The race started on Monday 27th October and ran until Wednesday 5th November 2014 . It involved racing an Ironman distance everyday . This is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.
For me it was the 2nd of the year’s 2 major goals. I had raced 2 weeks previously in Kona, Hawaii in the World Ironman Championships on 11th October. I had suffered a very disappointing race due to a schoolboy error. I hadn’t accounted for the scale of salt depletion in the hot/humid conditions and had suffered severe cramp on the bike. I finished eventually in a very disappointing time , coming n the 40’s in my age-group when I had hoped to be challenging for a podium position. It was a major journey home from Kona and I arrived home on Wednesday 14th October.. It was going to be a very risky proposition to only have 9 days at home before jetting off once again on Friday 24th October.
We arrived in Leon on the evening of 24th . It was hot , but a very different heat from Hawaii.. It was a dry, airless heat as opposed to the humidity of Kona. The pre-race banquet and registration followed the next day and in the evening I ventured out for a steady 5 mile run on the race course. It felt hard work and I had difficulty catching my breath. I put it down to the lengthy flight and tiredness. On Sunday I cycled 25 miles easily round the race circuit. Would I be ready for race day the next morning ? We would soon find out.
DAY 1 … 27/10/14
As usual it felt like a bit of a panic before day 1. Strange to think that in a few days time it would all seem straightforward. My first setback was to discover that I had a flat tyre . This was soon repaired and we assembled lakeside for a rendition of the Mexican anthem on Tristan Vincent’s trumpet. He was a Deca participant and works as a music teacher in Mainz, Germany. On the swim I did 1.12, well below my best but everybody else seemed slower too, apart from the turbo charged Jorge , the young Mexican, who set off at a blistering pace. On the bike I did a predictable 5.55 ( despite a 2nd puncture)but was starting to struggle with nausea and during the 4.24 marathon I was sick several times. I finished in 3rd place , which was a good, steady start.
I knew that today was not going to be a good day.. I struggled on the swim in 1.19, a time that I could normally do without even trying. I was fighting back the urge to vomit, but kept pressing on, hoping that it would pass. On the bike I had all kind of problems, stopping to be sick and several times the botttom crank worked loose and I had to stop to re-tighten it. On the final lap, It went completely and both pedals were in the bootom position. After 109 miles I had to cycle the last 3 with one leg. On the run I was reduced to an uncomfortable shuffle as I alternated between jogging and throwing up. A finishing time of 14.11 put me way behind the leaders.
I was hoping for a better day, but soon realised that I was no better. Today was the start of Jeannie’s triple Ironman and she set off in fine style , cycling as fast as everyone except the flying Jorge. I swam a little faster in 1.13, but I had a different bike today whilst the other one was repaired. It was a heavier bike and I was being sick again. Half way through the bike section, it was boiling hot and I pulled in to the transition area , feeling that I was going to abandon the race. The constant vomiting had reduced my resolve and I couldn’t face continuing whilst being constantly sick. I stopped for over an hour, chatted with Giorgio and Beto and decided to carry on. The bike leg took me over 8 hours . I think Jeannie had already run half a marathon. I was no better on the run . It was a repeat of yesterday as I continued to throw up at regular intervals.i also fell on the run, luckily not on my broken collar bone side and just lay on the floor laughing for a while at the insanity of it all. I finished in 15.39 and slumped in a chair, pleased that I had somehow made it to the finish. Beto had been speaking to his brother, who is a doctor. He suggested that I might well be suffering from altitude sickness. This was like music to my ears ! A problem for which there might be an answer !!
We set off in search of the all night chemist and purchased some tablets. I took one immediately and one the next morning . Jeannie had had a great race and was already fast asleep in preparation for her Day2]
I wasn’t sure how today would go. The swim was an improvement ( 1.12) and I felt kind of ok. My biggest plus today came after a chat with Carsten Sacher about nutrition.. He suggested that I tried the meal replacement drinks that he used . I tried one before the swim. Vanilla flavour, 240 calories and it went down like a dream. I had another after the swim and Alex , one of the support team, was on his way to Walmart to buy me another 24. The startegy worked well and I did 6.30 on the bike today. I was back on the fast bike and it felt good.. The run was an improved 4.43 even though I fell again and suffered in the heat. It had been blisteringly hot for the last few days. I had been thinking that I had sunstroke or similar, rather than altitude sickness, but I was ok today despite the heat. I wasn’t sick , so was more than happy with a 12.37 finish. Jeannie had problems with her leg injury and feet and had resigned herself to a fast march on the marathon.
Today was very similar to yesterday. Very hot. A good swim ( 1.10) , bike was 6.46, a little slower due to another puncture, and an improved run of 4.26, giving a 12.32 total. Jeannie had suffered through her run , suffering stomach issues as well as the foot problems, but had achieved her goal. I shuffled off to the supermarket, washed some kit and ate well. I was a long way behind the leaders ,but now felt ready to race. We’d see how it goes tomorrow, but bike, health and nutrition all felt settled and hopefully I’d now see the benefit of 6 months training of 20 hours per week.
