When you choose a place like Mallorca to race an Ironman 70.3 event, you would expect to be racing in beautiful sunny, warm conditions. Sun cream and sunglasses all essentials for such a race. How wrong can a person be?
Arriving in Mallorca the week before the race, the weather couldn’t be nicer. Perfect temperatures and gorgeous sunshine highlighted what a great event this would be. As the days got closer to the weekend, the weather started to turn. We were all trying to second guess the weather forecast which seemed to change by the hour, hoping that they had got it wrong. Unfortunately they had got it right….. rain, wind, rain and more rain!!
Overnight on the Friday, the rain fell and didn’t seem to stop. When the transition area opened up on Saturday morning, a few extra swimming areas had appeared. Lots of standing water meant that it was going to be a tricky race. I so wish I had packed wet weather gear.
The race started at 7:55am with the pros getting underway first. It was a rolling start based on how fast you think you could complete the swim. 5 athletes every 5 seconds which would hopefully eliminate the crazy mass start of triathlon. I had placed myself in the 34-39 minutes section based on my previous times in training. The downside of being a little slower in the water is that it takes some time before you get to the start line. Time for nerves and the cold to kick in.
Once in the water, I soon warmed up as the water was warm in comparison to the outside air temperature. Having had some swim practice over the last couple of days I felt nice and relaxed. However, thanks to the weather, the visibility and conditions were very different to the previous day. Despite the conditions, I soon settled into a rhythm and starting picking off the marker buoys one by one.
About 800m into the swim, I felt a sting to my left cheek, followed by a sting to the right side of my neck. Several swimmers around me reverted to swimming breastroke. I then notice a mass of jelly fish in the water beneath me. Rather than panic, I continued to swim on thinking that I was more likely to get stung again if I hang around!! This wasn’t something that I had anticipated, but it helped me increase my pace somewhat!
Once I had passed the turn buoy, I knew that the worst of the swim was over. I once again focused on one buoy at a time and maintained a rhythm to get me to the end. It was a relief to see the sand on bottom so I planted my feet and made a dash towards the swim exit. Swim complete – 37mins 20seconds (i’ll never be an Olympic swimmer!)
By the time I had made my way through the transition area and onto the bike, my heart rate had increased significantly enough for me not to notice that I was soaking wet with only a tri-suit protecting me from the elements.
I started the first 20k in a conservative fashion, knowing that I had a good mountain climb to come. Despite the standing water and the crosswinds I was feeling quite good at that point. Having driven the bike course a few days previous, I was keeping an eye out for the 7km roadside marker which signalled the start of the 10km or so of climbing.
I had a game plan and stuck to it. Set a cadence and try and stick with it without burning out the legs. It seemed to work as the climb seemed to be over very quickly and I knew that I had an awesome downhill to look forward to.
The roads were very wet, so the downhill section and hairpin bends were a lot slower than I had anticipated. There had been several crashes during the race, but fortunately I managed to avoid them.
Once out of the mountain at around the 55k mark, I settled it for what would be a time trial back to transition. Doing the maths I knew that I could finish in less than three hours. Bike complete – 2hrs 55minutes 890m elevation gain.
Thankfully I packed a fresh pair of socks in my transition bag. Fresh socks and dry runners ready for the run. Unfortunately, I stepped out of the transition tent straight into what can only be described as a mini swimming pool! Great, wet feet to start the run.
The run route, thanks to the rain, was more akin to a steeplechase. Jumping from left to right, right to left attempting to miss all the puddles. I don’t think that this helped me get into a rhythm as I was finding the first part of the run tough. At the 4k mark, I cramped up in both legs (calfs and quads). Thanks to the South African guy who stopped to stretch me out otherwise I think I would have been in trouble.
After a good stretch out, I managed to gather some rhythm and slowly started to tick off the km’s. It was pleasing to pass my support team (Hannah, Natasha, Mum and Dad) which spurred me on somewhat.
I can’t say how pleased I was to get to the final half a lap. My cramp was starting to bother me again and I honestly felt like crap. I knew that I had blown my ambition of a 5hr 30min finish but I could still beat my PB of 5hrs 47min 59sec.
As I got closer to the finish chute, I passed my support team again which pushed me onto the finish line. Run Complete – 1hr 55min
Ironman 70.3 Mallorca completed in 5hrs 40mins 38seconds. A new Personal Best
Despite the weather, it was a great race. £1000 raised so far for Dreamflight and one race completed for the season so far. Now onto Canada for Ironman70.3 Victoria, BC.
If you want to donate to Dreamflight, please visit my Just Giving page…
Thanks for reading…