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Conan's Longest Day Race Report
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Conan




Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 2473
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:46 pm    Post subject: Conan's Longest Day Race Report Reply with quote

Just before I post - how long is too long please? I have a bit of background on me for those that are interested...shall Ipost that first and then the race review???? Idea

Report is further down the page in its full glory!
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Last edited by Conan on Tue Jul 26, 2005 6:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AndyS




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an Ironman, it's supposed to be long. Post all of it.
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Chris




Joined: 15 May 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, hit us with the whole lot!
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Miss Piggy




Joined: 16 May 2003
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Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long is good. Otherwise I might have to do some work.
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doug




Joined: 07 Jan 2004
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Location: Harrow (Doonhamer in exile)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obviously since you were the quickest out there it should be quicker to read than anyone elses as well Very Happy

Post it all in its full glory - you deserve it
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duncan74




Joined: 06 May 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it's not going to be 'Got up, paddled, toured, jogged, picked up medal and then went home'? There's more?

I'm surprised you had time to notice what was going on the speed you were going at. See, it's the impatience of youth, in time you'll learn to appreciate the races a bit more and take your time like the rest of us Very Happy
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Conan




Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 2473
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well where do I start? To start with the claxon going does not fully tell the tale as it is the work that goes into preparing for an Ironman that tells the story more than the race. So I guess some background would be a useful start for those of you that do not know my background??

I come from a swimming background predominantly and was introduced into Triathlon by a good friend Sue Macrowen who pointed me in the direction of the London Youth Games Triathlon. This was it…the search had ended! I loved it and the following year had my first tri bike to have another go. I now coach this team for my local borough and love supporting future triathletes first outings. That year I entered my first sprint distance race at Saffron Walden as well finishing first junior. I’m not going to bore you with the detail and fill in the gaps in the middle though I would like to mention my junior national title at Ironbridge 1997, which I guess I should have taken as a pointer that the longer stuff did suit me?!

Over the coming years I competed at national age group level over Olympic distance and was lucky enough to be selected for the Cancun team where I was also the age group men’s team captain. From this year on though my life seemed to be taking a bit of a turn. My new job didn’t quite pan out the way I would have liked working 60hours per week with a very unrealistic pay structure (though I did have a lovely flashy company car and a tax bracket to match!!). I could no longer handle not being able to train and so left and headed to Australia for our winter to train. I managed to end up being able to train with the Triathlon Gold group whose resume reads like a who’s who of Ozzie Tri. It was during this stay I managed to link up with my coach, Bill Davoren, and I made the swap to long course.

I returned to the Uk revigorated and back in love with the sport and sacrifice associated with it. The programme had been set and the races entered…The Longest Day had always appealed to me. Its previous winners were illustrious and it seemed like the perfect race to lose my Ironman virginity at. At this time and in the lead up to the race, contrary to popular belief, I had no concept of winning it or even being close to 9hours. If the clock said 9hrs something I’d have been chuffed…

My preparation had worked like clockwork though I was a little scared when three weeks out from race day at the end of a 180km ride it was all I could do to stop myself from breaking down and crying. I was an emotional gibbering wreck in way over my head. A shower some food and a peep at my friends on the www.tritalk.co.uk forum soon had that sorted. The taper plan had changed but I personally feel this was for the best as a two week lay up would have just left me feeling flat and so my taper for the last three weeks ran 5days easy, hard again then until the Sunday before the race and then a gradual roll down to race day.

My coach was over from Australia, before departing to France for the AIS holding camp, for the Tuesday before the race and we managed to sort out my race strategy on this day including pacing. My plan was to get through the swim and then just ride at my own pace on the bike regardless of any attacks thrown down. I had a feeling I’d ride about a 5hour 15minute effort or on a great day 5hours dead. The run would be the place where I’d push on and hopefully bring the race home with a 3hour 20minute marathon, allowing 50minutes per lap. This was a testing target and I considered it well out of reach but Bill knows Ironman racing and has coached many to success…

I felt great…I was at the end of the middle table for the pasta party smiling as I surveyed the tent. Tomorrow we would no longer be people wondering what lay ahead…we’d be Ironmen!

