Challenge Henley 2011



  • yup 8)

    UK clean sweep like I said, and was looking forward to racing hard at Henley, I felt fine after Wales, and zero DOMS!!! as I did Helvellyn the prev week too and that kinda softens everything up, kill or cure image

    OK this is funny, a tale of extreme numpT-ness:

    Despite staying on site at the Bus School, RIGHT OUTSIDE the swim start, I was 2 mins late for wave 1 start, mainly as I wanted that 1 last extra sh1t. If it hadnt been so misty I might have seen which way they swam. Buga nose why, but when I got to the start line late, I had it in my head we swam the opposite direction. I wonder how far I would have got if a canoe hadnt tapped me up after 2-3 mins ffs. So I dashed straight out and went back to the swim start pontoon, having already slipped off the first raised pontoon mat.

    fair play to Just Racing and StuSteele, I advised the swim director of my c0ck up, she asked if I simply wanted to go with Wave 2 and just took my number into her head. My results were spot on. Wave 2 went just as I got into the water, so I lost another minute or so, and the swim was even more lonely than usual.

    Didnt think the water was that cold or quality at all bad, but it took me 1h31 ffs, and I had done 5 mins before that,so even tho I was warm before I started the swim I had a fair exposure to the coldish water. I dunno as I was OK at IM Wales, but like many others that was it, I was too cold to function properly after that. Even tho the air temp was relatively low, I'm surprised it had such an immediate effect on me, and I wore a bike jersey under my wetsuit, and had a bit of vaseline on my chest, and a thick neoprene gimp hat for the swim.

    On exiting the swim, I slipped straight off the raised pontoon mat again, as a final hurrah. Do I win the numpT of the year award, please ?
  • TC - you won the numpty award as soon as you rocked up late for the 1st wave swim start and then proceeded to swim the wrong way!! there were a lot of wide open mouths amongst everyone on the bank.....then laughter....

    when it took you ages to come into T1 we wondered if you were still swimming to Henley having missed the turn buoy....we wouldn't have put that past you based on the above!
  • fat buddha wrote (see)
    TC - you won the numpty award as soon as you rocked up late for the 1st wave swim start and then proceeded to swim the wrong way!! there were a lot of wide open mouths amongst everyone on the bank.....then laughter....

    Briliant, no one post has made me laugh so much in ages!!

  •  after already doing 12 ironman events this year..... I'm n ot suprised you forgot what direction you were swimming inimage

    glad you managed to sort it outimage

    all practise for the deca I take itimage

  • Geddin - numpT of the Year image I'll take that as a win 8)
  • Oh please tell me someone had video of this TC ? Well played anyway.
  • great report and race WW TC get in!  you loon! imageimage
  • hmm, oo eck, I maybe ideal pirate material !!!
  • TC - that is a classic story. I kept seeing you around the bike course and recognised you from your denims. Spotting forummers in the flesh is a bit like spotting celebrities to me!

    What a year you've had. I told my family, who thought I was crazy for doing an Iron distance, that there was someone here racing for the 13th time this year as an example of real craziness! 

  • aha TC you were the dude in the 'denim' tri suit! I chatted to you briefly on the run, just before the ladies leader overtook me I think. Saw you at Outlaw too (was supporting, not participating!). Clearly you have more money than sense image (although excellent numpT moment at swim start!)
  • drums fingers on desk.

    jaffa's report still not on

  • It's like my race SA,   started off really well but the last part of it seemed to take forever to finishimage

    Will finish off tonight and post from home (I hope!)

  • Jaffa_ wrote (see)

    It's like my race SA,   started off really well but the last part of it seemed to take forever to finishimage

    Will finish off tonight and post from home (I hope!)

    LOL. Next time, I'll add my chip to my list of essentials, you add speedo and gloves!
  • Hello all

    Just a note to say that if anyone took home my transition bags by mistake (number 170, red and blue bags) then please drop me a line.


  • Here we go guys, a race report that you could subtitle "How not to execute an IM race",   it's taken a while but unfortunately I've had loads to do since getting back to work this week and didn't get time to write up earlier.... I initially entered this race in late 2010 rather than joining the bigger pirate ship heading for IMW for 2 reasons, 1)  My swimming is absolutely gash and I had serious doubts about a sea swim2)  I was away on the p*ss in France for 4 days the weekend before IMW and wanted as much recovery time as possible. I then entered Outlaw and decided to treat that as my A race,  have a short recovery period before a mini build period, 1-2 weeks peak training and 1-2 weeks taper.