….Well Miranda, good news , today was fairly uneventful..We started slightly late at 8.10 . I’m sure the water temp hasn’t dropped but we all feel colder as we lose body fat reserves day by day..leslie Holton didn’t start today after a very gutsy 5 day effort.. We used a slightly different route to bike in the park today due to the weekend crowds. It was 70 laps !!!!… My swim time was 1.11 ( I feel my garmin buzz on my wrist at 30 and 60 mins and target a particular buoy before that happens) …. Just one puncture on the bike , but otherwise it went smoothly ( 6 hrs 12 mins) on the now established routine of stopping briefly once per hour to drink a food replacement energy drink and to refill my helmet attachment with ice….At the start of the run it went cloudy for the first time this week and that made a massive difference to my running.. Only one fall on the uneven surface of the gravelly breakwater path in the dark shortly before the end. marathon time of 4.11 and 3rd place today, total time 11.44 ( faster than my Hawaii time after 6 ironmans in 6 days, which shows why I was so disappointed with Kona).. The sad news is that the incredibly talented race leader had to pull out on the run today with a recurring hip problem. The Greek Konstantinidis won today and has taken the lead from Kamil Suran, followed by Daniel Meier and then me .Nice to finish early, eat well and get to bed !!
I hope this is good enough Jules Taylor . it’s a bit hard to give the details without sounding cocky, but everything went well today , apart from a crash with a religious zealot. It was a cool morning , 46 degrees, with even greater reluctance than normal to enter the water. Lots of swimmers were wearing thermal caps, booties and gloves… Having done City to Summit this year in 11 degrees in the Firth of Forth, I thought it was ok. The swim has been changed to 8 laps instead of 4 ( still the same total ironman distance of 3.8km) and I was first out in 1.09.. As temperatures climbed to the mid 70’s , I maintained a lead and followed our now well rehearsed fuelling strategy, stopping every 75 mins for 2 minutes to down a food replacement drink, 2 cups of coke and a loading of my helmet bag with ice, with a small hole in it to allow the melting ice to run down my back. I completed the bike in 5.53 with a lead of approx. 10 mins. I set off on the run, going through the first half marathon in 1.47 and a 3.42 full marathon time. Total time 10.52..After putting my poor Hawaii performance to bed yesterday, today’s act was to beat my equally disappointing UK Ironman race time. I might have overcooked it on the run today. We’ll see what happens on day 8, but today felt like one of my best ever tri days.. It shows what we can all do with persistent , consistent, regular, determined training…even for an old dog !!! ( Hope for you yet Magic !!)
Another day, another Ironman… Very similar news to yesterday. I led out of the water in 1.11. During the bike, it got vey hot again. I did the 112 miles in 6 hrs, 0 mins and 10 secs, just holding on to the lead from Kamil Suran for the run. Although not running as fast as yesterday, I built a steady lead and reached the finish with a 3.57 marathon for a total time of 11 hours ,17 mins. Kamil was 2 laps behind , so I will have cut off approx. 40 mins from his lead.. After my sick days on day 2 and 3 , I lost too much ground to challenge him. I will be quite close in total time to Daniel Meier after day 8 , as he had nearly 4 laps to do when I finished ( maybe 1 hr 20) , and Konstatinides was suffering with stomach issues.. So the race is there for the taking for Kamil if he has 2 steady days. The other 3 of us will still have some racing to do to settle places 2,3 and 4. Only 2 days to go to complete an epic journey of 24 miles swimming, 1120 miles of cycling and 262 miles of running in the Mexican heat…. Am trying not to think of not having to do it on Thursday, as there are still 2 big efforts required. See you tomorrow. ps …. no crashes, falls, punctures, high winds or sickness today
NEARLY BUT NOT QUITE…. 90% done , one day to go, we are nearly there, but one final big effort awaits in the morning. People are suffering various ailments . Tristan, the music teacher from Mainz in Germany (on day 1 he played the Mexico anthem on his trumpet on the lake side) and Zema the Greek seemed to spend most of day 8 dashing to the toilet . Today Daniel Meier has been limping on the run and Francis the Frenchman is suffering too. Kamil has been incredibly consistent for 9 days now and fully deserves to win. John Liebers, admirably supported by son Ben , continues to look a definite finisher as he finishes in similar times every day. Alex Meixner also looks strong, always smiling and will be the sole female finisher. There has never been any danger of Giorgio Alessi failing to finish.. I know him from previous events in Monterrey and he was also an organiser of the epic Sicilian 10 in 10 days in 2011, where I finished 3rd…In today’s race ,I finished the swim in 1.11 ( again !!!!), then did the bike in 5.59 ( one minute faster than yesterday). The strong wind re-appeared to annoy us in the afternoon and slow progress. I had a 20 minute lead onto the run. After a very fast sprint to the toilet on the first lap and then 2 mega ice-creams, I settled into a steady pace, but not as fast as the previous 2 days.. I completed the marathon in 4.10, for first place in a total time of 11.29… Kami looked like finishing approximately 50 minutes later, 10 minutes ahead of Zema… So barring any unforeseen events ( ALWAYS a possibility in the Deca) the finish positions of 1,2 , 3 ,4 and 5 are probably settled. Kamil is in first , approx. 50 mins ahead of Zema, who in turn leads me by nearly 4 hours. Daniel. is behind me, followed by Tristan … See you tomorrow !
