First thing upon arrival was to put my bike together as I had arranged to go on a ride with Lori, a friend of a friend (now a friend) and top age grouper, who was staying at the same hotel.
In the end we decided to register first and ride with another friend of hers, Fenella (a pro), later in the afternoon.
Before registering we visited the expo/Ironman store to pick up some essentials and then got suckered in to buying world champs stash, but probably wont qualify again so had to be done really!
In registration the new thing for me here is that they take your biometrics, photo and fingerprints. I was told this is so they can identify you if you get eaten by a shark but I haven’t quite found out if this is true yet.
We met Fenella and I got a quick photo as not every day you train with a pro. We cycled half an hour along the race route which takes you along the coast. It was beautiful, bright blue sea and big waves crashing over rocks along rugged coastline and a mist of sea spray drifting over the road. I had to keep stopping for photos and then having to work very hard to catch up, probably not ideal training ride process but was great fun and luckily they were going easy.
The whole city has been taken over by triathletes, 4500, racers and a lots of supporters as well. Everywhere you look there are people, cycling, running or swimming and everything is on a much bigger scale and being taken a lot more seriously than I am used to, but its an awesome experience and so worth all those miserable winter hours of training!!
Thursday morning I woke up to a flat tyre, concerned this might be related to the flat I had on my last ride in Canada I had the nirvana mechanic check the wheel. He said it looked fine and was just down to bad luck so fingers crossed he’s right and good to get all the bad luck out the way pre race.
I went to the expo for my timing chip and new inner tubes. I also wanted check my heart rate monitor as it had been playing up with some funny readings. Having spoken to the Garmin team apparently this happens if the chest strap is old or the battery is dying. He replaced the battery free of charge and so far seems to have fixed the problem. Lots of bonus points to Garmin!!
While down there I decided to have a quick 30 min sport massage to loosen me up. Was useful but same problems as always, tight calfs and sore forearms (something I am going to need to rest and fix post race!).
I did a gentle 8k in the heat of the day, about when I will be running and noticed it is going to be a very different race to Finland where it was nice and cool. Although the forecast for Sunday isn’t great so may just have to see how it goes.
In the evening Lori and I went to the race briefing, skipped the banquet as the the queue was about 2k long! The briefing was more like a festival than a briefing. It was three large marques wide with the stage at the front, each marque had two screens a third, and two thirds, of the way down so people could see. As always not much in the way of new information but good to go.
Friday morning was very laid back. Starting with a very brief swim with Lori. I just wanted to test the water in my wetsuit and we then did some very unsuccessful beach starting practise in some rather large waves! (You have to go deeper than you think before you dive!) Will probably just take it easy on race day.
Having returned and filled the hotel with sand we went on a quick ride in the wind which I really hope dies down as it makes it so hard to get in to a rhythm and I am not stable in crosswinds. On the way back Jan Frodeno (former Ironman and 70.3 World Champion) came flying past which was quite something, couldn’t even begin to keep up and doubt he was even trying.
In the afternoon my support crew (Jamie, Susie and Jane) arrived and we explored the venue and soaked up the atmosphere.
Saturday morning started with a quick 4k with short race pace injections to get me in the zone for race day and keep the legs fresh. Noting that it was the most glorious day for racing, sunny and no wind! Very different to our forecast for tomorrow unfortunately. The support crew were sent off on a practise shuttle bus run ahead of the big day!
The rest of the morning was spent watching the ladies race and I managed to see all of Fenella (16th pro), Sophie (13th) and Lori (60th) who were all going strong! Also a super exciting race with Daniela Ryf and Lucy Charles coming off the bike 3 seconds apart although Daniela then pulled away to a record 8th world title.
The afternoon activity was racking my bike and bags for the early start tomorrow. Everything is slightly different/more serious at the worlds, the bike go in stands rather than hang on racks and rather than checking the functionality of your bike they take a photo of it, not entirely sure why but guessing security. It all went smoothly although having to transition zones is a bit of a pain.
I’ve now done everything I can to prepare so all there is left to do is lay out the race kit, get a good nights sleep and see what tomorrow has in store. Whatever happens I will be achieving a dream and racing Alistair Brownlee, all I can hope is that I have a good race.
1 thought on “Port Elizabeth, Ironman 70.3 World Champs. The Preparation!”
Brilliant. Great build-up.