I had been told and I had read at great length that Lanzarote was one of the toughest races on the circuit but nevertheless, I was not entirely prepared for what was ahead.
The swim was a mass beach start of some 1800 people, mitigated by the narrow funnel used to prevent all of us trying to get into the water at the same time. The first lap was what I can only describe as “physical”.
Lots of contact and other competitors who thought that swimming over their fellows would be somehow acceptable. My many years playing waterpolo came in very useful.
The wind on the bike leg was relentless, with gusts that made you swerve all over the place. It battered you and left you numb. Several of the long climbs had the wind in our teeth but despite all this there were several “wow moments” such as the view from El Mirador (see photo) orthe lava fields. Well worth the journey anyway.
By the time I got to T2 I felt reasonably satisfied and ready to go since I had been riding a very conservative bike leg.
Unfortunately fate was ready to punish my flimsy confidence. At km 17 my left knee started hurting and around Km 22 my stomach shut down completely and I became more interested in finding a discrete spot to be sick. The digestive problems abated thanks to some broth ( must remember that one) but the pain in my knee was such that I had to walk the next 20 km.
The finishing chute, together with my boys, was a bit of a blur but I remember the smiling face of the patron of the race who, while shaking my hand instead of the more customary “well done!” asked me: “are you all right?”.
The answer of course was yes and no. I have some unfinished business in Lanzarote.