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Yet another long and tedious IMUK report

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:35 pm    Post subject: Yet another long and tedious IMUK report Reply with quote

You may need a strong pot of coofe and some match stickes to work you way through this report.

I was going to title this report Bryan Rhodes- my part in his victory, you'll find out why latter Smile

Pre Amble

I decided to enter IMUK after reading and being inspired by all of last years race reports, so I hope I can pass on just a little bit of inspiration/ foolishness to some other potential Iron Men or women out there.

Why IMUK ? I considered doing a foreign IM but decided that the logistics were just a lot easier doing the UK one, plus we have some family friends in Sherborne so that meant accommodation was sorted (in fact I couldn't have been closer if I tried). I've always been interested in the "Outdoors" and originally took up tri to get some fitness for a proposed trip climbing in the Alps. The tri bug bit me and bit hard. I've always had a reasonable base having spent many a long day out in the hills.

So after having only ever done one novice tri and one sprint I entered the big one. My theory is that it is always good to have goals, and you might as well set your self some lofty ones. Before entering I had a chat with my other half and explained the training etc etc and surprisingly she was pretty keen on it all. I also decided that it would probably be worth getting some coaching as what I knew (and know) could be written on the back of a match book.

Build Up

The Iron man was to be sandwiched in between two weeks of work, so going me a week to rest before hand and a week to recover après. A very over loaded car left Edinburgh for Bristol on Monday morning. It's amazing how much stuff you need for a two week holiday especially when you are going to be camping and doing a wee race. But we spent two days in Bristol with friends then a couple of days camping at Lulworth cove. Preparation probably wasn't helped by going out drinking in Bristol with some old uni mates !!


So we arrived in Sherborne on Friday lunch time, as I mentioned eelier we couldn't have been closer. It was literally a five minute walk from our front door to the start line. Wondered up to the registration tent. It was great feeling the build up to the event. Got registered- slightly disappointed that no one checked my photo ID. But loved the wrist band (in fact I still have it on, Sad I know). Had a little wonder around the expo, which I was slightly disappointed in. Some one on here had mentioned that it was like a village fare and they weren't wrong.

Then I put the bike together and went out for a 45 minute test ride just to make sure every thing was working. Which it was thank god. Met Redbiker, who's been coaching me, and had a little chat about the race. I got some very useful tips and peals of wisdom. Especially about cutting the swim course shortish by swimming a racing line, just treating the day as a long training day, keeping warm on the bike and being sensible on the run. All of which were to come in handy later.

Pasta supper washed down with a couple glasses of red wine Smile


Got up fairly early and went for a dip in the lake at the morning swim session. Just swam out to the start had a looksey at the course and swam back. It was more of an opportunity to get use to the water, check out my wetsuit. I actually found the water pleasantly warm, must be something to do with a the triathletes peeing in it Smile

The kids of the Guys were were staying with were in the duathlon so we went to watch them. They were more nervous than me. But it was great watching them. It was very impressive watching all the kids out there, especially given the less than perfect conditions. It was made a bit more fun by the fact the their Mum was interviewed by the commentators and we got a mention for being very vocal supporters.

I was a bit shocked however by how serious some of the kids or more probably their parents were taking it. There were a fair few kids in tri suits, but what really shocked me was that there was a kid warming up on a turbo trainer !!!! I watched the Europeans in Edinburgh and I didn't see any thing like that. Tri is meant to be fun !!!

Back home to wolf down some risotto and sausage for lunch then on to the race briefing.

I though the briefing was OK, maybe a bit OTT on the hypothermia bit. But then there were probably some guys from hotter places who aren't used to our climate. I liked the drafting bit, but hoped that they would be sensible with it, I.e concentrate on the sharp end where it really matters. I have to confess to feeling a bit emotional watching the video of last year while we were waiting. Especially when they showed all the finishers.

Time to check in all my gear !!!!!!!!

I had packed and repacked my bags several times adding a few bits and pieces to take in to account all eventualities. But there was something rather final about handing over your bags and racking your bike.

Home for a wee kip I slept for 3 hours of so, pasta supper again Smile and of course the obligatory glass of red wine. Then an early night. Surprisingly I managed to get to sleep rather easily

Sunday aka the Big Day

Well this is what the last year had been building to.........

The alarm went of at 4am and as per usual the snooze button was hit a couple of times, so I eventually dragged my arse out of bed around 4:15 am. Showered and had some Breakfast of porridge and lots of coffee. I was going to have a couple of croissants and jam but for some reason the appetite wasn't there. Then I got changed in to my swim/ bike out fit. said good by to the misses, rubbed my lucky charm and wondered off to the start at around 5:15. It was about a 5 minute walk through some very dark woods, during which I dry heaved a few times. Now I'm not sure if this was a symptom of the early start or an attack of the nerves.

