30 april 2009

2 ways of finishing

There are two ways of finishing a half-Ironman.
First there is the fast and focussed:

... Or you can do it in the more romantic way:

28 april 2009

Hard to get - Sweet to remember

In the words of a new friend, a half-Ironman is hard to get, sweet to remember! We are now back in Basel after a great trip to Spain. We really, really wanted to do postings from Alicante, but without internet-connection we did not get very far. Instead we took a bunch of pictures. so here's a chronological story in pictures of our 70.3-project coming to an end in Alicante at the 2009 Arenales 113.

Friday - 2 days to race

We got up really early on friday to get the direct plane from Basel arriving in Alicante at 9 in the morning. We were picked up by Juan Antonio in a big van to transport all our equipment.

We had a traditional Spanish breakfast at Juan's family home before packing out the bikes.

After breakfast and rigging up the bikes we drove to the beach to test our wetsuits. On the drive we had our first glimpse of the beautiful Alicante area.

Testing the wetsuits were a great help prior to the race, we got comfortable with the buoyancy and the feel of the suits. The weather was amazing so we enjoyed a couple of hours on the beach side.

Properly dressed again we drove around the town to run some errands including finding a few parts for the bikes, extra bars and gels for the race. We knew the weather would probably be sunny and warm, so we would need plenty of sugar and liquids.

Saturday - Last day before the race

Saturday we got up early to go out to test the bikes and the circuit while the temperature was still below 20 degrees. The sky was covered with clouds and the wind was low, so we got a good feel for the ride, which later turned out to be quite different from the conditions on race day.

Having ridden most of the lap (30 k) we packed up again to go to the city center, where Henna and lunch would be waiting for us.

We had traditional Spanish Tapas for lunch together with Henna and Juan's mother.

After lunch the sun came out and we spent a couple of hours down town shopping and mentally preparing for sunday.

At 7:00 PM we went to sign up for the race and take part in the pre-race meeting where we learned that the running would be harder than enticipated because the course would include 4 laps, each with 80 steep steps and almost 100 meters of climbing.
We got our race numbers, chips for time keeping and a few gifts as the picture shows.

We also lined up for the "pasta party dinner", which turned out to be quite ok.

Tired and full we went back to the house to cross fingers for great race weather and to get a good nights sleep.

Sunday - Race day!

After almost 4 months of training, it all came down to this beautiful sunday morning,

We got to the race area early, lining up our bikes in the transition area and getting the final details in place.

Half past eight we sliped in our wet suits, Anja was first to start at 9:00 AM, Juan and I following at 9:10 AM.

The women's start

The men's start

Morten was first to get out of the water after 31 minutes. At this point he was 134th out of 540 swimming men.

A little later Juan then Anja exited the water to change to the bike ride.

We do not have any pictures of the ride at this point, but we will hopefully receive some later on.

The ride was influenced by a strong wind gusting from the mountains, making some of the areas of the course a lot slower than when we tested the ride the day before. Even so, we all made it to the run in good shape. Morten started the run after having finished the ride in 167th fastest time.

Juan followed shortly in spite of mechanical problems on the ride.

Anja started the run being shaken from a crash she suffered on the 2nd lap, when she was hit by a another rider passing her.

After 5 hours and 31 minutes, Morten saw an end to the struggle, making a sprint to the finish line after 4 laps of tough running in strong winds and lots of climbing...

... And a little later Anja came in as the 31st women out of 40 competitors. Having struggled with swimming 2 K in open water, having crashed on the bike and pacing herself in the run, crossing the line under the big clock was an awesome feeling.

Just as Anja got in she was called to the samaritans area to have her road rash from the crash cleaned and covered.

Monday - Recovering

Monday was blessed with great weather yet again and we we "blessed" with heavy limbs, so we spent the day at the beach and down town relaxing, shopping and visiting the friends and family, who had supported Juan and us the day before.

A girl gotta do what a girl gotta do - even if it means shopping after a day of hard core triathlon.

But the day ended with great Spanish food and a glass of wine, the first in a long time...

And today we have gone back to Basel tired but happy after a great weekend.

