Riding With A Hero

RidingWithAHeroTodays photo is of me and my nephew Jude in Kona. I’m sporting my Art Of Tri t-shirt that I won for my fastest transition at Ironman Wisconsin. It’s made of organic cotton and I’m generally rather skeptical about such things and would perhaps pay for organic on the grounds it’s better for the planet but would never believe  it would actual be a better material. WELL… I am seriously impressed with how nice this Organic Cotton is.  Really light and comfortable. The designs are cool as well – Triathlon related but not in your face so. My sister like it so much she bought one for David.

Meeting the stars of Triathlon is becoming so last week ;o) Seems Norman Stadler is always in the showers after the swim …  he’s spoiling it for us, if he’s always there then it’s no longer special. This build up is great. I can’t get enough of it. Just back from The Parade Of Nations. Unlike last year I reckon more or less every Brit was at the parade and the majority were wearing the t-shirts supplied by IM UK. The guy from IMUK confirmed that the venue will change and it should be announced in a couple of weeks. Said it will still be very british ! He also said it will be the weekend of Aug 8/9th. With a change of venue I’d be interested in doing it again and I know it’s a race Jo is keen on doing… so you never know, 4 Ironman this year seems to have worked … so squeeze that baby in before Kona next year and Busselton after would make it a 5 Ironman year. Don’t worry … this is pre Kona euphoria talking.

Feeling like the preparations are coming together. Finally starting to feel ok running. On Sunday I swam the full course with Toby Felt strong, 38 minutes out and 28 minutes back … there’s clearly a current. I’m very lucky here both Paul and Toby are the same pace as me swimming so every morning I have at least one if not two people to swim with. Now Toby is here I’ve someone to ride with as well. He’s strong on the bike and it’s noticeable up the rollers and when the headwinds pick up but we’re similar enough that it’s a good ride together. I’m sorting him out on the downhills especially if it’s windy … though I reckon thats just cause I’ve had more time to get used to some of these heart in the mouth cross winds.

So Sunday… after another long and relaxed breakie in Splashers with Toby and Roger we all headed out on the bike along the Queen K. Toby and I turned back after 15 miles. I ran 7.5 miles off the bike up to Jane and Mums hotel. I finally felt like I was running with a purpose and pushed it for a while before my brain got the better of me and I sensibly eased off. Toby told me that just cause you feel good doesn’t mean you have to test it. He’s so right, feeling good now should be savoured and give you confidence for Saturday.

Chilled out with Jane and the boys at their hotel. I went down the chute god knows how many times with Jude. Jo told me off about doing such things in race week. She’s quite right, would Macca be messing about like that !

I stayed over at their hotel (I’m checked in to mums room and have a key so have the luxury of a choice of hotel!) and ran back for the 7am swim. My legs ached first thing but once I got going I felt good running again. Met Paul at the swim start (just) and did the full course with him again. This time we went super quick and with a break at halfway managed to do the course in 61 minutes swim time. Well pleased. Then out on the bike with Toby – we rode the Queen K to the little shop at the Hawi turnoff. This was a 70 mile round trip. Went out in 1h38 and back 1h54 didn’t feel too taxing so really happy. We were both heading out wearing out Epic Camp gear and Tara Norton (a fellow Epic Camper) came up along side and chatted (Toby was on the same camp as her). She was looking pretty fit and said she felt she was ready for the race and would go well. She’d read Jo’s and my race reports on Wisconsin and commented on how well Jo’s season had gone. We chatted about preps for this race and I said how I was doing heavier training than normal. She said that she’d done a pretty heavy week last week and people were very different in what they need to do. It was nice to get reassurance from such a experienced independent source.

Today was another swim. Sticking to my guns about swimming every day. After yesterdays training I was feeling good and have decided it’s now time to ease off and just do steady stuff into the race. I swam half course with Paul. We stopped on the way back at the Coffees Of Hawaii boat for an expresso. I’m the guy swimming towards the camera in this photo. Scott was on the boat serving up coffee. He commented he like my tan, I said it was very british and the folks back home would love it. It got a laugh.

A very long breakie at Splashers with Toby and Roger followed before I headed out for an hour bike, 20 min run brick. On the way to the Queen K I noticed a large group all in Specialized gear. I thought this would a good pack to ride with. When I caught them I saw Peter Reid with them. Now this is an Ironman I’ve always warmed to and thought how cool. I felt though that they were probably a group that had paid to be out training with him so I just hung right at the back and did not intrude. After a while Peter eased off and let them go by, I thought to check everyone was ok. He pulled alongside me and I said “I’m just hanging off the back of your peleton” and he told me he was just hanging with them as well. We cycled the next 10 minutes chatting away before (and I”m very proud of myself for this) my half hour riding out was up and I thanked Peter and said I had to turn round. He wished me luck ! I was chuffed to bits. Ran off the bike for 25 minutes – good sold pace.

After all of this I went to register and who was beside me filling in the USAT form … none other than Chrissie Wellington. She had no cash and had had to blag 10 bucks from someone for the day license. I asked if she was ready to go. She said she’s always ready.

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