Got to Transition and joined the queue to get body marked and checked out the bike, calibrated the ergomo (sorry if it was you I covered in spray) bottled up the bike and checked I had all the cliff bars open and easily accessed. I resisted the temptation to do too much to the bike as I knew it was good yesterday and I would only mess it up. Put on the wettie and went to find my surport crew. I realised that we hadn't aranged anywhere to meet which raised my HR a bit but fortunatly i bumped in to them. Time was now ticking on so back in to tranisition said hi to leahnp and Ray who helped me zip up the wettie. All this time I had been sipping on a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade. Milled around a bit more- decided I needed a dump !!!!! then went back to milling around a bit more. TBH the extra wait didn't really worry me. Then came the calling !!!

As I was expecting to be swimming for a while I decided to double bag my head, which meant i could still wear my lucky ET swim cap.

I waited at the back so probably walked down about half way through the fields. The emotions were definitely building and I could feel a lump in my through and a tear behind my eye. It was amazing walking down that tunnel all the people clapping and cheering. Definitely one of the better experiences in my life.

Into the water and I ducked my head under, immediately all the emotions started to wash away. It was just another training session/ race albeit a bit longer than usual. I did a leisure swim out to the start. stopped and floated around, decided i didn't like my position very much so swam further over to the left.

In the past I have suffered from panic attacks in OW races which is normally a combination of cold water and going out too hard. So I actually enjoyed the time waiting in the water. I used it just to get used to the water and chill my self out a bit. I joined in with the now traditional oggie and the general noise making. Apparently it sounded pretty impressive from the shore.

Then all of a sudden the hotter went. I wasn't expecting it at all. may be next year they could use the cannon in the drive way Smile

So head down, stroke, breath, stroke, sight, stroke, sight. Although I started pretty much in the middle I didn't seem to get much of the washing machine effect. I was fairly quickly in my own bit of water. I suppose that this is one of the advantages of being slow. I had found a couple of sighting marks the pervious day so I kept my eye on those. Normally one of my OW problems is zig zaging so I kept reminding my self to sight. Time seemed to go remarkably quickly. I was at the first turn around in 25 minutes.

On the way back again I just concentrated on sighting breathing and my stroke, making sure a had a big paddle. About half way down the swim I looked over and saw all the people on the bank again an awesome sight. The first lap was over in around 50 odd minutes. Now on to the second. I kept telling my self once I was round the mark I was on the way home.

The swim was definitely thinning out now, I kept trying to have a glance behind me to see how many people were behind me, and there didn't seem to be that many. For some reason one chap now kept bumping in to me Sad he was a wee bit faster but not swimming as straight so would bump in to me veer off then bump back in to me.

Pretty soon I had blue arch in sight, the first goal of the day had been reached Smile and to top it all off I had crawled the whole way- which was a first for me in any OW race !!!!!

I got out in 1 hour 49 minutes. According to Steph, my other half I looked a lot happier than a lot of other people. This probably had something to do with the fact I was out of the water at last.

I jogged up to T1 desperately trying not to go arse over tit on the mud and in to the change tent.

I had a bit of wet suit chaffing on my neck so grabbed a bit a Vaseline. Some nice lady helped me get my feet out of the wet suit.

Then on with a thin base layer t shirt, TT top, arm warmers ( these are one hell of a struggle with wet arms) and my Rapha gillet. Stuffed my pockets with all my bike gear and headed out on to the bike.

T1 was over in a lightning quick 6:33.

Coming out of T1 Steph shouted that my mate Pickles was spectator, I high 5'ed him and all most fell of the bike.


First order of the day was to get some food down my neck, then settle in to my rhythm. Redbiker had given me a power plan to work to and we had discussed that the first lap should feel almost stupidly easy. I concentrated on keeping the power down on the uphill's and up on the flat, I tried to stay down on the bars as much as possible and just keep things nice and steady.

I didn't even realise that I had got to Lyons gate until I saw the TT massive at the top. I did have a chuckle to my self seeing you guys read my number- look at your list realise who I was the shout "Go on Jamie ". Over the top I though if this is all the bike course has to offer -easy, then I remembered that I had to go up it three times !!!

Had a chat with an American guy whose pedals had fallen off straight out of T1- seems the mechanics hadn't put them on properly

I was finding the bike course fairly easy- until that is I hit the return leg. The wind just sort of hit you in the face which wasn't all that pleasant an experience.