Well what a day! It was our first day of overcast weather, the only hardship being a bit of wind on the bike. After lakeside group photos of the happy 11 surviving Deca People before the start, we got into the water for the final time at 8.20am. I crashed into the lighthouse on the first turn in my haste for a quick start, but did my now customary 1.11 swim time. Out on the bike, I didn’t realise what an epic, final day battle was about to ensue with Kamil Suran. I lapped all the other riders, but no sign of Kamil lap 11 ( out of 25) when he came flying past me. He was intent upon winning the final day. On lap 22 he caught me again and we did 2 laps together before kamil finished the bike leg one lap in front of me ( approx. 14 mins). I completed the 112 mile bike in 5.51. The run is 15 laps and kamil wanted to lap me quickly to give himself breathing space. I needed to stop for an interminable pee which lasted about 3 mins ( at least I must have been hydrated) . As I set off again, Kamil was within 50 yards of lapping me…I hammered out some 7 minute miles to drop him , but he would not relent. I went through the half marathon in 1.43, but Kamil still led by half a lap. The gap just would not close as we passed each other in the opposite direction twice on each lap. We both wanted the other to crack and I smiled at him each time we crossed to try to make him believe that I was enjoying this.. I don’t think he noticed. At 17 miles , we both seemed to weaken at the same time and the pace dropped a little. With 2 laps to go, I decided on a final effort. As soon as we crossed paths ( jogging so as to make Kamil think I’d given up, I sprinted like hell, upping the pace to under 6 minute miling… Into the final dash along the breakwater in the darkness, I had him in my sights as I heard Queen blaring out ” we are the champions” as kamil came into the view of the finish line. I just couldn’t catch him, but a minute later we had joint finish line celebrations. I was so wiped out that I couldn’t even open the finish line champagne. The time was 10.48, my fastest of the 10 days and I’d just done a 3.37 marathon. It was a fantastic way to finish the race with a real battle of brutal mind games and relentless pace. Great respect to Kamil who fully deserved his win after a very consistent 10 days. We both took some weird pleasure and enjoyment from that last day head to head. After a quick shower, we headed back to the finish line to share the elation of each finisher. It is truly wonderful to share the moments with people with whom you’ve spent 10 days of arduous struggle. each day sees a succession of respectful nods or waves as we continually crossed paths, usually too weary to speak. We saw a tearful Alexandra Meixner finish as the only female after a magnificent effort…. Beto and his team gave us all an unforgettable lifetime’s experience . It was brilliant too, to see John Liebers cross the line with son Ben. They were a great team. The emotion of Carsten and Francis also made it a special evening. Shortly we are off to the awards banquet.. Thankyou for following the event. It has lifted me every day to read your comments and I went through them in my head as we went round and round ….Back to London Saturday am. A proud Decadave to have been part of this extraordinary event
Day 11……. only kidding.
Altitude training camp is over.. Apparently Ed Edward Taylor looked at my stats and I ran a 4 hour marathon the other day at average 112 heart rate. That must be the benefit of 11 hours exercise a day at altitude…. I want a race next week at sea level !!!! many thanks for all the donations. I’ve thanked all of you personally except Rich/Chris Newton,( and Mr Anonymous who donated £10 yesterday) who I don’t have a contact for, so many thanks. I’m only £55 off my £1000 target for Scope and am transferring at that point to Warrington Youth Club, which is a fantastic organisation serving the needs of young people in an incredible way. I hope that some of those young people who are leading troubled lives, may in some way have been inspired or motivated by what I have done out here. We set off home in one hour. It will be sad to leave Leon…. Maybe the 11 new Deca people can call ourselves the new Kings of Leon !! let’s hope Wanderers can stuff the pie eaters during my journey home ( sorry for that Martin Holden). )……. Looking forward to seeing my clients from Monday morning. I hope you have all been good and that Ed is still on the celery and carrots.. Million thanks again… the comments really helped on a day by day basis as I swam, biked , ran round and round in circles and reminded myself of all the words and that so many people were impatiently awaiting the next update…. Adios amigos. Muchas Gracias for todos……. Beto Villa is my hero !!