As the year draws to a close and the weather takes a turn for the worse, some of our members have decided to travel to sunnier climes to take part in triathlons. While most of us have been packing away our shorts and tee-shirts and digging out our jumpers and scarves, Blackwater Triathlon Club members Mick Beston and Kieran Duggan were living the vida loca in Lanzarote and Mallorca and managing to take part in some long distance triathlons in between the sunbathing and sangria.
On the 9th of October, Mick Beston was in Playa Blanca in Lanzarote for the IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote. Not far from the northwest coast of Africa, the IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote boasts a breath-taking course that takes place in some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe. Years of constant eruptions created a lunar landscape for the athletes to ride across with plenty of climbing to keep it interesting. As the sun rose above the harbour in Playa Blanca, Mick and the other competitors lined up for a rolling start to the swim. It was a beautiful calm morning and the water was a balmy 22 degrees on the day. The swim was a little tricky to start with as the athletes negotiated their way out between the rows of boats in the harbour, but they soon got in to their rhythm and Mick really enjoyed the 1.9km swim. Exiting the water, there was a 400m run to transition where Mick and the 680 other athletes taking part on the day got ready for the cycle. Lanzarote is renowned for its excellent roads and stunning scenery and is a common destination for cyclists looking for some winter training. However, it is also known for occasional windy conditions and after the calm conditions for the swim things changed pretty rapidly for the cycle. The 90km cycle course consisted of two loops in the southern part of the island, taking in a couple of very challenging climbs along the way. Just to add to the challenge, the cyclists faced a headwind of up to 40km/h as they climbed, and of course with it being a two lap circuit, once they had completed the first lap they knew exactly what to expect on the second time around. As Mick observed, he knew it was going to be a very long day after the first two kilometres of the cycle. After 4 hours of tough cycling Mick arrived back in transition, where he then had to prepare himself for the 21km run. By then temperatures were approaching thirty degrees, a little warmer than Mick was used to on the roads around Mitchelstown. The four-loop 21.1 km (13.1 mile) run course took place at Playa Blanca, with athletes enjoying the circular course as the route alternated between slightly inland, along the seafront and across the harbour before culminating in short stretch to the finish line. It was a tough run but the water stations and crowd were fantastic and with huge vocal support from the crowd, and especially Mick’s wife, Annette, and their friends Mossy and Leana Lane from Mitchelstown, Mick eventually got around the 21 km. He was thrilled to have completed the most difficult mental and physical challenge he had ever taken part in. Well done to Mick and all who took part on a gruelling day of racing.
The following weekend Kieran Duggan travelled to Alcudia, Mallorca in Spain to take part in
Ironman Mallorca. On the morning of Saturday 16th of October, Kieran was at the start line along with all of the other competitors as they waited to begin the swim section of the race. Kieran had travelled to Mallorca the previous week to get a few days adapting to training in the heat before the big event. He had been training hard over the last few years increasing the distance in each triathlon he took part in to be ready for this event. The day was beautiful, perfect weather conditions for the swim with a calm sea and good visibility. Just before 8am he took to the water to swim the 3.9km. The sea was pleasantly warm and Kieran reported he loved the swim event once he found his rhythm. The bike was one loop of 180km taking the athletes up to Port de Pollenca and Serra de Tramuntana before turning to s’Albufera. It then continued to the east across some of the island’s well-known towns such as Santa Margalida, Son Serra de Marina and Arta before heading back to Port d’Alcudia. The bike course was spectacular and challenging. Kieran had no issues for the first 90km but then his feet started cramping throughout second half. He took lots of electrolytes but he figured he needed salt tablets as temperatures got hotter throughout the afternoon. He stopped a few times to take his shoes off to help ease the pain. Eventually he stopped at an ambulance to ask whether they had any salt. They didn’t have salt but offered him a half dozen saline eye drop vials. Kieran swiftly downed the saline and felt much better afterwards. Maybe not what they were designed for, but they definitely did the trick for Kieran on the day. He battled to complete the bike course and finally made to transition after 180 tough kilometres in the saddle. The run course was a flat, 4 loop 42.2km course, along Alcudia Bay with the finish line located on the beach area just 50m away from the swim start. Running is Kieran’s best discipline so when he got to T2 he took extra time to compose himself. He changed into his running gear, walked out of T2 and then walked the first 500m before he committed to himself that once he started to run he would only stop at food stations. So, completely in his running zone, he set off on the marathon run. Then, finally, after 12 hours, 23 minutes and 42 seconds of racing, Kieran crossed the finishing line, with a feeling of complete ecstasy. Kieran Duggan was now an “Ironman”. He was very proud of himself for completing the event and has huge respect for the Ironman distance and anyone who completes it. He called it “ truly is an amazing experience” . The next day his body was sore but that was a small price to pay. Kieran expressed his gratitude to everyone who has helped him along his ironman journey over the years, giving him support and advice through the months of training. 🙏Well done to Kieran and all the other Iron men and women who took part on the day.