• Nikki Bartlett

IRONMAN Staffordshire 70.3


Staffs faff, is it really worth it?? YES!!!


Photo credit: Huw Fairclough, IRONMAN - capturing what it's all about. Absolutely love this, thanks Huw!

Without a doubt the most Faffy race ever, one you need to be super prepared for (think I had 6 postcodes!). And it's somehow gone to a whole new faff level since previous years with the T2 change! But a race which is totally worth it, here's why:

Quick insight into the faff (if you're looking at doing it next year!)

T1: Chasewater

T2: Riverside in Stafford Town, about 40-50/60 car journey dependent on traffic from T1.

T2 is about a 20min walk from the finish

Pro briefing is a faff in town somewhere

So = super organised and tiring day on Sat. But it's 110% worth it...

Without diving too much into my race, I wanted to spin it around talk about why Staffordshire 70.3 is so special.


There's one thing I most love about racing and training, and that's sharing all of the ups and downs with family and friends, but also the triathlon community. Without a doubt, this race brings all of that together. I'm not even sure where to start, so maybe I will go for the bullet points:

-My amazeballs family coming down to support; Aunty, Uncle, Mum, Dad, Craig Abi, Bex's Mum and Dad and Grandma, and Bex getting the train with 5(!!!) stops from Stirling on Saturday after work. And of course, my gorge bum Titch. Who's fast asleep making rabbit noises as we speak! She peaked yesterday. Their unconditional support makes racing so special. And wouldn't be anywhere near the same without you. Makes me buzz seeing you all whilst in the pain cave. It's hard to put into words, but it's without a doubt one of the most special and admiring things I love about racing; sharing/team work!


-IMMENSE CROWD SUPPORT. Just hearing your name cheered on constantly gave me the biggest buzz ever!

-Metting SO MANY awesome people all with their own journeys and passion in the sport

-Putting names to faces who support you on social media

-The vibe IRONMAN creates; volunteers, bike support on the run, commentators, just everything is electric!

-Passion Fit crew were EVERYWHERE! Immense, and even more special that Alex, Tom and I finished 16th, 17th and 21st overall and shared that within minutes of us crossing the line! Pretty special to share that with the people you train with!

-TOUGH honest course!


Photo credit: Huw Fairclough, IRONMAN

To the race: TOUGH course! Mega nice sunny day for it, heating up nicely!

This was epically delayed due to the fog which just heavily dropped about 45mins before start time. Think in total there was around 30-45min delay, but glad we got to do the whole swim!

A bit gutted that the AG time gaps to Pro women was slashed heavily, but luckily this didn't effect my biking at all / not dangerous on the country roads. I come to Staffs for the honesty of the race, so hopefully they will move it back to 13mins next year. Hint!

Swim:

I well and truly found out that I'm not fully recovered from IM Lanzarote after about 50m into the race. Hello flatness! I knew we were in for a looooong tough 'man up' hat kind of race from the gun. 7th out, thanks Lucy for dragging me around! If anyone had a watch, would be intrigued to know how long the swim was, felt like a lifetime!

Bike:

This course is relentless; bumpy, twisty, lonely - yes, lonely!!! Agers won't see it, but seriously I must have asked myself about 10 times yesterday, Am I actually on the course?? It's extremely isolated, and if you don't have the right mentality as a Pro Female on that course, then you will lose your head. Until the last 10k where I went into the lead, it was a slow chopping wood day working my way to 1st Female coming off the bike with a lush new Bike Course Record to boot!

I won't bore with details, but the legs were screaming, and it required mega focus. I did really enjoy just push through so much fatigue and challenging myself - and then taking the lead with 10k (ish - started my garmin late) gave me a buzz coming into T2. Even more so when Alex had overtaken me just before T2, and we were coming into together.

Run:

I was buzzing to take a whole 10 seconds of lead female fame coming off the bike, with my homestay Sarah (her shop is amazing: The Pedal Station). Whilst it lasted, it was worth coming off the bike first for ;)!

I knew I was battling for 2nd on the run...

The new run course: OMG!! It is literally like a kid has scribbled on a map, and said go around that 3 times for lols. Probably 20-30 corners per lap?? A right rhythm sapper, BUT the course had the best support, so although it increases faff and your legs just want a long straight road, it's definitely a good change (well forced change from Shugborough!).

Honestly the run course was BUZZING!!! It's where I soaked up my family support, but wow the amount of people cheering me on was amazeballs, thank you!

I felt really strong in the first part of the run, and put more time into the girls behind, so was able to drop the pace a tad and go for a strong all round run: 1.25, buzzz! It honestly felt like a 1.40!


Coming down that magical red carpet in 2nd place, running with the best crowds, and hearing Jo on the mic was bloody amazeballs. A truly special moment being able to turn up to a race, and delivering what you're capable of. I'm absolutely GUBBED now.

THANK YOU to everyone who supported, and amazing to meet so many fab people.

Big shout to Cheetham's and coach Rob who's been bloody amazeballs, couldn't do it without you guys! Massive congrats to everyone out there, Staffs is a hard course, and pretty warm day out too!


Photo credit: Huw Fairclough, IRONMAN


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