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Andy's Double IM UK Report
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Saltman




Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 38
Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:46 pm    Post subject: Andy's Double IM UK Report Reply with quote

I came across this race whilst browsing on tritalk web last year. Having just done the Forestman I was looking for my next challenge, and this race caught my imagination!
My plan was to use the Swashbuckler Ĺ IM and Forestman IM races as warm ups though I wasnít sure that 3 weeks between Forestman and the Double would be sufficient time to recover.
Swashbuckler went ok but after the race a pain in my right calf did not go away and I ended up not running at all in June. With just two weeks to the Forestman, I was in a dilemma about my running. I managed a few short runs and finally a 2hr run a week before the race. I must admit I had half an eye on trying to win my age group having moved up a category recently but that chance was gone now!
Apart from the swim Forestman was a real struggle, particularly the run and I seriously considered the wisdom of doing the Double. Indeed, my advised me not to do it! My age group was won in a time that was slower than I did last year which was a bit frustrating but the Forestman is a unique event and Iíll be back next year.
After a few days I started to think that I should at least start the Double and see how it goes. I thought it could be counter-productive to do any meaningful cycling so just did one short run and one short cycle to check the legs were still working. I kept up the swimming finishing off with a 2hr continuous swim at the university pool a week before the race. The rest of the time was spent sorting out all the stuff I would need to take with me. As my wave was due off at 1300 on the Saturday afternoon I would cycling all through the night so a good set of bike lights was purchased. The distance involved increased the likelihood of equipment failure and changing weather conditions so I had to pack a lot of stuff! Also took a big box full of yummy food such as jaffa cakes, cheddar biscuits, jelly babies, crisps etc along with the usual gels and energy drinks-enough for a week I think, hope it doesnít take that long!! By the time Iíd finished packing the car was full!
I drove up to race registration on Friday afternoon and had a quick recce of the bike and run course. Being a multi-lap event I would get to know the route very well!
I was surprised to find myself allocated to wave 3. My IM PB of 10:54 was done about 12 years ago and with swimming being my weakest disclipine I was concerned I would get in the way of the faster swimmers. My mind was put at rest after chatting to some fellow competitors on the tritalk forum. I also chatted to a guy called Nick who was one of the two others allocated to my lane about such things as bike lights and also about support crews. The race organisers had recommended athletes to have a support crew. My home town was only 20 mins away so my parents could help me but they wouldnít be able top be there throughout the race. Nick very kindly let me use his tent during the race also his wife, Carole would be able to give me some support.
After a comprehensive race briefing from organisers Steve and Eddie I went to my parents for some pasta and sleep.
The first wave were off at 06:00 and were facing a wet bicycle with the rain forecasted to last until late afternoon. I was able to have a lie-in and enjoy a full English breakfast! I popped in to the local bicycle shop to buy some leg warmers for the night section. Unfortunately, they only had expensive Assos ones!
At bike racking our lights and brakes were checked. It was raining at this time and the grassy area around the tents was becoming quite muddy as we brought over all our stuff into the tents.

