I’ve just entered Ironman Weymouth 70.3 (or half ironman in other words). Unusually, as this is the first edition of this event, there is also a full Ironman on the same day. I’m guessing that with the proximity of Ironman Wales (the following weekend) there is a certain amount of bet hedging going on on the part of the organisers. I did actually consider the full distance, but having been training for 3 weeks now since Ironman UK I feel strong but don’t feel like pushing 6 hour bike rides! Ironman 70.3 is hopefully a good compromise where I can capitalise on all the fitness I have gained from Ironman but without having to push myself above and beyond which a full Ironman would entail. I’ll also use it as a recce with the possibility that I might tackle the full distance here in the future.
I have actually raced at Weymouth before: back in September 2014 I did the Weymouth Half when the event was organised by Just Racing UK. That was a tough day out! It was my first sea swim on a triathlon and it was a hard one. The swell was such that they shortened the Ironman swim to half distance. No such luck for the half competitors and we had to swim the full 1.9km in pretty rough conditions. That definitely impacted my bike performance, and a broken spoke towards the end bent a wheel out of shape slowed me down further. The wheels came off the wagon on the run big time, and I ended up with a disappointing 6:08. Despite that, I was still 22nd in my age group so I guess everyone had a hard time.
This time around the bike course is completely different to the Challenge event, but the run and swim look broadly similar. Being a coastal event, it all depends on the weather and I’m hoping for a still day so I can capitalise on my new speed and strength on the run, although maybe tough conditions would allow me to push higher up the field with my post Ironman fitness. The bike course is quite a hilly affair – about 1000m of climbing, though none looks too steep. The riding around my home is tougher and should be excellent preparation for a decent bike leg.
Hopefully there will be a couple of COLTs making the trip south too, but in any case, it always feels good to have a confirmed race entry as it gives new purpose and impetus to my training. This will be my 18th half-ironman and 47th triathlon overall. Maybe I’ll hit the half century next year.