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Mini Race Report

Challenge Roth is done and dusted with a really strong day. Probably the best iron distance performance I’ve ever had on a tough day and a challenging course. The new run course was bloody hard and to ride well here you have to be on your game pretty much for the full 180km. 

Here is a quick summary of the day. 

SWIM 52:58
Good and bad
Starting with the pro’s I thought I was going to take a beating as the start line was really cramped. However I got off to a clean start then settled into a group. The bad – my group slowed down significantly after about 500m but the next group was too far ahead to bridge across. The good – for the rest of the swim I was very very comfortable knowing I was hemorrhaging some time but saving energy for later in the day. 

Thanks to blueseventy for helping me through the swim. 

BIKE 4:53
Bike file: 
I was more or less solo all day sticking to my power. This was partly as I was paranoid about a drafting penalty (5min stand down plus 1km extra running on the run leg!) but more importantly I didn’t have anyone to ride with as I was getting smashed by powerful euro athletes. I only had the 140th fastest ride while my overall finish was 34th male – these Euro athletes are animals on the bike. 
Despite people thinking this Roth course is easy/fast it’s not. You must  keep the foot on the accelerator all day long. You are constantly going up, down, cornering, riding through villages and passing athletes (on lap 2). 
All said and done I was happy enough with my ride but I was a little concerned I had riding a touch too hard as well as not taking on enough nutrition. 

Thanks to Profile Design for making me fast out there. 

RUN 3:04:54
Run file: 
Much like the bike there was not a great deal of purely flat, straight km’s where you could really settle into your stride. The new section of the run course has some climbs that were simply brutal on the 2nd lap. 
My run was a classic ironman tale. 
0-2km – finding my legs and worrying that I was not going to have it today.
2-12km – feeling great thinking I’m invisible and the rest of the day will be a breeze. 
12-22km – effort noticeably increasing and starting to fall slightly off pace.
22-32km – fighting to hold it together and beginning to massively overheat. 
32-42km – complete and utter torture. Not fun at all. Fighting every step of the way. 

I’m stoked with how I hung tough in the final 10km. I gave up so many times in the final 10km but pulled myself together time and time again to minimize my losses. I even managed to gain a place in the final 500m. In my mind I settled for cruising in then gave myself a slap and put in a surge to the line. 
Thanks to everyone that sent me messages of support and apologies to anyone I ignored out there on the race course.


Camp Kia Kaha @ Challenge Roth days 3-7

With organising our camp, podcasting and trying my best to stay focused and prepared for the race this blog has fallen off the radar sorry.

DAY 3 – Monday

BIKE ~110km Hilpoltstein to Regensburg

The first 40km was over the first part of the Challenge Roth course so another good chance to check some of the climbs. Felling OK today but still sleeping like rubbish with very early wake up times

Bike file:


DAY 4 – Tuesday – in Regensburg

RUN – very easy 6km tourist run around town in Regensburg. What a wonderful city.

BIKE – 55-60km over the old challenge Regensburg course. After some riding over bike paths initially we turned onto a awesome climb on quite country roads. A good chance for some forced intensity.

SWIM – another incredible outdoor 50m stainless steel pool. After a disappointing swim yesterday I was focusing on a little speed today. Despite there being no lane ropes I hit some really nice times for my 50’s.

  • 500-600 warm up
  • 6x100 descend 1-3, 4-6
  • 12x50 on 60 (2 hard / 1 easy)
  • 100 warm down


Day 5 – Wednesday - Transfer from Regensburg to Nuremburg

SWIM – ~2km open water swim @ Challenge Regensburg course (1km of 200m easy / 200m IM race pace 1lm of 100m race pace / 100m easy)

RUN – Easy 30-40mins run with Bevan


DAY 6 – Thursday

RUN 11km easy to steady.

We joined in with the night run from Hilpoltstein to Roth. There were a couple of hundred doing this fun run over a lovely course through forests and towns finishing at the expo.

A fair amount of walking, podcasting etc today so felt a bit sluggish for the run.



DAY 7 – Friday

SWIM at race site with a few 25m efforts.

BIKE – I was planning on a ride but had some podcasting commitments so only got in 15mins to check the bike is running smoothly 


CAMP KIA KAHA @ Challenge Roth DAY 2

CAMP KIA KAHA @ Challenge Roth DAY 2

SWIM @ Rothsee – short warm up, 1km ~ race effort, return doing some 200’s mod hard

BIKE – 10km to Roth

RUN – 12km over the first part of the course

BIKE – the new part of the run course ~10km + 10km home

Massage with Oli

This morning was an optional swim @ 7am with many campers taking the option to stay in bed. The Rothsee is a great swim venue and conveniently was 1km from our starting point to the end (although it does go around the corner quite some distance). I was swimming solo today thinking I was feeling OK when I did my 1km ~race effort but when I saw the time it was pitiful. I’m not sure what is going on there, could be poor GPS – I can live in hope.

