Craig Jordan SCT
Position in AG M45-49 : 6 // Finish Time: 05:04:38
Swim: 0:40:48 // T1: 0:01:07 // Bike: 2:39:19 // T2: 0:01:11 // Run: 1:42:53
Coach’s Remarks: From the Author of the Team, Another brilliant report thanking those who deserve it most! Hat’s off Craig, we have come a long long way mate in 2 years!!!
The race report: Well arrived back safe and well from Sri Lanka. Yet another awesome experience with the team and as many people have already pointed out we just seem to keep going from strength to strength. Of all the races I have been to with the team this certainly ranks up there with the best of them. With so many loops on the run and T1 and T2 being in the same location basically right next to our hotels the course was the most spectator friendly I’ve ever been to and boy did our support show up in force! I’m not sure if friends and partners who do support us during these races realise just how important their effort is but they are as much heroes in my eyes as anyone actually doing the race. Add to this that as each person finished they stayed back so the support team simply kept growing as the day wore on. A special personal mention to Hammer here, he and I had a bit of a mini race on the run (sadly he was a lap ahead of me though) so spent a while on the course together but as I was on my last lap who should give me the greatest encouragement to smash to the finish but none other than Roy himself despite no doubt still being knackered from his own amazing efforts.
So onto the race itself. The briefing we had was a bit unusual and brief compared to other races and it was obvious that they had huge problems just putting this race on and apparently it was touch and go right up until the last moment if it would go ahead. We were assured of safety on the course but I suspect it wasn’t just me thought it might not run quite as smoothly as they were making out. The location was great though, the main challenge was going to be the heat and humidity particularly on the run.
The Swim: Surprisingly I really enjoyed the swim. The water was as near perfect as you could get for a race with some cross currents to challenge you and a gentle swell but nothing nuts. Sighting seemed to be the main problem for most people and I was certainly all over the place on the way back to the shore and only managed to get there by hanging onto a group of people just in front of me. For the first time ever I decided to smash the first couple of hundred metres as if I was doing a solo sprint to get away from the main rabble then settle down from there. After holding us in the water for close on 30 minutes the horn blasted and as planned I hammered out from the off, the trouble is I went to fast and very nearly blew up around the 200m and had to hold back a bit to get my breath back again. In future I will adopt the same strategy but maybe try not to get so excited the next time and just go at 90% instead of 210%! In general though it did work and I didn’t have any issues or fights the whole way round other than my crap navigation.
The cross current at the top section and the first part of the way back made the swim times a little slow but nothing too dramatic. As mentioned I was totally disoriented so for the last 400-500m hung onto a group of around 10 people just ahead of me right into the shore. I was amazed when we started to stand up and all I saw was a bunch of lime green tri suits, it looked as though half of the T2A team where there. I did a quick to check to see who I was with and saw Higgsy, Stevie, Seano, Elliot and J Grant there. I was well chuffed as I can’t normally swim with these guys and looking at my watch I got out the water in 38:47, a PB for me in not easy conditions. Looking at the times later I realised I was only a minute down on JT and 3 mins on Marshy so well pleased with that effort so time for the bike.
The Bike: I thought the bike course was really well thought out, one long section around 15km was pretty technical with lots of twist and turns to negotiate while the second 15km section was pretty much a straight TT course. The road surface was far from perfect but so long as you concentrated and the roads were clear is was fine. It was generally flat but there were two or three little kicks here and there to make you work a bit or allowed you to get up a decent pace. The first lap on the 70.3 was pretty much ok traffic wise but the fun and games started on the second lap when they tried to allow “controlled traffic flow” on the course. Anyone who knows major cities in the sub continent knows that controlled traffic flow is not easy to achieve and it got downright dangerous at times. Having said that considering the environment and our moans they actually did a pretty good job although sadly I know at least 3 people hit vehicles but fortunately none serious. We also have Stevie Morgan and Higgsy go down hard on the bikes because of the road conditions but like the hard as nails warriors they are they both got up and completed the course…..serious respect to them both for that, I think I would have chucked it.
