PSOF Championships 2013 - Challenge Henley



  • thnaks folks - and Mouse I really did have your voice in my head on that bike leg image

  • fraggle - brilliant report... Awe inspiring stuff... Your archivements are nothing short of amazing... Brilliant reading and watching your sheer determined face on the course was fantastic.... Go for kona.... Do it!


    on blisters little comment I am indeed back training... Was a nice break while it lasted!

  • Yeah, Fraggle - I never knew what you'd been through to get to the start. Absolutely magnificent. It was really good to see you when I did on the run course. A great report too.


    Not sure I'm back training but I did go swimming earlier (wanted to see if the tattoos survived; they did) and I've had a couple of days of cycling to and from work (using the long, but not as long as usual, route). 

  • have done no training so far image though I am on my feet all the time at work so that kind of counts image

  • Nice report Fraggs    .... told you I was awsome    image

  • and modest as ever image

  • Ironfraggle - you superstarimage

    Great honest write up. Good to meet you and Vic & I remembered your advice about Howe hill and it being worse at bottom. Think Vic went up quicker than down it and got no brakes left.

    you looked relaxed on bike when I saw you on course. I feel you back pain

    Glad you enjoyed the smorgasbord especially the fruit salad on the run - got your money's worth there. 

    Racing I yellow in black is amazing. Well done on getting through your injuries - you did it image Big congratulations


  • I suppose I'de better do a bit of a report on my attempt at  the race so here goes!!

    My training for Henley didn’t exactly go to plan. Everything was going fairly well up until about 8 weeks ago. I was a little behind where I wanted to be with my swimming, but I know that my swim fitness improves fairly quickly. I’d recently started going to tri specific coached public swim sessions at my local pool and was starting to notice an improvement. Then one Sunday morning I managed to get hit by a caravan!! Fortunately/amazingly I wasn’t badly hurt, just bruising to my left knee and hand. The rear wheel of my bike had taken the brunt of the impact & was wrecked. I was lucky, but the bruising meant that cycling & running over the next 2 weeks was limited.image

    So I started getting back into training, had 2 decent weeks then a cold struck, not a particularly bad one by my standards, but I developed a cough which meant that I couldn’t do anything strenuous without ending up in a crumpled spluttering heap. It took me 2 weeks to get rid of the cough, just in time for Tapir!!! So in 8 weeks I managed 2½ weeks of meaningful training. My maximum swim distance had been 3.2 km & 77 miles on the bike!! I did look at the possibility of dropping down to the half, but the Challenge website was saying that this was not possible under any circumstances.  

    So I made the decision that I may as well give it a go and what would be would be!

     Race morning arrived and I was getting ready. Air temp at the start was supposedly only  5C at the start, water 15 or 16C!! Whatever it was it was bleeding freezing!! It felt colder than Edinburgh on New Year’s Day!! 


    They delayed the start by 10 mins to allow the fog to lift. So it went from not being able to see the opposite back to being just able to make out the opposite bank. The swim to the turnaround buoy wasn’t too bad. It was against the current but next to the bank we started from, so I could sight against the bank. I spotted mum on the riverbank at the turnaround & gave her a wave, which she actually saw!! The swim back was entertaining. With the direction of the bend in the river and the side I breathe to and the fog it was almost impossible to see the buoys!!  But at least we were swimming with the current heading back. Still I managed 1:35:26 for the swim (Garmin logged 4.1 km!!). Outlaw last year my Garmin logged 4.0 km in a time of 1:38:12!!! 2:46 off my swim time (with less swim training) I’ll take that thank you very much!! image image Now that I’ve had a chance to download the information from my Garmin I’m wondering if I could do under 1:30:00 if I were to swim straight!! image 

  • T1:

    When I got out of the water I was frozen I was just waiting for my calves to cramp on me! They felt like they would go at any time! It took me about 5 minutes to be able to start using my hands properly. T1 time 16:11!! Half of that was spent trying to get my hands to work. There was one poor helper in the ladies change tent who was having to help pull shorts up, tops down & put socks on!! image I really felt sorry for her.


    Onto the bike & off I went! I really struggled to get my legs working. I had a set of knee warmers on which I’d used before and they were fine then. Unfortunately come race day I couldn’t get them to stay in place & they kept falling down, like Norra Batty’s tights! image Unfortunately I had to ditch them. 

    My knee was aching from the start of the bike, changes in the weather can cause this. Going from the temp in the 20’s to under 10 degrees in a couple of days is a bit of a drop. The cold air combined with the water temperature didn’t help it. I soon took the first of my ibuprofen. It took the edge off the pain during the first lap of the bike course.

    The bike course, what can I say about that!! It was bumpy, not as in undulations, as in the road surface was pretty bad in a lot of places. Loads of people had lost tubes, pumps, waterbottles, saddle packs etc on the course! There was a lovely descent down Fairmile towards Henley at the end of the lap, but there were quite a few lumps on it. Just after one really nasty bump I counted at least 5 in frame aero bottles on the road!!! There were lots of tight turns with gravel lying on the racing line! Saw lots of people who had obviously come off. Some at speed! I found it really uncomfortable getting down onto my tri bars with all the rough sections.

