Today was always going to be the hardest day, and it came true to form. We have a reccee of most of the IM bike course to do, and we rolled out of La Satna in the dark at 7. It was an eerie feeling with about 15 of us, in complete silence rolling along the coast with only a few lights between us. It soon lit up though, and we made our way along the course. The first climb to Hariar (my spellings are going to be all wrong!) was amazing, just like a Tour de France climb with the roads, and I settled into a good pace, with the HR at a nice level, only to turn around and find I had dropped all but 1 person! We continued upto the top, and then enjoyed sitting in the pack once we have all regrouped. The descent was amazing, some real switchbacks and perfect roads, and we just bombed it down. Soon we were on out way to the Mirador del Rio, which was shorter than the previous but tougher. Again, I was at the front, I can feel a real difference in my climbing once more.Some of the views were just incredible coming up the hill. It was a tough one, but I felt pretty good. We came to a stop for some food and then split off. Those of us who were doing the full route continued on to El Golfo which takes you right into one corner of the island with some absolutley amazing cliffs and rocks. By this point my legs were a gonner, and it was all about digging deep and hanging in there. We completed the climb and then just had the Fire Mountains to climb. We came the other way through these on Friday, and although by no means easy, they aren’t exactly difficult. That is unless of course the winds were up, and they were ridiculous. I have been in some bad winds, notably the Tour of the Pennines, but this was another level. And the whole climb was straight into the wind. Finally we came through the otherside and it was a short run back to Club La Santa. A couple of k from the resort, with the clock at 150k, we decided to tack on another 10k to make it a century ride. I rode on until my computer said 160k and half comtemplated doing another 10k both ways to get to 180k, but quickly decided against it when I realised I was out of water and food and my legs were smoked! But all in all, I was pretty happy with 160k and over 7000 feet of climbing!
Once back to my room, I had a quick change and then out again for a 5k run, which goes into the town and back again. It is basically downhill all the way there, then uphill all the way back! Was a though run, and my knees and legs were exhausted. But I hit the pool and managed to get a short kilometer in with the pool buouy to give the legs a rest. Day 4 done, 8 and a half hours and 5500 calories!
Tomorrow we have a short duathlon in the morning, which I am just going to get round. I am not expecting anything from the legs, then an easy bike and then I will dig the wetsuit out for some practise in the pool. I need to rest up for the half marathon on Tuesday. The hard part is over!
Well seen as this website is mainly about getting to Kona, I thought I would outline how I actually plan to achieve that.
Currently I have IM Switzerland lined up for July, which is my main race this season (2009/2010) and then after that race, I go back to uni. Whilst this allows me more training time, it does mean that I will be again lacking an income so my IM races in 2011 are going to be seriously limited. By the looks of it I will probably do IMUK again as it will be the cheapest for me to do. Although it will be my third year racing Ironmans (assuming I stay on track), and the course favours my strengths, chances of qualification are very, very slim. Unless slots increase dramatically, there will be one slot, so I will either need to win my age group, or get extremely lucky with the roll-down, even if I have the perfect race.
After this year, I will (hopefully!) be back in a job earning money, so unless stuff comes up I will move to 2 IMs a year, and will probably race Lanzarote in May, seen as it has a killer bike course and I can cope with heat quite well. This will be my B Ironman race of the year, as main qualification race of 2012 will be IM Wisconsin. This course favours my strong cycling and is not especially hot. More importantly, being a big American race, the number of slots will be 2 or 3 depending on the number of entries in M18-24. This will give me a far greater chance of qualifying, and with another year of IMs in my legs, I should be placing higher up.
If I don’t qualify then, I will return the year later, as well as doing another early season IM. If I do qualify, then obviously 2013 willl be all about IM Hawaii. I will also probably do a Challenge race, possibly Roth. After 2013, I move up an age group! So thats my plan, but plans do never seem to do what you want…