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(long) Big Woody Race Report

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Joined: 18 Jun 2009
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Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:31 pm    Post subject: (long) Big Woody Race Report Reply with quote

Apologies in advance, this is going to be a looong read Smile

The start
July 2008 I bought a road bike through the cycle to work scheme with the aim of getting my arse off the couch a bit as for the first time since I can remember I'd not done any real excercise for a few years Embarassed A few old friends started talking about this thing called ironman & triathlon that sounded pretty interesting but I didn't really pay any attention to it and just did a ride every couple of weeks.

I was enjoying the cycilng and managed to do some 50 mile rides and then thought one day, I'm going to do 100miles - I managed it on a pankake flat route (just). After that I began entertaining thoughts of trying this triathlon thing a go then and read about what an ironman is Shocked after reading about it I said I'm going to do an ironman next year.

My friends soon gave up talking about an ironman but I was fascinated, luckily my boss at work has done a few (completed 2 I think & DNF'd 1) and gave me this book "Going Long". I read it 3 times (I think) in the months before Christmas. There were three worries I had - the book talked of having done at least an olympic in the season before, just how much training looked to be involved & I knew with my ankle (badly broken & plated 3 or so years ago) I probably wasn't "biomechanically sound" whetever that really meant

Nevertheless I was determined to try, so I started going to the pool before christmas to see if I could remember to swim. I could Laughing only thing was I couldn't manage 10 lengths Mad I kept plugging away and soon enough I could do 10 lengths front crawl. Over the autumn I also tried running and found I sucked at that as well, my 2.8 mile route was a real struggle but I did it two times a week and gradually felt improvement.

I looked through the calendars for next year trying to find an IM distance race to do, I half heartedly toyed with IMUK but then it moved to Bolton and I lost interest completely.

My boss mentioned that it was worth looking at non m-dot events, "how important is some m medal to you?" I decided it wasn't - tbh if I was in it for anyone but myself then I don't think I could do it (all the training etc). The Big Woody seemed to be around the right time so I decided on that as my race. I built my season around the 29th of August, 1/2 marathon in march, olympic distance april, 1/2 IM june, sprint july, TBW august. Jan 1st would be the start of training.

I'm going to skip over this bit a little or this'll be an opus!
Training went ok most of the time, I skipped quite a few long runs and probably did too much turbo work when the weather wasn't very nice. I cycled into the artic circle when work sent me to northern sweden for a couple of weeks to try and keep active. On the whole I felt my training was ok but was never that consistent or great, I think with hindsight I should have made a training plan but hey for us mere mortals this thing called life has a habit of messing plans up!

Anyhow, enough rambling - race buildup!!
Saturday before the race I did some intervals and mashed my rear mech, chain, mech hanger & gear cables. Brilliant, just what I needed! Thursday I managed to get a working bike again & I had my new aero front wheel to try out for the race.

Friday we drove up registered and racked the bike, I went for a very short ride up the road to see what the new wheel was like , mainly to see if the brakes were strange as I'd read it was very different with a carbon rim. I went to the race briefing and pasta party, which I'm really glad wasn't just pasta but wish hadn't been described as a party Very Happy after the briefing I drove back to the cottage & prepared my bags for the morning, set my alarm for 3:15 and hit the sack about 8.

3:15 my alarm went off and I went downstairs to microwave my breakfast noodles. Made my thermos of coffee & got changed etc. We set off just before 5 for race hq to drop off my run bag. I was nervous about getting lost going to the lake in the dark & someone said we could wait & follow the coach, someone gave us the postcode for the satnav and my nerves got the better of me so we left anyway (which I'm soooo thankful for). About 1/2 way to the swim the car cut out, engine check light on Rolling Eyes after the week I'd had it really did seem the gods didn't want me to do this race; thankfully the car started again and we carried on, onto the lane of the lake & the car cut out again - we coasted downhill for a bit and my other half (Jade) joked, "it's only 3 miles, you can run that if you need to" - thankfully we got it started and it didn't conk out again until we pulled into the car park.

