Rookie Goes for 4 in a row @ Ironman UK – Week 1 of 28
Happy new year and all that…
I’m goin again…..
Going for 4 In a row at IMUK like……
FFS Rookie, I hear you all cry…..
Are you going for Kona?
Trying to PB?
Trying to beat last years time then at least??????
Then why Rookie?????
Why do you keep just going round and round Ironman UK???
And why don’t you ever enter any other races???
Are you off your head or somert????
But the answer is to the question is as follows…..
There are 2 parts to it….
First reason why i’m ‘going again’ (and by far the biggest)….
Only once you experience the thousands of iconic supporters that line the race circuit in Bolton will you ever understand what it feels like to cycle through them as a competitor….
For those who have yet to experience it, please take a look at the picture to the left….
That photograph was taken outside the black dog pub in Belmont at Ironman UK 2019 – (last years race).
It happens to be a group from Chorley ATC who have just spotted one of their own, a first timer at IMUK.
Look at the expressions on the faces of the supporters….
Can you imagine for one second what it feels like for an ‘average Joe’ to cycle through something like this on race day???
They make u feel like a bloody rock star mate…
If that picture does not make you want to sign up to Ironman UK right now then don’t worry about it cock, you never will…
The thing is, they don’t just do this for their clubmates, or ‘the elite’….
At Ironman UK – They do it For Everyone….
And that includes you……
The more you are struggling, the louder they will become….
Why do they do this???
The iconic supporters in Bolton can be broadly broken down into two categories….
1) – Members of / links to a Tri Club
For all triathlon (& indeed many local running clubs) Ironman UK is the big one, the FA cup final so to speak and clubs from all over turn out in fine numbers to support it with each having their own ‘little spot’ at various points along the route and their support on race day is the stuff of folklore….
It isn’t just the members of the club mind, they bring along their family, their mates, their mates of mates….
You get the idea….
Also, most tri clubs are filled with legendary Ironmen who understand exactly what you have gone through just to make the start line as they have been there themselves and more importantly, they know exactly what their support means to you and that is precisely why they do it…
Let me give you another example of what we are talking about here….
See Hunters Hill on the old bike loop??
Well, I stood on Hunters as a supporter years ago when there was just a handfull of Wigan and some nutter holding a tambourine….
I watched them slowly and painstakingly build that support year after year by uniting all the local tri clubs and creating something very special….
Fast forward to 2017 and I finally got to cycle up it as a competitor….
Let me tell you something….
I had tears in my eyes when I got to that hill on race day….
Seeing what it was and what they had turned it into….
There must have been hundreds if not thousands stood on either side of the road shouting you all the way up it…..
Then, when you got to Rigbye arms at the top, invictus had joined with Tri Preston to make a human arch for you to cycle under whilst the drinkers roared their approval and that experience alone was so magical I nearly turned round so that I could ride through it again…
It broke my heart when they ripped Hunters out of the bike circuit….
Broke my heart…..
But what did the Wigan do???
They simply found another Pub….
They went and stood with the Chorley boys that you can see in the picture outside the Black Dog at the bottom of Belmont….
Riding through that last year, the noise they made and the look on their faces…..
It was like how people behave when their team has scored a goal at the football…
And that is the story of just one group….
The Wigan lot….
I could give you example after example of other clubs doing likewise at various points all around the race circuit…. (the umpa lumpas of warrington, tri rivi, team deane, tri preston, chorley, knutsford, bolton tri, COLT, blackburn road runners, the wrestlers, tri rochdale, rammy running club…the list goes on and on and on)….
By the way, they don’t just do it for me, they do this for everyone, and I mean everyone, first to last gets treated exactly the same…
I’m Sorry, but yer common man simply cannot experience support like this as a ‘competitor’ without his soul being touched by it forever…
Moving on to the second category of supporter at Bolton, and here we find the local residents.
You must understand that to the vast majority of locals, what you are doing (completing an Ironman triathlon) is so far out of their reality they don’t believe it would ever be possible for them and they cannot comprehend what you are doing or how you are able to do it.
To them, just the very fact that you are now ‘one of the Ironmen’ makes you a super hero as far as they are concerned and they will treat you as such.
Needless to say, thousands of them will turn out on race day to cheer you on.
