Sunday, November 11, 2012

Just Crazy!!


I have always admitted that being on the bike turns me into a different person! If you want a war you will get one and this was no different, at times I was out of control. I became totally consumed and obsessed by what Kale was doing. 18 hour rides, I tried in vain to sleep but I lay awake listening to see if Kale was moving. It was hopeless I just couldn’t relax!!!

I had amassed a 100km (62 Mile) lead while Kale continued to swim. I was happy I wasn’t the one chasing. We would both sneak out while the other was sleeping it became crazy. My first meltdown occurred as I woke from a short sleep, Pete was worried about me and I looked terrible. I couldn’t operate my brain, Pete was asking me questions I just couldn’t answer. Deca had started in earnest. I was a lost soul, no sleep, long days in the saddle, I was shot and Pete asked me to make a decision! “Ride on” or “Sleep”. A quick snack and I chose to ride on! It took me an age to reach a final decision but it was the right decision. “Beyond Exhaustion” I was there and it felt scary!!

I cried on the bike, the rash in my groin was so painful at one point I rode for 15 hours out of the saddle, I thought about how I would possibly run. Every time I stopped for a break getting back into the saddle was pure hell! It reduced me to tears………We rode for days on little or no sleep and it just got worse. We attacked each other constantly, it was relentless, tearing round the circuit! Common sense and good advice from fellow athletes fell on deaf ears, this was a raging battle!!

Pete would stand on the track side waving his arms pleading with me to ease up, it was no use I had the bit between my teeth Kale had applied the pressure again and I simply wouldn’t let it go. I just don’t know where it came from. I latched onto Kari Martin, arguably one of the best ultra-athletes in the world. We smashed the course, lap after lap at high speed like a steam train, it was the middle of the night and I was loving it! I was doing what I loved most and I had a new phrase “Lets Smoke It”.

At one point Kale came alongside me in tears and said “Why are we doing this to each other”? “This is just crazy man”. We both cried, we both laughed, we couldn’t answer the question! It wasn’t too long before one of us ripped into the other, testing, probing, simply looking for a weakness!!

I lost count of the number of times I approached Pete and said “Sorry”!! The plan worked as we entered the last day in the saddle. I left Pete in bed asleep as I sneaked out. I was on the circuit alone building up the gap. I texted Pete from the canteen to tell him we were still 100km ahead. The final day was 300km (185 miles) and that evening I would start the run!!! Despite the unbelievable pain and suffering I adore the bike. Sudocrem was my saviour along with a gel saddle kindly donated by Suraya. My crutch was absolutely destroyed, at times the pain was unbearable!!

Phase 2 was over and I didn’t think the suffering could get any worse? It did………………..far worse!!

Phase 1 - Swim Long Swim Steady!!



24 Miles in a 50 metre Olympic pool sounds a long haul, 21 miles will get you over to France from dear old blighty so you can imagine what the swim phase of Deca was like? Or can you? 760 lengths is hard to prepare for mentally but to be honest it went like a dream!

Having trained in Cambridge outdoor Lido and Abbeycroft Leisure Centre I simply practiced length after length in a wet suit. Boring but necessary!! On the plus side the water temperature in Bury was 29/30 degrees, in Monterrey outdoor pool it was 24-26 degrees so I was confident I wouldn’t overheat. The water temperature was perfect!! I was happy………………..

As we entered the water I had practiced and practiced the first 2 hours, I had focused on a smooth steady stroke rhythm in training. After a few lengths I realised that my pace was slightly quicker than the other athletes so my confidence grew quickly. Breaks for food and drink were kept short and sharp. As the blazing sun rose in the Monterrey sky it was blinding, I had to close my eyes as I breathed and open them to look at the bottom of the pool. I focused on the central yellow line of the lane. I was feeling good, strong and confident, my training and preparation had been spot on.

As day turned to night my ritual of stopping every 30 minutes to feed changed to counting 10 lengths as I struggled to concentrate, it worked perfectly, fatigue in the shoulders was making it difficult to lift my arms out of the water and I had strayed into the lane ropes a couple of times!!

