13 September 2017 0 Comments

My Triathlon Bucket List

Having reached the grand old age of 54 and competed in 50 triathlons, I have fallen into, I suppose, a fairly reflective mood as the 2017 winds up. I’ve been thinking about what remaining goals I have in this sport I’ve come to love so much. As age and injury begins to take an increasing toll on my performance I am becoming less focused on times* and becoming more interested in rounding out my triathlon experience by thinking about the races I would like to do before I hang up my goggles, wheels and trainers.

Some of the races are revisits to events I’ve done before that I enjoyed and want to do again, some are just a question of signing on the dotted line and getting them done, some are pipe dreams.

Races I want to do again

Windsor Triathlon: Windsor was my first ever triathlon in 2003 and I last raced this iconic event in 2005: I hadn’t even started this blog back then. I remember that day well as it was blisteringly hot (33°C) and I melted. So for both times I did the sprint distance I got an age group top 10 whereas the one time I lined up for the Olympic distance it remains my slowest ever race at that distance, and the only one over 3 hours. I’m never any good in the heat. You could say it was unfinished business.

Ironman 70.3 UK: I had no idea what I was letting myself in for when I did my first ever half Ironman at Wimbleball in 2006. Finishing that race in 7½ hours left me more shattered than I think I’ve ever been after a triathlon, and it’s the only triathlon where I have ever walked up a hill. Two further attempts in successive years got my time down to 6:44, but this was still in the days when I stopped training in September and didn’t start again until after Christmas. I’m sure with all the extra endurance, weight loss and hill climbing I could now make a better fist of this super tough course. I’d like to go back one more time. Update: I’d missed the fact that 2017  was to be the last time that this event would be run. 🙁

Races I want to tick off

Top of the list is a fast Ironman course. I’m thinking Ironman Barcelona, but am open to suggestion here. My Ironman PB remains 13:36:28 from a very wet day in Bavaria at Ironman Regensburg in 2011 (the header image in this blog is taken during that race) and I’m sure that, with the right preparation, I’m capable of a sub 13 hour Ironman, if only I didn’t keep signing up for races with tough courses like Ironman UK and Ironman Wales.

Ironman Lanzarote: just because it’s Lanza. This race has a legendary reputation in the long distance community and my triathlon club has been sending athletes to the start line every year for at least the last decade. I would love to get this race done but being a May date I’ll have to overcome my reluctance to train indoors.

Triathlon Festival Asturias: Having holidayed in Northern Spain more times than I can remember, and being half Asturian I would love to do a triathlon in the beautiful fishing town of my mother’s childhood. Luckily, there is now an Olympic and Half Ironman distance race in Llanes and I’ll be looking out for the 2018 date with interest. It’s a tough race, mind. The half looks like an intense hill reps session! Watch this space…

Triathlon Vitoria-Gasteiz: Keeping up with the Spanish theme, this race has developed a massive reputation for being one of the best non Ironman branded long distance events on the calendar. It looks brilliant. I could go for the half option rather than the full, though.

So that’s 4 races in Spain (although the fast Ironman could shift); I hope Brexit doesn’t make achieving these ambitions too difficult. or too expensive! Are there any “must do” races I’ve missed?

Pipe Dreams

We all have them. I have 3.

Challenge Roth: Probably the most achievable of the 3 but getting your entry in is quite a challenge as it sells out in seconds. In actual fact, a successful entry would tick off the ambition for a fast Ironman course listed above. Maybe it would just be a case of saving the pennies and buying one of the race packages with guaranteed entry? I’d love to hear from anyone who has raced here.

Celtman: I  have done 6 Ironman races, so what next? A few years ago I toyed with idea of doing Norseman, but I read a race report from a fellow COLT with a fearsome reputation for speed, endurance and toughness. The report genuinely scared me and made me question my sanity for even entertaining such an idea. If I was to do one extreme triathlon, then this one might be the one. The issue for me would be upping the volume of training I’d need to do in order to give myself a fighting chance of finishing.

Kona: Just because we all have dreams.

This list would add at least 3 more Iron distance triathlons to my palmarēs and a couple more half distance. Achievable in the next few years? We’ll see.

Hawaii – Land of Dreams

*I don’t believe I actually wrote that, and what’s more it’s absolutely not true – I’m leaving it in for posterity.

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