• Nikki Bartlett

Mallorca 70.3

Long blog/waffling alert, me at my finest! Perhaps get a cup of tea and a snack! I’m writing this race blog whilst sat, legs up in compressport gear and feeling sleepy although my body doesn’t seem to want to switch off and sleep past 4am. Why, I don’t know, as the bags under my eyes are almost reaching my nose, not an attractive look. It’s raining outside and about 10 degrees. Oh to be back here:

Will stop waffling and move onto the race itself. WHAT A VENUE! Mallorca 70.3, my first tri of the season and what a race to pick. Such beautiful scenery, clear blue sky, lovely jubbly, well, I live to regret loving the sunshine in the run. So, we arrived for what can be described as a quick turnaround race, on Friday lunch time, hired a lovely van to fit my bikebox in from bikebox online, certainly made me feel at ease with the safety of my bike:

Quick turn around at the airport to register, bike rack, race briefing and by this time it was 6pm and nearly bedtime! On arrival we soon noticed how beautiful this race was going to be with this being the swim, run, and finish venue:

Our hotel was about 400m walk to the beach/venue so we had it spot on. Admittedly we were flat out asleep by 7.30pm but allowed us to not have to wake up until 5.40am, which is a definite sleep in! Well for the spectators, my nerves were kicking off from about 3am. Off to transition to do the last bits and bobs and then into the wetsuit I went;

The start list was such a strong field of athletes so I knew the race was going to be a tough one from the word go! The pro men went off at 8am, followed by the pro women at 8.02, followed by the rest of the women at 8.05, and the respective men AGs after that. It was a sea swim, which I had been extremely nervous about as my previous two sea swims hadn’t been pleasant at all. Especially April 2012, my first year of learning how to swim; head under water, learning words such as ‘catch’ and ‘feeling the water’ was like being back into rowing days. Anyway, last year, my sea swim wasn’t such a success, my inability to swim led to me actually being pushed onto the beach haha, several times, as I wasn’t a strong enough swimmer to get back over the waves, that 3k was the LONGEST 3k of my life and think it took over an hour to do it, thank god those days are over! Anyway, onto the race, so the race started on the beach and a run into the water, which I should of practiced in hindsight, was interesting, but managed to get in the water without someone standing on my head. The first 600m were a scrap and don’t think my heart rate has ever gone that high, but had to calm myself down a bit! Anyway 900m into the race and started to actually be able to swim and enjoyed it, MINUS the grim taste of salt water. Anyway, finished the swim in 28.30mins, although times not being comparable, it was 3.5mins quicker than last year so was very pleased J.

Into transition, and what I thought was a quick change, was in fact a slow arse 4.5mins, oh deary, think I need to get practicing on that one! Out onto the bike, which can only be described as a flat out all the way ride, the first 7miles was a beautiful stretch along Alcudia beach, had to stop myself from looking around and taking in the beautiful Island. So into the TT position until hitting the beautiful ‘mountain’ called Lluc. Approx 13-17k climb which I enjoyed, don’t mind climbing all day long, but knew what was to come, the horrid technical descent, proper hairpin corners, I can pretty much say that was one of the most unpleasant parts for me, whilst I was passed by what seemed like 100 people plus, making it look easy, I was hanging onto my brakes fearing my life may end off of the cliff edge, maybe I just need to man up, all in good time ;-)!

So with the bikey over, off onto the run where the sun was making its full appearance, lovely jubbly! Although, not for a seasoned Brit who hasn’t trained or raced in heat before, yes to most, this won’t seem like much heat, but it had me stopping at the aid stations to grab sponges and squeeze every last inch of water out of them. To be honest, from the first step off of the bike my legs were not feeling it, and felt very lethargic to say the least, felt like this was going to be a mental battle of a run more than anything else. The run was a 3 loop course, running alongside the beach at parts which was beautiful but couldn’t fully appreciate this until I eventually crossed that line. Upto mile 5-7 felt okay, then I hit a horrid wall / heat wall / wall that I just wanted to jump into the sea and go for a pee! That’s where the real battle started and I literally felt like I was hanging on, that dreaded feeling, where you actually feel like your sprinting or trying to sprint, and that you must be going faster, only to look at your garmin and see that in fact, your going about a minute slower per mile, and the only thought you can comprehend with, is that your garmin is wrong, not that you look like a mess and running like phoebe off of friends. My aim in the last 2 miles was to literally not walk. Anyway, after one long mental half marathon battle I managed to get through it and total finishing time of 4.56.

Chuffed to bits to win my age group, (F25-29) just over 4mins in front of 2nd place and coming 23rd overall out of the women, and 374th out of 3,300, so cant grumble for my first race abroad and 5th triathlon. Full results can be found here: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/ironman-70.3/mallorca/results.aspx#axzz2TAAXNQVj I qualified for the World 70.3 Championships in Las Vegas, however I didn’t take the spot as my bank card would like to be in the positive for some part of my life and also, that heat would just knock me down! My next race is World Long Distance Champs in France, Belfort, on the 1st June, so 3 weeks to recover then build back up into the race. Thanks to the support from my sponsors; A1 multisport and 9bar for my much needed nutrition pre, during and post race, Matrix for my bikey which got a lot of looks out there, bike box online for such a safe secure bike box, compressport for my race and recovery compression gear and University of Birmingham for my training facilities and support in the labs, physios and massage to get me ready for race season. Thanks to Bex and Marion for your support in Mallorca and to family and friends who tracked online, couldnt do it without your support :-).

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