I thought I would try something a bit different and I started about 15 metres over from the main group with one other person. This enabled me to get a really good start for me without taking a battering. I felt like I had a really good swim as well and got out in just over 25 minutes. There was a run up to transition and instead of just putting my helmet on I put some socks and bike shoes on as well. The reason I did this was you can tighten the velcro up tighter, the run to the bike was on grass so you would be able to run at the same speed without damaging the cleats, the mount line was on a hill so it was much easier to get going with shoes already on.
I could tell I felt good on the bike from the off as I was breathing hard. If i’m not going that well it’s my legs that are the limiting factor they will feel heavy and my breathing isn’t that deep. If I do a race without tapering I am likely to feel more like that but tapered and fresh I was hoping to be able to push it really hard and get the lungs working. Not long after starting the bike I overtook Paul Amey who is the GB record holder for the ironman which he set in november last year at Arizona with 8.02 I couldn’t believe it and I thought yes I have an Alloy for the bike but when I went past him he didn’t come with me so I just kept my head down and well just f****n spanked it. I got onto the main road and said to the someone what place am I in and he said 7th I thought no way 7th already I couldn’t believe it as I was expectining hime to say 15th or worse so this was so motivating and really encouraged me to work hard. I kep my head down and passed Paul Hawkins a bit later and then Ben Howard. We kept together as a group and eventually caught Harry Wiltshire and Mark Threlfell after about 17-18 miles it was between the bottom of the doodgy decent onto the main road and the steep climb. A little bit later Harry fell off the pace. I didn’t like riding in the group as the pace felt easy and this isn’t what I wanted so knew I had to try and drop the others, I mean cycling is my strength so I need to play to my strengths and get a gap not to mention Fraser Cartmell and Philip Graves were up the road and as Ben Fish says who I work with at Royles win by the biggest margin or lose by the smallest, it was as if I could see him saying it to me so I thought right the first opportunity I get i’m going to absolutely drill it and if I can’t get away i’m going to make them hurt. The first opportunity to really try and get away was the hill at the start of the second lap it’s shortish and steep but it’s flat over the top so you can keep the pressure on right over the top and if you get a gap there is no repite for them so once we started the climb it felt fairly hard and I thought this is good as I knew if I was finding it hard the others would be to so I went as hard as I could and just kept the pressure on. Luckily I managed to get a gap so just kept the pressure on, at the start of that climb they gave us time splits to the two leaders 4 minutes to Graves and 2.30 to Cartmell, I kept getting time splits to Cartmell and couldn’t believe how quick the gap was coming down and at the bottom off the sttep descent I managed to catch him. It was quite funny really once I catched him as I was in my Man Tri Kit and I think everyone thought I was some chopper or random age grouper that had jumped on his wheel as whenever we went up a hill with spectators they were cheering him on and giving him time gaps to Phil but no one was even acknowelding me, also when we finished the 2nd lap they knew he had finished but tried to send me around for another lap!lol I actually found it quite amusing though to be honest.
Oh my god this was the hardest run course I have ever done! I was told it was lumpy with bit on trails. Now if i was going to design a run course that was least suited to me I would make it off road, hilly, and twisty and turny pretty much the same as Wimbleball. I started the run with Fraser and thought I would try and stay with hime, hope Graves blows and then outsprint Fraser at the end for the win!lol Sounds quite easy, executing it though is a completley different ball game and staying with Fraser wasn’t happening as he put a bit of a surge in up some grass uphill section and I just couldn’t stay with him I tried my hardest but I was really suffering, this is the bit what I love about these 70.3s the mental part and constant fight to keep a high pace and not give into the demons that tell you to slow down. I think in every half i’ve done even when I’ve been going really well you still get these demons but you can tell your moving well and know your onto a good result so the suffering is worth while but when the running seems hard it can be easier to give in but you have to expect it and as Jens Voigt says shut up legs!
Anyway after about 2 miles you get onto this dam where you run out and back
it gives you a chance to see anyone whos within about 3 minutes of you and to my surprise I saw Mark, Ben, The German guy who came 2nd and Fraser behind them some how he went the wrong way I have no idea how but I was in 2nd and couldn’t believe it. after about 3.5 miles I got overtaken by Mark and the German and then on the 2nd lap Fraser went passed me. I was now in 5th place and for the rest of the run had a constant battle with Ben Howard I could see he was hurting but I was absolutely nailed as well and felt like I was doing a death march. He had me down to 30 seconds at one point with a lap and a mile to go and I thought to myself give it everything you have Joe for 1 lap and if you still have 30 seconds with 1 mile to go 5th place is yours. The next chance I got to see him was on the dam for the last time and I saw that I had taken a little bit more time out of him but not much ad it was still going to be touch and go as I was blowing up big time and didn’t even know if I would make it to the end. The xt chance I got to see hime was at the point with 1 mile to go and to my surprise he was no where to be seen but now I had bloody Paul Amey chasing me down and he was running like a man possessed I though oh no, I dug deep into the hurt box and just managed to hold him off but it wasn’t pretty and I was a spent force at the end so final position was 5th and time was 4.27. I have never felt so f****d everything hurt my arms, my legs, just everything but I absolutely loved it to me that was a proper race and I just wish there were more races in the UK with that strength in depth in the field as it’s just so intense and is all out for 4.5 hours and I loved that to me that is a proper race and if it wasn’t for the cost of getting to these Ironman branded races I would be doing a lot more of them.