About Kate Wallace

I've always been involved with sport of some description, particularly adrenaline sports (skiing, boarding, kite-surfing, bungi jumps, parachute jumps, mountain biking) and endurance events (7 marathons, lots of halfs, Caledonian Challenge, London to Brighton bike ride, Moonwalk, played/coached rugby), but I'm relatively new to triathlon as it's actually taken the place of other sports after a couple of bad accidents! Although looking at the biographies of all you other Viceroys I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that all I've done are a few team traitahlons (running or cycling leg) and a couple of super sprints and sprints on my own, I'm hoping that being a Viceroy might persuade me that swimming in open water over 400m is actually possible. Read more about me in the May 2012 Triathlon Plus: http://www.triradar.com/2012/04/09/were-inspired-by-kate-wallace/

Lara’s First (Half) Ironman… Did she mention she doesn’t really like running?!

About a month ago I decided to sign up for a half ironman – as you do, having only done Sprint and Olympic distances! There was a bit of peer pressure involved (no names – Andrea!!) plus I’d trained for the Aquabike World Champs, so it was just the run I had to master.

Run training didn’t quite go according to plan. I was up to 9k following a break of about 2 months after falling off my bike. I’d pulled the operation site in my ankle that was only fixed in February so it needed a rest! Cycle and swim training continued though.

In the morning I met so many club mates – Andrea Whelband, Steve Hobson, Simon Tack, Debbie Davies to name a few. It was great to chat and push the nerves away.

An Ironman event is very different to any I’ve experienced before. I was apprehensive to say the least about the mass start of 2000 people, however on race day you seeded yourself and 5 people went every 6 seconds. I went with Debbie and my memory is of us both going ‘ouch ouch ouch’ with every step over the stones to the water!

The sea was really choppy, I expected to get beyond the waves and for it to be smoother, but there was no pattern to the chop which meant a few mouthfuls of water and a constant fight. Either the current or the wind kept pushing me off course too and it took me a while to realise because the waves meant I couldn’t see the buoys a lot of the time.

I was surprised at how long the swim took, but my plan was just to enjoy the race and see if I liked the distance, so I didn’t worry. It was quite nice not feeling the pressure of a qualifier or championship event which had begun to take the shine off my love of triathlon.

On the bike it was freezing. Apparently the course was flat – I guess it was if you also consider the Surrey Hills flat! Some gritty lanes and many hills later I was in T2 about to face my nemesis – the run. Anyone that knows me knows how much I dislike running! On top of that I had blue toes and numb feet because I was so cold.  Still, I hadn’t pushed the bike so I hopefully had something for the run.

It took about 5k for my feet to come back to life, and as they did so they burned, which made running quite hard. The crowd was absolutely amazing, on a par, if not better, than a world championship event. My name was on my race number and everyone was so supportive. People had amusing placards like ‘high five here for a power up’. I had given myself permission to walk through every aid station, whether I needed to or not. The first 12k was ok, but having run nearly 2 laps, I knew what was coming, there was no new scenery and I started to struggle. This was alleviated by finding Neil in Viceroys kit. I’d never met him before, but we chatted and kept spirits high. I waved him off to the finish chute and started my final lap. My legs hated me for only running 9k in the lead up. The last 4K were very painful and it was only knowing I was nearly there that kept me going.

The finish chute was pretty special, plus it meant it was over! It was probably only the next day that I decided I had enjoyed it. It was a challenge and test of mental strength that’s for sure.

I’d do another 🙂

Lara Clay

Weymouth 70.3 – Simon Closely Avoids a DQ and is NOT in Love with Sea Swims!

Drove down Saturday, racked then drove back – 7 hours of horrible driving and almost missed the registration cut off. Back home by 19.00 and had to be up at 01:30 to make sure I was there bright and early to find a parking spot.

After about 3 ½ hours’ sleep I was in the car and excited.

