dave ahern swim pic

Race Report IronMan 70.3

Ok, this maybe a long one, time to grab a cup of tea or coffee and relax.
We travelled out to Mallorca for the Ironman 70.3 triathlon which was held in the resort of Alcudia in the North of the Island, we got in late Wednesday night after a long days traveling, so had a quick bite to eat and off to bed.
Thursday morning began with a recce of the swim course which was all marked out and ready to go. Wetsuit on and off I went the water was a lovely 18 degrees. This was my first open water swim of the year and of course took a bit of getting used to again, sighting was way off and needed to be practised before race day. Swam about 1500m and got out with the intention to swim Friday morning concentrating on sighting.
Thursday afternoon was taken up with registration, which consisted of signing on, collecting the race pack (more on this later), athletes wrist band and a stroll around the Ironman circus tents looking at all sorts of toys and gadgets. Drove the 90K bike circuit to have a look, the climb and descent were my main focus .Nice relaxing evening and off to bed early.
Onto to Friday morning, this was going to be busy, collect and assemble my bike that had been shipped over with 10 others in a Van, it was due to arrive 9AM. Collected the bike at 8:30 and headed straight back to the hotel.
Collected Conor & Killian and headed back to the beach for the IronKids registration, signed on and then back to hotel to collect the rest of the family.

iron kids


Conor & Killian both competed in the IronKids event and finished well in the main bunch, receiving Finishers medals, certificates of achievement and a nice race finishers T-Shirt.

Now time to swim again focusing on sighting, into the water and sight on every 6th stroke, it’s all coming back to me now. Swam about 1000M focusing on sighting the race buoys at 100M intervals.
This practice session proved to be very beneficial not only for sighting but also helped to settle the nerves.
Out of the water back to the hotel, open the race pack to find 3 transition bags, race number and a block of race number stickers.

Red Transition Bag = Run bag – All T2 run kit

Blue Transition Bag = Bike bag – All T1 bike kit

White Transition Bag = Street Clothes – clothes worn on race morning before changing into wetsuit.

With all the race bags packed/ labelled and race number stickers attached to bike / helmet it was time to head off to transition to check in the bike.

Cycle up to transition which is now a hive of activity (3,300 people competing from 67 Countries).

I find my allocated bike position among the rows and rows of bike candy!

Now to hang up the race bags and collect my timing chip.

With all tasks complete it was time to have a mental run through transition, blue bag first T1 (third row 3 racks down at the end) into the transition tent change – out on bike (middle row down as far as the shopping centre door), back into transition T2 collect run bag (third row 5 racks back) out of transition and onto the run.

Friday night consists of a good dinner and early to bed (multiple alarms set for the morning). Get to bed and can’t sleep the nerves are kicking in it’s going to be a long night! I eventually drift off to sleep only to be woken by the 5AM alarm – its race morning time to get up.

Having breakfast at the apartment watching the dawn rise and wondering what lies in store for today’s adventure. Run through the checklist again to check and double check I have everything.
6AM drive over to transition and get a parking spot close bye. I see lots of bodies coming home from the clubs and think where I have gone wrong ☺ . Into transition and time to fill up the water bottles and pump the tyres back up. Check the location of the transition bags again to ensure I have the correct bearings – there are racks and racks of bags.
7:30 AM wetsuit on and head over to the start line, drop the white bag into the allocated location and head back to watch the PRO start at 8AM. The PRO’s go off and they are quick! These are followed by the Women and some other age groups. The clock is ticking and my wave start at 8:45 is coming up quick.
Time to get in the water for a warm up – all goes well and they call our wave up to the start line.

Swim Course Map So two minutes to go there are 459 athletes in my age group waiting for the off.

The gun sounds and we’re into the water, the mash up is nowhere near as bad as I expected.

Settle into a steady rhythm and concentrate on my own race. I’m swimming straight and all is going well, we round the outer buoy and take a right for 100m, right again and we’re on the home straight.

Sighting is going well and I’m on course just keep swimming!

Into the beach and all is going well so far (I haven’t drowned) quick look at the Garmin and it’s at 37 minutes, surprised at that thought I’d be at least 45 minutes.

Wetsuit down and into the long run to transition and the search for the race bags.

Followed the plan details from the day before and got my Blue (Bike bag) transition bag.

Into the transition tent wetsuit, goggles, hat off. Number and socks on get the wetsuit and gear into the blue bag drop it into the designated point and head for the bike.

Ran to the visual marker I had outlined the day before of the bike location, collected the bike and headed for the mount line.

Ok its bike time and back to something that is more familiar, its time to make some progress. My garmin is acting up so heart rate plan is out the window and have to go back to good old feeling.