    Outlaw went well,  gentle active recovery in week 1,  then a week on family holiday splashing in the pool,  couple of gentle runs,  then week 3 couple of gentle rides, swim, runs  and then back to work. A combination of some pretty intense deadlines coupled with a case of CBA led me to the beginning of September and 4 days in France on cricket tour,  overeating and drinking and then 10 days before Henley weighing in at 12lbs over my Outlaw race weight.

    Well no point in panic training at this stage,  a couple of runs and a bike ride which were far too difficult made me reassess my hope of going close to 13 hours,  having ridden 1 ½ laps of the course with SteveHo I felt it wasn’t that difficult and had hoped to do reasonably,  however the extra weight and general lethargy was not filling me with extreme confidence or was it just taper madness?  Either way I added an extra hour on my expectation.
    It had got to the stage where the missus asked whether I was still going to race and despite thinking it might be easier not to do so  the thought of what the guys at IMW had had to put up with the week before didn’t make this a feasible option, I don’t do quitting & couldn’t have lived with myself. One thing I’ve learnt from my long and distinguished IM career (of 2 racesimage) is that it will hurt and be mentally tough at some stage,  so try and be as positive as possible. Saturday arrived,   registered at Henley,  prepped race bags back at my basecamp in Marlow and back to Henley for race briefing and racking.  Caught up with SteveHo,  Which Witch and her Scottish Support Crew (SSC) at the briefing and as they went off to rack bikes I went back to Marlow to pick up some bits I’d forgotten,  tinker with the bike and wait for family Jaffa to arrive.

    Back to Henley,  bike racked, transition bags left and home for pizza and just the 1 glass of wine.

  •  Swim
    Race morning arrived with a 4.20am alarm,  and swiftly into trying to force down breakfast of porridge pot,  bagel & peanut butter and some rice pudding.  Faffed about for too long before jumping in the car and arriving at the Business School about an hour before my wave swim start.   Nutrition on bike then realised I’d left arm warmers in the car,  idiot.  Got these & left them on the bike,  that’ll save me a bit of time.  A quick chat with FB who was reffing T1,   and then saw WW’s support crew running along with her forgotten racechip,  (so at least I’m not the only forgetful person this weekend I thought),  a hug and some patented Jaffa style motivation with a slightly tearful WW soon sorted her out. 
    Something new,  anti fog drops in the goggles,  they worked a treat as well thanks WW,  maybe we should have sprayed them in the river as it was so misty I wasn’t sure where I was going.  Soon time to jump in the river and I couldn’t work out why people were hanging back so far from the buoy,  now I generally like to start nearer the back of a swim but there was no way I was giving up 25m,  so took up position about 5m short of the start line to the left (middle of Old Father Thames) and away we went. 

    Swim was chilly but just put my head down and tried to concentrate on strong strokes,  sighted every 10 strokes or so until I realised the current was dragging me towards the bank but there was plenty of room out there so no real argy bargy at all.  Temple Island came and went (turnaround point for the half distance swimmers) and it was on this stretch that a random thought popped into my head “Oh crap I’ve left my bike speedo in the car”,  the turn around buoy came and went and tried to stay to the right nearer the centre of the river on the way back.  Had a few minor problems trying to work out which way to go as everyone else seemed to be much nearer the bank,  found the occasional pair of feet to work off,  back past Temple Island and then another random thought popped into my head “I can’t remember putting cycle gloves on my bike or into my change bag either” soon enough was heading to the final marker buoy and then into the swim exit, got hauled out of the water,  wobbled a lot as had ice blocks for feet and ice cream head. 1:27:39 – Swim PB,  no complaints

    Slowly walked up to T1,  broke into a jog 20m short of entry, grabbed my bag and into the change tent.  Tipped everything out,  got changed,  quick jog to the bike,  high 5’s with Buddha on way out and away we go. 

    08:10 – A marginal T1 PB - Happy with that seeing as I’m a master of faffing.

