Cleveland Steelman, Half Ironman.

This weekend, at the much anticipated Cleveland Steelman (half Ironman), 22 lincsquad competitors and their supporting families met up for a sunny weekend to remember.
With such a large contingent it’s going to be difficult to capture everybody’s race report without writing ‘War and Peace’. In fact, the club’s very own Laurel and Hardy in Hinch and Wood alone, could quite easily have been a worthy Tolstoy subject.
However, for once, this weekend wasn’t just about the 1.25 mile swim, 58 mile bike and 11 mile run but more about how the club has grown and forged such close knit family friendships. I’m sure Paul Carvill and the other ‘like minded individuals’ (you know who you are) that first established the club had a few quiet and proud words to themselves whilst witnessing the Lincsquad beer drinking and barbecuing done to aplomb. So first special mention to Dobbers’ better half Clair, who worked tirelessly cheering, cooking, cleaning, organising and even ferrying to and fro to the pub. I know I speak for 40 plus campers in saying ‘I don’t know what we would have done without you and your family’, top job!
Normally in these reports I would rave on about how great Clarky is for being such an inspiration to us all, I would list his superb split times. I would mention the fact he did us proud by taking second place overall in a time we can only dream of! I’ve even called him a super hero in previous rantings but despite such athletic achievements even he has to tip his hat to some of our other club members this weekend.
Jamie Griffin certainly does do things by half, ‘half Ironman’ being his first triathlon of choice! Obviously nobody has told Jamie that such triathlons like sprint or even super sprint distances exist? A newcomer to multisport Jamie made it look so easy with a time of 5hrs 34 mins.
Nicky Robinson and Lisa Purcell our only female entrants, were also doing their first half Ironman distance race. Both girls did themselves proud by digging deep to earn the right to be called a ‘Half Ironman Lady’ (if this title actually exists?) with times that suggest that next year, the full Ironman is on? Although I’m sure while both are still nursing aching bodies they won’t thank me for saying so?

Rob Wood, Dave Hinch……..what can I say? Rob was the talk of the event as during the run you couldn’t help but notice this bedraggled oink wearing a ripped Lincsquad tri-suit with a face that looked like it had shipped a flurry of Klitshko’s best shots. Black eyed and bloody nosed from a bike crash that split his helmet(there you go kids, always wear a helmet) Rob soldiered on through the pain to finish, albeit a little woozy on bambi’s best skating legs in a creditable time of 5hrs 20 mins…………Rob, you’d da man!

You just couldn’t make it up where Dave Hinch is concerned! I’m sure he does it on purpose just to add to his many tales of Hollywood and other numerous TV exploits. Whilst making his way through the pack on the bike, Dave couldn’t get a ‘normal, everyday’ puncture but one that found him walking to a garage, borrowing the mechanic’s car, driving back to transition to get a spare before kindly returning the car and fixing his flat tyre! Coming into T2 in very last place, the bit was well and truly between the teeth as he recorded a run PB working his way through the field to finish to a rapturous applause.
You only have to look towards Gareth Barker and Steve Dolby for examples that hard work and exercise really do pay off. These guys have shed many a stone since taking up multisport and finishing 122nd (Steve) and 147th (Gareth) from a full to capacity(250 entrants) field is some success story. (Although Gareth would probably argue if he was 14 seconds quicker then he would have dipped under his 6 hour target!)
Paul Ralph(115th) and Mark Salmon (85th) like a few of us, weren’t enjoying the sunny conditions. Both guys sensibly raced conservatively whilst using this as a warm up for their upcoming ‘Outlaw Ironman’.
Unfortunately the event did claim it’s casualities with over 30 people not completing the course.

