KLYT – The Kilbirnie Loch Young Team, a loose collaboration of cracking lads who swim together at Kilbirnie Loch in North Ayrshire, Scotland to prepare for Ironman triathlons. Well all accept big Ally who now only does sprints and novelty events! (to be fair he is a sub 11hr Ironman who at the moment has knee problems). Its an honour, pleasure and a pain in the arse to be part of this “team” of mostly over 40 has-been pretend athletes, the banter is fierce but the bond is strong and six of us were to head to Ironman Mallorca for yet another dragging of ancient bodies over the longest of days!
Recently we had all taken a major kick up the arse when our latest recruit Ross Toole had ripped up Ironman Wales, one of the toughest and hilliest Ironman courses on the circuit, in an amazing 11hrs 17mins in his first attempt at the big distance. He is only about 17 (29) though so I didn’t really count and we all agreed between us that we could individually kick seven shades of shit out him in a square go. He is now calling himself the “Dragon Slayer” and its safe to say that the Ironman bug has truly bitten him and all banter aside I look forward to racing and training with him some more, he is a great addition to the squad! One day when he is a grown-up and if his mummy lets him he might even be fast like Stevie and Ally.
So myself (Pedro), Stevie (Mr Awesome), Martin (Juan Leg), Rosco (Ming), Brian and Iain all went to Mallorca to race the Ironman on the 24th September. As per usual we were about as organised as a badly organised thing with only myself and Stevie staying in the same place having decided to take our families for a cheeky wee all-inclusive week in the sun.
So the rest of this drivel is a race report of sorts, however if you are after a serious blow by blow account of the Mallorca Ironman then don’t read any further, you would be wasting your time! No instead here is the inane ramblings of a middle of the pack joker doing his best to impress his wife and boy and not “be shite.”
My main objective this year was to improve on my debut IM at Barcelona last year, this would be no easy task as the bike in Mallorca is a far stiffer test than the pan flat course I had previously completed. Last years swim was 1h 27m, the bike 5h 41m and the run 5h 11m. I knew that I wouldn’t match the bike but the swim and especially the run had definite scope for minute savings. I started training in earnest last December concentrating mostly on my running and was going strong until the end of February when I tore the planter fascia in my left foot and spent the rest of the year nursing and managing the injury. Its great testament to the NHS and especially my foot guru Euan McGivern that I managed to keep going, completing the Hoka Highland Fling 53 mile trail race and then IM Mallorca despite the injuries best attempts to screw me over.
I arrived on Mallorca the Wednesday before Saturday’s race and stepping off the plane I started to sweat like a fat kid with a free run at Willy Wonka’s! Feck it was hot, pale skinned Scottish guys aren’t designed to live in such climates never mind race!! Was I going to melt, and I mean melt not merely over heat, on the marathon?? I imagined getting to the finish line to hear ” Pedro you are an empty bag of sweaty skin as opposed to an Ironman!”
So on to the race but before that a quick word about my 9 year old Fergus, competing in his first Ironkids. What an experience, massive crowds, using the official red carpet and finish line and a T-shirt, medal and number all for 5 euro. Well done Ironman!
Race morning, up at 5.15 quick cold breakfast and off to the transition one to pump up tyres and fill water bottles. Hear the announcement over the tannoy that the water temperature has dropped to 24.5c overnight and the previously banned wetsuits were now legal. Skip a happy skip back to the hotel and get my wetsuit. Ya dancer!! I am a shite swimmer and this is good news. Prepare bike and off to Juan Legs apartment near the start line to meet the lads and our wives and kids who are now up and ready for a long day of cheer leading. Ming as per usual booked accommodation about 20 minutes before boarding the plane. His hotel is a mile along the beach and initially he refuses to believe that wetsuits are now legal insisting that we were “ripping the pish.” We convince him and his day goes from 140.6m to 142.6m as he sprints away to get his neoprene. He makes it back in the nick of time much to our hilarity however I promise no one was laughing at him as he tried to pull his wet suit on to his sticky, sweaty skin. Honest…..
As the emotions build towards the start, Stevo starts to bubble, he always does. Me? I just had a pish in my wetsuit. The gun goes and we start the slow shuffle to the start line. I spot my wife and Fergus almost waist deep in the water cheering like mad so I try to make a dramatic dive in, its still to shallow and I land on the bottom and try to wiggle quietly away into the deep like I meant it.
I swam shite. No excuses, just shite. 2.4km to an Aussie exit on to the beach and then 1.4km to finish in a time of 1hr 29m. The only upside being I kept it under 1hr 30m and seeing my family at the Aussie exit was a real boost. I looked at my Garmin, I had swam 2.7m and extra 0.3. My sighting was poor, I breathe to the left and the bouys were on the right. I had a lot of catching up to do!!
