This week we start with a report from our special correspondence Malcolm on his efforts at the Bolton Ironman.
Well that was a tough day out!
It all started with a drive up to Bolton on the Friday morning. The weather was not the best, grey, rainy and windy. It's grim up north! Registered and checked in to the Holiday Inn which is located right next to T1 and the swim at Pennington Flash, which is a large reservoir. I was able to get a quick swim done and acclimatise. You don't notice the drizzle when you are swimming! The water was nice and warm. Unfortunately it didn't look much better on Saturday when I did a quick loop on the bike to get my legs going. The two days flew by before the race with check in, pasta party and briefings . I love the Ironman atmosphere.
On the day of the race it was up at 03:45 and time to eat my porridge which I struggle with at the best of times and especially at that hour. Final check of the bike and a nervous wait until 06:00 for the start. Bolton is now a rolling start and self seeding for time. This worked well.
All nerves go as soon as you get going. I was pleased with the swim and made good progress. First lap completed and out for an Australian loop for the second. The atmosphere was fantastic and got you set for the next part of the swim. All the encouragement from the club, especially Dave Granger and my week day swim mates really made a difference.
T1 went well with a reasonable transition; then it was out on the bike course in the drizzle.
The bike course was tough and I am glad of the hill work I have put in. A straight point out then two loops taking in the Moore. It was a race of two half's with the weather. The first few hours it was not the best then out came the sun and it was roasting. The crowds were awesome especially colt alley. It had a real Tour de France feeling. It could not have been friendlier.
T2 went well too and then it was out on the run course. My previous Ironman races have all been flat marathons. Bolton is a hilly one! My goal was to run the whole marathon and only walk at feed stations. I managed this so was delighted. I kept my pace manageable. Note to self when charging your Garmin, make sure the plug is turned on at the socket! It died halfway through the marathon. Again the crowds in Bolton were unbelievable.
I got down the finishing shoot in 13:11 hours. I could not have done any more.
My nutrition plan worked and I put that down to a lovely cheese sandwich in the special needs station on the bike Sue made for me. If I ever see another Clif bar again..............
Bolton is by far the most brutal Ironman I have done. I would recommend it to anyone as it is also the friendliest. I have had some fantastic help with my training from club members past and present. You know who you are, so a massive thank you to all of you who motivated and inspired me. And, of course, the ultimate support from Mrs S! Next race Weymouth 70.3 in September - I bet she is looking forward to it already!
Malcolm wasn't our only representative at Bolton with Nyall also competing. I originally said I hadn't heard from him but this time he has stumbled over the line just after the cut off time!
Nyall's take is below:
if I can give anyone any tip its get your nutrition planned and stick to it. Do not get tempted with fuel that you’ve never had before.
The swim was typical me, jump in and panic and I mean proper panic. After 35 minutes struggling to do the first 750m I emerged from the 3.8k in 1:49:16
On the bike I was feeling good and making up time as I passed a significant number of people. At the first feed station I decided to try some PowerBar drink; that lasted about 2 minutes before it and the rest of my stomach decided to show itself to the grass verge on the side of the road. Three hours later after fueling on my own supplies I decided again to try a different PowerBar drink. As per the first one it lasted 2 minutes before being rejected along with the last three hours of nutrition. Needless to say I couldn’t eat anything else and I struggled in to T2 on empty with minutes to spare.
So on to the run as the last one to leave T2 before it closed. It was a lonely 6-8 miles to the main run course not seeing a single other person. Once there and with about 10 Pepsis on board it was clear that the finish line was possible and also a potential sub 16 hours; however this would mean pushing a body with no food in it, which would be a struggle. I decided just to relax, soak up the fantastic atmosphere, encourage others where I could and make sure that both myself and Faye (a lady that was really struggling at 20 miles) crossed the finish line.
After 16hrs and 36minutes I heard those famous words “Nyall you are an IRONMAN
Well done both.