The heating had been turned down in the pool and the majority of athletes chose to wear a suit. Even so I was sweating standing around on pool side! The water was nice and cool once we got in and over-heating wasnít a problem. The other guy in our lane, Richard, was a slower swimmer (but good runner) so I started first followed by Nick and Richard. The swim was the section I was most confident about having done a few double Monday night sessions and I soon settled into a pace I was happy with. Tumble turning wasnít allowed which I was happy with as I canít! As we had to do 304 lengths I didnít try to count as I can easily get it wrong on a 400m set! The lap counter offered to let me know when I had reached each Ikm and I used this as an opportunity to take a drink. My only concern about the swim was boredom, but the time went relatively quickly and half distance was reached in 1:07 which was some 3 mins better than my IM pb. I tried to focus on keeping the stroke long and even my Mom remarked on that later. At long last I got the 2 laps to go signal and exited in 2:16 which was very pleasing with most of the swimmers still in the water. I heard later that I was 4th in the wave and around 7th o/a for the swim .
I got changed in the changing rooms not knowing if the rain had stopped and could only find one sock so decided not to wear any-would only get wet anyway! The footpath from the pool to transition in the tennis court was quite flooded so barefoot was the best option. It was still raining so I put on my overshoes and raincoat.
The bike course was a 14 mile out and back route to be repeated 16 times. It had been raining all morning and there was a lot of standing water lying around, particularly along the lane linking the sports centre to the A515. As I went down this lane on lap 1 a car came hurtling through the giant puddle and soaked me-thanks mate!
Apart from the Forestman Iíd only done one bike ride of 6 hours with a number of 3-4 hour rides. Consequently, I was not confident of doing the 224 miles in a good time so took it at a steady touring pace fuelled by cheese sandwiches from my mom. I could see Nick was gradually catching up.
The first hour was rather wet but gradually the rain stopped and after 3 laps. A marshal helped to put on my reflective vest who I later realised was Enduranceuk and Carole got my bike lights from the tent. Iíd bought an Exposure Maxx2 as a result of some good advice from Repoman.and as I was using them for the first time I used them on flashing mode for quite a while to conserve the battery. On the high power setting the battery should last 3 hours. On medium 10 hours, low 24 hours and flashing days! Even on flashing mode I could see well enough switching to the low setting as the night got darker and to medium for the dark descents. I also had an old cateye as emergency back-up but compared to the Exposure itís rather pathetic and was glad I didnít have to use it.
Nick overtook me on about the 4th lap and around midnight we both stopped for some hot pasta cooked by his wife. I took this opportunity to change into warmer clothes and have a quick chat with Richard who had also caught me up.
On the next lap I was most surprised to get sprayed with water as I passed a garage by some youths who had got hold of a water hose. I still had the rain jacket on so no real harm done but I was later to hear that the Rev had been knocked off his bike as he got hit in the face by the water and was punched and kicked when he had a word with them. I passed this spot on the return leg with a little trepidation but fortunately they had gone as the police had been called.
The rest of the night passed without incident. The traffic was light and there was no more rain. A diesel spillage was spotted and word passed around among the riders. One distinguishing feature of this race was how we were all helping each other to finish rather than racing against each other. I did get quite sleepy around 3am for a while. My parents had retired for the night so Carole made some gratefully received cups of tea.
The legs were felt ok but as the race went on my arms and shoulders became more and more painful. I did some stretching and took some ibuprofen.
Finally, the last lap came but as I was just five miles from the end disaster struck!! All of a sudden the bike collapsed beneath me and I hit the tarmac hard. I picked myself up and surveyed the damage. The saddle was lying on the road detached from the bike. Seems like the seat post bolt had snapped. Worryingly, this has happened to me before with the same result! Iím going to get a 2-bolt seat post next time! I was rather sore in a number of places and the sti levers and tri bars were scratched. The handlebars also looked to be out of line. Fortunately, my new shorts and leg warmers were ok. I called Steve and my mom. The physio, Tim, brought out Steveís spare bike so I could finish the course. The pedals werenít compatible with my cleats so I asked Tim if he had any spare trainers. Luckily, he did and they were the right size so Tim took my bike back to transition in his car and I cycled back in trainers. I changed down to a low gear for the climb over the railway but could not change back up as the gears did not work. Oh well, it was only a few miles.
Arriving back in transition my mom was surprised to see me on a different bike as she had not heard my call as she was standing next to the generator. I gave the trainers back to Tim and went to see the medics. Jamie cleaned and dressed my wounds-a large graze on my thigh and a smaller one on my ankle which was also swollen. I then took some time out to think about whether to start the run and had a hot dog.
I decided to give the run a go and see how far I could get. I changed into my running kit and had a quick word with the race director before starting the run. By this time Iíd lost a fair bit of time but wasnít thinking too much about it at the time. Very surprisingly the legs felt fine and the wounds did not hurt too much. The run comprises some 42 2km laps with a mixture of footpath and a section through some woods nicknamed the ĎBlair Witchí woods on account that the earlier starters would be running through them in the dark! The entrance to the woods is marked by a steep set of steps which became known as ĎThe Devilís Staircaseí. They had been sprayed with fluorescent paint which must have been quite a sight in the dark. The run turn round point was located at the end of the woods with a lap counting marshal in attendance.
I safely negotiated the steps and woods on lap 1 returning to the start/finish area to pick up some nutrition and start lap 2. I was a bit confused to see some runners going in the opposite direction and almost collided with one in the narrow section of the woods. I found out from Nick as we passed that the organisers had decided to reverse the direction of the run for the last lap. What a great idea as everybody then knew you would be on your last lap and you could enjoy high 5ís with the other runners and spectators. I continued feeing ok and gradually caught Nick around halfway which was reached in 4:20. Too quick, I thought so decided to power walk the uphill sections on the 2nd half to avoid hitting the wall.
The second half was gradually getting harder so it was time to hit the Red Bull. I started taking the caffeine on alternative laps with a gel on the others. I was also eating a few crisps and pretzels for the salt. The multi-lap format seemed to work well as you could chat with the other athletes many times and refuel easily. Passing through the start finish area was also uplifting to receive encouragement from the spectators and marshals, particularly Steve & Eddie with many high 5ís and words of encouragement. My target had been to beat 30 hours and on each lap of the 2nd half my calculations indicated I would be about 5mins outside. I had been counting the laps and was so pleased when Trev confirmed I was about to start my last lap. I needed to do the last lap in about 13 mins with the last few laps being around 15mins so I passed through the feed station without stopping and gave it everything enjoying the high 5ís and the cumulating in a stong sprint to finish in 29:56:41 for 19th place. My actual running time was 9:21 which was very pleasing.

