A nice race report on Ironman 70.3 Portugal from Micheal McSwiggan his first 70.3 event.
Holidays 2016 I ended up in cascais just outside Lisbon, thought to myself this would be a great place to cycle must do that some day. Fast forward October 2016 Ironman announce their inaugural ironman 70.3 in you guessed it Cascais Portugal, decision made I’m doing it! Date 3rd September 2017. Right better try and sort this swimming out, 1.9k Jesus that’s a marathon in the water how will I get through it? Head down, lots of races and lots of low rock swims and hey presto this is doable!
Downloaded an 8 week training peaks schedule and locked in 3rd September as the day the peak!
We had a crew from PTC travelling to the race as well as local rivals from piranha which would be good motivation out on course!
Target time was 5hours or better if at all possible but as a 70.3 virgin it was in the lap of the gods. We arrived in cascais on Friday & registration was smooth. We had a look at the swim course. Hey there’s lots of boats in the bay surely they will be moved on race day? Saturday we had to get our timing chips at transition area and the plan was to rack the bikes but it was blowing hard so much so that the organisers cancelled bike drop the day before to the morning of the race!
So we went to bed hoping the wind would drop overnight and sure enough it did! We woke to a lovely morning temp estimated to reach 24 ish degrees so it was gonna be a warm one! Extra thing to worry about getting fried on the bike n run so lots of sun cream please! I woke up with a creak in the neck, ah yes just what I need……anyways I think the adrenaline kicked in so whatever niggles took a big back seat. Bike racked , stroll down to beach start , hey they haven’t moved the boats!?…. sun rising setting is stunning, gun goes we re off!! Swim took us by a couple boats and then towards beach for an Aussie exit. Run up the beach and back in, duck under a couple of cables what are they doing there?! It was hard to spot the markers but I just kept it steady. As I approached the finish it started getting congested and I got a nice kick in the head which peeved me and knocked off the googles, anyway nearly there keep going.. exit on a slipway easy easy nice n slippy , volunteers pull me up yes I’m done 40mins delighted!
Now for the fun bit!!! The bike was fast fast fast for the first 45/50k it was flat all the way to outskirts of Lisbon and back again before we started climbing up towards Estoril race track. We did a lap of that which was cool then on towards the sintra hills. At this point I’d seen Niamh, Paul and Robbie
And then approaching the turnaround point I spotted ruairi coming down the hill. The spin back to cascais was epic ,coming in along the coast wind slightly behind, roads closed, Heaven!! Felt good even though I hadn’t eaten much on the bike, 1 gel, a fun size snickers and a chocolate brioche and plenty of fluids that was it. Into transition off the bike, 2:31 happy with that! shoes on time for a gel and a badly needed loo stop. Ended up having a row with the Tri suit trying to get it off in the loo! 8 min later I exit transition onto the run. Spotted a piranha a few hundreds metres in and glided on by.
This is where the fun really began! None of us was prepared for what lay ahead, rolling hills more rolling hills and yep we’d have to do it twice! At this stage of the day it was getting warmer as well but there was a lot of fluids on course, showers to run through and sponges. I made the decision to walk through each station to get cooled done and water onboard. Started chatting with an English guy just to distract me and the km’s went by that bit quicker, then I spot niamh, then Paul, Robbie , none of us are having the craic…..it’s a tough slog. Louise is at the turnaround point shouting us along. Only another lap to go and all those hills again…..I’m searching for the Ironman flag which is at the finish , I can see it I’m 4K to go come on! The finish was cruel as we had to run past the finish up another drag to come back down. Just as we get to the turnaround louise is still there, I see jennifer and then louise says ruairi is just there in front of you! I come up on his shoulder, let’s go we’ve got this! Hitting the magic carpet finish chute ,cheerleaders , great crowds I’ve done it!! Mission accomplished 1:36 run overall 5:00:55! Happy out, cracking medal! It was great to finish so close with ruairi , into the recovery tent for a probably the best 10minute leg massage ever!
What’s a thrill to have done such a great event with a class bunch of PTC club mates. Bring on the next one!