Our valiant triathletes have been out there working their…. very hard. They have pounded the pavements and scorched the tarmac, and… and… whatever abuse you can do to water. And they have punched the air at their test race, the half-iron distance Monster Mojo. Now the main event, Challenge Roth itself, is hovering on the horizon. There are just six weeks to go. The drama is almost too much to bear. Which is why a film is being produced of the six heroes. You can see a trailer here.
Except of course, the film is not about our six heroes. Still, that person crawling across the finish line should set the scene well enough…
If you have come recently to this journal, we would encourage you to have a look to see who the six characters are, these Six Men of Steel, and how their Challenge came about. Also, now that we have pinned down the Mysterious Wave – perhaps, like a particle of Einsteinian physics, he can exist and not exist at the same time - we have added his profile as well. He claims he’s the housewife’s choice, so for some domestic excitement, here’s a taster…
Swim Style : Lazy, poor technique but energy efficient.
Bike style : Lazy. Nervous descender. People used to claim that he descended like a girl but they have had to rescind that statement as he is often overtaken by women (not only on descents).
Run Style : Lazy. Most improved discipline in the last 3 years. 3:37 marathon PB.
So Wave……Why are you doing Challenge Roth ??
… I got Ric started on his triathlon career so it’s only right that I should be there at the end…
For the non-triathletes among us, here’s a reminder of what the Six Men of Steel are taking on out there in Bavaria on Saturday 1st July. They will (according to the calculations of the ever-optimistic Ric) -
- Swim 3.8 kilometres (that’s 2.375 miles, or 152 lengths of a regular 25m pool, to you and me) in just over an hour, covering each 100 metres (ie four lengths) in about 1 min 45 seconds
- Ride a 180 kilometre (112.5 mile) bike course which includes aggregate hill climb roughly equivalent to the height of Ben Nevis, at an average speed of more than 21mph (33.6 kmh)
- Run a whole marathon in expected 30-35C heat in something like 3 hrs 45 mins
- …. And rush through transitions between disciplines without even enough time to plug in a hair dryer
Below is the form guide. The odds in brackets are their chances of beating one another rather than winning the whole event, but with the way they’re going, you never know... they did pretty well at the Monster Mojo
Si (the Birmingham Bullet) : (10:1)
- Unquestionably the fastest in the water, drawing on his GB water polo experience. Could easily build 15 mins advantage.
- Bike could be his downfall but recent progress is proving doubters wrong. Not much meat on the legs but that just adds to his efficiency.
- Run could be another area he picks up valuable minutes, however his training has been hampered by injury. If he keeps the shin splints at bay then he should be able to bring back at least 20 mins on the rest of the pack.
- Having barely ridden a bike before training began, the Birmingham Bullet is a real outside bet. And for punters who enjoy a fairy tale story, this is your man.
Mark (‘Double M’ Mennear) : (3:1)
- No weak discipline for Double M, the ex-president of the university Tri club is as steady as they come.
- Won’t lose or gain much time in the water and should remain in contention off the bike.
- Expect huge support from the crowd if his torso is revealed, 8-packs like this don’t come along often.
- Ran a sub 3.30 Marathon earlier this year so the run will be where he makes his ground.
- Mental strength is sky high after carrying the dying carp through a 4 year engineering degree, unlikely to fade.
- If the bookies offer each way bets, put your house on it.
Ric (Chicken Dick) : (3:1)
- Form suggests he will be fastest on bike and could build ~20 mins advantage
- Bookies thought he had swim advantage, but in shock training news George overtook at end of 3rd lake lap
- Running in lap of gods but very little time to build distance/ resilience
- Overall, would normally be favourite, but a risky investment vs zero run form
David (Wave Daring) : (20:1)
- If he was a horse it would surely have been shot by now, due to recurring chronic injuries, but somehow makes the start line against all odds
- Can be ponderous in transition but if he betters his IM PB of 28 minutes he has an outside chance as tortoise to show up the young hares
- No speed machine in any discipline, but high resilience and plenty of experience, and likes the longer track.
- Not even the Housewife’s choice at these odds
Jack (the Dying Carp) : (5:2)
- No clear form over long bike distance, and likely to lose time on this leg
- Potentially the strongest swimmer if short time trials to be believed
- Running form a revelation, and if sheds more ballast could hold swim advantage over the Horrace, and recover any bike deficit
- Overall 2nd favourite but too close to call
George (Hopeless Horrace) : (2:1)
- Recent step change in swim form (in wetsuit), and may not lose any time on this leg
- Long distance bike form is good, and unlikely to give away more than 15-20 mins to Chicken Dick
- Has good run track record (Coast to Coast / Sydney half/Cotswold 113) and likely to gain significantly on this leg