Ironman Lanzarote 2018 – Brian Power
Hi folks, Be gentle with me now, first race report and all that jazz .
I started training for Lanza 3 weeks after the Dublin City Marathon, I had spoken to Ciat Joyce and Joanna Butler, both finishers there previously and although they seemed like friendly innocent conversations, I was gleaning every bit of information that I could get my hands on, my training was from a €20 book from Easons, it consisted of AM and PM sessions 6 days a week, , consistently, every Friday off, and increasingly longer sessions at the weekends, I felt though I plateaud in early March and the snow didn’t help. The weather was to prove my biggest challenge, all my running was done outside, I swam in Westpark , I biked on Zwift indoors for 90% of the time and these sessions were to stand me in good stead .
The days leading up to the race were relaxed, bike rebuilt , all the paperwork done, I started my hydration plan from George Sherwood, I met up with the lads, Anthony Gar, Derek McCabe, Matt Brid and Vinny Galvin, again , I listened intently , always something to be learned , the meal the night before was wonderful,families and the amazing supporters are here , even if Ciat Joyce sat opposite me and drank cold beer like a Bond villain ! , my time would come.
I slept well Friday into Saturday, up at 4am and down for breakfast at 4.15 , listening to Thomas Bergersen tunes , I am ready mentally, the tension in the breakfast room is palpable, about 20 would be Ironmen sit quietly, I have porridge , brown bread toast with jam and coffee, my regular, the rising tension is shattered at 4.30 when a chap walks through in full wetsuit with his breakfast , we all giggle and hide the smirks, plenty of time amigo .
As I arrive to the start , I deposit my special need bag with half my nutrition and head to the bike I meet up with the lads again, they looked relaxed and experienced , I notice the bikes have been moved about 12 feet, as I inflate the tyres , I knew I had a puncture , the pressure is falling, I feel deflated , I grab the bike and head to the lads, the wheel is off , the puncture repair kit is open , it’s 6.30am , swim in 30 mins away , then Derek McCabe says , go to the mechanic, again, listen to experience, in 13 minutes, I’m sorted . Bike re-racked and food onboard, time to get wet .
I pop into the water and head out for 200m , on the way back, I crack heads with another lad, 10 minutes to race time, my head is killing me , no time to wait, seed myself in the swim, and the gun goes , we are off , no time to think, just go , stay right , get away from the rope, first lap is slow , but steady, on the second lap , I don’t sight properly , boom, I’m in by the rope, we are shoulder to shoulder now , no one is giving ground and then I get a solid dig to the ribs from my pal on my right, my granny hits harder , I swim on. I had hoped for a 1.20 swim, but I’m 1.30.
Lanzarote is famed for its bike course, I can’t wait to get to it , the buzz is electric , I’m away , the climbs are relentless, the wind is relentless, the heat is relentless, it’s an honest course, there is no conversation between riders, all are focused .
I used tailwind nutrition, I made a syrup and diluted it at aid stations with the water they had, I also brought slices of Christmas pudding that my mam makes, individually wrapped, easy to eat, packed with goodness and memories of my family. I used PH Hyration , never drinking just water, I felt that I stayed within myself on the bike, I see a rider or two with head in hands on the side of the road as the route kicks in at 90-120km , the blazing heat and the grind is taking its toll . Up Los Helechos and drop down, over Mirador Del Rio, the views are incredible , back through Teguise , the support is unreal , only one more climb left , speed is still there in the legs as I hit 77km/h , starting to really enjoy myself now , I’m passing riders , me and my bike are having a good day of it! As we head through the last 10km back to T2 , the rider in front of me misreads an exit on a narrow track at 45km/h, he ends up in the shale, then shale turns to stone and he is catipulted several feet through the air right in front of me , this course needs your undivided attention, as I stop to check on him , he shouts he’s ok, and the bike too, a further 2km down the track , I see a rider running with his bike on his shoulder , in his cleats , he has to get to T2 and then run a marathon, I put the hammer down.
Arriving back to T2 , I have the pleasure of the company of Anthony Gar, we could be just two incredibly handsome men, out on a club ride, the sun is shinning , the crowds are amazing , I felt I could keep going on that bike all day, but T2 calls , as soon as I hit T2 , the brutal realization kicks in, I have not put sun cream on my shoulders in T1 , everywhere else, but not where it was most needed, they are in ribbons, a volunteer applies huge amounts of sun cream to my neck and shoulders but the damage of 7 hours in the lava fields has fried my shoulders. I was hoping for a 7 hour bike, I got 7.02.
As the marathon starts , the temp is creeping towards 29 degrees, I feel strong , mentally I’m fine, every aid station is walked, first cup of water over my head, second is consumed and third is used for my PH tablet to replenish lost essential minerals, that’s my mantra , at 22km, my feet are on fire , I turn to head out on the second loop and my shoulders take the brunt of the sun and the energy evaporates , I’m striding now, still switched on mentally , but the run has been reduced to a walk/run strategy.The support of Joanna, Ciat, Johnny, Alexandra and Pulse families is unreal as they stay in the sun cheering us on , but, please, someone take that loud hailer from Mr Butler!
My hopes of a 12-13 hour Ironman are gone , but I’m still forging ahead , re-evaluate, Anthony and myself are together again and joking with 5km to go, I have seen Matt, Vinny and Derek on the course, they are home , Anthony pushes on and I follow, I cant see my son and wife as I approach the finish line , the body feels strong , sun cream and burning feet have been my undoing, I had hoped for a 4 hour marathon, I rock in at 5.05 , so at 13hr 56min I cross the finish line , I am immeadiately greeted by Kenneth Gasgue , the race director, as far as I am concerned , he is there for me , as I head to get food , the lads are all sitting , beers and high fives , off for a massage and pick up bike and bags , the glamour of triathlon, we walk the 4km home and and I see plenty still on the course .
In the cold light of day, I feel personally disappointed, I missed all my targets, but I gave it a bloody good lash , it’s a brutal, honest Ironman course, train in the freezing cold wet climate of Ireland and then race in near desert conditions , and I will be back for 2019 to give it another lash , but before that Barcelona in October is on my radar, the experience of the last week will reside with me forever. I hope I haven’t bored ye too much !