Ironman 70.3 Marbella race report: Andrew Fraser-Cole
Here's a great race report from WhittleFit coached athlete Andrew Fraser-Cole (coached by coach Lawrence) about his recent Ironman 70.3 Marbella race, hope you enjoy it!
Of late I’ve come to start my season at a big race where hopefully the sun will shine. This approach not only throws you in at the deep end straight away but can also help banish the winter blues and give you a break to look forward to.
Based on their underdog & alternative ethos I’d joined SWYD Tri club in January so I had further motivation as I’d be sporting club colours for the very first time. Since starting endurance sport a few years back I’ve never felt the need to join a club - almost always training alone. Having been a heavy smoker & drinker for almost 30 years and relating to how Mathew Pritchard turned his lifestyle around I felt as though SWYD Tri fitted best with my outlook on endurance sport and I really wanted to race for them. As it happens I did have the best club Tri-suit at the race and that’s a non-negotiable fact.
Swim (1.9k): I set off in the 30min pen and hit the water with a dive, temperature was ok. 4 bouys to turn around on the L-shaped course, I decided to stay out of trouble and not risk a clout to the face so found some clear water and stroked it out. Swam until my hands touched sand & onto my toes into T1. My Garmin suggested I’d swam 200m extra, who knows? Time 32mins
Bike (90k) : fast straight road so tucked on the bars until the climb around 5k after which things got lumpy. Soon found my gearing in 36/28 so when it got steeper cadence dropped to 75rpm in order to stay within my power target. Potentially a 30 on the rear would’ve meant spinning a bit better on the climbs. Strange creaking & grinding noises coming from my bottom bracket(?) gave me cause for concern and worries that it would actually disintegrate and I’d DNF - but the noises were intermittent and I just hoped it would hold as the remaining kilometres ticked down. Fast straight descents were fine as you could see the course well ahead - tuck & pedal. As usual went over my power target for the first hour and struggled to hold it for the last. Knew I had to ship fluid before the run so dropped it on the last descent. Wee.....Sorry if you were behind me. Time 3hrs
Run (21k): socks, shoes, cap & 4x gels onboard - time to make up for my bike shortcomings. First Km a bit too lively coming in at 3:45 I had to park my enthusiasm and aim for my target between 4:10 - 4:20. Mallorca last year taught me that the lunchtime Mediterranean sun will dictate your pace if you overcook the first 10k. Luckily the wind had picked up so running into the headwind was good (I know, doesn’t make sense does it?) made up around 36 Age Group places on the run and attempted to put the hammer down for the last 4K but the effort went up, pace stayed the same. Crossed the line with a 1:29 run, 5:09 total for the 70.3
All in all I’m happy with the performance to get off the mark early in the season. There’s no hiding place in these races - European IM 70.3 racing is the pinnacle of the sport as far as I’m concerned so it’s humbling to go from Age Group podiums in local races to 42nd in Age Group here. Don’t get me wrong, finishing in the top 20% is not a terrible outcome but these races definitely expose & magnify your weaknesses.
Factor in the break from your workplace, sunshine, perfect tarmac, mainlining espresso, meeting other like minded athletes and you may conclude that training hard & racing is enjoyable and thoroughly worth it whatever position you cross the finish line in.