Joe has now completed his Ironman journey ! Here is part 1 of his report, stayed tuned over the next few weeks to see how Joe got on.
"Joe Boyce...You Are An Ironman" wow to hear those words after 30 weeks of training was, well difficult to put into words! I thought I would have cried but I was so dehydrated there were no tears!
That's me no longer an Ironman Virgin! Ironman Austria completed on 28/6/2015. As a half empty glass type of person I'm sitting here looking at the negatives when I really should be full of the joy of completing the most difficult event I've taken part in, well the Millarochy Bay swim excepted!
It is an awesome experience. The Ironman team roll into town like the formula 1 circus. You can feel the anticipation building in the days leading up to Sunday. They construct a mini town with stalls, grandstands, portaloos ( most important buildings) and sponsor tents!
The place was full of fit looking guys n girls and 1 52 year old GP from the West of Scotland ( oh and a Geordie- John clark)!
We, my wife Allison, middle son David and my teenage daughter Lorna, had arrived in Klagenfurt on Wednesday and stayed a few miles outside to remain relaxed and away from the throngs of autograph collectors.... Hotel Gabriel- clean tidy and quiet and set in a beautiful location with its private 'beach'..As you can see it was stunning and could even have a wee dip without the wetsuit (or safety net).
Klagenfurt itself has beautiful buildings and it was relaxing to have a wee wander around.
The Ironman team roll into town like the formula 1 circus. You can feel the anticipation building in the days leading up to Sunday. They construct a mini town with stalls, grandstands, portaloos ( most important buildings) and sponsor tents!
The place was full of fit looking guys n girls and 1 52 year old GP from the West of Scotland ( oh and a Geordie- John clark)! Clark and family were staying in the camp site close to the start line and this was an ideal location to meet up and wander round the expo on the Thursday and spend a few £ on ironman T shirts! They certainly know how to sell the brand! After wandering round the expo and drooling over bikes, gear n girls (joking) it was time for a wee swim in the Wordersee just to tick things over and get the feel for the water ( or so I'm told!)And practice sighting....more later!
Friday was a wee cycle (40k) on part of the route and for once on this journey my wee skinny legs were flying and couldn't believe what was happening. I saw people struggling with what I later realised were hills but felt flat to me! Never experienced that before or on Sunday!
The biggest problem was what to eat! McDonalds I'm sad to say, on Friday night (well 2 of the family were with us)
Saturday, the day before IM, went bye too quickly. First was the 'race' briefing. Amazing atmosphere and the enormity of the task in front of me was hitting home. I had to hold back the tears at times. Met up with John Clark, his wife Carol and daughter Charlotte as Charlotte was taking part in the Ironkids (they cater for all from a very young age) with 50 m swim and then a run. Some of the kids even had waterwings (not Charlotte)on, if only I could wear those!
Charlotte did great with a great swim and a great run, flying past people on her way to collect her medal after running up the ironman finishing chute before her dad!
Next was putting the bike and the rest of the gear into transition. My bike was quite expensive but felt embarrassed putting it next to those amazing TT bikes, like parking my old hillman avenger next to a Ferrari! It was getting even more real. Nerves were kicking in a little although after the cycle the day before I was feeling better than the last 2 weeks.
Then it was time for more carb loading with a big bowl of Spag Bol, plenty of water then back to the hotel as it was to be an early start- 404 alarm call.....those extra 4 minutes made all the difference...
Sleep was poor with various dreams including Allison divorcing me with arguments over assets, well the bike n Huub wetsuit!
Woke just before that 404 alarm call. Taxi was ordered for 445. Quick roll n banana washed down with carbs and electrolyte drink and off to meet John.
The place was buzzing and this was 515am! Bottles loaded onto bikes, gels, chew bars etc all put into various pockets and bike bags and back to the caravan for porridge toast n jam. Family all arrived then it was off to see start.
Professionals were off at 640 but couldn't see them as too busy.
For the first time the swim start was in waves depending on age group! As a male aged 50-54 ( hard to believe, I know!!!) I was in the last wave! John started 705, me 720 am.
Wetsuit on, pulled up, again and again and, you get the picture as felt it was choking me and even gagged a few times, bloody nerves. Tried to relax myself as I could see my family were worried about me!
Then my group was called and it was time to get in the start area! 30 weeks flashed before me and David, my son, whispered in my ear, " dad, we are so proud of you for just being here" and that was enough for me to tell myself that I was going to do this...