th Sep and it is likely to sell out very quickly.

Train hard and stay safe.
D

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Wimbleball 70.3 route

I have known for a while that the UK 70.3 Wimbleball course was hilly, but I am beginning to appreciate just what a challenge it;s going to be. For one thing the cut off time is at 5 and a half hours after the start, so an average performance in the water will only leave you 4 and a half hours on the bike.

The route I take up to Hampstead Heath is pretty damn hilly. 243 metres of elevation and I currently average 18kph. This includes lots of traffic lights and breathers to stop my heart from exploding up Highgate West Hill.  If I look at this over the 90k bike course the elevation is almost exactly the same. Ouch. 

Doing that route 4 times scares the shit out of me. For me to be able to do it with an average pace of 20kph I am going to have to do some very specific training. Not just ticking off the sessions but proper focused hill work for both the bike and the run. 

We are not in Kansas anymore.

Hill Advice for Wimbleball

- Change your bike computer to KPH it feels faster

- Find those hills and make mincemeat of them, find that place in your head that won’t let you walk, the place where you store all that unused adrenaline.

- One session per week on the bike repeatedly hill climbing, if you can find one hill that takes 5 minutes to climb and you can get to the top without walking the first time then use that hill to train on. repeat climb, relax down, until you can’t complete the climb without walking.

- When climbing a hill don’t stop pushing the minute you hit the top, push over the top until gravity takes over then you can relax a little.

- Stay in the saddle all the time you can, change down as you need to keeping your cadence between 70 and 90, don’t change right down too early and don’t just try to thump it out.

- Only get out the saddle for the short steep hills where you can put in a sprint effort to top the hill fast.

- Do the same for your run training, but don’t do a hill bike session within two days of a hill run session.

Remember: Everest was tall until Hillary climbed it and now more people go to the top each year than go to Tescos. You will be victorious.

—  220 triathlon
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