Staff member Abi Bedwell kicked off her 2023 racing season with Ironman’s 70.3 (middle distance event) hosted in Lanzarote last month and it did not disappoint!
An early start to a long day ahead with the alarm set for 4:30am. Time for some porridge (with Nutella in) before we get the body moving and ready to go for a 7:10am swim start with the sunrise. Just over 1200 competitors are ready to toe the line in a rolling start format. The 1.9km swim course took place in the crystal-clear ocean of Playa Blanca. The winds were blustering and strong as is Lanzarote’s true nature, creating a fair amount of chop to navigate through. Training down here on the Sunshine Coast of Eastbourne though meant a rough sea swim was nothing new and if anything only played to my strengths. After the long run through the 1st transition to discard the wetsuit and grab my bike it was time to head out onto the bike. The Lanzarote bike course is well known as one of the toughest 70.3 bike courses out there, with 1100m of climbing in the 90km (including Timanfaya, Lanzarote’s famous Fire Mountain), it takes its toll physically but also mentally whilst you battle the unpredictable crosswinds on this Island. I raced on the Orbea Ordu which was a true speed machine on the day! I opted for the Vision 55 carbon race wheels rather than choosing anything deeper for the day as the gusts were strong and I wanted to maintain my aero position as much as possible whilst battling these winds (a few competitors did unfortunately crash out into the Lava field’s
lethal stuff – cuts you like a cheese grater!). On the day, it was a strong headwind climbing Fire Mountain, but this meant for a wicked fast descent on the return to Playa Blanca, I hit my top speed of all time on the Ordu reaching 55MPH!
Heading into T2, it was time to rack the racing rocket of a bike and find some run legs. 21.5km with 190m elevation along the coast of Playa Blanca and back, the first 15km was ticked off comfortably as I found a good rhythm but oh the last 5km was a killer. The headwind on the way back was starting to wear every competitor down and I had the ping of cramp looming in both of my quads. It was time to take on some emergency sugar at the next aid station as I’d dropped my last gel a few kilometres back, a two quick cups of full fat coke to try and spike the energy levels as second place was starting to close in on me.
With a pickup in pace thanks to the coke it was 1km left and the lingering cramps were getting worse. Thankfully they stayed at bay long enough to see me over the line and take the win in the overall women’s amateur category, 1st in my age group 18-24yrs and 12th including the Pro women. Super excited to have started the 2023 season off with a strong performance and great to know where to make some adjustments to find some more speed ahead of the next one! Thank you to everyone that helped me towards this win and continue to do so as I look to climb the Pro ranks.
Race bike – Orbea Ordu M30i (Shimano 105 di2 12 speed) from Cycleshack Plolegate
Tristuit & Westuit – Sponsored by Raceskin
Nutrition – Ambassador for Precision Fuel & Hydration
Locally supported by Sussex Plumbing Supplies
Coached by Team Bodyworks