The que for the portaloos was already fairly long and there was only 10 mins till the swim start, so I abandoned thoughts of a toilet stop and had a pee in the bushes instead. Walked down to the swim start and met TC on the way who was running late Very Happy by the time I'd got the lakeside I'd lost my noseclip. I knew I would be ok without it anyway but it just seemed to be another nail in the coffin, sbut when Jade handed me my noseclip that her aunt had found suddenly everything felt like it might actually be ok. I met Sam (BigWilly) and we chatted a little nervously, he joked when I said I was aiming for 14hrs that it really meant I was aiming for 12 Very Happy

The race
The swim started and we were off, unfortunately I couldn't find anyone to follow and my sighting was terrible - not helped by the sun coming up in my face. I really liked getting out at the beach end, I could feel my heart rate spike each time though and on lap 2 I scraped my foot diving back in when it was too shallow, it wasn't painful and I hoped it wasn't just adrenaline disguising a proper injury. Eventually I got out and there was a few people in T1, we all chatted a bit while we changed - I put on some arm warmers as I felt I would be cold at first, dried my feet and put on some socks.

Bike Out of T1 and straight into a climb, "so this is what it's going to be like" I thought to myself. I resisted any urge to get out of the saddle "You're not racing" I kept telling myself. Before too long we came to the hill that I'd been really scared of "English Bicknor", just before the steep section I spyed Sam's support crew doing a great job cheering (thanks for the cheers, really helped on the climb). Eventually I came to race HQ to begin lap 1, I grabbed another bottle of water and Jade handed me my bag of 1 gel & 1 bar of which I dropped the gel leaving me with the bar I didn't really want anyhow but I had plenty in my bento box anyway. The road to parkend was lovely and peaceful and I really enjoyed that section with the gentle hum from my tyres. On the A48 I needed a pee and decided I'd try and see if I could do it on the move, I found a gentle downhill section pulled up the leg and went, just then spencer came howling past & I remember thinking "I just nearly pee'd on spencer smith". A couple of other people came past, 1 BW competitor I think and I remember thinking as he stood up to power up the hills to not try and follow him or I'd die. Lap 2 I grabed a water bottle & more food, but the time I'd gone through race HQ and out the other side the bottle I'd picked up was gone. I carried on and thought it was a mistake, thinking "you should always stop for nutrition and hydration". I tried sucking the dregs out of my aero bottle and eeking out the little I had left in my other bottle and I also rolled down my arm warmers to try and keep sweating to a minimum but I was pretty worried I'd be dehydrated. The rest of my bike was pretty uneventful and I managed to resist the urge to ride any of it with any real effort. My stomach felt pretty bad towards the end (backed up a bit) but I arrived in T2 feeling good physically.

I slipped on my run shoes (deciding not to change my run socks) grabbed my water bottle and gels & headed out, Dave (Dorward) (I think) asked my how my legs were and I said they felt ok but we'll see I guess. My legs felt really good, almost fresh, but my stomach felt terrible - was really struggling not to be sick & didn't bother trying to drink or eat as I felt so bad, most of my bottle went on my head to try and keep cool to reduce any further sweating. I kept to my 9min run 1 min walk strategy & did my first lap in ~ 45mins. I saw sam soon after the midpoint on lap 1 - he asked me if I was leading and I wasn't sure. Lap 2 I felt ok to start with in my legs but then it felt like my strength just vanished, Dave told me I was in the lead and I told him not for long don't worry (I knew from when I saw Sam that he was looking good and would cruise past me before long the way I was feeling). I think it was at the turnaround for lap 2 sam passed me and I told him he better go on and win it. I gave my gels to the mid feedstation on the way back on lap 2 - I told them "I'm never going to eat these" I think it was lap 2 I spotted TC in good spirits - looking fresh as a daisy storming the run.