My race day started with a nice bowl of muesli and mug of coffee. I prepared myself mentally and ran through my mental affirmations whilst adorning my new Sugoi race kit with my sponsor’s logos on them…if you feel good, you go good! Maybe if I looked like a pro I might be able to race like one??!! The drive to the race site was uneventful and then the setting up began. Moulding the powerbars round the top tube, mixing up the bottles and decanting the gels into my flasks. I must say…there’s nothing like the look of a bike set ready to go before the Ironman is there??

My immediate preparation went smoothly enough…wetsuit on, one bar and one gel in my belly and a swig of my electrolyte and I was set. I eased my way into the water and managed to say Hi to Sue from Tri-Talk and received a rather mixed reaction. It looked part fear part who are you?!? Managed to catch up with last year’s winner as well Paul Mountford and we wished each other luck then I went off for my warm up. The claxon sounded and I immediately found my rhythm and so it appeared had the leader as they rocked off into the distance. I was swimming in third place comfortably two others for company. As the end of the first lap approached I saw the other two edged away from me taking a different line. I am confident of my sighting so kept onward and as we reached the turn buoy to start lap 2 they had opened up a 1metre lead. I surged regained their feet and carried on but their sighting seemed to be worsening so decided to leave them to it. They ended up out splitting me by about 15seconds. I stood in 44 minutes I think, short for sure but you can only race the course that’s set so onwards I went proceeding to the change tent. My wetsuit was at this stage jerked off me and my pockets loaded with gel flasks and my special 120k bike treat.

Out onto the bike and I wasn’t feeling at my best but then it is a long day so we’ll see. I passed competitors fairly steadily and managed to say Hi to Stuey from the organising club and swim leader, and then passed what I believed to be the lead relay team at about mile 18 of the bike (it just turned out to be a ringer out riding with camel back and two bottles on his bike pushing along on their tri bars). I spent most of the first two hours being assisted by the tail wind rolling along in my 55x11 biggest gear…this is too fast but I’d been much harder than this in training! I think I actually went through 50miles in about 1hour 55min way ahead of schedule and then panic began to set in…I was going to blow like a porn star!!! The good thing is there’s no hiding from the numbers. I’d ridden with a higher heart rate in training even allowing for a 10beat drift this was still maintainable but would be super tough especially on my own. I managed to see my parents out on the course and knew it was going well when I saw their faces, I smiled, winked, rode off! Lap one ended before I knew it and so I headed for lap 2. My pace had dropped slightly by this stage but I managed to hunker down and maintain at least the average on my computer. This lap broke me especially the headwind stretch and it was here I had to stop for a pee and leg break. To make matter worse I could see the rain that was forecast blowing in, it began to rain steadily at first. Once going again I felt better but towards the end of this stretch of road I was ready to get off my bike, I’d gone to hard and was really paying the price especially as the feedback I was getting on course was my lead was diminishing. Back onto the A41 and then I saw them… the lead car and cyclist! I wanted what they had, the extra energy associated with leading the Ironman. The lead came along with the inevitable question from me thinking I was leading “You did do two lap's right?” “ Yeah but I’m a relay!” came the reply…I breathed a shy at my own weakness, the splits I’d been getting were falling – it was me catching the relay! I took the lead just after the turn off the A5 at approximately 150k and it started to rain torrentially as my treat was beginning to work its way through me. I pushed on and just dug for home. My legs were breaking and my resolve cracking…I’d gone too hard! The final hills were absolute killers…I was barely moving and was having to sprint over the top to get my bike back up to speed and then rest ready for the next rise. Before I knew it I’d hit T2 and now the Ironman really started…

