Ian Hacon

Ian's Ironman France, Nice page

Fundraising for Parkinson’s UK
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RCN 258197 and Scotland SC037554
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I am delighted to say I completed my Ironman. Here's a little report;

I wandered down to the start at 5:00am on Sunday. The bike and the bike and run transition bags had been dropped off on Saturday. There was a weird quietness in the air, with Ironmen appearing quietly from hotel doorways along my route. We walked in silence past the late night revellers and along to the sea front. I put my drinks on the bike and a bit more nutrition (I had loaded it up with bars stuck on with masking tape the day before), met John and Karim and pumped up my tyres. We then dropped off our "streetwear bags" and proceeded to the start. It was now 6:15 and we had no time for a arm up swim. We stood in the "1h25 plus pen. Our strategy would be to let everyone else get in and then have a nice clear line at the back. At 6.25 off went the pros, and no sooner at 6.30 so did we. The counting soon stopped when we realised there was another 300 people behind us trying to get in. We went for it. As we were so far across from the racing line we headed towards on of the safety boats. It was bedlam, arms and legs everywhere. I found out afterwards that they have scuba divers to make sure you are OK under the water as well as above. There was kicking, pushing, punching and jostling all the way round. I had decided I was going to enjoy it, despite it all. I smiled all the way round and pushed along at my own pace. I soon passed the boat and was heading for the first turning buoy way out in the clear turquoise Med Sea. A traffic jam was inevitable here. Some people were getting most upset, I kept smiling. We got round, and were soon round the last one and heading back to the beach. And soon enough I was there. I got out to go over the timing mat, a big queue. Checked my watch, 42mins30, well inside my target time. Back in the water for the second lap, a repeat of the first but not quite so busy as the field thinned out a bit. I kept smiling and gradually overtook more people than overtook me. Out of the water in 1hr 25m, well happy with that. We then queued 2 by 2 to get off the beach.

Into Transition 1, a last minute decision not to use the changing rooms paid off (Karim later told me he got sent away). I was wearing long swim trunks under my wetsuit. I slipped my bike shorts on over these, sun lotioned up and put on my jersey, shoes, helmet, glasses and race belt. A long run with the bike to the bike start and then I was away.

On the bike - The conditions were near perfect, a bit cloudy, not too hot and little wind. We set off on the long flat ride to the foot of the hills (22k), going lovely. Then the first short but steepest climb (12% for 500m). Easily up as nice and fresh and it was short. We then had a long section of low level climbing actually classified as flat, this as lovely. I was wondering was all the mountain fuss was about? Then we hit the main climb of 20k, which became increasingly steeper, pretty soon I was in the highest gear possible and grinding it out. it seemed to go on for ever. I had been and continued to follow my nutrition strategy of bars, drinks and water. The bars were getting sweeter. The markers on the road started to count down the top of the climb, and eventually we were up. Good banter with a few Brits on the way. A lovely flat section at the top for around 20k, I was looking good against my target times. A welcome stop at the special needs station to get my peanut butter sandwiched, they tasted so good after all the sugar. Another quick stop for a "comfort break", and some lovely sweeping descents where we could get some real speed up.

Then onto the second major climb, shorter than the big one, but steeper. It felt worse, even though it was only 6k, it felt like 20 again, legs were so heavy, eventually we got to the top, by this time it was spitting with rain. I said to Glenda the Brit I had been riding with, this is welcome, an she told a story about how she rode the hills a few weeks ago and to chucked it down. I said, oh I've checked the weather, that's not going to happen today. How wrong I was, by the time we hit the descents, it was chucking it down. We had to really concentrate. The descents were interrupted by a flat section with a turn around point. On this section I spotted John. checking my watch, I checked again at the turn around and worked out he was around 6 mins in front of me. Given he is a much better cyclist and swimmer than me I was well happy. I stepped it up, could I catch him? I was going well, but got a bit frustrated by the Frenchman that was hogging the road in front of me, I saw my chance and took it, I overtook him and joined the pack in front, unfortunately the girl I caught hit her brakes so I did too. I wasn't straight and the front wheel  just went. It seemed to go on for ages, my bike glued to hers heading down the mountain an me skidding on the tarmac. Eventually the bike broke free and both it and I came to a halt. Shouts of are you OK etc, I said, I'm fine. I dusted myself down, and got my bike. A quick survey and I could see I had cut my forearm badly, and had various cuts down the left side of my body. What about the bike though? 

To be continued.....

Part 2

A quick survey revealed the only damage to the bike seemed to be the chain came off. I tried to quickly put it on, but the adrenalin had cut in and gave me the shakes. I eventually got it back on and set off again down the descent, albeit a bit more cautiously than before. For the next few miles i hardly saw a soul, it was as if i'd taken a wrong turn. I then eventually caught up some of the pack I as with when I fell. By now the rain was pouring down and the temperature had plummeted. I couldn't believe it, I had come expected 30 Degrees and my teeth were literally chattering. I had given up on trying to catch John after the fall. I just focused on getting down. After going through a few villages, the descents started to level off a bit and I could start pushing hard with my legs again, which despite having ridden around 100 miles and by now the bruise on my hip was starting to grow, I felt really really strong. Th cut on my arm also looked pretty gruesome at this point. The great thing about all that rain and the road flattening was that I was able to take one of my famous rolling wees, it's a weird feeling hurtling down a mountain whilst maintaining straight legs whilst warm pee runs down your legs, but they are all valuable minutes! 

