Team Athlete Dan Cobby - Ironman UK Race Report

With news of success Team Athlete Dan Cobby reports below on his race at Ironman UK Bolton;

Ironman UK 2015: 9hrs30, 8th Overall, 1st Age Grouper and a slot to Kona

Enjoying some training with Tri Training Harder earlier in the season
As I sit reflecting on last weekend I start to remember what a great but brutal weekend it was. I have such a fantastic group of people around me who have helped me through a tough year. I am so grateful to these people and they really drive me on. Without these people none of what I sit writing about would be possible. 
The night before the race didn't quite go to plan due to a noisy road and sleeping in the worlds hottest room (good prep for Kona). I think I got about an hours sleep max and as I sat on the bus with other athletes travelling to the swim start I was jealous of many of them talking about what a good nights sleep they had. 
As I stepped off the bus I was met by the first monsoon of the day and questioned why?? This question was soon short lived because I was able to have a chat with my coach Alan Ward from Tri Training Harder. He helped me to focus on the day rather than the weather, as I walked up to transition to check on my bike. I was also grateful to see Andy Strong from Fundamentally Fit who along with his partner Kirsteen had braved the weather to come and watch the swim start. 

Swim 3.9k - 1:06:

The swim this year was a rolling start which I felt worked well for me as there was not much of a brawl at the start and found it quicker to settle into a rhythm. When I got out of the water I was ok with my time and know that this discipline is a work in progress.

Cycle 180k - 5:21:

One thing I can say about the Ironman UK bike course is that it has a way of testing you with hills, rain and some gusty winds. Although the conditions were pretty bad the support from the locals, family and Tri Training Harder was brilliant. 
The bike course consists of a 14 mile ride from the swim to join a two lap course which includes two climbs called Sheep House Lane and Hunters Hill. 
The first part of the cycle was more of a swim and trying to stay on the bike was an effort in itself. The weather for the first 14 mile of the bike was awful and I soon realised this was going to be a tough day to say the least. That said it wasn't long before I settled into a rhythm and focussed on my power and nutrition. I felt comfortable on the bike and I am very fortunate to have a Felt IA which has been fitted by Athlete Service and I definitely feel the benefits of a quality bike fit and set up. 
When I arrived at the first hill the weather had cheered up slightly however the winds remained. You are pretty exposed during many parts of the course and a few gusts of wind gave me "squeaky bum time". On the first lap of the bike course I was able to maintain a fairly consistent power output and was happy with the way things were going. 
On the second lap of the course there were far more athletes. This made it difficult at times because some were cycling in the centre of the road which made it quite difficult and dangerous to pass. I did however still keep my power consistent and when I got to the last hill of the day felt far fresher than in previous years.


Quick drink before heading onto the run

As I cycled into T2 I was unsure where I was placed within my age group however there weren’t too many bikes racked so I was pretty confident that I was doing ok. As I ran out of T2 I was told that I was 7th in my age group. My first thoughts of this were that I best run a strong marathon.

Run: 2:56

My coach Alan giving me some advice during the marathon
The Ironman UK run course is anything but flat and pretty challenging, especially after a hilly bike course. It consists of a 8 mile run from T2 into Bolton and then a three lap run. The support on the run is fantastic and there is never a moment where you are running without someone cheering you on. As I ran the first 8 miles I was pacing at 6:30 minute mile and felt good. When I got to ten miles I was told that I was first in my age group and first age grouper overall and that there was a problem with the tracker. In fact I was first in my age group when I got to T2. This was good news and it drove me to keep pushing on to keep me as first age grouper and to ensure Kona qualification. For the last mile of the marathon I became quite emotional when I thought about what had driven me on during the day.  


We are going to Hawaii!
Finishing this year was such a great feeling. I felt I had put a lot of effort into the race and had come away with the result I was after. I had qualified for Kona and had the time to soak in the atmosphere as I came down towards the finishing line. To have my wife, family and friends there meant the world to me and to share what had been such a fantastic day with them felt amazing. Going to the awards ceremony and accepting my World Championship spot was awesome. I am looking forward to seeing what I can do over in Kona and can't wait to get back to training.  
I have so many people to thank for helping me through for me what has been a pretty tough year. Firstly my wife who is just such an incredible person. She has continued to encourage me to keep training and racing. Any one who knows me will agree that she is always there supporting me. 

But also a massive thanks to: Tri Training Harder, The Bosworth Clinic, Huub, High5, Athlete Service, Fundamentally Fit, Carla Baumfield, and Champion System. They have all supported me immensely over the course of the year.


A direct link to Dans original blog can be found here.