  • Bike

    T1 had seemed reasonably slick for me,  some time saved by forgetting gloves & having armwarmers on the bike. I then spent the next 5 minutes struggling to put them on,  right arm went on a treat,  left arm I seemed to have picked up and unrolled it upside down or inside out,  either way it didn’t want to play like a good boy,  so tried to reroll it down my arm, turn it round and put it on correctly again.  Just about managed this in the first couple of miles before the right turn roundabout onto Fairmile.
    Juddered my way along there (and apparently they’d filled in the potholes…really!).   As I’d recce’d the course I knew there was a longish drag coming,  so just stuck it in the small chainring and spun up to be greeted by Family Joddly marshalling a junction near the top,  really welcome shouts from them on every lap both up and down that stretch,  fantastic support guys it gave me something to look forward to at the top of that hill.

    Now bearing in mind I’d forgotten my bike computer I was just going to work from my Garmin and do the mental maths as to average speed and expected pace,  it was when I went to look at it to see how things were going that I realised I must have stopped it when messing around with the armwarmer earlier,  how long ago was that? I was now into guesswork and decided to ride mainly on feel and check the HR occasionally to make sure it wasn’t too high.

    A left at the top of the hill and a nice stretch down to the 1st dead turn,  (utterly bemused on Lap 1 seeing some girl running her bike down there,  she obviously got it fixed as she soon went past me)  before  heading back to Nettlebed roundabout,  the race organisers had a sign out saying the distances here (20k I think) and reminding us to enjoy the quick bit.  So onto the bars,  head down and go for it down that hill……...wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,  no idea of top speed but it was fun!Sharp turn onto the 2nd out and back bit of the course and the first feedstation,  really enthusiastic,  then a section before the gradual climb up Pishill,  it was a bit hairy round here with the road coned and 2 way bike traffic,  I’m sure I heard the screech of tyres going the other way so hopefully no serious accidents occurred. A little kick at the top of the hill had my HR monitor alarm going as I had to work out of the saddle for the last bit.
    A nice stretch out through Christmas Common to the 2nd dead turn,  manned by a local tri club this was the feedstation of the bike course (almost but not quite up to the standard of the Pirate Outlaw feedstation obviously!).
    The pirate cycle top was working wonders by this stage,  endless shouts and aarrrghs around the course and in particular at this deadturn,   shouts from some local lady (I’ve never heard such crystal cut vowels whilst talking like a pirateimage) who obviously wanted to board the pirate galleon,  she even came out to the run course later in the day to shout encouragement…....wench of the day award goes to the lady in the pearls.
    The stretch back down Pishill to Assendon and the end of the lap turn along Fairmile was good to get some nutrition on board and get the average speed back up.
  • Laps 2 & 3 followed much the same pattern,  had a quick chat with Steve as he went flying past at the bottom of Nettlebed on Lap 2,  followed by a chat with WW about ½ a mile up the road and then sharing of waves and shouts after each turnaround for the next 2 laps. Chatted with various guys & girls briefly on the way round to while away the time,  found out the rugby score,  had my usual lack of concentration about 60 miles in and nearly stacked my bike twice on the descent of Pishill on Lap 2,  decided that paying some attention might help if I wanted to make T2 in 1 piece so popped a Caffeine Gel. 

    Luckily enough this hadn’t been on Lap 3 where it was like riding down the Amazonian tributaries there was so much flowing and standing water,  somehow I managed to miss most of this rain,  only getting about 10 mins of showers on the stretch to the A40 on the final lap.   Managed to see my girls cheery faces at the beginning of Lap 3 which is always a boost in a race and it seemed that in no time I was spinning back into T2,  after having to slow right down and stop behind a Sunday driver who seemed unconcerned that the marshall was telling him the road was clear for him to drive on!

    6:41:47 – Really pleased with this.  I think not keeping an eye on average speeds helped as I rode to feel and probably pushed slightly harder than I might normally do when trying to keep things in control. T2 –
    Bike handed over (after extracting ibuprofen from my tool kit),  change bag grabbed and into tent.
    Had just sat down and emptied my bag to hear someone ask  “Can we get naked in here”,  quickly averted my eyes and concentrated on my own kit choices.  Same shorts,  keep my vest on, swap cycle shirt for Monaco,  compression socks, trainers on,  couple of generous dollops of Vaseline and……..the heavens opened at this moment,  decided that I’d keep the armwarmers on,  dispense with the sunglasses and grab a cap instead. Out of tent into the heavy shower (luckily enough it only lasted about another 30 seconds).
    My chip didn’t register coming out of transition so the results that showed me having a  +1 hr T2 are slightly exaggerated. Estimate 06:00
  • Run

    Onto the run and saw Mrs Jaffa trying to give me a waterproof and asking if I’m ok,  she looked concerned bless her ( I later found out from her that I looked rough as sh*t at this stage with puffy,  bloodshot eyes) but no way I’m covering the pirate top up,  with the additional support this generates.
    Into my running rhythm fairly soon and try to hold a pace of about 9m30s miles. 

