Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Counting down from a week away, I was out of this world excited and confidence was building with each day.  No anxiety, at least not until I started packing.

Thursday, August 28th
A day off work to organize and relax before leaving London on Friday morning.  Slept in until 9, off to the pool for an easy 30mins, jogged home 15mins and mounted the turbo trainer for 60mins easy.  Quick shower and stretch and time to go back to sleep!  Post nap was an early evening massage then back home for dinner and packing.

Race Packing List
General - tri-suit, race belt, Garmin and sun cream

Swim - wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, 1 gel for before the swim

Bike - bike, bike shoes, helmet, sunglasses, spare tires (x2), CO2 cartridges (x2), tire levers, water bottles (x3), cycle sleeves, rain proof jacket/ vest, towel, socks, cycle gloves, sun screen, 7 bars and 7 gels

3,000 calories

Run - running shoes, socks, extra shorts and shirt (just in case it's raining), fresh rain proof jacket/ vest, hat, wrist band, 4 bars and 4 gels

complete race set, sans the bike

Friday, August 29th
Up early to be at Alan's so we could take off by 10, I arrived at the train to find out no bikes on the train until after 10am, 'I guess I'll bike to Alan's with all of this stuff on my back.'  30mins later, I was in Camden, half-way, and decided my body was aching enough to warrant a taxi.  Arrived just after 10 and packing the car/ finalizing directions, we left just after 11.  Four to five hour drive due to traffic, we checked in to our hotels and headed for registration and the expo.

Arriving at the expo, totally anti-climactic: no buzz in the air, barely any merchandising and no massages.  Luckily, bike mechanics were there and they sorted my loose shifter and explained how to avoid the chain coming off the front discs (and told me that after the race, bike needs to be taken to a mechanic given the internal cables).

Post-registration was resting in the hotel before hitting the IM UK pasta party.  The spirit was great, this is the buzz we were after, everyone was open and chatting with strangers was the norm.  I met a couple people from the US and spoke with a bunch of first-timers, a good way to end the long day.

Saturday, August 30th
Slept in, ahhhhhh!  Up at 9ish, made it to breakfast then off for more race prep.  First to Pennington Flash/ T1 for bike racking, then back to the expo (much more life than on Friday, pre-race massges? yes, please) and finally to T2 to drop off running bags.

Sunday morning we'll be running down
this shoot to our bikes
Alan peering into T1
queue into T1
I see about £6k in wheels in the pic
(yes, that's wheels only, excluding frames!)
swim to bike bags
T1, inside the gates
bike covers given to everyone
(cover the bikes in case it rains over night)
rest well big fella, we've got a bid day ahead

Alan again
swim entry/ exit
Pennington Flash
Deep water start at the closest yellow buoy
straight out to the far white mast
make a left, hug the shore, return to start buoy x2

Back to the hotel by 3.30, rest for an hour then to the mandatory race briefing.  As they walked us through the course explaining the routes and how much climbing was involved, my excitement turned to anxiety, 'wow, really, maybe 11.29 isn't achievable?  But, I'll finish? Yeah, for sure, definitely finish.'  

6pm, briefing ended, and I was on my way to the train station to meet Natsuko.  It was good to have her there, it calmed most of my nerves.  Dinner in the hotel, in bed before 10pm, sleeping before 11 (60mins to fall asleep, usually I'm z'ing within seconds!).  This was my last night of sleep as a mere mortal, tomorrow I would be challenging for ironman status!

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