Lanzarote 1/2 Ironman

So, rambling race report warning

Last weekend it was time for a solo trip out to Lanzarote for the half ironman race. The plan being to recce the route/event to decide whether the full Lanzarote Ironman appealed next year.

After failing in my reasoned negotiations with airport security to permit my 125ml rice pudding through (lethal apparently) I waved forlornly to my disappearing snack and headed to the plane. Chatted to a nice family on the plane (husband and son racing) who promised to cheer me on if they saw me. Now there's a certain type of person who catches a Thursday night flight out for a long weekend in Lanzarote it seems, the fun started with the pilot having to invoke the seatbelt sign to get a rowdy hen party to sit down and behave.
Thankfully I'd based myself in the hills in the middle of the island away from, well pretty much everyone. Slight tense start hitting the road, at night, in the dark on the wrong side of the road in a manual left hand drive car driving on unlit roads into the hills and a vague address. Once located the apartment was excellent and the hotellier pointed out the location of the nearest supermarket that apparently shut in 4 minutes. Mad dash to stock up on some essentials, quickly check the bike over and ready for registration tomorrow.
Friday morning was spent rebuilding the bike, and discovering that I'd left the jiffy bag containing pedals back in Oxted! Time for some shopping. Located bike shop, mimed issue tried to explain the need for "Look" pedals. Obtained some basic shimano spds in the end. Quick test ride then off to the north shore, registered and racked, some time for a little test swim, concluded Club-La-Santa was spectacularly overpriced for food and headed back into the hills. Had planned to drive the bike course but didn't really have time so went to relax.

Race morning, off to the start, pumped up the tyres and ready to go. Light entertainment as the pros made a false start and had to be called back.  Then it was our turn. Navigating was awful, what had been a dry crystal clear still day the previous afternoon was a nightmare with low sun, glare, misting goggles and no obvious sighting points tried to keep in the same direction as everyone else and flailed towards each turn. Thankfully over before too long (40 min) and jogging out I heard my impromptu support team shouting my name!

Off on the bike and so begins my usual routine of overtaking the field from the back after my leisurely morning splash. Gentle steady uphill from the start then some long straights and very long gentle descents saw some excellent speeds ticking up on the speedo - 45mph not unusual.

At the halfway point comes the feared climb, 10km of climb. Here I cursed my lack of driving the route beforehand having no idea what the road did or how steep it got. With hindsight I could have attacked the climb much harder. Similarly I lost a couple of places descending it unsure just how tight some of the corners were, especially with their ominous danger signs before each one. Anyway, 50mph. tick. :)

Back off the bike (3 hours) and another wild cheer from my entourage, excellent. Time for a run.
The course guide described it clearly as a three lap "flat out and back course" - it wasn't. Nothing too brutal, but it there was an energy sapping rise on the way out that needed pacing thoughtfully. Each lap around though and I got a wilder and wilder cheer from my new friends, so much so that nearby marshals and other spectators started joining in! Brilliant.

In the end managed to hold a steady solid pace for each lap right to the line in 1h49.
Final result of 5h37m. Fairly pleased with that, but felt that I hadn't managed to attack the course as hard as I could have done, it certainly pays to do the homework properly beforehand, but given my issues in hot temperatures in the past a cautious approach was probably wise.

Managed ok in the heat in the end (peaked at 32c, my body fell to pieces regulating its temperature about 2 hours after the race) but reckon I would certainly struggle with a full distance race without thoroughly acclimatising beforehand. Will have to have a think whether this is a race worth doing again (twice), I wasn't blown away by the event.

Next up... the Hever Castle "Gauntlet" this Sunday, is anyone else going to be there?


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