Again on the bike there were loads of T2A suits everywhere you looked. I saw Ian a couple of times and he was absolutely flying out on his own just behind the pros, very impressive. Early on Stevie, JT, Elliot and I were in a small group doing our bit having a bit of to and fro. As we were nearing the end of the first lap Stevie was just behind me when I heard him go down with a heavy crash. I looked behind me and he was sprawled on the road looking dazed but quickly got up. I think there is nothing worse in a race than seeing a team mate in trouble, I’m always torn whether to keep racing or stop and help them. The fact he got up I guessed he was ok but from the speed we were doing and the sounds from him going down I also knew it was a heavy knock. JT was just behind him and I saw him slow down also for a quick check but by then Stevie was at least properly up and moving so not much we could do really but head on.
The traffic on the second lap was nuts but actually I really enjoyed it but you had to be 100% alert the whole time. I’m so wired for races anyway this isn’t an issue but one minor lack of concentration and it could easily have ended up in tears. For the next 2 laps I was on a smaller pace line including JT and we all worked together keeping up a good pace. I hadn’t seen JT for a while but I knew he was still behind me as every time we passed one of the WAGs (mostly the noisy Didge it has to be said) you would hear the shouts of “Come Jordo” immediately followed by “Go get ‘em JT!” it was great! Around the 80km mark I looked around to check JT was still there to met with his familiar huge grin saying “Surprised to see me?”. I wasn’t I know JT is a strong rider on the flat and was delighted we had completed the whole course together. On the last few km’s who did we pass but our own Janey having had a fight with a puncture so close to home. Again like the winner that she is she fought with the tubular (we all know how much fun that is) and joined on the back of the group so Janey, JT and I all hit T2 together but not before JT tried a sneak attack a couple of km out but he went too quickly so we reeled him in. Despite the traffic issue I loved the bike course, I would do it again in a minute.
My actual time on the bike was 2:36 so again a PB in tricky technical conditions and traffic that definitely had an impact on time so well pleased with the effort but the most pleasing thing was I still felt reasonably fresh for the run.
The Run: So Janey, JT and I all hit T2 at the same time so a mad scramble to get out on the run first. Janey and I hit the exit stride for stride with JT around 30m ahead of us but he was flying, this certainly wasn’t the JT of old and he was tearing up the course! The temperature and humidity had risen a lot so we all knew it wasn’t going to be a picnic but the course was basically a 2.5km out and back track so we passed the finish a total of 8 times and passed each other on the course multiple times. This was great for moral as you could hardly run 100m without seeing a green flash or getting a big cheer. It was tough conditions though and couple of the team were also having problems on the course so it was great to be able to give them active support while still running although in reality no doubt I p!ssed a couple of them off with my over enthusiastic nagging (sorry folks, I was just excited). For the first three laps the marathon training I have been doing really paid off and I felt strong. Hammer was around 200m in front of me when I started albeit a lap ahead but this worked out really well as it gave me a carrot to chase. I took me around 1.5 laps or 7.5km to close the gap down but eventually I did manage to unlap myself but also because of my respect for Roy this gave me a huge confidence boost and put a spring in my step for the next couple of km’s to the turnaround point. The spring went again though when I realised Roy was still right on my heels digging in himself again showing the grit of the team. The next lap was my third and Roy’s last so as we passed at the final turnaround point I gave him a big yell to bring it home and smash it to the finish. As mentioned earlier Roy paid this back just a little later when he was the first to encourage me on my own last lap again WHAT A TEAM!
Although not competing Didge was her usual world class self standing for hours out on the farthest part of the course where there was very little support, what a trooper! I know we have our digs with other teams from the UAE but also thanks to Nick Tipper here who joined her for a while and certainly encouraged me on as much as anyone rivalries from Dubai forgotten in a real race. I was really pleased to see that. By the same token we were also cheering on the various other athletes from UAE with Didge’s very own Kevin being our adopted son for the day in his own battle in the heat.
The laps lap was quite tough but I was breaking the course down into short sections and before I knew it I was on the last km heading for home. My run time on my Garmin was 1:38 so again a PB in a HIM although not sure where the timing mat was so my official time was slightly outside my PB but still very happy with a good run in very tough conditions. My over time of 5hrs 4mins was easily a PB and although I didn’t break the 5 hour mark as I had hoped given the various challenges and hot humid conditions I was well pleased with my effort but again proving what an awesome team T2A was totally outshone by some amazing personal performances all round with the podiums and Vegas slots galore to top of the weekend.