Finally we owe so many people thanks for having helped us on the way to this point. People responsible for helping with the daily training, personal swim coaching, making our bikes come to live, general good advice, sponsoring wetsuits, carrying goods through customs and all the Spanish people taking great care of us on the trip. To the organizers of the race and all the people cheering us one the way. To the unknown Carlos #556 who helped Anja back on the bike after her crash. Thank you all so much!

As if the above 36 pictures were not enough we will bring more images from the race the next couple of days as we recieve them from the people who were there to document our strugle with the 70.3 miles.

23 april 2009

Packed & ready

Kufferterne er pakket og vi er klar til afrejse. Cyklerne er blevet grundigt emballeret og der er nu kun tilbage at gå i seng med vækkeuret tunet ind på 04:30.
Vi tager kamera og laptop med, så vi satser hårdt på at bringe masser af billeder og ord fra Alicante!

21 april 2009

Et skridt frem og to tilbage (morten)

Vi lovede et indlæg i går omkring den nye race-cykel, men der kom lige et lægebesøg i vejen. Som vi har skrevet et par gange lider jeg meget under allergi i øjeblikket, og i går kunne lægen så desværre afsløre at der er tale om et udbrud af astma. Heldigvis er astmaen allergisk betinget, så den burde kun vare mens pollenantallet er så skyhøjt som det er for tiden. Det er nu ikke nogen rar besked at få, men når jeg tænker tilbage på atletiktimerne i folkeskolen, må jeg nok indse at jeg i visse perioder af foråret altid har hevet efter vejret og haft en hvæsende vejrtrækning.

More stuff from the pharmacy.

Nu er jeg så blevet udstyret med for 1500 kr. astma-præperater, der gerne skulle hjælpe mig med at trække vejret normalt og undgå de hosteanfald, der har holdt os vågne det meste af natten den sidste uges tid.
Med hensyn til søndag, så er jeg ikke bange for jeg kommer til at lide for meget under situationen, for dels har jeg kunnet træne den sidste uge, del ser der ikke birketræer i samme udstrækning i Sydspanien.

Tilbage til det lovede indlæg – en kort præsentation af den færdige racecykel. Hjulene nåede aldrig at ankomme, så jeg har sat mine 09-landevejshjul på under test, og til søndag har jeg lånt et sæt ZIPPs magen til de, der skulle have været kommet med posten.

Team stickers courtesy of a good friend.

Til gengæld har jeg så fået team-klistermærker af en god ven, og ellers består cyklen af dele som producenterne SRAM, ZIPP, USE og Ciamillo har leveret.

Med hjulene på skulle cyklen have set således ud, det kan være det kommer senere.

19 april 2009

70.3 - Day 100

Final call!

Exactly 99 days ago we decided to take on the challenge of training for a 70.3 Ironman, making today our final day of preparation for next weekend. There has been ups and downs, but now with todays final transition training we are confident and excited about going to Alicante next weekend. Let there be no doubt, we are not going to break any records, but just finishing should be a challenge in it self.

Our sunday started with us not getting in ready in time for the ride with the bike club. Morten was busy in the workshop getting the race bike ready meanwhile Anja was mounting cleats on her new fashionable Mavic-shoes. We kept Juan waiting in the office for more than an hour before we left the premisses.

The ride was 60 K flat terrain before a quick transition to 10 K running. The sun started shining at 11.00 so we enjoyd a nice 18 degrees and light winds. We pushed a bit on the road to get a feel for the condition of the legs and to push out a little energy before the run.

Our last power-training was in the middle of the week, so no need to go all-in, but you still need to let the body know you are expecting a certain output.
Morten struggles a lot with pollen allergy at the moment, but besides his hissing and blowing, we got home in good shape. We did not bring the camera for the run, but hopefully you can enjoy an additional couple of images of us on the bikes.

As you might have notised, Mortens bike has magically changed color from Liquigas green to white. More images on that subject tomorrow.

This coming week we are focused on keeping training low in intensity but in the same rhythm as the last couple of weeks. We are going to pack up and prepare all equipment before we leave Basel early friday morning. We have the day of Friday and Saturday in Alicante before the race to test our swim in the ocean, ride the bikes and go for a light run on the beach. The ride course seems to be fast, but the running is going to be tough with parts on the beach and with steep stairs on each round.
Tomorrow Morten is going to get a doctors-appointment for some more medicine for the allergy so we can start sleeping all through the night. Cross fingers there is no inflammation involved in his breathing trouble.