    I finished the first lap and at special needs I handed my jacket and knee warmers over to mum. I set off to start the second lap. Just after I got going, cloud rolled in and the temperature really dropped. Then the rain started and my knee started going again. Time to pop more ibuprofen & paracetamol! About an hour after I’d taken these there was no sign of the pain subsiding. Bear in mind that I was effectively off painkillers within 3 days of reconstructive knee surgery so I have quite a high pain threshold. I could have managed to get more painkillers, but having gone through my bike allocation within the first half of the bike course I knew it wasn’t going to get any better! Taking more would have stopped me feeling if something was seriously wrong.  So for once I did the sensible thing, I pulled out of the race!! image 

  • Tough one Lil' Sis!  No ideal preparation, but you did well to start!  Nice will be a lot warmer for your knee!!  image

  • What Lil' Sis forgot to mention was that the next 10 hours were spent standing up on Thames Bank supporting the rest of the Pirate Crew. Clearly the Pirate Code did not apply.

    She who falls behind, does NOT get left behind, she steers the ship.

    That support was more than just welcome, I for one was relying on it, and I knew that I wasn't allowed to be seen walking at that point.

    The knee will fix, and you did the sensible thing. Switzerland or Nice, both sound good options to me.

  • I remember.

    Has anyone got photos from the event, and I don't mean those official ones either?

  • Well done all (again). Didn't realise you'd DNF'd Lil Sis. You'll be back I'm sure. How did ISB get on?

  • ISB finished in 15:17: something!! But because the Numpty managed to leave his chip at his friend's house, where he was staying, he doesn't seem to have a time registered! 

  • Sensible decision there Lil Sis - it must have been a tough call but the right one.

    I can't believe Bobby forgot his chip ? How many IM had he done ?

    I remember seeing those aero bottles on the road - the slim triangular ones ? I counted at least therein the same place. Very odd.
  • cougie wrote (see)
    I can't believe Bobby forgot his chip ? How many IM had he done ?

    That was his 9th! Put it this way, he asked me to check his transition bags for him in Zurich. His freind is not a triathlete & C wasn't about this weekend to check his bags for Sunday! We're not going to let him out without supervision again!!

    And Blisters, I didn't stand all the time, I did sit down between Pirate spotting!! Normally I would be able to help you with he photos, but I didn't take a camera with me this year!

  • So not only is iron Fraggle a first class sherpa, she's also an iron superstar image

    Great reports folks


  • Better late than never.

    I was very bored at work last summer so as well as following my usual "Marathon sub 3:30" thread, I started to follow the other very popular runners world thread of the moment, Outlaw 2012. My interest grew and the stories from Outlaw that year were great - success, failure, drinking, Sid... The seed had been sown, I wanted to do an Ironman distance race in 2013. I started to swim in late summer and found I had forgotten how to front crawl, it came back slowly. My plan was to train for a sub 3:30 marathon (current pb 3:32 from VLM 2012) and some swimming/biking instead of recovery runs until spring then go for it on the bike up to the race.
    This was a great plan until 30 September when as I left for work in the morning I suddenly lost all control of my right arm and my ability to speak. I went back into the house and my OH called an ambulance. Once in A&E they were certain enough it was a stroke to offer me clot-busting drugs and send me up to the stroke ward. My symptoms put me at 12 out of 30 for stroke seriousness and was confirmed in the morning with a second CT scan as a large  right-side stroke caused by a clot. They tested me for everything but came back with nothing that gave a reason for a fit 36yo to have a massive stroke out of the blue. Over the cause of 2-3 days my speech and control of right limbs improved quickly and I was sent home after about a week. I was running and swimming again within two weeks but slow and tired by everything I did. Now I look back I realise that it wasn't until Christmas that I was anything like recovered. By Christmas I'd had bought my first ever road bike and had joined my local Tri Club for swim coaching. Training in general went well and I held close to fink competitive program and managing to avoid injury or illness. I'd however had quite a bit of physio on my shoulder to relieve the effect of the stroke and ever increasing swimming volumes.


     Lots of taper madness and faffing but nothing too outrageous. Registered and camped Friday night so had a chance to have a short ride and run on Saturday morning and then a morning of more faffing to sort out transition bags. Meeting up with loads of pirates prior to the race brief was great and good to put names to face. Bike racking was nothing to write home about. Evening meal with select few was fun and plenty of banter as expected. 


