The icing on the cake? The pinnacle of the sport? Or just another race?
See it as you please, but the Ironman World Championship in Kona is by far the most well known and iconic event on the calendar.
A place of myths, race “wars” and many a disappointment, it is THE one, the holy grail to achieve for many.
After an amazing result last year at IM UK, the goal was to keep going a little bit longer, and I qualified in South Africa earlier this year. For me, that’s where the hard work was done, and I went to the the big island with no expectations, and no pressure.
At the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Stryd was running a data-gathering trial to help them improve their product, a running power meter in foot-pod.
As a data geek, I liked the idea of collecting more data for my run. At least as a curiosity.
I collected a foot-pod - kindly lent for the race by Stryd for free - a couple of days before the event. I was only going to let it record data, and not attempt to change any settings on my watch to display any field that would confuse me during my race.
It’s been a long time since my last olympic tri around Eton Dorney back in 2012.
This time, though, it was a massive PB around a theme park!
It’s the end of a long off-season break, bruised ribs from an MTB crash 5 weeks ago have just about healed, yet, I’m standing at the start of a 100 miles “gravel dash” in Swanage, Dorset.
100 miles doesn’t seem too much, right? After all, I race longer and train close to that distance regularly.
Small detail, though: that’s on paved roads…
While driving to Swanage where the event starts and finishes, I already started to realise what I was letting myself into. Hill, hills, and more hills. Chalky cliffs. Some flooded fields… I could already picture crashes, a mud bath and walking a lot.
It was going to be a long day either way.
Coming close to qualification last year in Bolton, and after the disappointment of IM Wales, I was ready to pack it all up. But being so close, and keeping improving, I followed friends' advice, and I “followed the slots” with my ticket to South Africa. At a championship race with 75 slots on offer, and ageing up for one of the largest age groups, I hoped I could get close to the top like at IM UK, and if not in the slots directly, get myself a roll-down.
One that has been on my list for a long time, because it looked awesomely hard. Sadly, the day didn’t go to plan…
After good results in Lanzarote the last two years, I was on the hunt to find the right race to try and qualify for Kona. With a fair amount of travels for my last races, this year’s long races were going to be on home soil, especially if I manage to qualify and have to finance a trip to the big island quickly!
With this in mind Bolton was race 1, and IM Wales is going to be the “back-up” qualifying event.