I’ve never done a sea swim and it was cold, cold, cold outside the water. The beep sounded and my wave of 5 was off. I had expected a slower swim than the lake so seeded myself 32 – 30 minutes. Waves were rough and choppy. Waves coming from one direction and wind the other made for some salty drinks. The buoy was towards the early morning sun and was really, really difficult to see even from the crest of the wave. The swim is my favourite part of the race and I just wanted this one to end. Once on the return to shore it was much easier to sight and avoid mouthfuls of seawater. I came out in 34.18 which is about 5 minutes slower than usual but was in 20th place out of 266 for my age group which wasn’t too bad.

Ran the 400m to transition and was out in a reasonably quick time considering I had to stash socks at my bike as I’d forgotten to put socks in my bike bag. I was a little wobbly trying to put them on standing on one leg trying not to get transition gravel on my feet. The bike was very frustrating early on as my visor was TOTALLY misted up and we were riding in to the sun. After 15k I stopped and asked a spectator for a tissue, wiped my visor and was about to get back on when I saw the marshal walking over. It was at that point that I remembered the rule of no outside assistance from anyone. I waited for him to get to me and asked if I was penalised and he said, “What for?”. Whether he didn’t know the rule or was just being kind as I’d already wasted 3 to 4 minutes I will never know. Elated to still be in the race, my whole outlook began to change and I absolutely loved the rest of the ride even though some of the smaller roads were horrible. The downhill sections were incredible – 68kph on some of them!. I was so happy until I heard an increasing rattling from my stem. It was annoying me more and more until, going down a 2k hill at more than 55kph I remembered that I hadn’t tightened it since I came back from Iceland. I went cold and rigid with fear. As soon as I bottomed the hill I started to finger tighten it as best I could and did that prior to each hill for the rest of the race figuring that if it had lasted 65k then it should last the race. I was damned if I was going to lose my definite sub 3 hour time. Bupa would sort me out if it went pear shaped. I finished in 2:54:50 which I was very happy with considering I had stopped earlier in the race. 71st out of 266 on the bike.

I had such a good time on that ride and I’ll never forget it. It was just so much fun after the first 20k.

Seeing all the other Viceroys and supporters made the day for me

Simon

Back to Back Wins… and a 2 minute PB for Yeoman

Another weekend and another race. This time I headed back to Woking for a splash & dash race. Ran by Lee at Fullsteam event the pool based tri is perfect to see how the season has gone as I did this race back in April.

Going off last, I was lucky to have only one other person in my lane with the other fishes in the next lane so I could use them as a marker. Fastest swim split thanks to my BlueSeventy swim skin and off onto the bike.

A good friend lent me his Revolver Kronos disc so I was keen to see how it would compare to my zipp 808 firecrests. Well it was fast, super fast and it allowed me to take the fastest bike split and a clear gap on those looking to chase me down on the run. Switching to Ipro sport hydration is making a massive difference racing. My body always feels fresh and I’m not getting drops in performance which is real confidence booster.

The run course is twisty and that still is an understatement. The recent rain made the trail paths tricky but I was moving freely passing earlier starters.

Super excited to see that I was first overall with a 2min PB (mostly on the bike I must add) and around 3minutes clear of 2nd place.

Been a mad season to date. Now five 1st places 4 2nd places, couple of 4ths and a silver at the sprint champs. One race left at Thorpe park for the final European qualifier. So it will be good to measure myself against the best around.

Mark

IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote – 3rd in AG for Lilly

So when they say anything is possible, believe!

I had a very devastating training year. When I was at the peak of my training season, I had my bike crash and everything went pretty bad.  Couldn’t train for a whole month, had a terrible race in Staffordshire and lost it all.  But still didn’t give up , and I’m pleased. I was very upset as it was meant to be my strongest year with 6 hours targets.
So after that race I’d done minimal training and went to Lanzarote as I always do.
I was very tense about it as only two weeks prior to the race there was a change on the bike route.

Because I’ve done twice I knew what to expect and had a plan, which again, didn’t work. It was like a conspiracy.  All I had to do was wake up on race day and face it, and give everything I could.