  • The Swim


    Fraggle picked me up from the campsite at 5:15 as promised and drove to the business school for quick check of the bike and loading of gels, drinks etc. Then hung around waiting for something to happen, nice to have pirates around to calm nerves, so chatted to Swiss Bobby and Little Sis. Very eerie in the fog watching the canoeists coming down the river in line with head torches. Was cold standing around and the thought of cold water didn't help.  Quick chat with Brooko and we were told to get in. And it was cold in the water once we finally got in but had a chance to warm up a bit then we were off. Only one real kick but that was enough to make one side of my goggles suck onto my face then pop off leaving them leaky for the next ten mins. One odd thing I remember was the smell of pipe tobacco wafting across the water not long after the start, odd thing to remember. We went from open water to trying to draft and back to open water several times not sure which was easier, in the end I stuck with a clear path and my own pacing. Turn round 45mins which was on target, I was very bored by that point, and feet were getting a bit cold, so when I finally saw the finish pontoon I was glad to be dragged from the water. 1:28:10 for the swim, a little slower than I had hoped.




    Cold and a little slow is about all that can be said. Arm warmers, socks, buff and shoes on and away, well after a quick pee. 8:56 where did the time go?

  • Bike

    After a quick stop to get my bike computer working I quickly warmed up and settled into a nice even pace. Only problem on the first lap was my HRM stopped working once I dried out and i had to stop and unzip my monaco to put some spit on the connectors, this got me a shout for a female competitor of "oh, pirate we don't need to see that" good thing she wasn't at outlaw. Concerned to see Barley only a couple of miles in having to stop for painkillers, but seemed to work out in the end. Shouted at Whiz early on as he hammered past and wasn't seen again on the bike. I was lucky to have several pirates just in front (Cheggers, Cougie, Goblin) and behind me (Blisters) for the whole race so just before and after turns rounds there was plenty of "go pirate" and "Arrgghhh". Quite a lot of traffic on the course but most of it was escorted with only a few residents ignoring the closures. Not much support apart from at the bottom of Fairmile where there was a great pirate crowd and for lap 2 and 3 the Scuba family. Cat had obviously briefed the feed station he was on to shout at the pirates which gave a welcome lift in both directions on that out and back. The second lap was hard up until Howes Hill then the dark mood cleared and I felt strong again for the final lap and still holding my heart rate in the 125-130 range as planned. Such a shame to see Goblin puncture right at the end of the third lap but she was still smiling (definitely the smiliest pirate of the weekend). Held my pace all the way through and off the bike in 6:28:13 just about as I'd hoped but with the longer swim time and slow transition I know I'd left myself a hard target, a sub 4hr marathon to get the sub 12 I cherished.


    Lots of shouting from family Scuba, yet another pee and a quick change of socks, bit of vas to the feet and out on the run. 3:38 (must have been a long pee).

  • Run

    My stand alone marathon pb is 3:32 so to target a sub 4 Ironman marathon was a big ask but I felt my run training was good and as long as I could hold the pace with a heart rate below 140 I thought I could make it. The first lap went well held the pace and heart rate and ate well (gels, water and coke), shouted at Whiz on his second lap and managed to overtake Cheggers. The support was much better than the bike and once back into town there was the Cheggers family then Mrs Cougie,  as well as a good crowd of locals. the section through the finish area was great with my family and the pirates in the grandstand making themselves heard. Second laps was much of the same got a bit cold and wet but it stopped before I got back to the finish area and so decided not to get a jacket from family. My stomach was not so good by the beginning of the third lap and i started to worry. I started to chat to a chap called Tom who was after a 4hr marathon too and so we decide to run together, he suggested pestles which seemed to settle the stomach issues a bit. Glad of the company and support the third laps went ok and we then know we had 1:03 to get round the last 10km to get sub 12 that sounded do-able so we pushed on, my stomach wouldn't accept any food or even water now but with 10km we continued to walk the aid stations and for me just a swill and spit out of water that would have to be enough. The pace crept up and the miles went past and it was obvious we were going to get sub 12. I was ecstatic. I "Arrghhed" every supporter then grabbed the kids and over the line. 3:47:00 marathon to get 11:56:00 amazing.

    Thanks to all the pirate supporters, Raf, Sig, Bassy and Cat, also Lil Sis after she had to pull out also the Pirate families especially the Cheggers family who were very vocal. And obviously a special thanks to my family for there support on the day and for the months of training before. So good to race in Yellow and Black!

    I'm sure I've forgotten to say loads of stuff so sorry if I've forgotten anyone.

    Now do I change my name or just add a dot?

  • great report Scuba - didn't realise what a bunch of crocks we were starting this race image.

    iron Scuba ?

  • iron lung?

  • Excellent report Iron Scubs.I know the family enjoyed shouting at you (and all the others in black & yellow). I'm really enjoying reading the reports.

    PM me an email address - I've got a nice pic of you and your kids going to the finish.

    You mentioning name changing, now the Challenge bit is done should it be Iron Cheggers then?

  • Great report ST great reading and a brilliant time!

  • Great report Scuba and good to see you on Sat and the road Sunday. image

  • Great Video footage of the Race here -

    Pirate excerpts here - and

    (sorry its sideways)
  • I have the group finish line photo in marathon photos set. I'm going to order them on a cd, so if anyone wants a copy pm me and I'll mail it to you when I get it image

  • Oh cool ! Good work Fraggle !
  • I still had my race number on Cougie, and it is a rather nice photo image

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