Again I was having a chat with a guy on a PX road bike when we heard a shout from behind "Any you guys got a spare CO2" I though well i might have, and remembering My name is earl and Karma I said yes, then looked back To see number 1 Bryan Rhodes. He pulled up along side us . I was going to stop to take one of my saddle thing but he said no and that he could do it whilst we cycled along. Unfortunately it was screwed on fairly tight !!! So that was 60 seconds or so of excitement whilst he tried to unscrew it. But I got a bit of a push at the same time. Well its not that exciting really but it tickled me and broke up the bike ride a bit.

I really didn't like the return leg at all especially the one long hill- not fun. Though spotting the road kill did help pass the time. God knows how some of you guys hit 50 mph on that down hill bit. I maxed out a 38 mph and was cacking my self . And on I went, concentrating on my power, trying to stay aero and eating. I didn't take any energy drink on board for a couple of reasons 1) I'm not massively keen on the stuff and 2) you never know how strong or week the stuff it is. So I stuck to gels and cliff bars. With water and Nunn.

I came up to the infamous only two laps to go sign. For some reason I was expecting the lap to end fairly soon after that but it seemed to drag on for a bit. Passing the 30 mile sign was a bit depressing as you realise that you are still less than a third of the way round !!!

But I was soon through the village and round on to the second lap, Lyons gate and the TT massive came all to quickly as did the run down to Dorchester. soon it was back in to the purgatory that was the trip back to Sherborne. Again the hills seemed a bit relentless at the start and I saw one girl pushing her bike up. I said Hi to Mr Fox and Mr Unidtifiable flat thing. Then just after the third aid station I heard a pop. My rear tub had blown Sad I have only ever once had a puncture before so I suspect i was due one. The old tub came of peaty easily. I changed the extender. But would the spare tub go on- you guessed it reader -NO. After 15 minutes fighting it finally went on and fortunatly the CO2 worked perfectly and I was my way again.

Passed the only two laps to go writing, ha I said only one now Smile

Then back on to the leg to Dorchester. The spectators had thinned out a bit by now, but there were still some hardy guys out there cheering, again thanks to all the TT massive, because despite what i said eelier you really do feel Lyons gate on the third time of visiting.

I had a bit of a sigh when I reached the turn around but was also lifted by the fact i was on the home leg now. Unfortunately the rain started to come down a bit now- not happy. The only moment of excitement was when i was going down the fast hill. A branch had come down and was lying across the road !!!

Finally I passed the 100 miles sign. though it took for ever and ever to finally get to the left turn. Down the hill, i just free wheeled most of it and stretched out the legs. Turned right and on to the final bit of road before the castle. Some idiot decided that this would be a good time to do a U turn in the castle entrance and despite me shouting at him plus a couple of spectators he finally got the message and stopped. But not before I gave him a bit of a earful Smile

I was off the bike in 7:30 something. I was aiming for seven so I'm not massively happy with that time but the average speed 14.75 mph is about what I have been doing my long rides in training at. normalised power was 157 I was aiming for 155 and average power was 147.

In to T2 and chucked my bike at a catcher.

I decided to do a full change, in to a TT tri suit and a long sleeve T shirt. I though I had lost my number belt, but it turned up later down my tri suit. All in all a rather sedately T2 of 7:22 the first time ever my T2 has been slower that my T1.


As soon as I started running I got a pain in my right hip, but I always get this for some reason when running of the bike.

Running wise my goal was 6 hours, but I knew that this was conservative. I started running at 12-13 min miles. most of my long runs had been at 10:30 min miles so this was an nice easy pace for me. I got chatting to a TT'er who had had 6 punctures on the bike !!!!! but he seemed in good spirits. I ran past Redbiker who gave me a bit of encouragement. More worrying though was Ian the castle manager keeping up with me wearing Wellington boots and a rucksack !!!!

I soon got in to a nice rhythm of running a bit and walking a very little bit. I was very very conscious of not going too hard too early. Running through the campsite was fun, got a few jokes about TT mainly along the lines of get of the internet and train Smile. Up the hill to the aid station I took coke a water, this was to be the story of my run. around the turn around then back through the the castle grounds, and past my surport team. They where the guys all by them selves just before the loop point. It was great to see my mate Mark who had travelled from Brighten to shout at me.

Out through the town was good, especially the change of scenery. I was till doing my run walk thing and according to the garmin was averaging 12:50 minute miles. Met leahnp coming the other way over the steps and then I was on to the A30.

I was still feeling good, this flat coke stuff is excellent.

