Main goal for this season was to qualify for Hawaii. After a good start with second place in Wales last year, it looked like an easy task. However, I felt terrible in South Africa and had to quit the race and later I had flat tire in Nice where I finished fifth. After Nice I decided to race Ironman UK as a last chance to get enough points. There are more races after, but I still wanted to race Embrunman and didn’t want to put all eggs in Kona basket. I needed a top3 result to make July cutoff.
The race started with yet another subpar swim. After 400m guy in front of me lost the feet and there was no getting back into the group. I got out of the water 8 minutes behind Guillaume and Wiltshire and 2 minutes behind larger group.
Ride turned out to be quite lonely. Evoe caught me before the main climb but I dropped him there. A bit later I passed two more guys and after that I didn’t see anyone for a long time. There were not too many spectators in the first loop either so the ride felt a bit spooky. My average power for the first 3 hours was around 275W which is quite good so I assumed other’s can’t be too far ahead.
The ride felt quite easy until one moment when the power all of the sudden started going south. It was even worse when I looked at my watch and realized there’s still 45 km to ride. After I caught Cartmell, I felt a bit better again. Besides that, there was a bit more crowd support in the second loop so the time went faster.
I started the run in seventh place. First part is point to point after which we run 3 loops in Bolton. Because of that it took a while until I could judge the gap to the guys in front. Once I was on the road where we run loops I was still 9 minutes behind third placed Danielsson. That was a lot of time to make up but I was running very well and calculated that I could make the pass at the start of the final loop.
My average for the first 32 km was below 4 min/km which brought me to less then 2 minutes from the podium place. Considering hilly profile this was very good pace. However, after that things got complicated. I started to cramp and at the start of the last loop I only cut about 40 seconds from the gap and felt quite bad. That was the first time I thought I might not catch him. Since the cramps were worse on the downhill section I decided to push a bit more on the uphill part and try to catch him before the last turnaround. He was going through his own crisis, so I managed to pass him 5 kilometers before the finish. I was also glad that he didn’t saw me cramping as that would probably give him wings.
I’m happy with my final position but not so much with my performance. Swim and bike were not at a level where they should be and luckily I managed to save the day on the run. I think I had too many races in the past 2 months which didn’t leave much time for training so the shape started going south. Main thing is that I accomplished my goal. July cutoff for Kona slots is next week. Maybe there’s still mathematical chance I won’t qualify, but even if it exists, it’s not very high.