This weekend welcomes the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote, the newest addition to the IRONMAN racing calendar. With a competitive pro field and over 800 age group competitors, this hilly and windy course looks set to challenge even the strongest athletes.
British Pro and podium chaser, Dan Halksworth talks us through his last minute preparations for this exciting event, as well as giving more insight into how he thinks his race is going to go, as well as divulging a little more about the rest of the pro field.
Who are your biggest rivals at IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote?
There are a great field of pros racing IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote, and it is not easy for me to know who is going to be the greatest competition come race day. Ronnie Schildknecht has been competing really well, especially on the bike, and won IRONMAN Zurich earlier in the year. Stephen Bayliss did well with a win at Challenge Henley last month and if he has a good bike ride, could be a real threat on the run. It is a race that could be taken by anyone, and that makes racing really exciting.
What do you think of the race course?
The race course is tough, made more so by the amount of wind that you get – it is unrelenting! The swim is likely to be hard, as it is a two lap course and so we are going to mix with the age groupers as we come into our second lap – that could be tough. The bike is a hilly one, but I like that and am comfortable with them having done a lot of my recent training in Switzerland. The ‘Tabayesco’ hill half way through the course will be good at splitting up the leaders, and I think that it will stagger those athletes coming into T2 quite a bit.
The run course is a relatively fast ‘out and back’ – again, with the challenge of a bit of wind, which I hope to take in my stride. I did a non-drafting triathlon in Jersey recently and managed to run a 32.30 off the bike so am confident in my ability to run longer distances at speed.
How long have you been out in Lanzarote?
I have been out here in Lanzarote since the end of October and have thoroughly enjoyed my time out here. I have been staying out with some friends of mine, Daz and Debs, who have a villa out near Puerto Del Carmen ‘Tri Sports Lanzarote’. We have full access to a 25m pool, excellent off road running and lots of home cooked food. I feel very well rested and it is going to be quite a culture shock when I go home and have to fend for myself. I have been staying with a real mix of people – from those racing their first 70.3, to those trying to break into the pro field themselves. It has been a lot of fun.
So, with a busy season, with a win at IRONMAN UK under your belt, amongst others, how are you feeling going into this race?
I am feeling strong and confident going into the race, but I need to remain focused and realistic. I have done six IRONMAN races in total and have learnt a lot in that time. My coach (Brett Sutton) is happy with how my training and racing has gone, which means that I too am happy!
Do you plan to execute any pre-race routines or rituals?
The night before the race I like to have a big tub of ice cream – and will simply sit with a big tub of Ben and Jerry’s in front of the tv! My preferred meal is a nice spaghetti carbonara with a glass of wine. I have tapered since Wednesday for this event, and will do my best to get a good night’s sleep in.
What is your nutritional strategy for the race?
I take Ignite Naturals sports nutrition throughout the race itself, which tastes good and is fair on my stomach. After the event I like to simply drink chocolate milk – sometimes the simple stuff works the best!
What do you think will happen in the women’s field?
Again, like the men’s race the women’s field is hugely competitive. I think the primary women in contention for the top spot will be Michelle Vesterby, Sonja Tajsich, Eimear Mullan and Bella Bayliss. It is really difficult to call, and I think it could go any way – it all depends on who gets ahead on the bike really.
What are your plans after IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote?
After such a busy season this year the only plans that I can think of are to recover well and hard. I am going to have some weeks off to recover completely, and get myself in a good and rested state for 2013. I would like to try and qualify for Kona next year, with the aim of finishing within top ten. This would be a huge achievement for me, and I am prepared to work hard to try and make it happen.
What would your one tip be for someone racing IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote, or looking to race next year?
I would recommend that anyone racing take the bike ride up to the Tabayesco climb nice and steady, and really power it down the descents. You are better to start slower and make up time later in the course, than risk burning out from an early stage.’
For more information about IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote, and to follow the IRONMAN LIVE tracking then visit www.ironman.com. The pro athletes start at 8.00am GMT on Saturday 10th November 2012 and all Age Groups follow at 8.05am GMT.
For more details about Dan Halksworth, and to read about his recent events then read his blog at www.blogs.teamtbb.com/danielhalksworth/