*** Many thanks to Naz Tronic for this great report ***
I signed up for Half-Challenge Barcelona a week before ADIT, A month (Yes 1 month) prior to the event Ironman acquired the owners of the race “Tritlon Spain SL” converting the race to an Ironman 70.3 event. The name change made no difference to me, but i effectively paid challenge fee for an Ironman event :-) I also heard from few others that the race was much more organized this year than it was the previous years.
I just swam swam swam, bike bike bike & a bit of running... I never really had a training plan, my plan was to join anyone who was happy to go riding,running or swimming.. I tried to follow few training plans, but due to my work schedule i find myself training fewer hours than i would have without one, so i made my own plan based on TriDubai weekly post which basically involved, Friday morning ride, Saturday swim, Tuesday morning swim & Wednesday brick session and a bit of running around Safa park on my own. I had also signed for a number of local races Jan-March to experience a race atmosphere which really help me calm my nerves on race day.
My plan: Keep it simple and avoid spikes!!
-Electrolytes: Endurolytes- Hammer
-Carbs & Protien: Perpetuem - Hammer
I set an alert on my Garmin every 15minutes…
I arrived 3 days prior to the event, rented a car to drive to the Calella (45minutes drive from the airport), That gave me enough time to get around Calella and most importantly get used to the water. On Friday before the race i Joined a policemen to take a dip in the water, I freaked out!!!! It was deep, and crystal clear water with living beings in it & COLD .. YES nothing like Dubai !!! Did a quick 10minutes swim and back to the shore.
We were staying at Best western Hotel (55 Euros/night), It was cheap and very close to swim start and 15mns walk to transition. Best part of the Hotel was that they served early breakfast on race day. I didn't want to try anything new so i stuck to my usual porridge..
Sergi Labori helped me get an appointment at SBRstore with a mechanic to assemble my bike out of the box and also get everything i needed for the race, the store was dedicated to triathlon, they even had a pool to test your wetsuite ‘INSIDE’ the store!! Impressive...
Friday & Saturday i ate all things carbs, i also drank a lot of water building up to the race..
Race Plan: Survive the swim, smash the bike (which i couldn’t) & pace the run
I met Andrew Maud at the swim start quickly clicked a pic (Thank you Ele) proudly showing of our TriDubai suites.
I HATE SWIMMING!!! More time spend in the water DOES NOT make ME any faster!!! I failed to understand how this works (& I’ll never will) but the objective was to ensure that i can swim that distance without killing myself .
The swim was 200 meters in to the sea a left turn at the buoy (which was well marked) followed by 1500 meters swim parallel to the shore and then 200 meters back to the shore towards Transition, The swim surprisingly went well with few slap and splash here and there with no screw ups other than my swim time!
T1 06:00- T1 tent was really close to the swim exit, I took forever to get on the bike, I suddenly had too much to do, It took a while to put my Calf & arm sleeves, bad idea after a swim!!! Not sure why its not allowed to have them on the swim.
BIKE 03:37- This was the slowest bike ride ever...
The first 3 KMS was in smaller streets of Calella before getting on to the hills, the bike course had continuous ascent with less descents (I know!! how is that possible?), I was not prepared for such long & steep climbs and sharp bend descents, my average ride speed in ADIT was 32 km/h at the race my average speed was only 25 km/h.. It was a tough Hilly course!!!
T2 01:17- The timing mats only count the bike racking time not the Tent part of transition, not sure why??... I arrived T2 knackered .. My feet strangely numb!! I quickly racked the bike grabbed the run bag took a lot of time looking for my nutrition pouch (which was in my shoe), I ran the whole race with a pack of nutrition in my shoe. This explain why i never once cramped ;-)
Run 02:02- (Including the time spend at the tent) The run was flat with a mix of dirt road, pavement & asphalt, There was no COKE in the run instead they had something called RED-Cola 'A disgusting cough syrup'.
Overall:06:29- Happy to have finished the race but i am left with a sense of non-achievement to have come so slow off the bike. I now realize that the bike is the discipline that can make or break you in a race. In my case it broke me !!! I may be back next year to try finish it sub 6 until then i keep training...
Plan for the next race:
Swimming lessons, Get a Tri-Bike, Always carry a tool to remove your Pedals (Thank you Andrew for carrying my bike back to Dubai), Fixed training plans & more Hatta rides!!!
TriDubai thank you!!!
Whether you are an active member or a silent observer, an experience or non-experience athlete, a fast or a not so fast one, all of you Triathletes have really helped me through my training months & learn a lot about this fabulous sport!!! Thank you all...