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September 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm #21918The Slinky OtterMember
So this is a blood and gore write up of my Ironman experience, I’ve spared no gory detail so don’t read if you’re easily offended (or are offended by bad spelling and grammar!)
After racking my bike and dropping my transition bags of on Saturday morning, all the remained left to do was crap myself for 20 hours. I hit the sack at midnight, with the alarm set for 4:30am. I had some very broken sleep, with incredibly odd dreams (one involving an evil Chinese bioscientist…).
I watched the clock tick down to 4:30 and got up. Quick shower and went in hard on porridge and tea. Jumped in the car and drove down to Tenby. I don’t recall any of the journey, apart from when I mounted the curb in Kilgetty. I nearly wrote the car off in the multi-story in Tenby too, the top floor has weird concrete lumps on it, which I managed to drag my sump over.
I walked over to the transition area, it was buzzing with people and some lady was going mental on the tannoy. I was running a bit late so only had 5 minutes to get changed into my swimming kit and submit my clothes bag. Everyone was to walk down to the beach together at 6:15am, which is precisely when the ‘load landed’ and I needed to get to a porta-loo quick! I had to queue for a bit with some other ‘Iron virgins’ before one became free; I made the grave error of not taking the top of my wetsuit off before entering! It took me 5 minutes to get the suit off inside the porta-loo, with the weight of a small elephant bearing down inside my ass. I got it off the nick of time.
I caught the parade up just before North Beach and walked down. I saw Emma and some family just as I dropped off the road, they have since told me I looked like I was about to cry. I was – I was fuckin petrified. I was sure I could do the swim, but not sure how I would feel after! I hadn’t done any swim to bike combo’s apart from the Pembs tri a few months earlier.
So the national anthem was played, which was very surreal as I’m more used to singing it half cut in a pub not dressed in rubber on a beach. Moments later the cannon fired and it was go go go. All the pro’s sprinted into the sea, I was in the middle of the pack. I was chaos! I got booted in the face three times in the first 100 metres, one of which dislodged by goggles and broke them! The right eye was leaking water for the remainder of the swim, I had to stop at every buoy and empty it! There was no aggression though, just people getting on with it, every turning point was very busy but people were taking their turns and it was actually quite friendly with a bit of banter being shouted. The first turn was the worst – 1,500 swimmers all turning left! The longer we swam the more dispersed the swimmers were becoming though. The first lap went pretty quickly and I felt good all the way round, no strain on the arms. The run around the rock was fine too; I caught a glimpse of a mate in the crowd so that kept me going. The second lap was easier as it was less chaotic but the last 400 metres from the lifeboat station in was hard, the arms were feeling it! I got out in 1 hours 21 minutes.
I ran out and up the path to the road, my heart was racing and my legs weren’t really working! The transition tent was chaos, everyone was trying to find their own space to get their suit off and bike stuff on. One bloke was standing right in middle of the tent, totally naked, taking a piss. I didn’t get a race number (he was naked after all), but i would like to congratulate him on his balls, not his actual balls, but mental balls for being able to do that in front of everyone.
I had opted to cycle in proper bike clothing rather than those ‘master of none’ tri suits. I figured the extra few minutes putting bike shorts on wasn’t going to make a huge difference. After seeing naked-pissy man, i felt quite comfortable giving the gooch a good creaming.
I found the bike on the rack and got going, passing two people who had crashed into each other and were bleeding just 10 metres outside of the transition area! It was great getting on the bike as I felt it was my strongest discipline and if I could make it back in less than 8 hours i thought id have a good chance of getting around the run, even if I had to walk it!
The miles flew by and i was in Pembroke before I knew it, it gave me great pleasure passing the TT bikes with their aero wheels – you’re in my back yard now boys! I passed this mental dude on the hill out of Pembroke who was suffering from cramp (15 miles in!), he just stopped in front of me and fell into the verge, still clipped in, yelling something in French! I shouted ‘aqua, aqua!’ at him as I passed. As I turned off at the top I went passed my mates house, he had written ‘Go Plumb’ in massive letters on the road, which at the time I didn’t notice! I was too busy busting my biceps at him! I only found out when this Irish guy passed me a bit later asking if I was the Plumby that the road writing was for.