Into the tent and a check of the watch…watch had stopped…no it hadn’t…I’d ridden a 4hour 43minute bike leg in that…must be wrong…some basic math followed and nope it was right! Bill’s going to kill me, my legs are going to fall off, I can’t do this!!! I trotted out the tent and introduced myself to the outrider who did a great job informing me of Lance’s tour win! Thanks for the info Joel!!! I then realised my legs were coming round, tight but at least still attached. My pace was steady, I stopped for another pee, and then hit the first aid station taking just water. My plan was gels at the turns water in the middle but the far turn seemed to take ages but eventually there it was…round I went and now it became judgement time – what was the damage of the bike? After running for 7minutes and seeing only relays I still had doubts I’ll reassess at 20k! First 10.5k was down in 49minutes, and with no real dramas. Back out for the second loop and aside from the relays I was pulling away. Shortly after this Preston Ecklofff passed me from the BRAT relay and we briefly exchanged encouragement before resuming our own pace, well he resumed his and shot off!!!!! So it was the final turn again but my pace had picked up now yet still comfy and the gaps were growing… My conclusion with 20k down in 1hour 35minutes was that this was not for them to win but for me to lose. The next 20k were the toughest, loneliest, most joyous, paranoid, concerning, ecstatic of my life. I walked the aid stations and tried to maintain my mind. I encouraged as many as I could as we all made our way to the only thing that mattered at that time…the blue ramp.

I made it…8hours 53minutes! I crossed the line English flag in hand with the sounds of Scribe in the background (a Kiwi rapper). I made it! My parents rushed over and seemed overjoyed. I made it! From the comfort of the heat tent I rang my coach…I made it! My parents were ushered out and waited for me in the car and so I changed and missed my massage (regretting this now) and went to see them. I walked back to the finish area and spoke to Martin Dodd race organiser who thanked me for doing his race… It was I who should have been doing the thanking!! I made it! And so it was that I stood in the rain waiting for the true winners to arrive, the denizens of the dark, to beat the voices in your head, to believe, to achieve, to sacrifice, to cross the line is to win!

Swim 2.4miles, ride 112miles, run 26.2miles, brag the rest of your life (John Collins IM founder)… We made it we are part of the family! To those of you who didn’t there will be other times, other races, other days, and hopefully for you better weather.

Thank-you all…
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Kulia i ko Ikaika


Last edited by Conan on Tue Jul 26, 2005 6:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ktm




Joined: 03 Sep 2004
Posts: 330
Location: North London

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic. What an excellent and down-to-earth report from an athlete of the very highest quality. Many congratulations, and thanks for sharing all of that.
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Miss Piggy




Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 909
Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Speechless!
Wow!
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Congratulations.
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Stealth Attack




Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 6891
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conan - what a tale and what a result. We now have stories from both ends of the spectrum but the amazing thing is how similar the tales are. It just goes to show that whether you are at the sharp end of an ironman or at the "I will finish" end, the same highs and lows are experienced and overcome.

Giantman
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Daz




Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 11694
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done! Congrats!

Thats a bit fast isnt it!? Shocked
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The Bionik Man




Joined: 27 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW!!!!!!
thats an awsome report, well done Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
you are CONAN THE IRONMAN
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duncan74




Joined: 06 May 2004
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Location: In the mood to party

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, so you can do a good report too. Wins races, is modest, amusing, not up himself. Just what did you do in a past life then?

I assume that you'll be looking into the prices of hotels in Hawaii for next autumn?

Very well done, look forward to hearing about further adventures at the sharp end in the future.
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redbiker




Joined: 24 May 2004
Posts: 6072

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing I really like about this report is that it shows that the fast guys at the sharp end are all thinking the same things as the rest of the field. They all go through the same emotional ups and downs throughout the day like the rest of us. The similarities between Sue at the back and you at the front are amazing!

Congratulations on putting together a great race. "Ironman Winner" has got to look great on anyone's CV. Cool Cool Very Happy
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IRON MONKEY




Joined: 06 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

amazing totally amazing, and a great report too.
i really enjoyed reading it.

well done !!!!

what an amazing bike split.

i also agree with what everyone else says, about its good to see the top guys feeling the same way everyone else does.

what are your future race plans ?
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