The first two days before the race I’d concentrated in preparing myself.
Cold dips, massages, light training, etc. The day before I’d made sure my nutrition was spot on, and luckily, I’d listened to some of the pros I’d met and for a change didn’t have any pasta/refined/fibre. So I slept very well and woke up to race morning.
I was very relaxed for a change as I knew in my head that at that point no miracle couldn’t change my fitness level.

Swim was very nice this time as I kept my pace and 5 of us swam together in a hive which made it really good. Not my fastest but less fatigued. It worked.
I really took my time at transition as I always do it quite fast but than so out of breath that it would take me time to catch my breath. I went very slow into the tent and changed myself slowly.

Off I went on the bike with no clue on what I was going to face.
Turned out to be my best ride ever! My nutrition on the bike was so perfect, I didn’t have a single stop at any station which is something very new for me. I’ve always made use of every station to stretch and eat. But not this time. I was strong and I went for it full gas.  I’d ate and drunk everything I was supposed to. Spot on. Only one biggest regret: Socks! Never again.

My run started very smooth and on a good comfortable pace.
I reached Bijan at 4km and I had to slow down and run together with him, to make sure he made the first lap. He was already in pain but did it very strong all the way back to La Santa, and then I had to go. Second lap was cooking! Very hot and no breeze.
Again a second regret: not wearing my compression socks. I felt that my leg was fatiguing very quick. Maybe because I’ve pushed hard on bike or really a combination of things.  Again my nutrition from the bike was still there and all I had on the run was sports drinks from aid station, small sips but nothing else.  No nasty gels or anything and for the first time I didn’t have stitch.

As my broken leg always hurts, last lap was hell but again you just go and keep going.
Then I finished, so happy to be faster than last year considering my training was rubbish.Had my drink and a massage.
Until I’ve got my printed result for the shock of my life.
3rd on age group! Really? I burst into tears and just couldn’t believe!
That made me so strong mentally as I was thinking: wow what if I’d trained?!?
It was a awesome experience which brings me now a total different perspective on what I can achieve and will. For sure was the best day of my life and so much to look forward now. The feeling of the podium gave me strength to believe and I can wait for what’s coming my way.  Next year will be big and I’m dreaming high! There is no secret, just consistency.  I’m over the moon!

 

Lilly Morgado

1st for Yeoman in Strong pre World Champs Field

I was supposed to race last weekend up near Bedford but due to a case of blue green algae the swim was cancelled so rather than do a duathlon I opted to find another race the following weekend: luckily enough Nice Tri in Cambridge had a event on. With a couple of weeks to go before the World Championships I was sure that their would be a strong field looking to have their last race before the championships.

A river swim, first going with the current then coming back up against it. The horn went and I was off but flanked by two strong swimmers. One appeared to get away but after 100m or so he slowed, so I pushed by and got clear. I worked hard up stream to exit in first place and 40′ over the next athlete.

As I was about to head on to the bike a massive coach drove by and I was stopped by the marshals allowing a couple of athletes to catch up. It was slow until the first 180 turn at the roundabout then I was off, head down. It’s a long bike course and from 10 -15 the going was hard. I came into T2 with a lead but unsure how much. Turned out to be around 2mins.

The run is a mixture of grass and paths but you can see those behind you as you do a lap around the field. I had a gap, but was it enough? On the 2nd lap I could see 2nd was closing but not quick enough. Happy to take my fourth win over all this season and 90 seconds clear of 2nd place. Chased by the youth. All three behind were top athletes, in their 20s at university. Very surprised to be smashed by a VET.

Two races left before a well earnt rest.

Thanks for your support, it really helps take away added stresses that comes with racing hard. Woking next week before Thorpe the week after

14km Bridge to Bridge Swim NON WETSUIT for Sarah

I love a challenge and this year was bridge to bridge. This is 14 k from Henley to Marlow. Last year I loved it but this year I decided to go non wetsuit. The training was fine at the lake and climaxing to just the cossie and I loved the fact no hassle of getting wetsuit on and off!! But they longest swim I had done was 5k and really did not know how I was going to feel with no buoyancy and tiredness.  In training, work and 3 kids you can only do what you can and that’s life. Packing the car for a family holiday straight after B2B was really not the best preparation but then did put my mind elsewhere. 