By the end of lap 2 my legs felt like crap but my stomach started to feel better - I began drinking again and eating pretzels on lap 3 (mmmm, they were sooo nice!!) as I could feel cramps coming on. I stopped to try and stretch my quads but bending my knee beyond the running movement resulted in my entire leg cramping so I gave up on that and kept moving. Lap 3 I ate more pretzles an drank more water, TC spotted me and clearly saw I was dying - thanks for the words of encouragement! The mid section of the return leg of lap 3 was a dark time, I felt like crying I wasn't sure if I would finish. Lap 4 I was certain I would finish it, there was no way I was coming all this way not to. I asked Jade to run with me a bit on the way out & she kept me company out of the school for a couple of minutes and then I was out on my own again for the last lap. I was worried about sam as I'd seen him walking with his wife (I think) riding beside him, I was hoping it was just a short break as the chap in 2nd still looked to be running fairly well and was definitely hungry for the win. When I saw Sam on his way back he was miles ahead of 2nd place, I was so pleased he'd hung on to it. At the turnaround point I looked at my watch and realised I might be able to get under 11 hours. Back through the feedstations I tried to thank all of them for their hard work, I remember high 5'ing TC (who still looked good Shocked ) I saw Big Ted towards the end of my lap and he seemed to be fairly cheerful so I was hopefull he would be able to finish, I think I told him to keep plugging away and he'd do it. Before long I was back on the tarmac where some of the dh support crew was waiting. Onto the field and onto the straight where I lined up for the finish line (at last!!).

I think one of the first things I said was I'm never doing one of those again (knowing full well I've paid for Germany next year Rolling Eyes ), I congratulated Sam & got a quick shower where I bumped into a couple of other TT'ers (Scott & ???). I got back just in time to see TC finish (still looking unfazed Surprised ) We took a couple of photos and chatted a bit before the battle weary supporters wanted food and cottage seats! I would have liked to have hung around to support Big Ted & others a bit more (glad you made it round, surviving all those injuries was worth it in the end then!)

Thank yous
Trev - for organising such a fantastic event, glad you'll be doing it next year too. I might be persuaded to enter the big one (but that's 2 IM in a year... no TC, I'm not turning into you and will not do the double!) but if not I'll come and help out.

All the marshalls, you were all really friendly & helpful - thank you for volunteering an entire day to help us nutters race Worship

All the TT'ers & their support for the encouragement throughout the race.

Apologies if I've forgotten anyone!
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Location: Watford

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent report, well done Smile

See you in Germany Crying or Very sad Wink
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Big Ted

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

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mate - well done - thats a fantastic race you did - had a feeling you'd do ok!

And no worries about not being there when i finished - the fact you took the time to chat on your last lap meant more than enough.

See you next year then ?Very Happy

"Cycle on your bicycle,

Leave all this misery behind"
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Location: Lincoln / Scarborough (Algerino-Land) / Fircombe-on-Sea. sandbagging for daveM

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for a sub 1yr tri virgin - you ROCK Cool

stunned you have turned yourself from zero to hero in under a year. could hardly swim. no cycling background. shattered ankle! gumpf Exclamation

do you realise that us ordinary peeps on TT have to work years to get anywhere near your levels of performance. you freak Exclamation

lap 1 45 mins - no wonder you died. i was 49 mins lap 1 when i felt pretty perky too. interesting you had a 9:1 run walk strategy. good plan to say you are a numpT tho i take my walk breaks more ad hoc, on bits of uphills or just whenever my head feels too fuzzy or my stomach needs to burp and settle etc

the question is - Big Willy is planning to go sub 10 at IM CH. What will you be capable of in DE. Can you handle 30-40 degrees heat? Question

great to meet you mate Very Happy , shame your too blinkin fast for me to have any real smackdown with in the future as you are bound to improve even further out of my reach Cool

and who you kidding, you'll have over 1 1/2 months to recover from DE and will be chomping at the bit. You'll be back at TBW next year and gunning for the win Question Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great debut long distance event Rob - you have a great tri career ahead of you I have no doubt.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a debut - well done mate.
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