Ironman Lanzarote 2022 race report.
Finally after the race been cancelled in 2020 then deferred in 21 due to COVID-19 the time has come to set off to Lanza.
We arrive, unpack and I head straight to the sea for a swim knowing I’ve had very little open water swimming practice let alone sea swimming.
9 minutes later I’m out due to very rough seas making it near impossible to swim and now I’m in panic mode thinking if this is race day conditions I’m not even going to finish the swim.
Later on that day I realised the wind was coming from the south of the island which is unusual for Lanza as 95% of the time the wind is coming from the north which after a quick look on the forecast it was confirmed for race day.
The next 2 days I was out of bed and straight for a swim to try and restore some confidence.
Registration was done on Wednesday so now it was time to rest, eat, sleep, repeat.
Friday arrived in a flash and it was time to rack my bike and check my bags in That is it, nothing else to do now just eat and get a early night but I always find it hard to sleep with what’s in store for me just running round in my head.
4am alarm and I’m straight up for a light breakfast and a small coffee to hopefully kick start the body( also known as make race weight).
I arrive at transition get to my bike for one last check and add my race nutrition. Gemma goes to find a cafe so I can just chill out then I spot a very tall man in a OTCF top walking towards me and it’s Rob and Lindsay who had flown out to support me, now I’m totally blown away and a little emotional but in a good way.
I say my goodbyes to Gemma, Rob and Lindsay then make my way to the swim start. This is the part I find strange as I’m stood in a crowd of 1300 people yet feel very alone as I contemplate what’s ahead and only I can get myself to the end. AC/DC thunderstruck starts and now I’m tingling with adrenaline then that’s it GO GO, I’m in and straight into what felt like a good rhythm.
Before I know it I’m at the first turn buoy to head out to deeper water but again I’m still feeling good. Then as we made the second turn to head along the long back stretch it quickly became apparent we were fighting the current and were into some deeper chop, but I kept calm and focused on my technique. After what felt like forever we finally made the 3rd turn buoy and I now know I have around 800m to go but this was still very tricky as I’m now sighting straight into the low sunshine. It had the same affect on everyone as we’re all bouncing on and off other, but then I see the sea bed come back into view then I’m back on my feet! I just thought to myself ”phew” that’s the bit I worry about the most out of the way.
Into T1 a nice quick change grab my bike and make the long run to the mount line hop on feet in shoes( thanks Adam) and I’m away rolling through the huge crowds making so much noise.
The bike is straight into around 1100 ft of climbing in the first 10 miles so I’m just spinning and trying to allow my legs to wake up after the swim.
Once the course levels out you then get a long steady decent for around 10 miles with a nice tail wind to the bottom of the island so I make the most of it keeping nice and aero to keep high speed for little output but always thinking this is a out and back so I have to come back up this into the wind.
I make the turn and instantly I’m hit by the 20mph head wind and I will now be pretty much climbing into the wind for the next 40 miles except for a few small descents and a short section of tail wind. As hard as this course is it’s also a breathtaking landscape to be racing through so I try to just focus on this while holding my power output and keeping on top of my nutrition.
As we snake our way through some of the most iconic parts of the island Timanfaya, Haria and Mirador del Rio to name a few there is just no rest with constant climbing, ever present winds and the temperature now increased to mid 20s, but I knew once I got to the top of the climb at Mirador (70 miles in) we turn and start heading for home with a tail wind.
I’m now descending at 40mph + with a big tail wind which can rapidly change direction from the side so although it’s fast it’s far from relaxing hanging on to keep the bike in a straight line but I’m loving the challenge.
Now making good time I’m hitting the 80 mile mark then we make a right turn back into the wind and again climb into the lava fields for around 15 miles and by this time the temperature is touching 30 now I feel like I’m starting to fight fatigue but stay positive as I’m nearly through this section of the race. Mile 100 ticks by which is always a great feeling then I’m rolling along the sea front back through the noise and crowds and into T2 where I make the decision to do a full change out of my tri suit into running shorts and a vest knowing this is going to be a very hot run. Out of T2 and I’m on my way with a quick high five to Gemma Rob and Lindsay.
The run or as it turns out a battle. I had in my head pre race I wanted to run sub 4 but after just 3 miles on the run I knew this was a huge ask, I didn’t feel empty or under fuelled I was just massively over heating and my skin tingling so I quickly made the decision to forget the sub 4 run just make sure you get to the finish.
At the second aid station there was probably the only opportunity on the course for a around 25 meters of shade next to a wall so I took some iced water and energy drink from the aid station sat down to make sure I drank the energy drink and soak my cap in iced water then I’m back on my way and a much reduced pace. From now on I walked every aid station soaking my hat and forcing nutrition in by which point 2 of the Grimsby tri guys and passed and disappeared from sight which was hard to see but I knew I just had to look after myself.
As I approached the end of my first lap (half marathon) I’m now on to my two shorter laps all the time been encouraged by the amazing support from the crowd not to mention Gemma Rob and Lindsay who had walked the sea front along the run route. As I ran past a shop I see the temperature on the shop sign saying 33 degrees and I was actually happy to see that as it kind of confirmed it’s ok to be struggling.
I make it through the 2nd lap of 10k and the sun is slowly setting which ment for longer shades cast by buildings and trees. Onto the last lap still been regimental with my aid station strategy I see one of the Grimsby tri guys who passed me earlier and he’s clearly struggling now to so I stick to my pace and before I know it I give him a tap on the back to say hang in there mate then carry on past and to the final turn around with now just 5k to go. This is the first point I knew I would definitely finish as the temperature is starting to drop and I could feel my pace starting to pick up slightly.
I can now see the other Grimsby tri athlete just in front of me and again I stick to plan and roll up-to to the back of him again giving him encouragement as we are all suffering the same. I can now hear the finish line noise and then I can see it. I lift my glasses to find Gemma Rob and Lindsay on the side of the famous red carpet and just can’t help the tears as I high five them and kiss Gemma then run down that magic carpet over the line! I am mentally and physically exhausted but so so happy.
Into the recovery tent I go and I always love this part with people you have never met rolling in and we all congratulate each other like I can only imagine soldiers do coming back from the battle field.
That’s is I’m writing this 4 days later thinking how do I feel about it and I’m nothing but proud of getting round one of the world’s toughest Ironman. I am also overwhelmed by the support from the OTCF family all the messages of support mean so much.
Finally a big thanks to Steve who has guided me through my training to get me over the line and a massive thanks to my wife Gemma for your endless support. Emily for your 5 star massages to keep me injury free.
Special mention to Rob and Lindsay for coming out to Lanzarote you should definitely get a top support trophy at presentation night 😉