Geoff Taylor enters IRONMAN WALES as a fundraiser for HMSTC
The start of the 2014 fundraising for the Herts MS Therapy Centre was on Thursday 5th September, so hitched up our caravan. Onto the M1 and no hold ups onto the M25. Spoke too soon! Very slow on the M4 around Bristol! Over the bridge (I had my passport ready), It costs money to get into WALES! Straight on to the certified location at Tenby, CL to all you caravaners, ( I hear you shouting you are certifiable! ) We set the caravan up, then my supporters club arrived with their caravans. I got my bike out of its box and built it up and took it for a blast. Great!
Out for a nice easy 5 mile run into Tenby to register for IRONMAN WALES. Got my rucksack with everything in it, race number, bags for swim, bike run kit. Had a look around the expo. Drooled over new set of WHEELS, only £2K. Was told NO!! We had a walk around Tenby , beautiful town, very picturesque. Then down to North Beach, put my wetsuit on and joined a few hundred others for a swim. Back to the caravan, packed the different coloured bags with the relevant kit ready for tomorrow, then off to race briefing.
Transported my bike in the car down to Tenby. This time to rack my bike along with 1600+ others!! Blue bag (bike) onto the rack. Red bag (run) onto another rack both with my race number on. Strolled down to North Beach to watch IRON KIDS!!! 13 different age groups running down the beach into the sea for 20 metres and back up the beach. This got longer as the ages went up. Brilliant afternoon, all participants got a medal. Back to the caravan. Pasta then early night for all.
Sunday 8th RACE DAY
04:00 Yes there is such a time!! Bowl of porridge, shower, race kit on. 05:00 knock on the door- my brother Boo. YOU READY? Yep as I’ll ever be!
Four of us car down to the transition area in Tenby, the other five coming down later. Kiss my wife – see you later!! They walk down to the café at North Beach. I put my wetsuit on, check my bike and fill up drinks bottles. 06:30 Gell and isotonic drink. Walk through Tenby to the beach with 1600+ other enthusiast
10mins to go. I stand at the back have a chat with Margaret, Boo and John.
07:00 Claxon start into the sea. COLD! oh well we’re off. Bit of current between buoys 1-2. On to number 3 and turn in towards the beach and out of the sea. OH god, cramp in both thighs! RUN, HOBBLE around Gosker Rock and back into the sea for another 1.2miles. (that’s called an Australian exit) Same as the last lap, I have to get out with cramp again. Wetsuit undone and pulled down to my waist I hobbled up the zig zag path. My trainers are on virtually the last peg. Now it’s only 1 km run up to the transition. Into the tent, wetsuit off, bike helmet on and done up. Mitts and glasses on, I grab my bike and run out of transition.
Jump onto my bike. Cold wind and it’s drizzling. Let’s get up to speed. Just got to feed now. Energy bars, gels and iso drinks for another 12 hours. Up hills and flat through Pembroke, out to Angle peninsular. It’s blowing a hoolly and raining. Feed station – no stopping just grab it on the way past. Two down hills on this section. More ups though! Back into Pembroke and out to Lamphey. Another feed station- just grab and keep going. More ups and COLD! Just keep going heading towards Narberth with some fast downs on this bit. Then hit the long climb into Narberth the feed station is in the middle of the town Just grab some more and out heading towards Saundersfoot. There’s a big climb on this section. Both thighs lock solid and I only just managed to twist my body enough to release my cleats. Then walk 20 ft (well that stiff leg thing like you’ve done something in your undies). Jump back on my bike then down into Saundersfoot, past the beach then the climb out up St Brides hill, like the tour de France. People closing in cheering, clapping and shouting encouragement all the way up. Feed station- grab some more and down into Tenby. Around a roundabout and there’s Margaret and the gang looking like drowned rats in the rain. Water is over the kerb!! That’s the big half done – 67 miles. Just the shorter 45 mile loop to do. Turn at Lamphey feed station, grab and go, and onto Narbreth. Same climb as before. Thighs lock up again – same walk!! Down into Saundersfoot up St Brides hill. More people this time making an unbelievable noise. Back into transition in Tenby. Biking stuff off and trainers on.
Now it’s only 26.2 mile marathon to do and it’s stopped raining. Run out of Tenby up to New Hedges and collect an arm band – only need another 3. Back into Tenby and down to the harbour up through the town. Down side street, oh yes forgot to mention all through the town it’s COBBLED . There’s Margaret. Got some Ritz crackers at the last feed station. Margaret got one and a kiss. Lap 2 same as the first except it’s chucking it down again. Margaret dragged the rest out of the rugby club so there’s more shouting and cheering this lap. She gets a Ritz cracker and a kiss. Lap 3 – not raining so hard! Ritz and a kiss for Margaret and a slap on the back for me from Boo (brother). He’s got a pint! Last lap. Be glad when this is over. My legs and feet are KILLING ME!!
This is not a flat course, the profile of it goes something like flat, down, up for 2 miles. Down 1/2ml, up, down for 1 1/2mls, up, down, up, flat. All this times four! Now I have all my arm bands. It’s raining hard again, windy and cold. I turn into the FINISH shoot RED CARPET. There’s Margaret and the rest high-fiving everyone. The announcer shouts “ Geoff Taylor – you are an IRONMAN!” Under the finish arch – WOW 13hrs 26mins 26secs!!!!! The Mayoress of Tenby put my medal around my neck so I gave her a KISS. Pretty sure she didn’t like it! sticky wet and sweaty!! Collect all my stuff and change into something warm, dry and water proof. I need some food – anything will do so sausage and chips it is. Back to the caravan for a couple of beers and more food. Ok bring on Lanzarote70.3 in 4 week’s time.