 I had planned on 18 hours but as I slowed I exited the water in 19 hours 37 minutes, we had got it right!! I had created an early gap so we decided to sleep for a couple of hours before going to work on the bike! I had been swimming since 8am and it was now 3.37am the following day! A top tip on the swim received from the race director was to smother your hands and feet in sudocrem to prevent them from softening too much and the skin splitting, causing problems on the bike. Something I neglected on the swim was applying sun screen to my face, as a result I was quite badly burnt on my left cheek and ear. Lesson learnt!!

Phase 1 complete now it was time for the bike! The majority of my training was focused around the bike so let’s go to war! I simply thrive on being in the saddle, it brings me to life!!! Me and Pete made a plan now it was time to put it into place…………………..

Phase 2 tomorrow! How I suffered on the bike. It was relentless………….1800 laps in searing heat!!

The warm up was over so now it was down to business……………………


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Decatriathlon - The Athletes Story!!



Firstly, and most importantly I must say that my best mate and wing man, Pete Golding has done an incredible job with both facebook and the blog! He banned me from electronic communication so I was blissfully unaware of the interest that the race had generated! Simply superb!!

Now that the race is over I am going to tell you how it was from the athletes perspective, the highs, the lows and the agony. The laughter, the many tears and just what sleep deprivation does to you! If your thinking of doing Deca, get ready for WAR!!! Not only with the race but also with yourself. I had a race plan before we departed and it changed on a daily basis. The only thing that didn’t change was the lack of sleep. It certainly does make the mind do some funny things!!

Kale Poland gets my upmost respect, we had a titanic battle on the bike, it was at times crazy, exhilarating and painful! We simply smashed each other to pieces! Ever seen 2 grown men cry? I have and I am not ashamed to admit it! At times we were simply out of control!! I didn’t listen to Pete’s advice as I ripped round the course obsessed with speed.
 I want to tell the story before the memories start to fade! What exactly motivates someone to attempt Decatriathlon? What goes through your mind during the tough times? How do you cope with little or no sleep and then perform at a maximal level! Some things we do are just unbelievable and I can honestly say one thing! We are capable of things, extraordinary things, under pressure we go to levels I didn’t even know existed. “Beyond Exhaustion” is not a bad place to be at all! It is another world, a place where few people choose to enter, those who do will certainly never forget it!! Tomorrow, The Swim “Following The Yellow Line”…………………………………………………………….

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Together We Simply Smashed It!!! Destination DECA!!

It is now time for me to try and put into words just how I am feeling after this monumental race!

Firstly I could not possibly have raced or succeeded alone. Pete has been instrumental in our success out here in Mexico. His dedication, unselfish support and commitment have been priceless. To have a right hand man who will stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the heat of battle cannot be measured. Secondly, during the dark lonely times he fed me updates from supporters that reduced me to tears, people willing me forward from around the globe provided me with the pockets of inspiration that I needed! Do not underestimate what we together have achieved here!

The race was extremely painful, on the bike  Kale and I repeatedly attacked each other looking to break each other’s resolve. At one point we cycled side by side in tears asking why we were doing this to each other? It wouldn’t be long before it happened again! The run was a war of attrition. There was no time for self-pity, blistered and bleeding feet, swollen shins, they just had to be ignored! I have never suffered like I suffered during this foot race in temperatures around 100 degrees!

 I always felt that Decaman was my destiny, a race that I just had to do before I was the complete athlete. Before the race I didn’t have the answer to my reasons for wanting to complete such a tortuous race. Now I have all the answers. I sit here a World Champion at the end of an incredible journey of pain and suffering. I knew with the right combination I could win this race, Pete was the answer to that! I now realise that “Anything is Possible”!! If through Decaman I can inspire one person to train then my job is done!!!

To be crowned World Champion on your birthday is what dreams are made of! Some things you simply cannot script but this indeed has been a fairy tale ending!!

The final piece in the jig saw is firmly in place!! Together we have lived the dream!! I thank you for that!!

 Now I can rest!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Morning After

Good Morning and what a good morning it is. Simon and I have woken in the HOTEL.
Where do I start?

