Ironman Mallorca was going to be my first Ironman. I have only finished five 70.3’s (three this year) and was keen to step it up to the full Ironman distance.
My wife and I arrived on the island of Mallorca a few days before the race and stayed in a little town called Cala D’or. Mallorca is an island off the coast of Spain. Cala D’or is a quaint little town with lots of restaurants and little shop that surround a few cove beaches which are only about 100m wide. It was a perfect start to my Ironman Holiday.
A few days later we drove to Alcudia where the race would take place. Alcudia is a built up holiday town/destination and is far more developed than Cal D’or. The beach of Alcudia is quite amazing with its white sand that stretches for kilometres. The water was crystal blue and had a temperature of 24.4 degrees – borderline wetsuit legal J.
It was only the second time Mallorca has had an Ironman (2014 was their first race), and the organisation was exceptional. The registration and expo area was set up in massive marquee tents along the beach close to where we would race. The expo was quite big and there was a whole marquee filled with Ironman branded gear, which ranged from babies bibs to travelling suit cases. The Euro Rand exchange rate certainly didn’t help me in this marquee tent.
Two nights before the race, our Hotel was kind enough to invite a Celine Dion wannabe to sing at the top of her lungs on a stage that was built on the top section of the pool area. Needless to say the Ironman athletes weren’t too happy and complained till 11h30 that night before they switched off the music. We were quite lucky that the UK athletes put up enough fuss that the scheduled second night performance was cancelled and we could get some sleep.
We had to check our bikes in the afternoon/night before the race and also go to race briefing. Race briefing took place on the beach in the finishers area where they had built a massive stage and eating area. Race briefing was combined with a free pasta party. It was really great to have Paul Kaye as the commentator at Mallorca and really pumped up the crowd and gave South Africa and the South Africans many mentions.
On the way to bike check 30 minutes before it closed I got a flat L With a bit of stress and a bit of running around to the local bike shop, I managed to change the rim tape on my disc wheel and put in a new tube and check in before transition closed.
The swim start was the rolling starts which we experienced at Durban. But it didn’t work out that way. I seeded myself in the under hour category but didn’t push myself right to the front as I did in Durban and I paid the consequences for this. The under hour category was a very large group of people and they didn’t let us off in batches of 10 like they did in Durban. They literally let the whole group go which must have been about 200 to 300 people at least. The swim became a bit of a fight for me to get through and with a few shots to the head and body, I found some clearer water after the Australian style beach exit. After 2.5 km’s of swimming, we ran along the beach for about 50 metres and then went back into the water for the last 1.3 km’s. The water was beautiful and had probably 20 metres or more visibility.
I exited the water after 55 minutes and made the long run to transition. The transition area itself must have been 500metres long and I grabbed my bike and was off on the 180km one lap bike route. It was the prettiest and hardest 180kms I have ever done (not that I have done many 180’s J). The first 110kms was quick, had only a few climbs no descents to recover. We went mostly through the farmlands and little villages of Mallorca and a nice long section along the sea. The last 70kms was something else. We started a mountain climb which can only be equated to something out of the Alps or Pyrenees, it was 20km long and it wound up the most beautiful mountain range with spectacular views (like I said this was Ironman Holiday and I could take the time to have a quick look). With a very steep descent with loads of switch backs we made our way back to Alcudia. The organisers had thrown in a few nasty little steep climbs in and out of the local villages just to test our legs and to see what we had left after that mountain pass.
Back into transition, I was quite happy to get off my bike even though I still had a marathon run of 42.2kms to come. I set off and found a comfortable pace and thought, ok let’s see if we can keep this pace up until the 30km mark and see how we go from there. In the back of my mind I hoped I could get to the 30km mark, after only having run one 21km run, 2 months before at Durban 70.3 (an injury to my knees had held back the run training).
I managed to get to the 30km mark still feeling great and in my head I knew I only had 1.5 laps to go of the run course and I would finish. The run was awesome, half of the course was through the town and streets of Alcudia and the other half was along the beach and Marina area. The amount of spectators along the course were phenomenal and really helped. The last few kilometres I slowed a bit but I had managed a comfortable 4h19 marathon run. I never pushed myself and I think that’s what got me to the end. TYRONE WALKER – YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! (11 hours and 8 minutes)
The finishers area was brilliant, there was loads of different kinds of food but the best bit for me was the cheese cake and free beer!
I will definitely do another overseas Ironman next year, racing with close to 3000 people from 52 countries was something special.
We spent the last week of our holiday in Barcelona which was amazing and also a must see!
I have to thank Lucie and my wife for all their help! And thanks for reading my race report, if anyone would like to find out more info of the Ironman Mallorca I am happy they give me a call or pop me a message. James Cunnama came 2nd at Ironman Mallorca and he said on twitter that he rates it as one of the best courses he has done.