Eddie gave some extra finisherís T-shirts for showing a positive attitude though I think everyone was equally deserving. Had a quick chat with TC then started to feel a bit light-headed so went for a sit down back at the tent and drink a coke.
Watched Nick complete his last few laps strongly and also saw the Rev become a Double Ironman.
I brought my car over from the car park to start packing up but still felt light headed so my dad called over the medic who checked my blood sugar which was normal. However, a few minutes later I started to vomit. Jamie and Tim rushed over and lay me down on a treatment table. Jamie gave me some electrolyte drink and after resting for a while my parents took me back to their house and I went straight to bed, waking up the next day with a good appetite. Sorry I couldnít help Nick & Carole tidy up. Nick says he has a photo of me looking rather pale!
My parents took me to Lichfield to pick up my car and I had a nice chat with Steve and Eddie.
The Double Iron UK is an extraordinary race. I really enjoyed it. The race organisation was fantastic with nothing being too much trouble for Steve & Eddie. The marshals were wonderful and showed great stamina. The supporters and competitors were just one big happy family supporting each other. Iím sure I spoke to or high 5íed many of you over the w/e without knowing who you are as I only knew Repoman & TC before the race but hope to get to know you all.
Many thanks to you all, especially my parents, Nick & Carole.

Iíll be back next year:)

Andy
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mash180




Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 2365
Location: Watford

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent Cool
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putt putt




Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 1712

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great report! well done. Is there a pic - I was crewing for Daz so must have seen you (many times!) but cant remember what you looked like!
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Triple IM 09, DecaIron (137h- 4th) 09, GUCR 10, 2.46 Mara Apr 11, 9.38 Roth 11, 9.57 IMUK 11 (Q Kona). 2012 - 5th AG nat dua, 9.27 TBW (1st). 2013 Tampa Dble (24.13 - 3rd), Oct Mara 2.49 (1st) 2014 Gin Pit 2.58 (CR)/3.15, AG Gold GB Duo March15 (50-54)
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Cleo




Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 6710
Location: at the top of a hill shaking my pom poms

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad the bike problems and injuries didn't ruin your race and that you made your sub 30 goal!

Hurrah!
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It *is* about the bike.
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Maca_Lad




Joined: 09 Aug 2005
Posts: 1991
Location: Beds/Herts

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Double ironmen........Respect!
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Big Ted




Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 4991
Location: On a motorcycle, in the distance.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

exceptional Cool Cool

well done
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"Cycle on your bicycle,

Leave all this misery behind"
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PinkSally




Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 457
Location: Lincolnshire

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent report, a great read. I knew that Steve leant his bike out but I didn't know that you had had a tumble when you bolt snapped!! Shocked Am just glad that it all worked out okay for you in the end, well done!

Echoing puttputt's request for a photo so I can see if I cheered/hi 5'd/supplied drinks for you etc.......like to know the victims, errrr.......athletes!

So, you doing the double or triple next year Confused ..............heh heh.....

Cheers,
PinkSally
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too lazy to even tri' but managed a LONG walk at HotH....
Crewin's my game.
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Saltman




Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 38
Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

putt putt wrote:
great report! well done. Is there a pic - I was crewing for Daz so must have seen you (many times!) but cant remember what you looked like!


Thx Smile Shame for Daz, he flew past me on the bike Exclamation Hope he's ok Smile

Here's a pic from Mick Hall-same one he gave me a print of at finish so hope he doesn't mind me using here

.
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Saltman




Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 38
Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinksally wrote:
Excellent report, a great read. I knew that Steve leant his bike out but I didn't know that you had had a tumble when you bolt snapped!! Shocked Am just glad that it all worked out okay for you in the end, well done!

Echoing puttputt's request for a photo so I can see if I cheered/hi 5'd/supplied drinks for you etc.......like to know the victims, errrr.......athletes!

So, you doing the double or triple next year Confused ..............heh heh.....

Cheers,
PinkSally


Thx PinkSally Smile It was rather dramatic Exclamation Steve was a great help, as was Tim Smile

I was tempted to do the treble but would like to have another go at the double with a double bolted seat post Very Happy

See photo sent to puttputt.

Thx for your support I remember seeing you many times Very Happy
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Saltman




Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 38
Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cleo wrote:
Glad the bike problems and injuries didn't ruin your race and that you made your sub 30 goal!

Hurrah!


Thx Cleo Smile

It was close but just made it Very Happy[/quote]
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Saltman




Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 38
Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mash180 wrote:
Excellent Cool


Thx mash180 Smile

Really enjoyed reading your race report. Fantastic effort Very Happy

Are u back next year?
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Saltman




Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 38
Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maca_Lad wrote:
Double ironmen........Respect!


Many thx Very Happy
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Saltman




Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 38
Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Ted wrote:
exceptional Cool Cool

well done


Thx Big Ted Very Happy
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Reverend Graham




Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 2809
Location: Grimsby, Meggies Mafia ( We go in Mob handed)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You was Mr Saltman, as you Trisuit was covered in it. Well done mate it was great to race with you.

JFT Graham
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Some people are only alive because it illegal to kill them !

I'm a Double Ironman, me! no wait ! Triple Ironman !

I am the Reverend Graham, Commander of the Squirrel Army, third in line to the King of the Potato People !
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Saltman




Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 38
Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reverend Graham wrote:
You was Mr Saltman, as you Trisuit was covered in it. Well done mate it was great to race with you.

JFT Graham


Yes, that was me Rev. Maybe I should change my name Confused
It's normal for me be covered in salt and not unusual to suffer the consequences Exclamation

Great to race with you too and very glad to c u finish Very Happy
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