5.30am wake up and all family into car for the quick drive to Henley. Arriving and registering and sorting out tow float thankfully as husband to order about. I really should have read the info as standing (with my warm dry robe!!) I questioned why another non wetsuit swimmer had a silver band on. Oh this is proof of non wetsuit!! Quick find husband and missing part of the briefing to put my band on, I wondered why these were in pack!!
Into the water, a mere 19degrees (I think this temperature as I tried to ignore that part) I waited as long as possible to enter. But once in my goggles steamed up. Too late to dry them and it was the start. Of I went but bang goggles started leaking and couldn’t see. But had to keep going as I was in the washing machine start. After a k it had all calmed down and goggles adjusted.
The first stretched was 4 k. I tried to get into a rhythm and felt ok. It didn’t help a twinge of cramp in one of my calves. At a weir stop there was fluid, bananas, jelly beans and energy bars. A fantastic concoction of food. A silly mistake was eating jelly beans just before going back in. They stuck to teeth. No chance of trying to dislodge them and had to stick there and naturally fall off. The next stretches was the longest and 6k.
This was tough and after 2 k I was struggling. But it’s weird how it goes in cycles as at 3 k felt great and stretched away from the natural pod I was in. But them at 5 k I was desperate for a wee!! I had to stop and then catch up the pod again. This was annoying but it made the last k if this section something to concentrate on and get into a rhythm and chase people down.
Another feed stop and fuelled up. This one I was shoved a drink in face. Not quite sure why me but then I got hold of it and it was a warm drink for non wetsuits. Oh this was lovely and needed!!!
The next section was 1.5k although short it was hard as you got tired and wanted to get quicker as a short section.
The final section was 2.5k this was by his time around 1100 and most people are now on the river in their fancy boats. So us swimmers had to battle and negotiate them (a strange feeling with a large boat coming towards me at speed and there is me with just my tow float to say stop I’m here!!) It was also the engine fumes and worst the wash from them. This last section was just awful. I was exhausted. No buoyancy and arms like lead just had to swim each stroke and get there. I knew slower time than last year but I did expect it (only 13 minutes!!) but 3 hours and 19 minutes and it was done.
Seeing family there to see me in was wonderful. Fuelled up again with as much hot liquid as I could and quick massage I was ready for a family holiday.
If you are wanting a great race to push you this is one. It is extremely well organised and the support crew was brilliant. Most likely be back again next year!!
Sarah Hempenstall

Viceroys Ride London 100 2017

It was a wet start in Wave A on Sunday, with a 3:50 alarm going off only shortly after the last clubbers in the Hoxton Hotel noisily found their rooms.

‘Kona’ Steve Hobson & I joined Adam Buck & ‘6 Million Dollar Man’ (we can rebuild him?) Andy Curran in Wave A with about 200 others.

For Steve and I, as some of the elder riders in the testosterone-charged pack of young Bucks (Adam included) the biggest worry was:

Cb we go 4 hours without a pee, unchartered territory for me as some of you will find out as you get older.

The organizers joyfully announce severe flooding will make the first few k’s hazardous, so be prepared to stop at any time. Great!

Nerves were creeping in, but nonetheless they did a great job to get us away on time at 05:44.

The first 10k is pretty feisty at 50 kph+  so Kona Steve & latched onto any train that came thru – Onyx, Regent’s Park Rouleurs (RPR) & London Phoenix pushing up to the front. I sat behind Kona Steve, whose V8 thumpers were pumping out bursts of bonkers watts to bridge any gap and get us on their wheels – even my skinny little legs were hitting bursts of 500+ watts for 20-30 seconds 4-5 times in that early part of the event. Bizarrely this is the way to go, you have to vomit to stay in the pack. At all costs if you want a good time.

