Written by Ian Dempsey
After the disappointment of picking up a stomach bug the day before Ironman Weymouth 70.3 which resulted in my first ever DNF, the last thing on my mind was staying fit for Challenge Peguera 4 weeks later. My season started with winter training way back in November 2015 and I was ready for a break, but having had two below standard races (Ironman Bolton and Weymouth 70.3) I really didn’t want to end the season with a bad taste in my mouth.
Challenge Peguera was already booked and above all it was going to be a much needed family holiday in sunny Mallorca. During the lead up following Weymouth in mid September I just ticked over for 4 weeks; no real structure but enough to be able to take on a middle distance triathlon.
Once in Mallorca I felt relaxed, maybe it was due to not having a defined expectation of myself or maybe it was the all inclusive alcohol at our hotel! I didn’t do a great deal in the few days before the race except meet up with fellow triathletes Catherine Jameson and David Bishop for a sea swim and then enjoyed a relaxed afternoon prior to race day.
On the morning of the race the sea was noticeably choppy which was to my advantage as a strong swimmer. I had a short warm up, prepped my bike and put on my Huub wetsuit for the final time this year. My plan was to swim strong, drop 20/25 watts off my normal biking race speed and run to feel. I instantly felt good in the swim, coming out of the water in the top 10 in my age group category, my plan on the bike worked perfectly, almost to the point that I was enjoying the ride and taking in the stunning scenery that Mallorca has to offer. I excepted to be overtaken, which is hard as a competitive racer but I stuck to my plan. By midday, as I reached T2, the temperature hit 26 degrees, luckily I had not exerted myself on the bike and had conserved energy for the run. On the first 4 laps with several ‘out and backs’ it gave me a great chance to count the guys in front of me, I quickly worked out there was only one guy in my age group ahead and another behind. Both were about 5 mins away from me respectively and this instantly put me in a good place. Unless a catastrophic disaster happened I knew I’d podium in my last race of the season; a good feeling to run with! The laps passed and the distance between myself and the leading guy in my age category reduced. On the last lap I noticed his pace had slowed which made me push a little harder. With 2k to go he was 100m ahead; time to take the lead. I pushed and didn’t look back taking the age group 35-39 win by 25 seconds.
So what does this prove? In triathlon you don’t have to be at 100%, 100% of the time, sometimes you just need a good race strategy and to have fun!
I’m so pleased I raced Challenge Peguera, finishing a tough season on a high after many ups and downs, I can now enjoy a rest and come back hungry for success next season.
A big shout out to everyone who supports my triathlon dream, Aston Knowles, Kind Consultancy, Wychbury Greaves, Huub Design, Charlton Haynes and Mail Coms – without my sponsors it would not be possible.