 I suppose with those last few laps, anyone would think that when you get down to the last 10k of such a monumental event having completed 22...
48km's already would be easy, the line is in sight and your spirits would lift; not a jot.
What really happened?
As we were approaching our scheduled stop with 22km's to go, Simon quite rightly decided to keep going, because starting again was agony and having seen several times what he put himself through I completely agreed. So on and on he went, in that last 10k he went through so many different emotions; strangely none of those were the euphoric ones we had imagined. Despite regular quick stops to drink and eat, he continued to spiral downwards. He had to concentrate every on every step, those of you that know him, will testify that he hardly ever shuts up, well last night he did just that. He became very grumpy as he went deeper and deeper into his reserves to get to that line, as we were approaching 5k he told me he couldn't do any more with out sleep. I convinced him that he could that we would work through it, keep talking well I would, so we went on, he doesn’t remember the 5th and then 4th kilometres to go, because he was running asleep! I was right beside him ready to prevent him falling over, a drink of coke and an energy bar at 3k to go, seemed to lift him, the banter suddenly came back and he forged on.

 Kale was desperate to be at the finish for him, we had had a chat as Simon passed him about 7k to go, Kale himself was in much better spirits and we booked a pace beside the bar for Friday night. With 2k to go I think it began to sink in, at the bell once we had picked up the Union Flag, he was smiling and going down the hill to the finish thought of pain was gone.
The reception he got was truly wonderful, fellow competitors and crews and those on the fringes like the ladies from the kitchen and computer people, he deserved every accolade. Kale could only stay for a while because he wanted to tick of more laps himself, so Simon got himself of the track, sat down and took of his trainers.
Getting back up to get to the hotel bus was excruciating, I gathered all of our gear and followed behind, then collected our bags from the tents and put them in the bus, and Simon had hobbled to the loo. I decided not to let him hobble back There have been many posts about Pre Para, believe me Simon used many of the thought processes needed to get to the end of that in those last few K’s and I used the last part of the 10 miler to get him to the bus, yes I carried him piggy back, then did the same to get him into the hotel. I had to book in, but they already knew our room so whilst I completed the process Simon was taken to the sanctuary on a porter’s baggage trolley.

 And here we are, a comfortable sleep, Simon’s feet dressed and we are almost ready for breakfast.
The Red Socks were with us, but Simon would not take the Union Flag pair of in case he disturbed the dressings on his blistered feet. But as you can see he didn’t get a medal for his efforts (not yet anyway) but he did get the red socks draped around his shoulders.
Simon Bourne World Decatriathlon Champion.

World Champion

Short Post, few words.

 Simon Bourne is the World Decatriathlon Champion.
Nuff said, more from us tomorrow.
Ye ha

Ok Folks,
The laps are counting down 10 minutes at a time. Simon has decided not to stop because its far to difficult starting again. We have had a chat with Kale and he is confident he can finish tomorrow sometime.

Simon meanwhile is just
about to cross the line with 11 to go, thats about 1hour and 50 minutes from now which will be 9.30 local 3.30 am UK, bring it home Simon we're all with you.

The photo was taken running across the blast furnace.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Almost, almost there.

Well what can I say, I have just read the posts on Lucy's call to arms and they are a huge boost for what Simon is putting himself through. 

To make the last marathon seem more manageable we have broken it down into 10km chunks. He's hurting
now, it's painful to see him walk, but once he is up the hill away from the start he breaks into a joggle.
This was Steve Harvey completing his 10 Ironman Events on consecutive days.
It will be Simons turn for the limelight tonight, both he and Kale are doing the harder event of all the distances added together and non stop.
Kale has been going through different emotions, not coping with this furnace as well, having to 'run to the bathroom' often and blisters, for which he is using 'Silver Gaffer' tape. He too is working on a finish strategy, but it's different from ours.

 Simon is currently on his second 10k having rested an hour after the first, he is shuffling through the start/finish area now and ascending the hill, so I must finish this post quickly so I can join him. We hope that he will finish sometime between 11 & 12 tonight, once the blast furnace is turned of it will be easier to predict. I shall post again before the final push.
He is going to get there, on On ON ONNNNNN Simon.

Nine down, One to go, the hardest one.