Going well at Pru 100 is counter-intuitive. A quick time involves more racecraft than power. With smart use of your power you can easily beat riders who should be stronger on the day, & who burned thru higher TSS score to finish 20-30 minutes back! I had a low overall TSS of only 255 on Training Peaks for the day, hence feeling fresh enough to ride home later. To put that in context, a Windsor Ride in Viceroy Group 1 burns a similar amount of energy & yet the Pru 100 is 100 miles and I averaged just under 40 kph to finish in 4:09:19. Big days out like La Maratona & La Marmotte would be a TSS of 380-450 to go well – far tougher abuse overall as there is little if any group riding or sitting on wheels in alpine events.The Pru 100 is all about using what you have wisely, and that goes against normal logic at times.

Most riders make the mistake of letting fast packs go, as it looks ‘too hard’ to hang on, but they then find themselves working hard for long periods in weaker groups, or solo, to ironically go much slower. Therefore working hard for 30 seconds at crazy watts and 50 kph is actually easier overall than being dropped to ride solo, as once in the pack you can often freewheel so averaging below 200 watts for long periods. You do however need to keep up on the hills, and not everybody can.

We entered Richmond Park in 43 minutes & sadly Kona Steve double punctured on a speed bump (I had no idea as he was behind me, but I never saw him again). To make matters worse he then had a ‘kit malfunction’ with the wrong tubes, or no valve extenders, or both for his deep rims. It was a long lonely walk to the nearest Bicycle Repair Man, and a finish time nowhere near where it should have been.

Leaving Kingston towards Hampton was feisty and I had to hold 330 – 350 watts for 2 – 3 minutes to get onto the group ahead as the pack was now splitting with some riders going backwards having shot all their bullets with 80 miles still to go. It would have been easy to back off, but you have to fight that instinct.

Walton, Weybridge, Byfleet & Ripley passed in a blur as after 2 hours we approached the first hill – Newlands. I could see the lead motorbike was only 50
metres in front of me & I was in a pack of 60-80 riders. They all looked young, it was about to kick off.

As expected the lead group blew to pieces up Newlands and 20 or so got away, never to be seen again. I ended up in the second group as we took in Leith and Box and then headed towards Esher via Leatherhead. Along the way we picked up riders who had dropped out of the first group, & saw several punctures too.

Given the relatively small number of riders ahead, the numbers puncturing seemed high but heavy rain had washed all sorts of muck onto the roads.

Measage to all Viceroys:

Keep a set of new, or nearly new tyres for key events. Nobody wants a puncture to ruin their day. Never train on your race tyres if you want to lessen that risk come the big day, as you want them perfect to reduce that puncture risk on key events.

After Esher the pace is hot up to Wimbledon & Putney, running thru red lights at 40+ kph as we cover the last 10k in 13 minutes to turn under admiralty arch and race to the finish. Sprinting is not my strongest suit at age 53, but I hang on to cross the line at 9:54 am and sneak in under 4:10 – a good result given the rain meant early sections were slower going, especially the descent of Newlands where we had a downpour to liven things up.

Next year my goal is sub 4:05. I will need to chance it with that counter-intuitive extreme early effort to push at maximum effort up Newlands to stay in the lead group to do that, as that is where the main split occurs. Perhaps had I stayed with them the ongoing pace might have been manageable, given the way thru & off works, with time coasting whilst the lead rider does the work.

I will try and find out next year!

Pete Kelsey

Peter Kelsey 4:09:19

Darren Kidson 4:09:57:           ‘Really enjoyable ride, and room for improvement next year!

Adam Buck 4:30:19

Johannes Veit 4:31:19

Andrew Curran 4:40:20

Lyndsey Fitzgerald 4:59:02

Stuart Simms 5:06:13

Kevin Dargue 5:11:46

Steve Hobson 5:12:02

Nick Christian 5:27:20

Stephen Newton 5:33:05

Jamal Shakir 5:37:32

Daniel Poynter 5:43:45

Tegwynne Goldthorpe 5:54:26

Kevin Argent 7:29:31

Elizabeth Kerry 7:30:11

Darrin Mackie 7:50:06

John Mackey05:26:24 (OT), 05:07:54 (MT).