It was the strongest wind I’d cycled in down there, so the straight past the army barracks was very tough going! A Tenby Ace on a TT passed me and gave me a ‘Go on Narberth’ as he passed, I would pass him again going down into Fresh as he had a mechanical issue. He pulled up behind me in Angle and was asking for an allen key, I think he got it sorted, but I didn’t see him again.
Next was the long climb to Narberth, it wasn’t too bad as the wind was behind us then. Saw some Rob and Helen Nich and their boys at Yerbaston farm shop which was ace. After the turn in Cross-hands Mountie and family and covered the go in Go Plumbs too, it was great to see them on both laps! The pull up Templeton and Narberth hills were relatively easy, spotted Ian at Narberth Bridge, I was feeling good! Narberth was amazing for support! I knew loads of people on the roadside and those who I didn’t know recognised the Dynamos top! It was incredible, it was such a lift!… and that was before I was spotted by the Dynamos at the feed station! It was great to stop for a moment, get a refill and have a chat! I hadn’t stopped at all until that point. After some gentle abuse from Anthony and Andrew it was onward, just 100 metres down the road was another load of supporters, including Emma and family, it was so good to see everyone! There was also a great crowd of familiar faces gathered in Princes Gate.
Feeling inspired it was onwards to the two killer hills. Wisemans was… there, I’m very glad I stuck on a 11-29 cassette a few weeks before, I kept the cadence up so didn’t need to stand up. St Brides was a different story; Marve and Griff were waiting there and ran up beside me! I went way to quick and shit my lungs out at the top! The bonus kick in the teeth to New Hedges was as hard as always. The wind was so strong now that I had to peddle downhill to Tenby! Nobody expects to have to peddle downhill!
The stretch after Tenby to Lamphey was harder this time, the wind had picked up and the legs were creaking! I tucked into the aero position and just cracked on! It was nice to finally get to the turning point at Lamphey, had a well earned banana at the feed station there. The route from there all the way to Crosshands was soul destroying, it was raining by now and it was pretty much all climbing!
The mind was starting to play tricks now; I started thinking of ways I could retire without making it look like id shit-out. A crash, yeah I’ll cycle into the hedge, I’d gladly take a few stitches in the head now to stop this. I wish a car would come the other way, I could crash into it gently!… It was fuckin hard knowing there was a marathon yet to come given my legs were already feeling tired, but I told myself I would complete the bike route and then see how I felt. After all the mind games, I’d managed to cover some distance and I hit 100 miles on Narberth hill, not the greatest place to be with 100 miles in your legs!
I’m not sure if some other cyclist had the same kamikaze ideas as me, I saw a lot of cyclists sitting down next to wrecked bikes on the 2nd lap. Most were the pro looking TT bikes with the thick aero wheels. I passed a lot of people with these set-ups descending too, so think this may have been a poor choice for many due to the high winds.
I’d only ever cycled 100 miles before, so the cycle through Narberth itself was new ground in terms of distance! A quick hi-five at the filling station and I needed to carry on. I was feeling fucked now! I cracked on to Ludchurch where is stopped to have a piss in a hedge, I got off my bike and fell over! I couldn’t walk! This was of great concern given I had a marathon to run in 10 miles. Wisemans was brutal, I passed a handful of people walking up it (a Dynamo never pushes!). Thankfully my mates had moved off St Brides hill so I took it at a sensible pace, picking my previously shat out lungs on the way through. Same old story into Tenby, had to cycle downhill again.
I passed a well populated marathon course on the way down. I pulled into transition with a total cycle time of 7 hours 40. I had a sit down in transition, put on a dry thermal top and had a peanut butter sandwich. I was fucked! I had a chat to this dude next to me, doing his 4th ironman, it was great that he was being honest and admitted he was wrecked too. I slapped on the compression shorts and camelback and stepped out onto the marathon course. Eils, Marve and Griff were waiting for me outside transition, it was great to stop and have a chat with them to take my mind off the legs!
