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.
28 april 2009
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