    1st lap went well,  a couple of undulations in the first half of it,  then out on some trails before turning and following path through fields and the towpath, over Henley Bridge and a loop of Phyllis Court,  the base for T2 and the finish.  Still felt good, wasn’t sure of my time but my estimate from my watch was about 60 mins for 10.5k,   picked up my red band,  quick pause for kisses with the Jaffa clan as they had to get home for school the next day.  Body still felt ok,  left quad sore from the bike but hanging on,  sole of left foot sore and right shin,  thought it was just a niggle so kept going,  water and high 5 at feed stations with a bit of banana and a gel, my plan was to hold off the coke until after halfway. 

    Lap 2 was a bit slower but not too bad.  The Jaffa clan were still hanging around so final kisses from my little angels before they headed off home.  Over Henley Bridge and I realised my stomach was cramping so took a walk break and then felt some serious pain from my foot and shin,  tried to run again which set off the stomach,  and just carried on in this vicious cycle until the next feedstation where the vision of a portaloo gave temporary respite.

    I soon got passed by WW on one of my ever more frequent walkbreaks,  and her attempt to engage me in conversation about “blue band envy” was met with an uncharacteristically grumpy response,  luckily she had the sense not to hang around but ran on leaving 2 words of wisdom with me “Coca Cola”.  I don’t remember a great deal of that lap to be honest as was feeling sick / dizzy and just keeping on going on empty but having been reminded what to do,  necked some coke at the next feedstation and at least every other feedstation (along with water and banana) until the finish.  Turning into the final lap they supplied us slower runners with headtorches which were needed on some of the far stretches of the course where the temporary lighting was limited in it’s effectiveness. 

    5k to go and the heavens opened again,  however the armwarmers and cap were back on by this stage so I didn’t feel too cold.  This torrential downpour left me running along the towpath of the Thames,  through huge amounts of standing water in the dark,  a slightly surreal experience having completed my other IM races when there was more daylight available.

    Over a by now mostly deserted Henley Bridge for the final time,  thank the final feedstation and every marshall / supporter I passed along the way and then into the Finish chute,  the rain is forgotten by now and I milk the crowd,  over the line for a marathon PW.  All of a sudden feel very emotional and want to burst into tears, at this stage I need to give massive thanks to Victoria,  (one of Witch’s Support Crew) who hung around in the wet to make sure I got over the line safely and gave me a much needed hug at the end.

     Estimate 05:07:52
    Total 13:31:29
  • After this tried to eat but couldn't really manage it,  got a lift back from the events team to pick up my car at T1,  and grabbed my bike and one of my Transition bags as the other had gone missing,  pleased to hear that it's since been found but I bet it's stinking by now!

    My feet were in bits and only now am I just about able to walk without looking like an extra from a John Wayne movie,  not sure what caused this,  running gait or trainers too tight but hopefully it'll be the first and last time I feel like that.

    Would I recommend this race,  absolutely.  For a first running I think the Just Racing team did a great job,  a few teething troubles and some areas for improvement but can't fault the venue or course.  Despite the 2000m of bike climb,  I don't think this is a slow course,  only 2 real hills per lap and plenty of quick stretches on the bike,  a decent cyclist would put in a really good time.

    Pleased to see that they've announced the 16th Sept 2012 as next year's date,  I'll be back in Henley that weekend..........supporting those of you who think it's a good late season race to do.

    Thanks for staying awake long enough to read my drivel & the online support from you all on the day. image

  • About bloody time!

    (and well done! - let me know when you are up for another run!)
  • Great report, and well done!
  • nice report Jaffa

  • speedy time considering all the problems you had.....well doneimage
  • I think Henley needs to do some navel contemplation about the event and read the reactions of the locals in Tenby

  • last I looked, the poll on the Henley Standard was showing a majority FOR 'putting up with the inconvenience'. image
  • Brill race report Jaffa

    image image
  • I read that as well Jj - and pleased to see it

    I might send that link to the Henley Standard
  • better late than never!

    top reporting sir

Sign In or Register to comment.