It’s 6:45pm on the evening before Ironman South Africa. It’s dark in Port Elizabeth already, and time for an early bed tonight for a 3.30am start tomorrow.
I don’t have time to thank everyone for the wonderful messages of support and generous donations I’ve received over the last few days, but I really do appreciate it all, and I’ll be sure to thank you all when I have time next week.
We’ve been here a week now – a good time to look back at the last week in pictures, before the big day tomorrow.
The week started with a sunny but tough cycle along the bike route, facing a 21mph headwind. Later that day the arrival of rain made life difficult even for the pros …
Last year’s runner-up in the women’s event, Brit Lucy Gossage, also appeared to be suffering with the wind early in the week. I was worried about cycling and swimming if gusty conditions continued until Sunday.
The forecast for Sunday’s Ironman event kept changing as the week went on. The good news is that the wind now looks like it will have dropped significantly …
… but the bad news is that the temperature appears to have gone up from a predicted 26C earlier in the week, to a likely 31C tomorrow. Hydration is going to be very, very important – especially on the bike, which takes up the majority of the time during the heat of the day. It should be a good one for spectators though, with temperatures of 22C even late at night when people like me are hoping to finish!
Ironman even makes it into the cappuccinos in Port Elizabeth. A year ago I posted a similar picture in an earlier blog. I can’t believe how quickly the last year has gone!
Final preparations saw me sticking velcro on my tri suit, and velcro-ing my energy gel packs in the hope I can stop them falling out on the bike or run. A lesson I learned the hard way on the Cambridge Half Marathon in February, and which seemed to work on the Bath Half Marathon in March.
Athlete number 1451, that’s me! Familiarising yourself with the transition area is an important part of preparation. It may all look logical now, but will I find my bag when I’m disorientated from swimming, with hundreds of other people in the way, and the sun is shining in my eyes?
Ditto for the bike. I hadn’t realised how many rules there are in an Ironman. Penalties for touching your bike without your helmet strap done up, cycling in the transition area, dropping litter, or having someone hand you something from the crowd. There’s a lot to take in, and I can’t afford any 5-minute penalties or the risk of disqualification!
Ready, steady, go! I love this card from my eldest grand-daughter, Daisy, which I have by my bed. I’ll do my best to win girls.
And here’s a pic taken today of my hero, Val, without whom this whole 24-month self-centred exercise in obstinacy and endurance would not have been possible. That’s her favourite beach behind her from when we lived here in 2012. I couldn’t think of anywhere better to be doing Ironman than here in PE.