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IM Wales 11-09-2011 (English)

The days before the race, it was really cold and rainy in the city of Tenby. Due to the weather conditions, the swim start had to take place on another beach, 1.5k from T1. All the training I did went well, and I never felt so strong for an Ironman race. On race day, weather conditions were good and the sun was coming out already during the swim. At 7AM we started our race with a 2-loop swim in the sea. The water was just 13.5°C and we had pretty high waves. I completed the swim in just over 57 minutes. Then we had to put our running shoes on, for the 1.5k run to transition 1. On the bike I started with my solo to the front. Right from the beginning I felt I had really good legs and I could easily push my watts. In the first hour I averaged 279W. But at 17k, I got a flat front tire. I had to stop and I looked at it, and I saw a puncture of 7-8mm in length. I took a pitstop gel trying to fix the tube, but all the foam was coming out of the puncture. Then I used a second pitstop gel and used my thumb to close the puncture. I felt my tube was getting under pressure again,  and I was hopeful. Then I started to ride again, and meanwhile I heard the air escaping. But after a few kilometers, it stopped and I continued my bike ride with less than 2 barr in my front tube. The first 91k I passed in 2h37’ with average power of 277W. Then second disaster happened. On a fast section on the course I heard a hard cracking sound coming from my front wheel. I immediately thought I broke my carbon Zipp 404 wheel, and I was scared using my front brake in the downhill’s. I looked at it and saw the carbon was broken on 2 places. I decided not to used my front brake anymore, and not push high watts in the uphill. Due to the very technical course, I lost a lot of time with this. Over the first 135k I did just 4h with average power of 273W. I completed the 182k bike course in 5h37 and that was good enough for a top 50 bike time, fastest bike time under 30 years and started my marathon in top 50 position. I averaged 256W or 279W Normalized Power (3.88W/Kg). The marathon was a 4 loop run of 10.5k Each time we had to go uphill for ~4k, followed by a decent, and then some steep climbs in the town of Tenby. I didn’t had much powered going uphill but I was able to run between 12.5-13km/h. But my stomach wasn’t okay anymore, and I had to go at least 10 times to the toilet. I finished in 10h39’12” and became 74the overall and 3rd under 25 years.