Richard’s Race Report – Mallorca Ironman 70.3 – 16th October 2021

Now this is what a triathlon should feel like… sun, sea and spectators! From when we arrived in Alcudia for Mallorca 70.3, the vibe was there with the big race venue, triathletes as far as you could see running up and down the beach front, families in and out of ocean. The stage was set, all there was to do now was swim, bike and run.

Race morning arrived. Usual routine, porridge, stretch, head to transition to set up the bike, then it was go time… we could already hear the start line music pumping up the athletes. Into the start pens we go, t-minus 15 minutes to go. The swim course was a simple one, straight out and back to the beach. 1 minute to go, lined up about 20 athletes back from the start looking to see which angle I would take to the first buoy. And we’re off, the first 30 metres were a run, bounding through the shallows and then a shallow dive as we hit waist deep water. The aim was to swim straight, swim fast and find feet to draft on. About 60% successful, I managed to find feet for some of the swim, the rest I had people trying to tickle mine. Swim complete in 30:16 with a 1:36 per/100m average… best swim this season so happy with that. 

Onto what has officially been labelled the longest transition in the world with a long run up the beach, between the houses, until we hit the main street, to then run the full length of transition, all in all about 800m in length. The only good part about this was that it gave you plenty of time to refocus onto what was about to come… the bike. Wetsuit off, helmet on, grab bike, go go go.

Now the bike course we had recced 3 times in the week leading up to the race, so you would think, we were well accustomed and knew what to expect… you would be wrong. Turns out they decided to make a few last minute changes to the course, which in the most part wasn’t an issue, but on the odd occasion led to me questioning if I was going the right direction. Anyway, the first 20km of the bike was flat and fast, I found myself getting into my rhythm quickly and was passing athlete after athlete. Then we hit the big climb of the day, 15km of climbing firstly up the Coll de Femenia and the final ascent past Lluc Monestary, then followed by a fast technical descent for 7km with several sharp switch back bends down the Coll de sa Batalla. Now this is where I lost time (which was expected), I am self knowingly not the best ascender and while my descending is not tentative, I also have no death wish like a lot of athletes on course. So I was very thankful to get to the bottom of the descent accident free. This was also where the course recces helped a lot, knowing when the sharp corners were coming, helped to descend safely. After, hemorraging time over the mountain, we were now on the flats and it was my time to put my head down and pick up some speed, so that’s what I did. Head down, get aero and put down the power, I found myself working through the field again. I had one major scare on the day, at a corner that was changed from my recces, I saw an athlete go straight ahead, I saw the arrow for the turn last minute and tried to make the turn. My effort can only be described as ‘Tokyo drift’ style. I came skidding around the corner, still upright, bike hit the wall, and I clung on top the fence above the wall. Images of my race being over flashed before my eyes, thinking the worst. I look down, I’m upright, I’m ok, bikes ok, let’s go. Some athletes pass me saying “luckyyy”… I know. Ride on double checking I don’t have a flat tyre, bikes good, put the power down. From that point on the bike was fairly straight forward apart from one argument with a Frenchman for drafting (within a metre) on my wheel, later to find out he DNF (karma… don’t cheat). Transition approached, flying dismounted landed, time for the run. Final bike time 2:33:26, average speed 35.19 kph, normalised power 250w ish (investment in a none faulty power meter for next season would be useful). 

Coming off the bike I felt good, I ran through transition comfortably and past Soph’s parents and my parents on the side line cheering, which gave me an extra boost. The first 4km everything was going well, I was running at pace, heart rate was in the right zone and I was running comfortably. Then 5km onwards my running performance can only be described as a fade, getting slower and slower each run split (the opposite of what you want). I was willing my legs to go faster, they just wouldn’t perform. There are so many reasons this could have happened… heat of the day got to me, pushed too hard on the bike, fatigued from previous races this season… maybe a combination of all. But at the end of the day, we can’t over analysis everything and just go with the cards dealt to us on the day. As I rounded the final corner of the half marathon, I could hear the music of the finish line drawing me in. The banging of the panels and cheers of the crowds. Ironman finish lines never get old. Mixed emotions of relief my body can rest, elation to conquer another finish line, joy to race in such a stunning location with epic crowd support and thankfulness it’s finally the off season. Final run time 1:32:29, average pace 4:23 per/km for a slightly long half marathon. Overall time, 4:42:03 coming in 66th overall. 

And there ends my 2021 season, didn’t quite hit my expectation and goal to get an overall top 20 in my final race but the fire still burns strong and I’m ready for a big off season of training to come back fitter, faster and stronger for the 2022 race season. 

Season snapshot:

  • Virtual Ironman 70.3 – 5th overall
  • Cotswolds Classic Middle Distance – 17th overall
  • Warsaw Ironman 70.3 – 32nd overall
  • Bolton Ironman 70.3 – 25th overall
  • Mallorca Ironman 70.3 – 66th overall

I want to say a huge thank you to my family and friends for the unwavering support. But mostly to our parents who have stood by us and supported us all year, as well as letting us live with them 😄 and to our sponsors, without who this could not be possible. Team Purpose, xEndurance, EZdisc and recovery systems. We are passionate about their products and they push us to be better athletes.

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