Challenge Roth 2012 - In a nut-shell

Challenge Roth 2012 - In a nut-shell

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This is an initial overview of the day a more in--depth report to follow

Weather and conditions

Water temperature 22.9 degrees. At 23.0 degrees they would have banned wetsuits apparently. Forecast light wind and cloudy skies with sunny intervals plus rain in the afternoon. In fact, it was windy for the cycle but stayed dry all day. It was roasting hot for the run so atheletes stuffed wet sponges under their tri-suits to keep cool.


Inevitably, one mulls over the seconds and minutes squandered with errors and misfortune. Over the coming months we will all calculate how much smaller our finish time could be next time. 

Jamie is a modest uncomplaining fellow but must have been very disappointed to find his Spinergy front wheel was not Roth-legal. He had to make do with my spare wheel that he had never used before.  This replacement wheel rode a bit lumpy and the brake surface was uneven apparently. An amateur debut Iron-distance sub-11 hour finish is almost unheard of, so Jamie is very worthy of his best-in-club performance in this race. 

Jim(yours truly) wasted time by going astray and nearly missing the swim exit. Should have done the homework.

Storming bike. A dream-like cycling experience with glorious surface and beautiful terrain plus thousands of adoring supporters. Bike performed brilliantly. Wish I had a helmet-cam so I could watch it over-and-over again for spin sessions.

Got severe abdominal pains and diarrhea throughout the run. Maybe just too many gels and probably too many of the caffeinated variety. Did most of the run with heart-rate in zone1, trying to get digestion sorted. This had the benefit of avoiding dehydration and exhaustion, so it was a strong enjoyable finish. This run time was 46 minutes slower than standalone marathon time, unfortunately.

Nevertheless, well pleased with a sub-11 hour finish. 

Anthony displayed enormous grit and determination to finish a few seconds under 12 hours. This brave effort was rewarded with an intravenous drip.

Anthony was hugely disadvantaged by starting in the final wave with all the slow athletes. This meant a bike racking location far away from the swim exit, so T1 was always going to be slow. Lack of good swimmers to draft off meant a slow swim time.

Ant's cycle was excellent with a sub-6 hour time for the 112 miles. That new bike was worth every penny.

A decent run despite hot weather and digestion troubles.

A sub-12 hour finish for a debut Iron-distance race is awesome for anyone who is not an ex-pro cyclist channel swimmer from Australia. A good day at the office.

John had a solid swim in approximately his target time, 1:13. His day was messed-up by a puncture early in the cycle that de-railed his effort to go sub-11 hours. The pit-stop puncture repair failed and the tyre change ran into problems that exhausted John's CO2 supply and he did most of the ride on a semi-flat.

Despite the bad luck, John's 6:31 cycle and 4:30 run resulted in a fast finish time of 12:22.

Steve Mac was immense in the swim and was the only "purple-head" I noticed overtake me. He started the cycle with a 20-minute lead on me and many other "black-heads" from my wave. These are the swim hat colours, by the way.

Steve's cycle was excellent despite severe low blood sugars. But for that set-back, his cycle time could have been exceptional.

The run was a disappointment for Steve because of serious nutrition and digestion issues. This prevented him achieving his goal finish time by a very large margin. Nevertheless, this short-12hour finish is really good.

Steve B did a fast swim as expected, 1:08. This was followed by a fast ride of 6:04, which presumably he thoroughly enjoyed.

All nicely poised for a great finish time, but things went less well on the run which took at least an hour longer than planned.

Nevertheless, this was long-12 hour finish that many triathletes could only dream of. Considering the terrible stress and worry caused by an RTA a few days earlier, this is a result to be proud of.

Claire did a good swim of 1:20 and completed all but the last few kilometers of the cycle. The cycle had become really tough for Claire because of a nasty soft-tissue strain/tear/injury of the leg. Claire would have made the cut-off time for the cycle completion but there was no way she could have run with that leg problem.

Claire had no choice but to withdraw from the race. She had nothing to prove, having previously completed an Ironman. Best to get the injury healed and compete another day. Commiserations. Rotten bad luck that could have happened to any one of us. 

Beyond the Race

Those of us competing are so lucky to have had the opportunity, thanks to the great support of family, friends and our hosts at the terrific accommodation. Well done to several people at MSTC who put in a lot of effort to make all this happen.

Biggest thanks go to my lovely wife, Helen, for giving me her blessing to do this event.


place AG place name Swim Trans 1 Bike Trans 2 Run Total
855 187 Goodhead, Jamie (GBR) 01:06:40 00:02:40 05:33:30 00:02:50 04:08:19 10:53:58
904 115 Dr. Graham, James (GBR) 01:16:59 00:03:06 05:37:03 00:02:58 03:57:06 10:57:11
1633 381 Grey, Anthony (GBR) 01:17:06 00:06:27 05:57:50 00:04:18 04:33:54 11:59:34
1817 332 Webster, Jonathan (GBR) 01:13:00 00:03:18 06:31:36 00:03:42 04:30:48 12:22:21
1869 340 Mcmenamin, Steve (IRL) 01:00:05 00:03:37 06:12:00 00:03:33 05:09:47 12:29:00
2043 438 Birchall, Stephen (GBR) 01:08:08 00:04:55 06:04:56 00:03:17 05:31:34 12:52:48
0 0 Cresswell, Claire (ENG) 01:20:44 00:04:40




Race Reportby Jim Graham