Ironman 70.3 World Championships race report: Emma Edworthy

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Well what a surprise it was being on the start line for the Worlds in South Africa one sunny, hot and windy Saturday in September. This year was my first dabble into the world of 70.3’s after realising that doing a full every year was just too much – not just for me but my long suffering friends and family ;-).  Amazingly we qualified in my first one in Lahti in Finland –in fact if coach had not had ‘the chat’ with me before I went I might not have even gone to the slot allocation.

Anyway we qualified and there was the slight issue that I was already signed up to do the inaugural Dun Laoghaire 70.3 less than two weeks out from the Worlds. However, there was no way I was not going to do that as I was combining it with staying with my bestie and a road trip with Bow after to retrace the steps of my great grandma. I was not the easiest race by a country mile – holy pants – it is now being marketed as the hardest on the global 70.3 circuit – it was not an easy day in the tri office – weather was awful to start – swim was long and really rough. Bike then goes up in to the Wicklow mountains which with a 20mph head wind was particularly awful (3pmh at one point and a guy on a TT bike zig zagging in front of me so he did not go backwards!!). The run was not bad – flattish and the sun came out! But to try and save my legs coach and I had agreed to take this one easy – however that was just physically impossible on the swim and bike – so only option was easy run – so I walked the last two miles, had stich anyway. So was best I could do less than two weeks out to save something. Turns out we got 5th even with the walk – result!

Read more: Ironman 70.3 World Championships race report: Emma Edworthy

Cardiff Olympic Triathlon race report: Lyndsay Patterson

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The lead up to the race, I think I seemed pretty relaxed, but I was questioning some things, such as; when should I put socks on (I never wear socks at sprints), and nutrition, Humm, how many gels should I pack and when should I take them. 

I used SWYD Sprint as race prep so I doubled my gels, and hydro tabs and had the same breakfast (but added a coffee- as a 3:50 am start Sunday, it was going to be needed).

Collecting my race pack Saturday, I met up with my mate. And still seeing the venue, I was ok. I think it helped doing a bike recce a few weeks earlier and having my mate race it last year, I felt I had good knowledge what the course was like. 

I still needed to pack my bag and getting home closer to late afternoon was not ideal. But I got it sorted and chilled out with an alcohol-free beer and some plain dinner for the evening. 

Sunday alarm 3:50, up dressed and out the door with bag and bike in hand 30 minutes later. We arrived in good time with no stress parking at the venue. Transition was quiet and I was the first to rack in my area.  The next guy showed up and put his bike the same way as mine. Then another guy on the other side did the same. So, I swapped my bike and rejigged my stuff to my annoyance. I still had lots of time, so it was ok. I met my friend and her mates and we headed down to the swim start. Craig gave me some last-minute words of encouragement walking up. I felt very calm, though one last nervous loo stop doesn't do any harm. The race was delayed by about 10-15 minutes and we hung around waiting to get in the pen. Still feeling calm and just chatting with my mate was helpful. 

Now it’s my wave, it was a quick turnaround. Walked down to the dock and said to Ellie, 'is that deep enough just to jump in', yes and so I did. I did not need to dunk myself as I was fully submerged. I looked about and I was at the front- not where I wanted to be so I crawled back a little and positioned myself on the left towards the front. And we are off. It wasn't as bad as I thought being in a big group, but it was hard to sight, so I followed those in front until the first buoy was clear. I avoided thinking about being in the water and started to count 1-2 when I took a stroke to get into a rhythm. I did start out with a few head up front crawl just to get around people. I settled in the swim maybe within 200-300 m and only with a good few mouth fulls of water. Getting closer to the first buoy the next pack was on me and it got busy.  I was at the corner with a few head up strokes I got round and off I went. I was prepared for the hissing sounds from the generators, which I’m glad I got a heads up about. I tried to stay on some feet but didn’t catch, though I used those in front to help sight as the buoys were on my none breathing side and I was aiming for the big building. The swim was comfortable and didn’t drag on too much. Then I made it, found the platform and that’s me out of the water, YES!!!!

Read more: Cardiff Olympic Triathlon race report: Lyndsay Patterson

Ironman UK race report: Lawrence Cronk

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Ironman UK in Bolton, my fourth Iron distance race. Why Ironman UK? A question I got asked a lot when as a Welsh

man Tenby would be your first choice. Simple answer, it fitted in the calendar nicely with my best mates wedding in Barcelona the following week.