I soon adopted the strategy of walking the up hill and running the down hills as well as walking the aid stations. I think the biggest problem for me was the unknown of the run. I didn't know when the turn around was coming. Babylon Hill didn't seem all that much, but then I walked it. I hate to think what it would be like to run it !!!

Again it was good to see some TT'ers on the run, there were a few high 5's going on which always lifts the sprit.

First lap out the way, and I still felt good. I just kept on moving forward same strategy, by now my pace was coming down to around 12 min miles. So I was actually speeding up !!!!

I saw Paul sat on the A30 all by him self- what a star. I am reminded of the Brian Hanrhand report from an air craft carrier in the Falklands war " I counted them out and I counted them in". He really was our own guardian angel.

As soon as I went round the final turn around point I knew I was going to finish, and the adrenalin started to build. As I I ran through each aid station I thanked the guys working it. The best feeling in the world was seeing the lights at the end of the A30 and then finally reaching them.

I got out a clean T shirt from my aid bag - you have got to look good on the photos Smile drank some water and washed my face a bit.

Over the bridge- I had a little joke with the guys on it about not having any sweets left.

Then as soon as I was over a big YES YES YES I had done it and a bit of a whoop. Those last miles through Sherborne were like running on air- so easy.

Got a bit lost turning on to New road, then on to the castle.

I was running past the front gate of the guys i was staying with when I hear a "Jamie is that you". It was one of the guys i was staying with. She quickly got on her phone a gathered the guys to watch me finish.

There was an American couple just in front of me so i slowed down to let them have their space. Did up my tri suit and chucked my cap to Steph who was waiting just round the corner from the finish.

My emotions had been building as I ran up to the castle and yes there was a tear in my eye.

I ran over the finish arms in the air- a years work finished, just like that.

Après race

I had the usual hug kiss and photos with the girl friend chatted for a bit then want of to have some of the nicest tasting pizza of my life. Got changed then had a pint of Guinness and a Fag.

We hung about to watch the last finishers home and I had a little chat with Bryan Rhodes about the CO2 incident eelier. I have to say he is a very nice guy, If Scott hadn't won I would have wanted him to win.

I went to pick up my bike and kit from tranisition still buzzing and on a massive high. The guy in the tent asked how I was feeling - Great I replied were off to go clubbing to Yeovil. God knows where that came from.

Got home and I have the hottest foamiest bath ever and tried to get some sleep, which for some reason wasn't happening. Probably something to do with all the caffeine I'd had in the last few hours.

My legs felt pretty good the next day considering ( but i did have my compression tights on, they really do work) but I don't recommend walking up a 1:5 hill the next eving- you will find it hard and it will be painful.

Whets next ?

Stirling Duathlon in October, I need to put in some speed work to make sure Vickich doesn't beat me Smile

Other than than definitely Bala next year may be IMUK again or may be Aberfelidy I'm not to sure.

Sorry its so long, I would have added some photos but my camera broke the week before the race Sad

So thats it. I definitly have a case of post IM blues

And if you have read this far you deserve a medal
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Yet another long and tedious IMUK report Reply with quote

Congrats Jamie, shame they can't bottle the emotion of walking down to take the swim start. Chris sent me a PM just before the race, one of the lines was what you think when you get in the lake "$hit, I'm doing an Ironman", still makes me laugh. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

That's a great line...

JamieMcP wrote:
I saw Paul sat on the A30 all by him self- what a star. I am reminded of the Brian Hanrhand report from an air craft carrier in the Falklands war " I counted them out and I counted them in".
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jamie, congrats. You are an Ironman!!

Had breakfast with Bryan Rhodes next morning, he was staying in my hotel, and he told us all the CO2 story. You really saved his race, mate, he was delighted that someone would give him a spare CO2.

Dead funny he wouldnt even stop to unscrew it!!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Jamie! Sounds like a great couple of weeks' holiday! Very Happy

How I remember the days when I would get back from my long rides, get cleaned up and then have an ale and a rollie. Rolling Eyes

Excellent report - and a great story to boot. It seems like Bryan Rhodes has been touching a lot of lives this year. Laughing

B Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well written report. someone will Pay your goodwill forward back to you one day. Pleased you sussed out to walk some of the uphills.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nicely written report and well done
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice one Jamie well done Very Happy
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Paul L

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great race report, well done Jamie. Cool I am afraid that my count "back in" was one short at the end. Sad GoodForAge pulled out along the A30 and so I waited in vain for her return. Good to finally meet you, shame it was not the best place to stop and have a chat. Wink Cheers, Paul. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers guys.

It was good to meet a lot of the TT'ers even if it was only flettingly on the run.
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