Have banter with them, smile at them, stick your tongue out at them, act as if you are loving it, pretend you are finding it easy etc and the look on their faces will stay with you for the rest of your days.
But here’s the thing…..
See those local residents???
As you trundle along, you will often hear them shouting stuff like ‘Keep going – You are awesome!!’ and other such wonderful things….
Here is what you do when you hear them shouting things like that in your direction….
You look them dead in the eyes and you say…..
‘You are the one who has stood outside your house for the last 10 hours clapping, whooping and cheering us all on – it is you that is awesome my friend’…
You either understand what I am on about here or you don’t.
But be warned, once you understand it, Ironman has got you forever……
It’s not so much about ‘doing the Ironman’….
It’s about paying your respects to the supporters….
Onto reason #2….. (As if you need another)….
I read somewhere a long time ago that Training for Ironman is simply an amazing way to live you life on a daily basis.
At first I was like ‘what the f*** are you on about man?’….
But I get it now.
Make no mistake, when you train at Ironman level, it’s like a drug…
It’s the way it makes you feel….
And I don’t mean during the actual training itself….
I mean the way you feel afterwards….
Bouncing out the gym in crisp clean clothes after a tough sesh and a red hot shower…..
You look a million dollars, you feel a million dollars, the fresh air hits and you feel like you could take on the world and win….
It’s almost as if once you train at this level, you unlock a part of your brain that you can only access when you are training at this level if you catch me drift….
I saw a film once called limitless – it was about this guy who found a tub of magic pills and when he ate one it enabled him to go and get whatever he wanted in his life.
In my experience, Training for Ironman is kind of like that….
It’s like eating the magic pill and unlocking the ‘ultimate’ version of you….
Anyone who has experienced this knows what I am talking about here…
Don’t get me wrong though….
As brilliant as it is, in my case, there is sadly a flip side…
You see the person you really are at heart never leaves you…
And the trouble is, deep down, I am ‘one of the lads’ at heart…
Remember those old cartoons where the mouse had the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other???
Well that is exactly what is going on here..
Let me explain…
For the last 3 years, from January through to August I go into ‘Ironman mode’ – this entails trying to eat clean, live clean, train every day, say ‘no’ to everything instead of ‘yes’ and reaping all the benefits I just described above.
From August through to December, I press ‘self destruct’ and go into ‘pisshead mode’ – This entails no training, eating bad food and generally saying ‘yes’ to everything instead of ‘no’…..
Another Guniess Rookie? (yeah get us two in lad)
Menthol Smoke Rookie? (yes)
Shit Food Rookie? (yes)
Day at the Races Rookie? (yes)
Stag do Rookie? (yes)
Night-club Rookie? (yes)
Other nautie things Rookie? (will you fookin stop it?)
All of a sudden, January comes round and I’m like….
‘What have I done?’
This year, such celebrations have seen me balloon to 16 stone, which, at 5ft 11, is at least 4 stone over ‘peak’
Let’s have it right, when you are 5/11 and 16 stone of muscle you look like a cage fighter….
But when you are 5/11 and 16 stone of Guinness, its more ‘sumo’ fighter than ‘cage’ fighter…
No doubt about it, the biggest gain I can make as far as my Ironman UK 2020 dreams are concerned is to shed about 4 stone of lard….
And There are only 28 weeks left in which to do it….
That isn’t a long time….
Best get cracking then hadn’t I?…..
I’ll put a weekly blog up every Sunday to record progress and share training adventures on the ‘brutal’ bike loop from the viewpoint of your ‘common man’, if you fancy a read…
I’ll also update FB with my daily training commentary every day, as it happens….
Next update on here will be Sun 19th Jan….
Hope to see you then….
Like this article? so will your mates – feel free to share it and don’t forget to ‘add’ me on FB where you will find my daily training log for 2020 updated daily, as it happens
By the way, have you heard about this book? its nearly 500 pages crammed full of hints and tips detailing exactly how I was able to go from zero fitness to completing an Ironman triathlon and covers super sprint, sprint, olympic 70.3 & full iron distances all from a ‘first timer’ perspective – please take a moment to read the reviews on amazon www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Ironmen-Iron-Rookie/dp/1974002322/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540676777&sr=8-1&keywords=iron+rookie
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