I got a fancy new bike this year, an Orbea Ordu Gold. A brilliant bit of kit, but now I had to justify what had been a major expense. As soon as I got on and started peddling I felt strong. One thing about being a mediocre swimmer is you have plenty of folk to chase down on the bike and I passed almost 500 on the bike leg. The course is basically a figure of eight with Alcudia in the centre and in the most part the tarmac was good and the course was rolling, not flat but the ups and downs in the first half were minor and by the time I was back in Alcudia at half way I was averaging nearly 21mph. I passed Ming at 17 miles and gave him some abuse but not to much incase he caught me on the run! Coming through Alcudia it was impossible not to spot our throng of support with Karen, Jac, Rhona and the kids gathered behind a group of saltires cheering wildly. I don’t mind saying I had a lump in my throat and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. But out on the second loop I had to go up the 17.5km climb into the Mallorca mountains to Lluc. This was to be the biggest test of the day and it was the element that was making my bike time estimates total guesswork. Speaking of elements as soon as I hit the bottom of the climb the heavens opened followed by claps of thunder and forks of lightning. It was the heaviest rain I had ever been in, and as I climbed into the mountain the thunder got louder and the lightning strikes closer. It was terrifying!! However I am Scottish and hills and rain are everyday things and at least the rain wasn’t cold and coming sideways at me!! I just ground it out to Lluc were the tarmac was bone dry and I started my descent. The climb had cost me 2.4mph on my average speed and I would have to put the hammer down to regain some off it eventually finishing with an average of 18.3mph over a tough 112miles. Straight after the decent the rain started again and it didn’t let up until into my second lap of the run. The only other thing on note on the bike leg was the blind right hand turn in Muro that went into a 20% short climb that seemed to catch everyone out with the clunk of chains rattling up gears ringing out. Oh and I pee’d on the bike. For the first time ever. I missed a toilet stop and was getting a bit desperate, I figured I was soaking anyway so I stood up and lent to the side and after tricking my brain into thinking this was normal behaviour I let go. It came streaking down my shorts and legs and with the assistance of the pouring rain and my bike momentum flew off behind me. I truly hope it hit the Swedish boy behind me who had been drafting for the last seven miles despite being warned my the motorbike mafia. Bike time 6hr 2m.
So onto the run. Dry socks and a swig of flat coke got me ready to go and I set out with some trepidation. The wheels came off for me in the marathon in Barcelona last year with only my decent bike time saving the day and giving me a reasonable overall finish. I didn’t expect to have much in my legs after the hills on the bike and as I said earlier injury had curtailed my running this year with only 450miles in 8 months covered. However the first mile was completed in 8m 20s and the next three in under 8hrs 40s!! I realised that this pace was suicide and I eased back a bit still covering the first 10k in under 55 minutes and seeing Mr Awesome Stevie a lap ahead and a half ahead of me and flying! I also passed Martin who was struggling with his knee and would later develop massive blisters and on the second lap I saw Iron virgin Brian, I tried to get him to run with me but he had a pale look to his face and I left him to fight his own battle.. The second lap didn’t go as well and I started to feel sick every time I took on food or liquid. Rhona got me salt and some Gummy bears and I quickly settled and managed the second 10k in under an hour. After that I never looked back, the dip that I expected never came and I ran surprisingly strong keeping below the 10 minute mile target I had set myself. Three miles from the finish I passed Iain and it gave me the final boost to push on hard and finish strong. I couldn’t believe it but I covered the 26.2 miles in 4hr 24m, a whole 47 minutes faster than Barca!
I have no doubt that this was down to my own hard work however with the help of Holly Hodge at “Its Nutrition” I had shed 6kgs in the months before the race and that really told! Maybe I should loose some more….
I hid the magic carpet grabbed a Saltire of my screaming family and floated to the line stopping only to make sure “Peter you are an Ironman” was shouted over the tannoy for the sake of my wee boy. I made an arse of it if I am honest, I always envisage showboating down the chute, high fiving the crowd and jumping about but the finish line always seem to draw me like a magnet. I just sort of crossed the finish but I did it in 12hrs 14 mins a PB by 17mins on a tough course!!!
I got me medal and tried to speak to my family through the metal fencing but my legs went and I was pestered by some kind medics who wanted to check I was alright. I bluffed them that I was fine and met Stevie in the finishing area, he had stormed it in 10hrs 51mins, unbelievable, take a bow sir, take a bow.
I waited for Iain, then Ming and Juan Leg to cross the line and cheered Brian into his last lap, but I was done and we headed back to the hotel for a couple of beers and celebrations with the family. I now regret not waiting for Brian to finish but sorry mate, I was done in.
So a great holiday and a great race spent amongst friends. Does it get any better?
A quick word of thanks to Mrs Me for the support on the day and for letting me train constantly with never a moan (aye right). It felt great to finish infornt of her and my boy for the first time, truly wonderful. The support from all the girls and guys on the day was amazing and a special shout out to the Millar girls who were all over the course providing a massive boost to all of us!
Here are the KLYT times for the record
Stephen Hill aka Mr awesome 10.51.49
Pedro Dorrington aka Epic 12.1413
Iain Anderson 12.25.16
Ross Clougherty aka Ming 12.47.36
Martin Millar aka Juan Leg 13.35.56
Brian Smith aka The Salt Shaker 15.20.10
Well done lads!