Ian Talbot  5:12

Andrea Whelband 6:20 actual ride time was 5hrs 12 (which could have been sub 5 if it wasn’t for stupid tyre problems)

Lara Clay: 5.05 MT

Andrew Tolson: 7 punctures, and set my slowest time ever

World Championships Qualification For Sandy At Arundel Castle Triathlon

4am and there was a knock at the bedroom door.  It was the hotel night porter ‘kindly’ bringing me porridge (ouch!).  With a 6.15am wave start it made sense to stay overnight near Arundel the night before…

418

Second race of the season, another ITU World Championship Qualifier, another B race, this time Olympic distance.  Based on previous races and current training I’d decided to take a couple of calculated risks.  On the swim I would go a bit harder and hopefully capitalise on my strongest discipline and on the run I would look to go into it with less fuel than usual and trust I had the strength to still finish hard.  The bike leg was different, although non-drafting I’d agreed with my coach to use the road bike recently bought for my forthcoming draft legal A race, a Cervelo S2 with Ultegra upgrade I’d picked up on eBay for about half price.

44 people in my wave.  I positioned myself front and centre in the river and after the horn blasted chased the leader upstream to the 200m turn point.  With a deep water start I wanted to focus on the first few strokes so didn’t bother starting my Garmin which was tucked under my sleeve for ease of wetsuit removal. I swam based on two factors; was I breathing hard but controlled and was my form still in tact?  Coming 1300m downstream with waves only 3 minutes apart I enjoyed continuously passing a multitude of swimmers and exited 1st in AG by half a minute.

000

On the bike, my weakest discipline, and riding to power for the first time.  Quite a challenge to stay disciplined especially going uphill where it’s easy to get carried away and over do it. I monitored power, heart rate and cadence and was glad not to have monitored speed as after the race I realised I’d been doing 72kph on a descent which for me is scarily fast, perhaps I wouldn’t have let myself go that fast had I known in the moment!  As expected a number of guys in my wave soared passed me in the picturesque countryside.  I was down to 10th.

I had a pace in mind for the run had the course been flat but with this course being 2 torturous laps up and over the big hill on which the stunning Arundel Castle sits I decided to run mainly by feel, occasionally checking pace on any flats. I used to monitor heart rate but now find I instinctively know how that’s doing in shorter distance events.  Recent training strategies had paid off and I stayed strong throughout the run passing a handful of my AG competitors on the way.  I was pleased with my mental strength and physical stamina on what was a very challenging second lap.

At the finish I was extremely happy to have ended up 5th out of 44 which I couldn’t quite believe.  And incredibly, a couple of days later, an email arrived in my inbox from British Triathlon congratulating me on qualifying for the World Championships in September!  So, in a year where I was focusing on Sprint distance it looks like I may have ended up meeting my stretch goal at Olympic distance instead!  Apart from different tapering approaches it does make me wonder if it’s worth treating every race as though it were a B race…

Sandy Whisker

Andrea Smashes Challenge Roth ULTRA DISTANCE

I flew into Nuremberg Thursday morning and collected my bike and registered and had a little wander around the expo.  It was a slightly warm 34 degrees so knew we were in for a hot race, so plenty of fluid was the order of the weekend!  Friday morning was swim practice then Friday afternoon went on a tour of the bike course, which was the first time we got to see the lovely roads that had been promised, then Saturday was racking the bike & registration.  

 

Sunday morning was up at 0315 & got to the swim start at about 0430, which was rather early as my wave start wasn’t until 0700, but I’d heard the many horror stories of the traffic nightmare if you arrive later so I wasn’t taking any chances!  Had breakfast in the car then toddled into transition to set things up.

 

Asked kindly to borrow a pump from a neighbour only to find my front tyre wouldn’t pump up.  Queue the start of a minor meltdown but took some deep breaths & kept calm knowing I had lots of time & had brought a spare tube with me for such eventualities.  Went over to the tent where they had lots of pumps & with the help of one of the thousands of amazing volunteers we got it pumped up, but I then spent the next few hours anxiously feeling it every few minutes just in case it went flat again (hence why I ended up on the official video standing next to my bike with arms folded looking grumpy – oops!!).

