Race Report: Michael Joubert – 70.3 East London Ironman

At the end of 2018 my girlfriend Klara was training hard for up and coming triathlons and suddenly I got the urge again to do a triathlon. I decided to go back to the 70.3 Ironman in East London to try and better my 2013 time. I wanted to do it properly and wanted to really get my swimming onto a competitive level. I then joined the Sterk Span Triathlon training group from November to start my training.

The day of the race finally arrived after focussing only on triathlon training for 3 months. I was really excited to be there and improve my time. My goal was to come in at 4 hours 45 minutes (my 2013 time was 5 hours 7 minutes). This was still a big gap to jump for me, but I wanted to set a proper goal for myself.

The morning of the race we got the bad news that the conditions of the sea was very bad and as a result they had to cut the swim shorter. They said that it would be a 1000m swim instead of 1900m but most people ended on 1300m. I went out as planned with a building effort as prescribed by my coach Nico. I started rather easy and ended nice and strong. The swim went very well considering my goggles were kicked off. If I compare my swim averages with my previous 2013 attempt I would have swam 5 minutes faster and come in around 30 minutes for the 1900m swim.

My transitions luckily went very smooth and quick – getting in and out of transition 1 in just over 3 minutes and at transition 2 in just under 2 minutes.

My 90km cycle started very strong – I was feeling great and pushing hard. But 15km in I unfortunately punctured my tubular tire. I quickly stopped and replaced it but when I wanted to inflate my wheel the CO2 regulator was missing the attachment to open the regulator and I was forced to wait for a while to borrow a regulator from a fellow athlete willing to stop. After some time waiting along the road Gawie (also from Sterk Span) stopped and helped me out. After some more technical issues and 4 CO2 bombs further, I was back on the road. I was battling to make up for lost time and was coming out of the saddle on almost every big climb. Not much further I saw I had a slow puncture again. Without any spares left I decided to push hard to each water point, quickly borrowing a shop pump to inflate it again the then raced to the next point. This cost me dearly and I came in 18 minutes slower than I had planned.

I got off the bike and was a little bit negative about the whole ordeal. As soon as I started running I totally forgot about the whole mishap on the bike and felt great. Actually – I was running a little bit faster than what was planned. In the end I managed to have a great run.

Although we didn’t swim the whole 1900m I swam at my goal pace and ran under my goal time. Maybe if it wasn’t for the technical issues on the bike I would have made my goal time but I will have to come back and just set a higher goal for the next one.

Thanks to the coaches Nico and Annerie from Sterk Span for helping me on this journey. Also, to the support from Team Nevarest for always making it possible to push our limits and Keyhealth, First Ascent as well as Toyota for making it possible to do what I love.


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