September 25th, 2014 by Will
I had an amazing week in Lanzarote. Took a big, hard earned win against some great athletes, caught up with 1/2 of the Uplace-BMC Team and spent lots of time relaxing before and after the race at the Active Sands Beach resort in the sun.
I have to say that things were really rolling in my favour ever since returning from Mt Tremblant World 70.3 Champs. I was carrying a lot of fitness from my time altitude training in Boulder and after the race in Canada I had renewed confidence, and was sufficiently sharp and race fit plus after 2 weeks backing off I was pretty fresh as well.
The field had some very good names but most notably, my main threat was the animal Victor Del Corral who killed me by almost 5 minutes last year on the same course. He’s one of the best guys in the Ironman World, racking up amazing run splits and to make it worse this is his favourite course! He also lives here full time which makes him a little bit invincible in this race! Other then that, to be honest I am one of the faster runners so my main worry was just keeping everyone else in touch on the swim and bike.
The swim in Club La Santa lagoon was pretty solid, unfortunately it was wetsuit legal so it got very, very hot in there but never the less we all exited the water as expected although Victor was a good chunk of time behind us which is normal for him and doesn’t mean you write him off…
At the start of the bike I felt good and tried to break it up by riding the hills hard but it was mostly in vain because we all pretty much stayed together. Then at 20k Romain Guillaume attacked and it was obvious that we had to let him do his own thing. I knew that a 5 mins gap was probably possible to catch back and I think if anyone had tried to stay with him they’d be on their hands and knees in he 1/2 marathon! Good news is at the foot of the main 30min climb Tabyesco we had 4 mins on Del Corral and after hearing this I thought he’d have big problems to catch us.
I felt good on the climb breaking our group down to 4 athletes and stringing it out, we didn’t drop anyone because we mostly needed each other to get home! Team mate Axel Zeebroek made it over the top so was good to have him to ride with. However as we got near the top news came through that Victor was now only 2 mins behind us. In my experience he could easily catch us before the end of he bike and my chance to win against him would be then looking very slim!
We rode as hard as our legs could manage for the rest of the ride and luckily Axel decided to sacrifice himself to keep the pace high. Thanks mate! We finished up 4:20 behind Romain and just 50 seconds ahead of Victor!
After 3hrs of slogging it out, I was a gutted to see how close to us Victor was. I knew I probably needed more time then I had to beat him but I set off running at an ambitious pace, I had to start making in roads to Romain anyway who’s little pistons carried him a long way ahead…!
I was clipping along pretty well considering we just rode very hard but at every turn I could see that Victor was still catching me and fast. Coming into he last lap we had caught Romain but Victor was now only he was now only 15 behind me.
As soon as I saw that my head began to fill with negative thoughts, “I’m dead and he’s just stronger then me”, “all the pain would stop now if you just accept 2nd place”, “2nd is still a good result”. Too often this has been my downfall and this time I made a conscious decision to replace the negative thoughts with positivity and stop being a pussy. “You’re not f**ked, you’re fine, if he was feeling good he’d have caught you by now”, “push super hard for 1k and see what happens”. So I did that and gave it everything I had for the last 7k.
I ran past our team manager and parents and all were saying the same thing: “just go for it, attack, this is yours!” He was now just 10 seconds behind after over 4hrs pushing, then I kicked so hard up the hill that I vomited straight away onto my shoes! However soon enough I made it onto the track and was home and dry and could enjoy the last 50m and give some high 5′s!
I was super happy to win but I was more satisfied to win against a champion like Victor when the chips were probably stacked against me. For me settling can be a problem, waving the white flag and accepting 2nd place because it’s a way out of the hurt when you’re so sick of it after 4hrs. I’m not a Brownlee it’s not enjoyable for me to me to go that deep but today I learnt something. Maybe sometimes I don’t believe in myself enough. I hope it unlocks more and more of these wins.
Big ups to Victor for 2nd and Romain for just hanging onto 3rd place after a super bike effort. Not an easy way to race. I’m hope he kills it in Kona this year and also Helle Frederiksen for her amazing win! What a weekend for Team Uplace-BMC
Next up for me is Silverman 70.3 Las Vegas. I’m going to duke it out one last time this year, although I’m tired now! It’s my friends Stag party directly afterwards so ultra fitness will be replaced very quickly post race with something on the other end of the spectrum! I don’t want to imagine the flight home!!!