Podium finishes for Sally, Kim and Debbie at 70.3 Aarhus, Denmark
This seemed like a good idea at the time and a real challenge.I knew I was in good hands with Debbie , the true 70.3 "pro" and Kim , not quite a virgin at this distance , but a top club athlete who has kept me company through many of the long runs and cycle rides.
A very early but smooth start on the Thursday got us into Aarhus ( the city of beautiful people , divine food and stunning countryside) and settled by 12 noon for a snooze then bike unpacking and tweaking (something "bicycle mechanic Mortleman"usually does for me in return for small favours!)
Team coach Debbie led us out for a cycle practice , transition recki , drive round the bike route in a hire car , plunge in the jellyfish filled sea and a short run with pick ups over the next 2 days. Inbetween this , we rested our legs , ate delicious fish and ryebread and chatted to everyone our experienced and well travelled Debbie knew. (an estimated 50% of the people there to race including most of the pro's!) Meanwhile Kim and I tried to get our heads around logistics whilst chatting to as many "friendly Danes" as possible.
Race day came with another early start following the usual restless sleep - all set in transition with blue,red and white bags hung up in the right places and the bike looking and feeling perfectly tuned. All women plus pro women set off in the 1st wave at 8am promptly; a bit of walking till those infront started to swim then the usual battle for elbow room up to the first buoy.A straight 1.9k out to a red buoy then around the next and back , that is , except the small matter of hundreds of jellyfish!. "Just vaseline your faces and hands" was the casual Danish advice , and "don't worry , the stingers sink a metre or two under the surface!" I knew Kim would be a good 5 mins ahead and Debbie too , so after a surprisingly enjoyable and clear watered swim of 37 mins , I sprung out of the water , reasonable T1 and got out on the bike to chase the others. At this point Neil Colvin and Charlies repeated advice not to start out too fast was ringing in my head.I knew this , and taking sufficient drink and gels was the key ,so I attempted a steady 20m/hr pace but was soon knocked back by 15m/h cross winds , heavy legs rolling hills and sharp corners.(they had said it was a technical cycle) I was surprised to pass Debbie at the beginning of the ride , but later she explained that Garmin and porterloos were at fault.This was one bit of advice that Kim and I shunned - the recommendation to use the very handy loos before bike and run ; "we're not wasting 5 mins doing that!!" The bike continued to be hard work for the first 30k with a fairly poor drinks pickup where 2 women overtook me. By this stage I had gradually gone past 15 women. I decided not to bother at the 60k drinks station , which worked well for me , though I was popping gels every 40mins and was on my 3rd caffeine gel.
At this stage I knew all Kims cycle training had payed off and felt I would never see her. It took me a full 2 hrs 23 mins to catch up with Kim , by which stage I was picking up the pace and feeling very good . Another half an hour saw me into transition , a good T2 and out on the run for the first of 3 laps and the most unknown part of the race. It was hot , hilly and the crowds in Aarhus were amazing (even calling out our names and some "go 7oaks" cheers).At the 2 drinks stations I had a glug of all 3 drinks - water , sports drink and Danish beer ( only joking!-red bull). I cheered Kim coming down the hill from the first turn around point and knew she was hot on my heels along with other women (all rather young and beautiful and blond!) By the last lap I had increased the distance from the other women I had clocked , excepting the woman who shot past me at about 6 min mile pace! This is where endurance comes in - parts of my body that never usually hurt were aching - my hips and the balls of my feet in particular , and my quads filling with lactic acid. My spint finish brain came into action for the last 1.5 miles to push up the pace a notch and a final push over the line amazed me with a 1hr 43 min run ( 2 mins faster than the Surrey Half) Overall time of 5 hrs 16 mins and a few secs.
I waited on the finish for Kim , who did an awesome 5 hrs 29 mins time, having had a cold and headache for the 2 days prior to racing , then we cheered Debbie over the line shortly after , who looked fresh as a daisy , despite having been ill and hospitalised with a virus only months prior to this race.
What a result for the " 3 M's" ; podium finish for all of us!!!
NB the woman who came 1st in Kim and my age group was a very slim ex Canadian Pro ( or so Jane Wiley informed us!)
(Debbie Munton - Kim Moss - Sally Mortleman)
When's the next 70.3 then?
One things for sure - full Ironman distance is out for me.This is the awesome distance that challenges you in all ways. Thanks for the fantastic experience Denmark and 7oaks tri and race buddies , Kim and Debbie, and not forgetting my coach , Neil Colvin x
2 Sally Mortleman 5:16:49
3 Kim Moss 5:29:15
1 Debbie Munton 6:13:46
Ps see liveultimate.dk for full results.
(Race report by Sally Mortleman)