 

Everything else went to plan though and saw Debbie & Dave a few times and Neil kindly wrestled me into my wetsuit.  I can’t really describe what it was like standing waiting to get into the water – I think my words were something like: “This is more like a circus than a triathlon!” as there were thousands of spectators, a guy coming in on a parachute & hot air balloons going off, and as if that wasn’t enough, instead of the traditional hooter to set waves off, they had a canon, a full blown canon, which made me jump about 5ft in the air every 5mins when it set a new wave off!!

Debbie & I were both in wave 7 so we wished each other well & got into the water.  I actually felt quite calm, possibly the calmest I’ve ever felt before a tri, but that’s probably because I was distracted & in awe of the spectacle around us!!  But very quickly off went the canon again & away we went!

 

We had the usual biffing within our wave, but because there were some 20-odd waves and we were only wave 7, it meant that just as the biff from our wave was settling, the men from subsequent waves started coming through and pretty much kept coming through right until I got out of the water.  A lot of them weren’t so gentle about it either so it’s probably the most beaten up in a swim I’ve ever been, including a hard blow to the head which stunned me for a minute.

 

But I survived and while I was disappointed with my time, a slower time was somewhat to be expected in all the biff and also looking back at my data I swam 2.6mi instead of 2.4 – oops!  But into transition and with the help of one of the volunteers I was soon ready & out the door & onto the bike.

 

I carefully controlled the first lap of the bike knowing it was going to be a long day and the mercury was going to rise.  I also wanted to savour the moments in the crowds, especially on Solar Hill, as the only word to describe that is simply “wow” and if you’ve ever thought about going full then Roth is the place to do it!!  Lance came past me during the first lap of the bike so it was great to see him too.

 

The second lap of the bike was a lot tougher though, as while the first lap had been windy it was cloudy & cool, but on the second lap the cloud lifted and it got hot, very hot, and it was a real battle.  What had seemed easy the first time around felt 10 times harder the second time around, and despite the crowds there were some dark moments & even some tears on that second lap and I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see transition!

I know I’ve already said it but I just have to say again how wonderful the volunteers at Roth are!  In transitions one of the volunteers attach to you and lay all your clean kit out and pack away wet / dirty kit and generally don’t let you do anything except get dressed (despite my protests in T2 of going “no really, you don’t want to touch that jersey let me put it away!” and then grabbing my sunscreen and insisting on slathering me in it, to which I was ever more horrified as I knew how disgusting I must have been but she wouldn’t let me do it!).

 

It was then onto the run where very quickly it became an uphill to which I was like “hang on, this course is meant to be flat!!”.  Unfortunately as well, the last 10-15mi of the bike, while I didn’t feel sick, I think due to the heat my stomach closed up and didn’t want to take anymore food on board, but knowing I still had to do a marathon I forced it in and the consequences were as soon as I set off on the run I got an awful stitch / cramp.

 

Debbie came past me shortly after on the run so I waved her on, but the stitch just wouldn’t go and I ended up with one of the Kiwi (New Zealand), girls for company as she was happy to walk for a bit and then do whatever slow shuffle I could manage until the stich became too bad and we walked again.

I tried to keep putting nutrition in knowing there was still a long way to go, but as the stitch wouldn’t give up I made a decision to stop putting anything in for a while knowing there was a risk it would hurt me later, but thankfully it did the trick and finally after about 5 miles it subsided.  I saw Dave somewhere in all that and he was on his second lap and looking strong so waved him on to the finish.

 

My newfound Kiwi friend and I then got into a walk-run pattern, with a bit more walking up the hills and through aid stations and lap 1 was soon done (well, soon in a relative sense!), and we knew we just had to do the same again & we were done!  I had a portaloo stop shortly into the second lap and said I’d catch up to my kiwi friend, so once I got going again I set off at a steady run (well, jog!), and actually found myself feeling comfortable so just kept going at a constant run (jog), rather than run-walk.

