Another weekend over and plenty of race action to report on. First on a start line was Steve Hackett competing in the Alpe d’Huez triathlon. With temperatures in excess of 30 degrees this was going to be a tough day! Steve exited the 1200m swim in a time of 12.53 placing him just outside the top 20 in his age group. The swim was followed by a fast, flat ride to the base of Alpe D’Huez. This event is unusual in the fact that there are two bike splits, the usual total time and also the time it takes competitors to climb the 21 hairpins of the legendary Alpe. Knowing that the heat and altitude would make the run a tough challenge Steve rode within himself to record a time of 1.15 for the ascent. As predicted the run was hard described as “like running on the surface of the sun” Cramp in both legs slowed things for a short while until the unusual technique of “Jump Squatting” relieved the pain and Steve was able to resume his race and finish inside the top 30 in a time of 2.42. The race organisers obviously appreciated exactly how tough the day had been and very kindly provided an ice jacuzzi to cool and sooth tired limbs!
Sunday saw another hot race for Peak XV Ironmen Rich Sutcliffe and Grant Gurnsey who were taking part in Ironman Maastricht. A relative newcomer on the Ironman circuit this race proved to be wet, windy, hot and muddy all in the same day. Rich was first to exit the water in an new PB of 1.00.41 just missing out the coveted sub hour swim! Grant was some 11 minutes behind with another swim PB of 1.11. Onto the bike course the heavens opened and competitors rode the majority route in torrential rain. A mechanical after only 10k on the bike saw Rich lose the majority of his gears as well as his advantage over Grant. Grant completed the bike 3 minutes inside the 6 hour mark with Rich some 20 minutes behind. Onto the run and the weather dramatically changed into a hot and sunny afternoon. Being triathletes from Rossendale, these conditions are totally alien and the run times reflected this also leaving both competitors with the classic tri suit sunburn. Overall finish times were PB’s for both Grant 12.06 and Rich 12.48.
Also racing over the Ironman distance but closer to home was Sarah Leah who took part in The Outlaw. A combination of factors had seen Sarah miss a fair bit of training and she had decided to use the event as a long training session rather than actually race it. A decision was jointly taken with her coach that Sarah would do the swim and the bike and then call it a day. The Outlaw swim takes place at the National Water Sports centre in Nottingham and is traditionally a calm and warm ish swim. Sarah exited the 2.4 mile swim in just over 1hr 21 heading out onto the bike in 7th place in her age group. Staying true to her aim of keeping well within her aerobic zone and enjoying the event (see feature image for proof) Sarah rode steadily finishing the bike in just over 7 hours. At this point the emotion and atmosphere of the event came to the fore and Sarah unilaterally decided to ignore the wisdom of her coach and walk/run the marathon. This strategy saw her complete the race in a time of 14.49. Her comments after the event ” I am actually dead proud of myself for doing it with so little training” proved that sometime (only sometimes) the Coach might get it wrong!
Finally Peak XV had three athletes competing over the Standard Distance at the Salford Triathlon. Simon Atkin started the race hoping for a podium finish in the highly competitive Vet 40 category. Matthew Jackson was hoping to continue making progress and finish high up in his age group. And finally our latest recruit Chris Walsh was hoping to put the memory of a rather dramatic Ironman UK behind him with a solid performance over the shorter distance. Simon was the first to finish in a time of 2:11:37 in 12th place overall. This time was good enough to earn him a place on the third step of the Vet 40 podium. Pleasingly one of the areas that we had been working on was the transition from bike to run through a series of intense short brick sessions. This hard work paid off with Simon posting the quickest T2 time of the day. Every second counts! Matt finished a few minutes later in 18th place overall in a time of 2:15:55 knocking 2 minutes of his last years time! The future looks bright for Matt as he continues to works towards his aim of representing the GB team within the next couple of years. Rounding of the racing for the weekend was Chris who achieved his aim of a solid performance and one which hopefully puts the memory of Ironman UK firmly in the past. Chris crossed the finish line in a time off 2:34.
After a few hectic weeks of racing things quieten down for the rest of August. However September looks to be fairly busy with the race scene back for a final flourish before the onset of cold, wet, windy training!