Glass & Stainless sponsored triathlete Jack Schofield has successfully completed the 2018 Barcelona Ironman after overcoming huge difficulties in the bike section. We have closely followed his training and racing over the past year as Jack has built up to this race, the biggest of the 2018 season. This was to be the culmination of all the blood, sweat and tears that he has put in. Unfortunately, a run of bad luck kept Jack from his dream end to the season but he certainly did himself proud in this challenging race!
What is the Barcelona Ironman course like?
The Barcelona Ironman is renowned for being a relatively flat and fast course. The 3.8km swim takes place in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, off the gorgeous, sandy and palm tree lined beach of Calella. From there competitors set off on a 180km bike course over 2 laps, winding along the stunning coastline. The final leg, a 42.2km run, took place between Calella and Calella-Santa Susanna, with the runners completing 3 laps of the route.
Typically Jack’s weakest element of the Ironman, his general approach is damage limitation. Thanks to the 5 second rolling start, the initial scrum was nowhere near as bad as it has been in previous races and Jack was able to set a quick pace as he plunged in. This was despite the fact that he was being battered by the relentless and unforgiving waves. With space to move and breathe, Jack was able to check his time and be reassured that he was making good progress as he headed back to shore. The return journey was incredibly rough, with 4ft waves regularly hitting him in the face but Jack held on to secure his target time of 1:05.
On the bike is where Jack is at his most dangerous, using his considerable power to pick off the rest of the field one by one and more than make up for time lost in the water. In Barcelona however, Jack could sense that something was wrong right from the off. His front tyre was making an odd ticking noise, signifying that it wasn’t properly connected to the wheel. Unfortunately, Jack didn’t have a spare tyre. He chose to attack anyway and made good headway, moving through whole packs of athletes.
At around 60km a mechanic was able to take a look at the tyre and have it fixed in under 2 minutes. Jack was off again, eyes firmly on the front. Until disaster struck. A hole had blown in the tyre wall and it took all of Jack’s experience and concentration to safely stop the bike. At that point Jack had a decision to make. Give in and abandon the race or push on. Of course, he chose the latter. Picking up his bike, he started to run. Fortunately, there was a mechanic just 500m down the road who had Jack fixed up in 13 minutes. Time had been lost but Jack was still in the race.
But Jack’s bad luck hadn’t run out. Cycling through a roundabout his front tyre lost grip and fell from underneath him. Jack hit the ground at 40kph. At this point, most of us would accept defeat. Not Jack. Hip burning, he was back on the bike and chasing down the last 30km.
Having made the decision to complete the race, Jack put his all into this final stage. Making sure to stay on top of his nutrition and hydration, he was still aiming for a sub 3 hour marathon. The cheers from family and friends on the sidelines urged him on further and at the halfpoint he was exactly where he needed to be timewise. With 10km to go the pain had well and truly set in and Jack did have to slow. Crucially however, he finished the race.
What was his final race time?
Given the fast nature of the course, Jack was keen to set a PB in this Ironman. We’re thrilled to say that he did! His final finish time was 9:08:03 and he set PBs in both the run and swim in order to achieve that time. In fact, he was only five minutes off his bike PB, an absolutely terrific achievement given the technical difficulties. This race was a true test of character and Jack certainly passed. Everyone at Glass & Stainless is incredibly proud of him.
To keep up with Jack’s winter training exploits, check out his blog.