The last 2 hours have been amazing;
I thought that fatigue was about to totally consume Simon and I would have happily let him sleep for longer than the agreed hour. But I did wake him at 9.30 with a mexican omelette and coffee and he was almost chirpy, those of you that know him well will realise that it takes a lot to knock the stuffing out of him, but it was this morning.
Fed and watered he was back to his best, almost running the whole way on each lap, he seemed to get stronger and stronger. We passed Kale a couple of times, he told us that his new strategy was to take it easier and aim to finish before Sunday morning.
Simon mean while has just completed his 9th marathon at around 1030 local. Now that Simon has rallied our aim is to finish tonight, this side of midnight.

 Where will those socks turn up next ?

The Red Socks rallying cry is working

Tough it has been, tougher it will become.

What pain these boys are going through, last night was epic. My last post was around 4am our time, so you will want an update I guess.

Simon was shattered last night, exhausted in fact, we had factored in a stop between 7 and 9, I wrote that last post then, I put Simon on to the couch and he was out like a light, the burger and coffee went untouched, less than an hour and a half after starting again he was back on the couch, sleeping like there was no tomorrow. Kale I know has been much the same, out to complete a few laps back in his tent recuperating.

These last kilometres are going to be as brutal as the weather today, which will only compound the enormity of what they still have to do. Do you remember the analogy I used of the mountain, where when all the difficulties are over and you crest the summit ridge, only for the ridge to be never ending? Well we are most definitely at that point. After Simon retired for the night Kale managed another 7 laps before sleeping himself, Simon and I decided to have a 2 hour sleep so that we could get as many laps done as possible before the sun came up. I walked with Simon for the ran with Simon for the first 9 laps, then decided it was time to write his blog, he passes me every lap, on the second he told me he had been finding it difficult to walk/run straight, fatigue is back with a vengeance, I have put him back on the couch, he is comatosed. Kale is still lapping and currently has 302 to Simon’s 369. Our intent was to get a half marathon (21 laps) finished before a break; the plan is being revised as we write.

Last night was very emotional in other ways, 2 of the lads who were competing in the Deca Ironman, 10 Ironmen races in 10 days finished their own race. Steve Harvey from England finished his last one in 12:30:40, which was a staggering performance on top of the previous 9 and Sergio Cordeiro from Brazil completed his in 14:51:01 truly wonderful performances on a very tough course in brutal heat. What was even more unique for me; was to witness the best Ultra Triathletes in the world in floods of emotion as they welcomed Steve into the Deca family, and the tears of elation from Sergio as he crossed the finish line. I can’t bare to think at the moment what Simon and I are going to be like, and then what it will be like for Kale and his father Wes. Deep breaths Pete, deep breaths.

I must wake Simon, he only wanted a 30 minute power nap, we shall see how the day unfolds, but I do know already that this is going to be really tough. Wayne Kurtz told us that the whole race comes down to the last 25% of the run, and whether you finish or not. We are about to find out, watch this space.

Get those Red Socks out, oh and the tissues, a man size box.

Kale and Simon congratulating Steve Harvey as he finished his 10th Ironman event in 10 days.

The start of the long road home

 What a day night we have had, as I reported earlier the heat was so oppresive, both of the guys suffered really badly today. Across the car park area the searing temperature was brutal. Simon battled gamely on and on, whilst Kale chose wisely to get out of it, eventually Simon succumed to the heat and had to retire, to the shade and that doctors bench. Heat exhaustion can be very serious, so it is vital that that a close watch is kept over athletes when the extremes are like those we experienced today.

 The aim for today was to complete 3 half marathons making a total of 8.5 full ones, Simon acheived that by 3.15am and is now tucked up on the doctors bench, so that is 357km's covered whilst Kale who is currently on track has 291 as I write.
Simon is desperate to finish today (Thursday), so we will be back up at 6 to try to get the first half out of the way before the heat of the day, then we will see just how high the temperature will rise, it's forecast to be soaring even more than today.
Both of these gladiators have very stiff muscles and are walking/running like I imagine an automan would. What they are putting their bodies through is remarkable. They will both take away so many positives from this experience, which hopefully will outway the inevitable negatives.

 Whatever the outcome over the next couple of days, it will be something neither they nor I will ever forget. Sleep well Simon, whilst Kale makes some ground and then rise and head for the finish later.