Today it is the turn on the men’s winner, Tom Vickery, to share his own race report with you. He’s already looking forward to coming back next year…
Long Course Weekend – Mallorca
Mallorca is a special island if you like your outdoor sports. With it’s smooth roads, warm waters and sunny skies, it is quite the mecca for cyclists and triantalopes alike, so it is the perfect place for a Long Course Weekend event.
For those not familiar with the format, it is basically a triathlon spread over three days. Swim on the Friday, bike on the Saturday and run on the Sunday. The beauty of the event is the pick and mix nature of it. You can dip your toe in the water just by entering a single discipline or by doing some of the smaller distances, or you can go full blown cannon balling with the blue ribbon event consisting of the iron-distance race over the three days.
We turned up in force with a solid group of guys and girls ready to defibrillate themselves out of the summer blues and kickstart some 2018 training.
Day 1: Swim Day
Warm waters, blue skies and sandy beaches. What more can you ask for?
The race started with a run into the water, my strongest part of the swimming race! I hurdled the water like Colin Jackson scampering down a puddle laden street. After my brief moment in the swimming spotlight I settled into a nice little pack with a familiar face, Lucy ‘the little tug boat’ Gossage. I did not want to get out-swam by the Goss as I would have never heard the end of it, so I had to forget about the rest of the race and get away from her!
I have not banked that much swimming recently so decided to bide my time before I made my move. Our little group was fairly isolated and was ticking over at a steady pace so I just sat on feet and had a little fun prodding the bear before I attacked. Sitting right on her feet I started giving them a little tickle, she would kick harder. I would wait a few seconds then tickle a little more. Just before the bear turned on me I made my move and thankfully for my own sanity, it stuck!
This placed me third out of the LCW athletes, just behind fellow team mate Andrew “The Gun Suit Gorilla’ Diplock
1 – MARCO HOHLEN 51:49
2 – ANDREW DIPLOCK 52:12
3 – TOM VICKERY 55:37
Special mention to the Quadfather (James Gill), with his second place overall in 48:54, just pipping a 2008 Olympic triathlete out the water.
Day 2: Bike Day
One of the major differences of the Long Course Weekend is bike day. It is road bike only and drafted racing. The race organisation was amazing. We had 90km of beautifully fast, fully closed roads! We had motorbike outriders, a lead car and frequent feed stations even if the front peloton decided to ignore all of them.
With it being a drafted race, tactics became important. There were many in the front peloton that were only doing the bike and were happy to go all in that day (James Gill). There were also the LCW racers that had different agendas. Some needed to take time knowing that they did not have a strong run (Dippers The Gorilla), or needed to make up for their swims (Adam Britton), and some banking on their run just needed to stay with the moves (myself). Some special riders did not have any tactics at all. Little Lucy Gossage had not grasped the concept of drafting racing and tactics, she thought that she was in an Ironman just tugging along at a solid pace all day getting all upset at people for attacking too hard or not riding hard enough. This worked well for me as she acted like a little work donkey, never letting the pace slow too much and the breaks build up too much time. Much like the Tour de France, there were races within the race.
With the different motivations in the race it was hard to balance everybody’s objectives. Our ‘team’ in Classic Cambridge CC style was seen for prolonged periods with James and Adam breaking away and Dippers and Barney Palmer trying to chase them down. In the end it played out like a classic flat stage of the Tour de France with the break of Adam and Quadzilla being reeled in and caught 4km out to set up a sprint finish for the front peloton. If you did not make that group you were out of contention – big boy Dippers retained his top spot on the podium. Well deserved as he did the lion share of the chasing and attacking in the final run in.
1 – ANDREW DIPLOCK 5h20:50
2 – TOM VICKERY 5h24:20
3 – TOM WILLIAMS 5H24:32
Day 3: Run Day
Now, I have never done a straight marathon before. Running a marathon in a Ironman is a completely different beast. I went into this run with the game plan of just marking the fastest LCW athlete and sticking with them the entire run. The only way it could go pear shaped would be if I exploded, so I was happy to just keep it as steady as possible. The first half was like a Sunday long run; we had a nice little group of four – Ben, Big John and James Elgar. The shared camaraderie of competing with each other over the previous two days made it easy to chat away and enjoy the scenery. Near the 30km point and Ben and Big John dropped off the pace and you could tell from the turn around points that we had plenty of time on the muscle bound Dippers, who was burying himself trying to hold onto every second. I was happy to stick with James pacing… if he wanted to win, he would have to go suicidal speed and hope I blew up before he did! He decided to settle rather than go all in and risk everything. We came to an agreement that we would keep the pace steady and not play silly buggers with each other. Lock it in and take it home. We could have pushed harder for a time, but it wasn’t about times.
Our little team did great, so much so that we may make it a formal team for next year! Great running by Barney ran himself to within seven seconds of the podium. Adam Brittain who only just got chicked by Gossage produced a refreshingly non-explosive marathon going sub 3hrs for fifth. Even big boy Dippers, who went down in style holding onto Goss’s coat tails a little too long, but kept it just about together for a 3:07 marathon and sixth overall.
1 – TOM VICKERY 8h15:39 (55:37,4:28, 2:51)
2 – JAMES ELGAR 8h16:39 (56:41,4:28,2:51)
3 – BENJAMIN GRIFFITHS 8h23:51 (57:45,4:28, 2:57)
Overall, it was a fantastic event. I love how the multi-day racing builds up shared experiences and relationships. It allows for plenty of analysis, chat and banter in the evenings between. Looking forward to coming back and defending the title next year!!