Ironman Wales Pre Race

WalesPreview11The picture is from the window of our little flat. You can see the swim course and the road is the final 100m of the run. We’ve got ourselves a lovely little location here which seems pretty remarkable given how late I booked it.

I am a little biased towards this race. I’m not sure why but back in Kona last year when it was announced I entered straight away. I love the idea of an Ironman in Wales and this spot is really quite nice. In good weather it would be gorgeous but in the weather we’ve had so far it is rather intimidating.

From what I’ve seen this could easily become one of the toughest races on the circuit. As of this morning I have swum most of the course (it was not marked out), I’ve biked the whole course and run all but the far 3km of the run. It’s going to be tough

SWIM – it was pretty fresh in there. I had numb hands by the end. The long stretch parallel to shore was in to a decent chop. It was a “proper” swim – ie reasonably hard. Speaking to the organisers they are keen for it to be a genuine challenge and are hoping it won’t need to be moved to the North Bay. That is their contingency and from what I can see that bay is mill pond like where as the south bay always has a little something going on.

BIKE – do not be mistaken by the lack of a major col. So many people focus on major cols as a sign of toughness. My experience is that a couple of major cols aren’t so bad – they allow clear focus on the challenges, you can get in to a rhythm and generally they give long descents that you can make the most of and recover. Be wary of courses with high total ascent but nothing that stands out. Eg – the original UK course, Wimbleball, Wisconsin and this one. This course has ~2500m ascent per my garmin but it’s highest point is less than 200m. There are no long ascents but similarly no long descents. Many of the descents are narrow and have steep and / or tight blind bends. Familiarity with this course will be an advantage. The descents will not be a time to recover they will require focus. It also catches the wind which we found on Wednesday. This is the profile of the main loop which is done twice.

imwalesprofile11.jpg

There are are also some steep sections including a lovely 16%er (marked) which is hit at about 100km and 170km. This is a tough bike course

RUN – normally I reckon runs are designed to be as easy as the local terrain will be allow. Perhaps this one is though if that was the priority then the loop round castle hill could have been skipped. From what I could see there is more or less no flat running here – all is either uphill or downhill. Much is of a gradient where you can make the most of it but some sections are reasonably steep. Reckon it could catch a few people out as most strides could be quite different from those done in training if you generally run on the flat !

It’s going to be quite a race.

May as well do the usual and give some predictions

Swim: 55 / T1: 5 min / Bike: 5:30 / T2: 3 min / Run: 3:45 —> TOTAL: 10:18

Thats a prediction I would be very pleased with. Reckon it could easily be 30 minutes slower (or more!).

I’m enjoying being in Tenby. It reminds me of weekend swim galas in Scarborough as a teenager. It appears a great venue for a group to all come and do the same race since if you book far enough ahead you could take over a local B&B or Hotel and can be located within walking distance of everything.

I’m trying to not get nervous about Sunday. My preps have been far from what I’ve planned. Coming in to this race I have the lowest CTL (Chronic Training Load) I’ve ever had coming in to a race. Not surprising, I guess, given the monthly cap I’ve had. I feel like, other than Epic France, I’ve done no training since Austria. Thats probably correct. That said my swimming feels OK and when I’m out on the bike I feel strong. My biggest concern is definitely the run and given the nature of this course it could get ugly. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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