Next up was the buffet breakfast when my levels on restraint are getting better. The spread of cheese, breads, pastries…. It’s too much for me to resist.

The ride into Roth was on another beautiful smooth road, net downhills so whiles we were easy spinning the speed was good. Then for the run where I planned on 2km warm up then alternate 1km @4:10/km (IM race pace) / 1km easier.

Checking out the new section of the course by bike was well worth it. It’s much more lumpy than expected.





Day 1 - Camp Kia Kaha @ Challenge Roth

  • Bike a lap of the Challenge Roth Course 85-90km
  • Run to Rothsee (lake) ~3km, swim 30-40mins with a little race specific work, run back

After a terrible sleep, where I woke at 1am and didn’t really get back to sleep, I was excited to be riding today. Firstly, I wanted to familiarise myself with the course but also see how IM power related to speed.  The plan was roughly to alternate 30mins easy’ish / 30mins IM effort.

The team at Challenge Roth have done well placing signage out on the entire bike course which made life easier as there are quite a lot of turns. Not to my surprise speed was high today, the hills were similar to what I remembered. It will take concentration and courage to keep speed up through the many villages we pass through. What was different today was the wind. It was nothing severe but enough to kill speed especially on my second ironman effort.

When we started the IM efforts power was coming easy but HR & rpe execution were just a tickle too high. I’m putting it down to a lack of sleep and jetlag – fingers crossed. Average speed for the IM efforts was 36.93km/hr (36km/hr is 5hr pace – I need to be ~4:55 to stand a good chance at sub 9hrs).  So I can’t complain really. We had a nice group that stuck together for the duration of the ride with Murray “the holy hammer” Lapworth, Chris “Jetstream” Docherty from Lincoln (UK), Thierry “DLS” Bessede from Geveva, “Robo” Seth Bitting from Canada (the man responsible for the 12hr training rule being brought into Epic Camps) and of course Scott “the terminator” Molina.

There are two key climbs on the Roth course with the first out of Greding @40km into the course which is 5.2km in length @ 2.5% but the first 1km is @ 6.5%. The other very famous climb is the solarberg which is ~1km @ 5% - this is the climb where you see the huge crowds 10 people deep. Chris had his jetstreams on full noise going up the Greding climb when I was planning on riding easy so Murray and I dropped off. It wasn’t a bad move in hindsight as not too far over the top is a rather technical descend with some off camber hairpin corners. When I watched lsdt yesrs race Frodeno actually went off the road on one of these corners.

After the ride and some down time we ran ~3km to the Rothsee, swam ~2km with some race starts but mostly steady swimming then ran back to the hotel. This camp will be a bit different with more downtime where we can chill out and relax.

Bike file;


Week of 26th June - pre camp taper + travel


Session Details: Run ~80mins with 6-8x200 fast smooth running plus 6-8x100 strides

Comments: Today is the start of the easing off into the camp to start at the weekend. It’s a different sort of taper with me easing off into the camp, pumping up the volume in the first few days off the camp then tapering into Roth.

No drama’s today, felt fine but glad to not be doing tough intervals.    




Session Details: SWIM 100 warm up, 3.8km straight ~IM race effort, 100 loosen

Comments: After the first 1km dragging on a bit the rest of the swim seemed to go smoothly. I started a little quickly like a race then settled into 1:28’s throughout. My effort was probably a touch above IM race effort. I had heavy arms for some reason so was pleased I had OK pace.



Session Details: BIKE 70mins easy riding 150-180w

Comments:   Just a recover ride today. Low watts just aiming to keep  legs turning over with some active recovery.




CORE – 30mins then onto the bike

Session Details: BIKE 50mins with 5x2mins FTP

Comments: Today was just about reminding the legs to do some work rather than just riding easy. Also getting something done before departure tonight and 30hrs+ of travel




Session Details: Easy 10km run with Bevan

Comments: I was desperate to get out and do something so as soon as we arrived at the hotel we went straight back out the door for a run. We got a bit lost and were not running hard but I felt very good.




Session Details: 2km open water swim

Comments:   A great lake not far from the hotel. After ~600m easy I alternated 200 mod hard / 200 easy then a few sprints at the end.



I did plan to ride today but delays with athletes arriving and a longer trip from Munich to Hilpoltstein meant bike was not put together until 6pm.

Tomorrow is a lap of the Roth course – looking forward to it.