The first 20 odd kilometres is flat as we head out on the coast road to Puerto Pollensa with a slight head wind, this is familiar teritory as we have spent many holidays in the area. Get to Pollesa and hear a bang, oh feck fear the worst but realised I’ve just dropped my gas pump. Have to push on, have a hand pump so kick on.

24K hit the climb and start to pass lots and lots of bodies, the climb kicks in and starts to get severe. Round and round the hairpins, 34 bends to the top as I count them down. 1:15 at the bottom of the climb and set a time of two hours to get to the top.
All goes to plan two hours and I’m almost at the top.

dave ahern run pic

Bike Course Map Get to the garage at the top and progress is great, it’s time to descend!

The descent is fairly technical very fast with lots of tight looping hairpins.

Some guy passes me like a bat out of hell and I think this won’t end well – get a few bends down the road and the same guy is climbing out of the ditch with a lot of road burn (it’s game over for him).

Continue on down the descent past the 40K marker. Into the rest of the course which is fairly flat with a couple of gradual rises but nothing compared to the climb. Come through the town of Inca (50K marker) and back onto a main highway with a fairly nice headwind we have about 8K on this road and turn off happy to get out of the wind.

Bike Coure Eleveation map
Keep checking the time to make sure I’m following the nutrition plan of taking on something (bar/gel) every 30 mins and keep drinking.
Start to see the resort of Alcudia up ahead so we are coming back in towards tranisition quick look at the clock is runnig at about 3:45 all good .
Dismount, run up and rack the bike. Grab the red transition bag and head for the transition tent.

Runners on and hit out of transition down the blue beach path. I’m running for what seems an age and then see a 1K marker and tought oh god this is going to be a long day! Keep running and hope that the legs will come good. Spot the family shortly after and get a boost from the cheers “Come on Dad Go Tri !” Got to the 5K mark and legs are starting to come right.

Past the first lap of three 7K circuits and get my first arm band (green) the thing that sticks with me here is the the amount of support on the loop it’s amazing complete strangers calling out your name, other athletes encouraging walkers to start running. Into the second loop starting to find some bit of rhytym and taking gels when needed. Meet the family again they’ve pushed up closer to the main area……another boost….”Come on Dad you can do it!” Get to the 10K mark and it’s time to start taking on coke, haven’t stopped yet.

End of the second lap coming up time to get the second arm band (orange). Round to the beach front again for th third loop here we go were nearing the end. Looking out for my gang they’ve pushed on again into a better position for the finish and I can hear them before I see them, great support and a timely boost.

Not long to go now an I’ll be done, starting to get a niggle in my right calf but keep going. I’m about 2K out and the calf pain is now a serious problem, gotta keep going.

Eventually had to stop for a quick stretch and seems to have worked I’m off again and don’t feel so bad.

Into the finish loop and round the bend for the finish banner on the line, here comes the roar from my gang to spur me on into the finish.

All done……man what a feeling.

Through the finish line and into the athletes garden to collect the finishers medal and white transition bags.

Time to head out and find the family.

Anyone looking at this report and thinking that they wouldn’t be able for something like these needs to be aware of some history;
1) I only started swimming in 2012.
2) My first open water swim was June 2012 and I couldn’t make it out of the lagoon in UL Activity Centre.
3) My first 10K Race was the Great Limerick Run 2013 (12/5/2013)
4) I have only done 3 sprint triathlons (all in 2012) and never done an Olympic.
5) I have never done a 1900M open water swim
6) I have never done a half marathon.

For me the build-up to this race started back in January with a program designed by Coach Stephan Teeling Lynch of Go Tri. The program was based around;
1) My own abilities – Weak area’s that needed to be improved.
2) Available free time – Trying to find time to fit in training with Work & Family life can be hard at times.
The training plan was updated on a weekly basis based on feedback from the previous weeks training to ensure all aspects of the race were catered for. The program brought a lot of structure to my training and eliminated a lot of guess work and junk miles. Having Stephan there as a coach was also a great sounding board for advice and momentum to keep things on the road.
All in all I had a great race day and am very happy to have finished such a great event. Thanks have to go to my coach for all the hard work he put in with me, my wife Elaine and sons Conor, Killian & Eoghan for putting up with me through all the training, without your support it simply wouldn’t have happened.
Now I have to pick another target for this midlife crisis!

Majorca 70.3 Through the eyes of Dave Ahern

One thought on “Majorca 70.3 Through the eyes of Dave Ahern

  • January 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Hi Dave,
    I was delighted to read your report as I am doing Mallorca 70.3 in May 2014.
    I am only really worried about the swim and the descent of the cycle. My swimming is average , Cycling is ok , Running would be my strongest discipline . I am starting an 18 week training program .It will mean training twice a day 4 days a week ,one rest day ,1 day running ,1 day cycling . I have just done a sprint in 2009 . If you have any other tips that would be great.


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