On the 23rd of June 4 of the Redcar Tri Club members too part in the inaugural Yorkshireman Half (70.3) race as Newby Hall in Ripon, hosted by Freebird Events. Below are some comments from 3 of the athletes Mark Payne, Andy Perford and Oliver Rodgers.
Registration and Bike Racking
Mark: Early booking for this race was rewarded with VIP membership, part of this was just sitting down at a table and having someone bring all the registration stuff over. Much better than queuing
Oliver: The pre-race briefing was held in a marquee where they played a video on a big screen which was much better at keeping your attention than listening to someone stood with a microphone and great at getting you 'pumped' for the race with plenty of uplifting music.
Andy: So last year in the latter stages of Ironman training I managed to finish Lakesman 70.3 in 5:59:50, so I figured I would have a go and beat that time this year at The Yorkshireman 70.3. My main target was to go under 6 hours but I wanted to be closer to 5:30:00 and felt confident I could do this. I have worked on my swim a lot in recent weeks as I felt this was my weak point.
Oliver: After a few performances in recent races which weren't to the standards I had set myself I had completely cleared my mind of any expectations for this race. Added to this the fact that I had failed to complete my previous and only other attempt at this disctance my goal became simply to finish the race and so I had set my race paces to achieve this.
Mark: I’ve never swum in a river before, so I was glad it was really calm.It was a mass start with no obvious start line. My swim felt nice and steady. There was a bit of bumping around as people were fighting to get ahead but as things settled down and swimmers started to spread out, I started to think, is the current stronger in the middle of the river, should I move over to the bank ? I just continued in what I thought was the most direct line to the buoy. As I got closer, I realised it wasn’t a buoy, but an ambulance on the river bank.
Getting out of the water was surprisingly straight forward, with helpers lifting onto the steps, then the bankside.
Andy: Last year I swam around 48 minutes for the 1.9k. This year 40:44. Job done and very happy. I reckon if I wasn't magnetised to trees I may have been quicker as I swam into at least 3 trees while trying to avoid oncoming swimmers who set off after our wave.
Oliver: The bike course was classed as 'undulating' which was a fair description and the course profile indicated one large hill just after Bedale. In reality this was more of a long drag than and climb as such. My plan for the bike was to stay within my selected Power and Heart Rate zones at around 75% which I managed to do and got me off the bike feeling like I could have gone a bit harder which was exactly how I wanted to feel.
I made a mistake with my hydration when the feed station appeared in front of me earlier than I was expecting it to and I still had more of my carb drink in my bottle than I wanted to throw away, which meant i had to ration my fluids slightly for the last half of the ride.
Andy: On the bike and I was aiming for an average 19-20 mph for the course. I was using SUPERCARBS OTE and gels for my fuel. This is a change I've been trying over Tailwind so still experimental for me. I felt good on the bike and had some good sections of speed which was great. I like going fast on the TT, it's a great feeling to know you're smashing it! In the last 10 miles we hit a lot of traffic and this really slowed me down and knocked me back a lot, so when I had space I started pushing to catch back up. Bad move I think? Into T2 I managed 2:58 for the bike, again faster than last years by 6 minutes or so on what I thought was a tougher more technical course.
Mark: With 20k to go I started to get uncomfortable on the bike, my neck was aching from looking up the road and my backside was beginning to feel bruised. I started to spend more time moving around and sitting up.
Mark: The run started off ok, but I felt like I was slowing down fairly quickly. I was wondering if I’d overdone it on the bike. The run felt like a really long slow nightmare. Around 2k to go and I thought my legs were going to cramp, I was twisting around and trying to stretch my legs as I ran, I probably looked a bit weird, some mental arithmetic and I came to the conclusion that I was going to be over 5:30 by a few minutes, still a great result though.
Oliver: The run consisted of following the road out of rear of the estate, following the lanes round to the front gate where you went passed it for about 1 mile, dead turn and head back to the front gate. From the front gate you entered the estate upto the finish line and then complete a second lap.
I felt good for the first 2 miles and was consciously holding myself back but from mile 2 onwards it was hard work. There were aid stations roughly every mile and it was a case of concentrating on getting to the next aid station, where my strategy is to walk at each one to be able to drink easier. I finished the run in 1:41 which is my slowest half marathon for a while but this was possibly one of the toughest.
Andy: The run started ok and then... after my first mile it became apparent I was going to have a tough day! I felt great until then and cramp and low energy just hit me like a brick. I started taking on more gels to try and gain some energy back but once it's gone it's gone. Only thing I could do was finish now. To say I was annoyed would be an understatement but it's only a half so I'll walk if I have to I thought. I kept plodding with a run/walk strategy and damage limitation in my mind. Once the first lap was complete I knew I had just under an hour to finish the last 10k to beat the 6 hours.
Triathlon really is a sport where you need to be mentally strong so I gave myself a talking too and started some mental arithmetic to figure out what I needed to do. Each Mile counting off my average time and recalculating. The last mile is a relief do with both quads screaming with cramp it was a case of just getting to the end
Mark: As I crossed the finish line I looked at my watch and was amazed to see 5:30:38.
Looking back at the data, as bad as the run felt it was actually quicker than my half marathon pb of 1:53:59, although a few hundred metres short. This was only my 4th half marathon distance run, my first was over twenty years ago in the Great North Run. That took me over 2:30 and I lost one of my big toe nails. That was the last time I’d ran until I decided to have a go at triathlon after watching the 2017 Redcar triathlon.
I have a new level of respect for anyone who completes a full ironman race, I’m not sure it’s something I could take on, mentally or physically with my kids feet. I would definitely need a new race strategy, flat out just wouldn’t work.
I forgot all about the recovery protein shake in my bag and went straight over to the ice-cream van for a large Yorkshire Dales vanilla cone Mmm…
Andy: Result 5:58:49! A whole minute quicker than last year and one of my worst ever half marathon runs in a time of 2:10.
Am I disappointed? Yes. Would I do another? Yes. When? September I hope at the Sundowner. Lessons learnt. That's why I like this sport. It's about learning as you go and making adaptations that will make you stronger and faster (hopefully). Racing with Mark, Ollie and Peter there made it a better experience and having Lesley supporting me on the day and taking some pics made it a positive experience.
Oliver: My finish time was 5:13. which I was very happy with considering how I had been feeling of late. However I was physically and emotionally spent, I even had to tell my wife not to call me as I was fighting back the tears.
The event was very well organised, but could do with some more portaloos. the venue is fantastic, the river swim and run up to transition are extremely scenic and the crowd on the day were very supportive, some of them even moving around the bike course and then around the run course. I would definitely recommend the event for 2020. https://yorkshiremantri.co.uk/home-2020/