Chris Standidge had another good crack at the 70.3 World Championships. Chris is certainly no stranger to the demands & expectations of this race and has now competed for this ultimate crown for several years. The race requires pre-qualification at a qualifier event (on the Ironman 70.3 circuit) and only the select few peak performers are awarded the opportunity to race the Championship Race. Chris is extremely talented and was aiming for the top spot, but despite his tremendous effort, he didn’t quite make the mark this time. He will be back next year, gunning for the age group win when the race changes venue to Europe.
I knew my last race of the year was going to be the big one. The 70.3 World Champs in Mont Tremblant, Canada. I gained my qualification to this race through my success in France back in May of this year and was very much looking forward to the trip.
Unfortunately the last 6-8 week’s worth of training had been a bit sporadic, so I went into the race not feeling as confident as I may have been. Whatever happened, I wanted to enjoy the experience and not apply too much pressure to the result. That way I knew I could build on my experience for next year. As is normally the case with Ironman, they had taken over the small town of Mont Tremblant and were well under way with the staging of the race. In the Winter the town is very much a Winter ski resort with mountains all around. It’s a fantastic setting for a race and the town seemed genuinely excited by the fact they were going to hold a World Champs there.
Arriving on the Wednesday evening gave me 3 days to get myself organised, register and do some light training on the course. On the whole, everything had gone well, my training had not gone quite to plan, but despite the travelling, I still felt fresh. Race day was Sunday and the forecast was for bright sunshine and highs of about 20 degrees. Perfect conditions, and definitely better than the last few years, where the race had been located in Las Vegas. First thing in the morning it was pretty cold and heading down from my apartment to transition to prep my bike I was wrapped up in numerous layers with hat and gloves. It wasn’t long before the sun came out and by 8.00am and race time, it was warming up nicely.
The pros went off and very quickly the age group waves followed, starting with the 30-34’s a women’s wave and then us in the 35-39. A beach start in Mont Tremblant Lake started in the usual chaotic way. After 500m or so, I started to get a bit of clear water and was on my way. The ladies’ wave (that had started just 4 mins in front of us), created drafting difficulties, but I exited the water well and in 10th place. A long run up into transition, a quick change and I headed out on the 90k bike. The course was undulating, with a long portion on a highway, before a difficult last 20k with some stinging climbs (just as you are ready to start thinking about the run). The way out was into a headwind, I just put my head down and rode to power. I had a couple of athletes around me and a pace line formed with maybe 3 or 4 of us doing all the work at the front.
At the turnaround, and coming back the other way, you got an understanding of what starting maybe 15 waves in the space of 30 minutes had created. There were groups all over the place and nobody could ride/legit. With the incredible tailwind we quickly picked up the speed and then it played on my mind that there were now several athletes getting a ‘free ride’ but there was nothing I could do. I thought keep plugging away and if a group comes up to you, I know we are still well up in the race and I won’t let them drop me. But even though there were big groups behind, they didn’t catch and I entered T2 again in 7th to 10th place.
The run was tough, 2 laps of a very undulating course. I set off conservatively thinking a 1:22 would be a good time on this course. Lap 1 went by with no problem, exactly on pace and I was leading the small group I had come in with. My legs were starting to feel it, but I thought, just 6 miles left and I am there. Sadly, with 3 miles to go, I started to struggle with holding my pace. The lack of training had just caught up with me a bit and I found the last few miles a bit of a challenge. I lost a couple of minutes in the final few miles as everone was racing so closely. This cost me a number of places and I finished in 18th place in a time of 4:15. Mixed feelings at the end. I was happy that I had maintained a clean race and had been in the mix for most of the it, however I did feel a bit under- trained. I was disappointed to lose those places so close to the finish, but it gives me something to work and focus on over the Winter – ready for another attempt in 2015.
As ever, thanks to the help of all our fantastic sponsors:
www.wilier.it – Triathlon Frames
www.ffwdwheels.com – Race Wheels
www.huubdesign.com – Wetsuits
www.zyro.co.uk/altura – Triathlon and Cycle Apparel
www.ismseat.com – Saddles
www.invisciddesign.com – Speedfil Hydration Systems
www.schwalbe.com – Cycle Tyres
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets & Glasses
www.lakecycling.co.uk – Cycling Footwear
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.amphibia-sport.com – Transition Bags
www.lezyne.com – Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages
www.fenwicks.info – Lubrication
www.kapz.co.uk – Custom Headset Caps
www.racewaredirect.co.uk – Custom Garmin Mounts
www.shimano.com – Groupsets
www.camelbak.com – Bottles
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.joolzedymond.com – Photography