IMUK 2018 – Supporter

Once again I didn’t race IMUK, but as usual I was supporting for a couple of hours. When I’ve been a supporter before I’ve always cycled to Adlington and been part of the famous COLT Alley on Babylon Lane. The photos below were from last year.

This year, due to time constraints, I drove down to Horwich, had a quick 17 mile tile hunting loop around Bolton, and then stood on the Chorley New Road near to the roundabout for the Bolton football stadium.

While this didn’t have the atmosphere of COLT Alley, it was a good place to be as there wasn’t anyone else near me. The triathletes had also done about 11 miles at this point and there isn’t much to look at or many supporters once you’ve left Pennington Flash.

With 19 people from COLT there were many to cheer on, although I tried to clap for every single person, not just those from COLT. I gave a special cheer to those sporting good quality beards, especially one bloke from Rochdale Tri. Nearly everyone acknowledged me, which put a huge smile on my face. What was also good was that most of the COLTs would recognise me before I spotted them, making my ‘job’ easier.

Chris ‘Hippy’ Wild was first COLT past me, although I would have missed him if he hadn’t shouted, as there was a very angry shouty woman in a camper van complaining about her life in general and the poor choices that she had made.

Some of the COLTs I had no idea who they were, so a simple ‘Go COLT’ had to suffice. I thoroughly enjoyed cheering people on for a couple of hours, making a welcome change from racing. I also didn’t take a single photo as I was too busy cheering, oh well.

What about next year? Will I be racing? While I would love to cycle up COLT Alley I’m not a big fan of the M-Dot commercial enterprise, and the high cost of entering. I did enter last year, but pulled out (read about my Ironman journey here). I also worry that if I raced at IMUK people would find out that I’m actually a bit shit. I might do Lanzarote next year as it would be 20 years since I raced there, my one and only M-Dot branded race, but I might change my mind.

To finish, big well done to everyone who raced. You are an Ironman!

Ironman UK Bike Route Update II

A few days ago I blogged about the possibility of IMUK having to alter the bike route (read about it here). IMUK have now announced that the route has been changed, and reduced in length to 95 miles. I was expecting the route change, but I was also expecting that IMUK would make up the miles somewhere around the other side of the course. Not enough notice for the police and the local authority I presume.

So, the revised route, what is it like? Hilly and technical. The revised route heads over Anglezarke Hill, which not as long as Sheephouse Lane, it is steeper. The descent is also very technical and very steep. Additionally, you lose the long fast section from Belmont to the M65. Anglezarke is not a hill I would want to ride on a tri-bike, but if you’re steady and it’s not wet, you should be OK.

Finally, I’m not sure where the masked Mexican wrestlers from Sheephouse Lane will be, although they are making a stance for your extra 17 miles.

Ironman UK Bike Route Update

For those of you living in the south, or those of you not too good on your geography, there is a large fire on Winters Hill at the moment.

p06cldbh

Why is this important? Well, the IMUK bike route goes up and over Sheephouse Lane, which is next to Winter’s Hill, and is currently closed to traffic. Firefighters and the army are using it as a base to combat the fire. This morning the A675 from Bolton to Belmont was closed because of smoke from the fire. If I was to look for an alternative route, the A675 is what I would use. The BBC has stated that the fire is expected to continue for at least another week, and with no rainfall predicted, the current IMUK bike route looks like it will have to be changed.

The race organisers are aware of the situation, so I assume that they must be working on an alternative route. I doubt very much that the race would be cancelled, and at worst it might involve three or four laps of the second half of the route. It would be a shame if Sheephouse Lane was closed for the race, as along with COLT Alley (Babylon Lane) it is one of the noisiest and more iconic parts of the route.

I think that IMUK should publish a revised route as soon as possible, so that supporters can find alternative places to cheer. I’m intending to be near the Bolton football stadium in Horwich, cheering everyone one when they still have a hundred miles to cycle. I’ll be wearing a COLT shirt and be sporting a rather large beard. Wave or say ‘hi’ if you see me, and good luck if you’re racing.

My Ironman Journey – 2017

I’m not really a fan of M-Dot races. In my opinion the brand has become too commercial, too expensive and it’s all about the profit. Saying that, I’ve tried to stay away, but each year when the circus comes to Bolton, you can find me cheering people on. The atmosphere on COLT Alley is to be believed and every year I feel the urge to enter, to experience it for myself.

Due to work I wasn’t able to support in 2016, but after some encouragement from my wife I decided to enter, and pay my £400+ fee for 2017’s race. HOW MUCH? My triple ironman cost less than that. £6 per hour of racing as opposed to almost £40 per hour. Big difference.

Being a bit of a wag, I told friends that I was doing a sprint distance Tri this year. In the last couple of years I’ve had a go at ultra-triathlons. Read about my double ironman here.

Finishing a single ironman therefore shouldn’t be a problem, although I won’t be as quick as the last time I did an ironman distance race in the UK. That’s me below finishing Longest Day in 1998.

Longest Day 1998

My biggest problem will be nutrition, gels instead of pork pies, bananas instead of Hula Hoops. I won’t be able to spend 30 minutes in T1 having lunch. Also, swimming with 2000 others isn’t something I’m looking forward to. I like small races.

It has been interesting receiving emails from Ironman with advice and hints on my first M-Dot race. My first Ironman distance race was back in 1997, and my one and only official Ironman race was Lanzarote in 1999. It was a bad race and I’ve never been back.

Obviously this is the first time that I’ve registered with the brand, as t’internet wasn’t really around back then.

I will admit that I’m struggling to get excited about Bolton, and would probably prefer to be doing smaller local races instead. I appear to have lost my mojo. This isn’t helped by not being able to run. I have Plantar Fasciitis. Anyone who has had this will attest that it can take ages to heal. I’ve had it twice in the past, and both times it took over a year before I could run again.

Therefore, I have made the difficult decision to withdraw. With just over four months to go I can get half of my entry fee refunded, but if I left it another week then I’d only get 25% back. I will definitely be on COLT Alley cheering you all on, and maybe 2018 will see my return to Ironman.