Lincsquad’s Dan Broughton and Paul Carvill found themselves among this statistic. Despite hobbling through the pain for some distance, Dan was bitterly disappointed to finally succumb to chronic leg pains. A puncture with 5 miles to go was the straw to break the camel’s back for Paul leaving him a disconsolate figure for a short while, well, about the time it took to crack that post race can of beer anyway!
Duncan Wright should have every right to be pleased with his first half Ironman. Not being blessed with Michael Phelps’ swimming technique Dunk’s trademark strong biking averaged 22.1 mph for the 58 miles setting himself up for 71st position overall.
Our chairman Andy Veitch (61st) and half ironman debutant Chris Spavin (57th) finished within a few minutes of each other and frustratingly close to the magic sub 5 hr mark. A good swim and strong bike from Andy, like the majority of us, didn’t leave him with much left for the run in such unforgiving heat. Refusing to wilt Andy battled through his demons to finish on the top page of the results. Chris on the other hand appeared to race tactically, deliberately holding back on the bike conserving valuable energy for his run. Chris’ run left many of the more accomplished runners in the squad envious with a time of 1hr 36 mins.
A PB by several minutes for lincsquad’s new signing Huwie Davies saw him sneak into the sub 5hr club. Consistency in all 3 disciplines being the key with a 21mph average bike time helping Huwie’s cause.
A mixed race for Pete Connolly saw the GB age grouper freshly back from the European Champs trying his hand, for the first time, at the longer distances. The sun didn’t seem to affect Pete’s run like some of his team mates as he recorded a 1hr 28min split. Pete’s race was slightly marred when handed a 2 minute penalty but still finished in a solid 40th position.
Phil Binch(35th) always his own harshest critic was spotted having a few quiet words with himself after the race. Setting such a high standard in recent events the recently qualified GB ‘er found the step up in distance and weather a little tougher than expected, hardly surprising when sprints have been his more immediate focus. Having to get someone to shoe-horn him out of his wet-suit during T1 when his zip stuck didn’t help Phil’s plight! Still, a swim and bike most would be proud of.
Lincsquad’s  Brownlee brothers equivalent in Phil and Chris Gibbs gave the performances of the day. Doing a half ironman for the first time both siblings weren’t just doing this for the experience. It was evident by all fellow Lincsquadders how quick they were running when most of us were sadly flagging! Clarky aside, the two obliterated the rest of their team mates, always being within a few minutes of each other throughout the race. Phil finished in 25th in a time of 4 hrs 49 mins with Chris only 2 mins behind him in 29th place. Second place in his age group, a trophy and voucher was Chris’ reward for such a performance. Well done mate.
Steve Grocock another recent GB qualifier was Lincsquad’s second person back in 11th place. Losing his timing chip in the lake made for a frustrating start, crashing on the bike and then typically missing the turn off (despite a marshal pointing the way) probably put paid to an age group podium position! Nevertheless a 23.5 mph (Garmin time) average bike meant Steve led the race for a good twenty miles, until that is, about half a mile into the run! It wasn’t long before Steve was just a spectator watching Kirkham, Coates, Drayton, Steve Clark and the eventual winner duking it out!
As is often, Steve Clark was the pride of Lincsquad with a brilliant swim(11th out of the water), 7th fastest bike and despite needing pain killers during the run (5th fastest) still recorded a run time of 1hr 16mins, less than 6 min 25 secs per mile. Steve also unselfishly handed over his energy gel to Steve G who’d lost his gels during his bike spill.
Clarky’s lofty position meant it was going to be close in the inter club competition with our fellow rivals and friends the Barracuda’s. Pete Stockdale a member of both clubs could have made the difference if he’d have chosen to wear his Lincsquad colours!! Pete continues to entertain and astound us with his ability to ‘Go Long’ and his position of 43rd was secured with an unbelievable run of 1hr 23 minutes. But that’s enough of that turncoat, LOL! , on this occasion we had to concede to our North Bank rivals. Well done Barracudas.
Yet again the Lincsquad support was tremendous, Mark and Lauren York would pop up around the course screaming encouragement. Tinkerbellshell, Steve Mac and their wolf made the 100 mile trip to enjoy the sun whilst cheering on fellow team mates. All the friends and families made it that little bit special for the competitors making it that tiny bit easier when things were getting tough, sincere thanks to everyone and bring on the next event.

Lincsquad Time Splits

Photos kindly supplied by SportsSunday