Swimming Preparation 2016 for a 2017 Attempt

July 10th 2016 saw me in a pickled heap on the verge by a roundabout nursing a broken collar bone.  It was the end of a cold and damp ride where I had continually had to work hard to keep pace with the guys. I lost them when we got back to Dorchester and should have called it a day, but ‘red mist’ clouded my eyes and my brain and I ‘went for it’ down the hill onto the roundabout in order to catch them up which proved to be much tighter than I anticipated so I chose what I thought would be a soft landing.

What a mess !

That was three months prior to my second attempt at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.  In my first, the previous year I had come 3rd in the 64-69 age group.  Being a Moto GP fan (motorcycle racing) I was not deterred as when my hero Lorenzo had similar injuries he was back racing in less than two weeks – I had months – no problem!

My specialist was rather sceptical to say the least but he did prioritise my operation for a metal plate and was much more supportive and positive when I went back seven weeks later for a routine check.

Walking, hill walking, jogging, turbo training (indoor cycling) were all possible, but swimming was a ‘no no’ until the middle of September when I tentatively competed in the Weymouth 70.3 (a half Ironman) that I had already entered and paid for.

Fell walking for two weeks in Scotland after the op

Despite everything the Channel swim was still on the cards for 2017 until I was in Kona, Hawaii for my second year  at the Ironman World Championships.

I had trained hard, I had moved up an age group, now in 70-74, so it should be ‘easy’.  How wrong could I be?  It was my hardest race ever, I was in a very black hole on the run and swore I’d never do another.  Despite that I beat the two women who had come first and second the previous year but they were still in the 65-69 age group.  I had not bargained for a phenomenal cyclist in my age group, Cullen Goodyear,  who left me standing and I ‘only’ came second.

Then serendipity took over – of all the thousands of volunteers, who should I chat with but someone who knew Sue Oldam, the then current oldest women to swim the Channel and apparently she was aiming to swim it again in 2017.  But being a year older than me – I wouldn’t get my title back – not that that was the only reason to swim it.  Well, perhaps it did help to motivate me.

Also, after a couple of days I had recovered from the race and resolved to come back and beat Cullen.  Little did I know there would be a ‘new kid on the block’ to beat – and beat them all I did.

In addition I hadn’t managed any long swims that summer, as I had done in the year previous to my last attempt.   So …………………..the Channel attempt delayed to 2018 with some long open water swims planned for the summer of 2017.

Cullen Goodyear the winner and myself, we parted as friendly rivals.