I started a little jog and things got a bit better, they loosened up and after 3 miles they’d stopped thinking they were meant to be pedalling! I still can’t believe they were working, it seems the training was paying off! The hill up to New Hedge was a twat though and I had to do it 4 times! I much preferred doing 4 laps though than doing a big ‘there and back’ route to Freshwest or something. You received a new band on your arm at the top of the hill. My mate, who’s a fireman, was sitting in a fire engine at the ‘band station’, every time I ran past he turned the siren on for a minute, it was ace, made me laugh every time. Martin Bowen was also at the top of the hill, it was great to get a shout-out up there.
The hill was shit, but coming back into town and winding through the streets was immense! The crowd was so good, especially my two different ‘support crews’ who were running through the back streets so they could shout at me in two or three different spots per lap, immense! It was good seeing Ian and Kim at the bottom of town and other Dynamos about town, Anthony was outside the chippy! There were too many mates there to mention, but you all helped sooooo much!
I ticked off two laps fairly comfortably. I knew if I could run the third lap I’d be in a good position. It was hard doing the hill for the third time, but I collected by third band at the top and shed a little tear as for the first time, I thought I could actually complete them course and be an Ironman! I ran back down in good spirits, high-fived some kids and mates and started the 4th and final lap. My legs had bunked BIG time now! I had to walk the steep bits up the hill, running where I could. A mate of mine, Mathew Davies, was on the feed station halfway up “Plumby its simple, go up there, get your fourth band, come back down and you’re an Ironman”. I met Dai Jones and his boys up there too, they ran with me for a bit which was a good distraction from my now desperately painful legs.
The run back down was hard, but I was on it! I got back into town and my crews had disappeared – They were waiting on the esplanade by the finish line. I had some shouts of Plumby as I passed under the arch before the turn left down the last 100 metres! I went mental. High fived everyone down the strip and got to the red carpet to see all my family and mates. It was immense. I crossed the line, picked up my medal and burst into tears!
The hard-core support crowd were all there, kisses, hugs, hand shaking and I got covered in some kind of fizzy wine, some of which I guzzled. My total time was 14 hours 26 minutes and I was an IRONMAN.September 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm #24989The Slinky OtterMemberSeptember 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm #24990
Slinky a beautiful moving tale of one man’s struggle with adversity. The image of an elephant trapped in a wetsuit will live with me for ever. A brilliant effort.September 19, 2012 at 7:10 am #24992Sweaty EdsMember
An epic account of an epic achievement.
You’re an IRONMAN!September 19, 2012 at 8:22 am #24993butcherboyMember
Awesome Slinky. On behalf of the club, congratulations. We are all very proud of you.September 19, 2012 at 9:26 am #24994MorganiteMember
Well done mateSeptember 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm #24999AntsMember
A great account slinky of a brill day,I was tired just watching, you nutter but congrats on becoming an ironman. Next stop the tattooSeptember 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm #25000xxxxxMember
Great effort on passing an elephant, I hope the tusks didn’t cause too much discomfort and well done for the Ironman too.September 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm #25001
Welcome to the Forum. I have a sneaking suspicion I know why you and Mrs xxxxx are so keen to hide your identity. Rest assured we don’t make a habit of outing our Members (except Slinky or course)
I must say that having looked at a number of the Ironman competitors, they may have done well to follow Slinkys example before the event. Some of looked like they were carrying a small Zoo….
I have just received and email from the organisers who confirm that event is on Channel 4 at 6.35am on Sunday and sent a link to some more photos.
http://www.triblogs.com/blog/Oziem/ironman-wales-2012-heartbreak-hill-photos?pid=2128 ….featuring our very own SlinkySeptember 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm #25008swancvsMember
Congrats Slinky, a fine offering both in effort on the day and in your posting. I shouted encouragement at you when we passed. You had an awesome day. Well done Sir!September 22, 2012 at 7:17 am #25010
Well done yourself Swanny. Fancy penning a few thousand words?September 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm #25014RogerMember
I’m back!… and would like to be the last to send on my congratulations to Slinky (sorry I wasn’t around to support)…of course,I could do it easy…well apart from the swimming,oh and the running…brave effort and great write up……good luck with the baby…let me tell you – that will a lot harderJanuary 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm #25425carldaviesMember
Fair play mate, you can’t fail to be inspired reading this!
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