We finally got back on the flat section that repeated the beginning of the race that took us back to the finish. At some point I must have passed Glenda the nice English lady I had been speaking to all the way round. It only dawned on me after the race that having just launch my company "Yellow Brick Road", Glenda my good witch had been with me most of the ride! I pushed on, and was soon passing the airport back onto the prom. Simon Edwards advise in my first season popped in my head, spin the last couple of miles in a high cadence to get rid of as much lactic acid as possible. As I came into bike to run transition, John shouted me, he was just starting the run. Then I saw Jo, Gracie, Mum and Dad. Gracie was sooo excited to see me. 

I checked the watch and had a bike time of 6hrs 49 mins 59 secs, some 30 minutes inside my target time, despite the fall. I had a pretty good transition, I ran off the bike. By now the sun was coming out and it was warming up, so more sun lotion applied, had already decided to run in my long trunks so no need to put my run shorts on. Didn't even change into my run vest, kept the cycle top on. Clean socks and trainers on, new glasses and the obligatory Ironman peak. I also picked up a nutrition belt.

Onto the run. I felt really good. Yes my legs were heavy, but I felt strong. I had a target pace of 9:00 mm, but smashed the first lap, hitting around 8:30 pace. I ditched the nutrition belt, waste of time carrying it, so many aid stations. The support from the crowd was immense, so glad i got my name on my top and every lap I knew I would see the family cheering away as well and John and Karim's Michelle and Claire. I saw John as I approached the turnaround, I had gained on him, a quick pee up the fence then off again. As i ran past special needs John pop up from the tent. They had lost his special needs bag and he was already blistering badly. Luckily, I never really suffer with blisters. John and I chatted for a while, then I headed off. By the turnaround I had opened up quite a gap. Still no sign of Karim. Then half way down the first leg of the second lap i got hit by the worst stomach cramps I have ever had. They totally wiped me out, I could barely run. I hobbled round that lap, thought about the loo, but they were all in use so I  carried on, big mistake. That lap was a write off, i don't think I  even managed 12 minute miles. I was starting to think i would have to walk the rest of the race. Onto the 3rd lap and still in pain, then early in I saw the toilets. I ad to make something happen! This really helped but I still felt the cramps. At the aid station I saw the Tuck biscuits. Despite being gluten free for 5 months, i had already committed myself to a celebratory beer and pizza so I thought Tuck would harm. In fact they saved me, the cramps were clearly due to high sugar but also I had not taken enough salt on (I had 2 electrolyte drinks early in the bike). For the rest of the first half of that lap I took 2 Tucks and water and go stronger and stronger. I finished that lap and was now maintaining a 10 minute mile pace. I had worked out that a sub 13 finish was possible with a strong finish to the run. I felt well hydrated and did not want to risk anymore food, so pushed on, only using the showers in the aid stations, not stopping, just pushing on hard. According to my watch a 10mm pace would see me in in 12:57, a bit too close for comfort, i pushed what had left. At the 40k marker I realised my Garmin was not accurate to the race distance, and I was 0.4 of lime closer to home than I thought. I knew I had made it, sub 13 was mine. I enjoyed the finish, had time to kiss Gracie and Jo and a few obligatory hand slaps. Over the line in a sub 10mm marathon (4:18:30) and an overall time of 12:51:51. Had a water then went straight o the medic to sort out the arm. By now it didn't look too bad the rain and he showers had cleaned it up nicely. It was just a graze, a bloody great big one, but just a graze. John came home in around 12:12, and Karim (who I had not managed to spot once on the run) followed in about 12:30, that was that, 3 new Ironmen, after 8 months of training we had done it. Despite beating both of them, I didn't actually get the fastest times of the 3 of us in anything except transition. John won the swim (1:18) and just edged me on the bike (6:48) and Karim had a 4:15 run. 

The big question now is would I do it all again, the short answer is yes, in a heartbeat, but probably not next year as I have to get the business going. But given the Anglian is 1 month away, i may just be fit enough and recovered enough to give that a go this year!

Thanks for reading, if you have donated yet, now's your chance, 



Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.

I am raising money for Parkinsons UK as my wonderful Dad, Chris was diagnose with the progressive disease last year. 

For those of you that don't know what an Ironman is, it is a long distance triathlon consisting of;

2.5 mile swim

112 Mile bike (Up and down a very large mountain in Nice!)

Then a Marathon (luckily flat in Nice)

You can track my progress on Social Media.

I aim to finish is around 13 hours. I am competing with my good pals John Scott and Karim Ouaddane. We have been training together hard for the lat 8 months. 

I know many of you have given to my causes before but this year the distance is further and the cause is closer. 

Anything you can give will be most appreciated. 

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About the charity

Parkinson’s UK

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 258197 and Scotland SC037554
Anyone can get Parkinson’s. It gets worse over time and there’s no cure. Yet. Funding research into the most promising treatments, we’re getting closer to a cure. Until then, we're improving life for people with Parkinson’s, and the people in their lives. Together we'll find a cure.

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