Gloria Ironman 70.3 Turkey 2016 Race Report
A relatively well executed race on a fast course, in an awesome location made for great end to a long season.
Back in November 2015 when Ironman70.3 Turkey was chosen as a 2016 race, the political turbulence in the country was not headline making news. However, by the time October 2016 rolled around it was questionable whether the race would be held at all. Military coups, the ongoing fight against ISIL, and even a last minute rocket attack in a nearby fishing village created a situation where any International Athlete coming to compete at Belek in Turkey would be thinking they would be entering into some form of war zone. The reality of course was so far from the media fed image that it proved a surprise to arrive in a tourist destination that was operating normally, all be it possibly not at full tilt.
Most of the trip (pre-race) is covered in the daily Vlogs on the youtube channel and well worth a look.
Being a 70.3, 1900m of swimming was the order of the day. The water temperature came in at a toasty 24.3 degrees which meant a wetsuit legal swim on the flat waters of the eastern Mediterranean at the Gloria Serenity Resort. This was the first “rolling” start swim i had done which involved ceding yourself in the start chute, and then being further staggered by what can be best described as a turnstile type entry system into the water. As ever, the mission was to find fast feet, and whilst it did feel at times that I was swimming in my own space, I did pick up feet and pass them. I came out of the water feeling good and after the huge transition through the Hotel Lobby it was onwards to the bike.
The one lap closed road bike course was fast and flat, the vast majority of which being on the main D400 dual carriageway to Alanya. The primary plan was to grab a sub 3 hour time, keep focused and ride with a little more aggression. I went off too hard on the bike, and whilst the power dropped, it finished up coming in at an average of 75%. From a focus perspective it was pretty much head down and eyes forward the whole way with the Sugoi Skinsuit from Bike Chain performing very well.
Perhaps the most vexing part of the of the bike experience was the drafting and not only the drafting but the poor to inadequate draft busting, In all my time doing triathlon it was the worst most blatant drafting I have ever seen, packs of cheating athletes making no attempt to play by the rules. At least 30 draft busting teams were promised to fight the inevitable bunch riding that was going to occur, However, I only counted at the very most 5 motor bike teams that were less than capable to deal with the overwhelming numbers of drafters involved. That aside I cruised back into T2 with a time of 2hrs55mins and a mission accomplished.
Now I had big plans for the run and was looking for a time around 1hr35mins or there abouts. By the time I got back in from the bike, however, it was clear that my quads and my head had other ideas. Despite my best efforts to overcome both the pain challenges the pace dropped off after about 5k and the tedium of the golf course laps kicked in. With the best will in the world I just could not summon the mental strength to run faster finding every excuse in the book to slow down or walk.
Perhaps more irritating, was the fact that once I left the resort complex and onto the final 5km of street running back the Gloria Sports Arena my pace lifted and I was feeling fresh enough to sustain a decent speed to the finish line.
Most of my racing this season I have come away feeling a little disappointed with my performance. Whilst I would have liked the run to have been a little more robust and polished, overall I felt it had been an okay day in the office.
- Swim: 32:08
- T1: 5:16
- Bike: 2:55:58
- T2: 3:10
- Run: 1:49:35
- Overall: 5:26:07
That's a Wrap
Post race day we had a trip to the ancient city Aspendos check out the vlog and trip summation.