As usual that final 4-6 week block before the taper throws up all the doubts as to whether you will be ready, the training gets more and more monotonous, the fatigue builds and your food bill escalates! I’ve been here before, trust in the plan and trust in the taper, you’ll be fine.  

In the two weeks leading up the race Ironman warned us that a key part of the bike course had been affected by wildfires and they were exploring solutions. The solution was a 95 mile alternative. A bit of a blow for those first time Ironman athletes and social media saw plenty of opinions as you can imagine, some even suggesting they would ride their own extra 17 miles then re-join the race! Ironman confronted this in the pre race briefing and made it pretty clear that between negotiations with the council and emergency services the extra 17 miles of closed roads couldn’t be found. I wasn’t particularly phased by it, just mildly annoying that I have to mention the caveat when someone points out I went sub 10 hours. 

The day before the race was hectic. A split transition with the swim being 16 miles away from the run meant a lot of prior planning, bouncing between the hotel, registration, briefing, two transitions and then finding time to drive the new section of bike route. I’d travelled to Bolton twice in recent months to ride the course, I thought it would be daft to leave the new bit to chance given the prep that had gone into this.  

Read more: Ironman UK race report: Lawrence Cronk

Ironman Finland 70.3 race report: Emma Edworthy

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What an amazing day it turned out to be!

Arriving in Lahti, Finland to wind and rain the day before was not the best. But as so many people reassured me ‘these conditions suit you Emma, you train in Wales’!  How could I argue with that! Our apartments were about a 20 minute walk to where all the action was by the lake so after dumping our stuff we  braved the weather and wondered down to register and meet Elo and Kim (two wonderful inspirational pro ladies) to drive the bike course.  The bike course looked rolling with what us folk from Wales would call, one real descent and climb, so none of us seemed too worried, although bits were very exposed and we could feel the wind in the car! Funny enough though when we all talked about the course after the race we all agreed there were bits we did not remember – but then we did recall a lot of picture sharing of dogs.  The night before the race was a lovely meal in an Italian with my wonderful support crew (mummy, Lucy and Christianne) and Elo and her mum – my diner consisted of pizza and lasagne and Elo’s was pizza with a side of plain rice.

So race day came and given how awful the weather was when we arrived I did not spin the bike on the Friday so I needed to do that as well as source some food. We found a hotel with a buffet breakfast which was amazing and perfect. Despite the forecast for an improvement in the weather, that was debateable – it was windy still with heavy showers. But in between those  showers when the sun came out it was warm.  I wondered how the long wait would be on race day, what with it being a 4pm start, but it was fine and I loved lounging around and relaxing. I literally sat in bed messaging everyone back home whilst my wonderful supporters  cracked on with the alcohol at 10.30 in the morning – so proud.

Read more: Ironman Finland 70.3 race report: Emma Edworthy

The Wales Triathlon race report: David Hawkins

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The Wales Triathlon would be my second ever middle-distance triathlon and after months of hard training since then, I’m gunning for a big PB today. Unfortunately, the forecasts of strong winds and rain are accurate and according to the crazy folk who have been for a pre-race swim (no thanks!), the water is absolutely Baltic, but I’m stood here with my good friends and training buddies Lars Luckoff and Hopcyn Matthews so we’re in good spirits and looking forward to some friendly rivalry on the course.

The claxon goes and we hit the water. They weren’t exaggerating! This has to be the coldest water I have ever swum in! I’m no good in the cold, I just don’t function. My hands and feet go numb and I am even more prone to cramping.  There is only one option. Swim hard, find some fast feet and get this done as soon as possible!  It’s a 2-lap swim with an Australian exit and the first lap has gone well. As I run to the start of lap 2, I check my watch and am pleasantly surprised by my pace. But I also notice that lap 1 was 1,300 metres and it was supposed to be 950. I’m confident that I have swum reasonable straight which means the course must be ridiculously long…not ideal. For a brief moment the self-doubt kicks in as the swim is by far the worst of the 3 for me and I haven’t really trained to swim hard for 2,600m! The second lap is slower but still ok and I finish the swim in 44:20, which puts me in 29th position.

Read more: The Wales Triathlon race report: David Hawkins