 

Had updates that Lance was doing well & close to the finish which is always good to hear, and I caught up with Debbie who unfortunately was having her own stomach issues as well as blisters, so we did a swap of antacids for gels & I headed off knowing Debbie was still ok for time & she had a determined look on her face!  By this stage my Kiwi friend had found 2 other Kiwis and I was still feeling great constantly running (jogging), so knowing they too would be ok for time I kept on going and except for aid stations and hills I ran (jogged), the rest of the second lap & negative split it!

 

Started to feel tired the last few kilometres, but that’s also when the euphoria of knowing you’re going to make it sets in, and coming into the finish area and the finish stadium all the pain disappears, and while most people speed up / put on a run to finish, I did the polar opposite and slowed to a walk in order to savour every single second of it and that finish line (and the event in general), truly is everything they say it is!!!

 

Got to see Dave in the finish stadium on my way around, and I hung out in the finish area for a while with an Erdinger or two waiting to see the various friends I’d made on the course come home as well as Debbie, and we then toddled off to sort ourselves out.

 

As if everything during the day hadn’t been fantastic enough, my love for Challenge Roth was complete when I saw the huge bank of showers available, and I’m actually still salivating about the roll with ham, cheese & pickle that I had – seriously *the* best thing I have ever eaten in my life!!!

 

Unfortunately the shower was also the point where I discovered I’d forgotten to sunscreen my legs (my upper body was actually ok), so taking my calf guards and shorts off to discover to my horror the bright red patches from the middle of my thighs to just below my knees; those lines won’t be going anywhere for a while!!!

 

In summary though, a brilliant event with brilliant spectators and brilliant volunteers and is something you just have to experience for yourself!!  Roth has a time cut off of 15hrs which I was very nervous about making, but ended up coming home in 14hrs 13mins blowing all my worries out of the water, but I also know if I’d been more sensible earlier with my stomach & pushed harder on the run I could have done under 14 hours – but that’s the challenge for next year?!

First Place by 8 Seconds and Fastest Swim Split for Yeoman at Dorney

Stick a fork in me, I’m done. Been pretty busy recently with racing and on Sunday I did the last race before a little break to the French hills in Morzine.

I entered the VOTWO Dorney Lake sprint triathlon looking for more of a time trial effort. I was off at midday in the heat – two things that completely kill me. Body doesn’t respond well to the heat and I struggle to eat properly when racing mid day.

I was fortunate enough to watch the first wave with the under 40’s. One guy smashed the swim with a massive lead over 2nd and 3rd. I soon recognized him as a ex talented junior who is now in the 20-24 AG. However, he lost the lead on the bike but I know he runs like the wind so it was going to be tough to get on the podium as the guys around him looked super sharp. I was in the 40+ so looked to set the swim pace early then settle in focusing on my stroke. I exited with a couple of relay teams close behind so I thought I’d swam poorly but at the end I realised that I’d set the fastest split with 9.21 and the two behind where uber fast pool swimmers bought in for the relay teams.

Four laps into a head wind each lap meant I had to control the effort out so I could open it up on the return. Happy with my pace and came into T2 feeling like I’d done well on the bike. 8 seconds from the fastest split but happy enough with high 29’s for 20.5km,

The run at Dorney kills you mentally. 2.5k out into a head wind seeming to get no where as you run. I held an easy pace out and at water station stopped to cool off before pushing the return leg. I was surprise to see NO ONE near and I mean no one – they were about 2k back. Over the final 1.5k I pushed hard and came through the line to find that I’d won by 8seconds over the ex elite junior.

HAPPY DAYS – 3 wins in four races. So 9 races, 3 wins, 4 2nds and a silver AG at the English championships. Slightly embarrassed about the 4th place – lol.

Time for a rest before the final 5 races of the season with a European qualifier thrown in.

Can’t say enough how much your support goes into what I do. Thank you once more.

Mark