By Nikki Bartlett July 7, 2016
On Monday morning, after typically not sleeping post race (IRONMAN Norway 70.3), I saw my invitation for the World IRONMAN 70.3 Champs, in Australia on an email. I obviously didn’t get back to sleep after this. Happy is an understatement. My season goals were to regularly contend for a podium finish, and collect enough points to qualify for the World IRONMAN 70.3 Champs. After my recent results in the last 12 weeks (and Dublin in 2015), I finished in the top 35 Pro rankings = qualification.
This is an extremely special reason to go out of Europe for the first time.
IRONMAN Norway 70.3:
This event was always on my race plan for 2016. After hearing about the location, typical weather, and high quality Pro field, it was a must-do event for me. And it didn’t disappoint. I had my very first experience in a home stay, and tbh it will be pretty hard to beat, thanks to the warm welcome from Malene, family and friends. I couldn’t thank them enough for their hospitality, and hopefully friends for life. Even better that Malene was doing her first 70.3 too.
What really stood out was how Ivar and Tone really do look after the Pros, and AG’rs. I really couldn’t recommend the race enough, but don’t hang around – it is a sell-out event.
The race was going to be FAST. What with Olympic Champ Nicola Spirig, European Champ Camilla Pedersen and 6th place at Kona – Susie Cheetham, on the start list. Proud to finish 4th behind these girls.
Weather: Just like Scotland. All seasons in one hour. It’s an incredible event, but really do be prepared to be soaked.
Swim: Unfortunately (but understandably) this was cut short. Claimed 400m, but most garmins read around 1700m. The air temp was 8 deg, and it was pouring with rain. Coupled with cold water temp.
I had a solid swim, and came out fairly happy. I know this isn’t me at my best swim ability, there’s loads more to come out in my performance. Hopefully I can time this well at the World Champs ;). But a step on from my previous swims this season.
Bike: There’s no doubt about it, it was pretty grim weather for 80% of the bike. Although nothing I haven’t experienced in Scottish summer riding. So although I was freezing, it didn’t bother me too much. For some reason since Staffs 70.3 my power meter hasn’t worked, so back to riding on feel, again, I was riding alone with no-one around. Great to have Rob on the course and shout splits out. With riding alone, and the crappy conditions, being mentally strong was key. I was pleased with my bike split. I must admit my legs were on fire from the first pedal stroke, but when comparing times, I’m happy, and I’m quietly confident that there’s a lot more to come after a solid block of training, and fresh legs.
Fair play to the amazing supporters on the course, it was cold and miserable. They were absolutely incredible standing in that, and supporting with such enthusiasm. Really made a difference.
Run: Coming off the bike in 4th, too far away for podium potential, and comfortably in front of 5th. Typically the sun came out for the run, and the crowds were fab. Every time I came through the town, I think my min miles dropped by about a minute. Although this was short lived when running up the hill either side. The run was pretty tough, with cobbled sections and some leg zapper short/long progressive hills. I ran a solid run. Nothing special. But something I can build on.
I came through the line 4th, very content and happy, but knowing that there’s more to come this season. Gutted for Susie as she received a DQ at the end of the race. My first and only podium I didn’t want to stand on. Proud to come 4th behind girls you look up to. I know you can’t compare courses, but the fastest race I’ve done by about 10mins.
I’m writing this on a mini season break. Definitely needed after 4 x 70.3’s in 12 weeks. Previous to this year, I didn’t really do anything 7-10days post race. So a massive step on.
I couldn’t be more excited about my second half to the season – big training block, then World 70.3 IRONMAN Champs (4th September), then a stab at a full IRONMAN – and why not jump in at the deep end with IRONMAN Wales, two weeks after Worlds.