Lucy Gossage is one of ten British professional athletes racing at the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii next weekend (10 October). Hear what the cancer doctor from Cambridge has to say about cycling in a hot yoga room, and not getting distracted by the athletes with all the gear and no body fat.
She will start alongside fellow British women, Jodie Swallow, Rachel Joyce, Leanda Cave, Susie Cheetham and Corinne Abraham, who amongst them are former winners and multiple-time podium finishers. Four British pro men are set to start along with 135 British amateurs.
How was your flight, and the jet lag?
The flight was fine. Long, obviously, but I think it’s good mental preparation for the Ironman. Break it into small chunks and it’s manageable! The jet lag always takes me a while to get over but I’m getting there.
How much training are you currently doing and what will your taper look like?
Well I’m training 8 hours a day until the race….
OK; obviously that’s not true. I came out a bit earlier this year so I managed to ride the course yesterday and will do my last long run today (90mins or so).
Then it’s really time to ease right back - some shorter sharper stuff but nothing too taxing. I know the hard work is done now. I just need to try not to get ill and make sure I’m as fresh as possible for the race.
What sort of set up do you have there?
I’ve had a week on my own staying in the same condo block as Joe Skipper. Next week we’re moving into a bigger place with I think eight athletes. It looks pretty luxurious!
Have you seen many of the other British athletes there yet?
It’s pretty quiet at the moment but getting busier day by day. Most of the pros are here already and a surprising number of German age groupers, who don’t actually seem to have jobs.
You’ve raced there before, what are the key things you learned?
Last year was a disaster on all levels. So the list of things I’ve learnt is long! I’m in much better shape this year, not just physically but also mentally. If I can stay thinking as I am now I’ll enjoy the race and I know I’m much more likely to put together a decent performance if I’m smiling!
What do you hope to achieve?
I just really hope I can put together a performance that I’m proud of. I know I’ve done absolutely everything I can in the build up - that’s a good position to be in. And I’m more confident in my own abilities this year too - I know I deserve to be here. It would be great to get a decent result but I’m pretty proud of where I am as an athlete regardless of what happens on race day.
Are you using or wearing any specific gear to help deal with the heat?
The heat is a big issue out in Kona and one I’ve struggled with previously. Before I came out I was doing Wattbike sessions in the hot yoga room - touch wood they seem to have helped. It’s very hot out here but seems to be bearable. I’ll obviously use a cap and SPF 50 sunscreen but I think the most important thing is to manage your nutrition well.
What is the best thing about Kona, and the worst?
The best - the sunsets. And swimming in the sea here is pretty special!
The worst - the intimidation factor. Everyone here looks lean and mean and brings their A game. I’ve learnt that thinking about what everyone else is doing is counter-productive. Remember the hard work you’ve done to get here, and the athletes with all the gear and no body fat are probably so concerned about what they look like that they forget the number one goal is to go fast!
What do you plan to do in the days after the race?
I’m really looking forward to getting drunk and going dancing! I’ve got a couple of days out in Hawaii with mum to relax and have then got ten days of adventure in California with my boyfriend. It’s been a long long time since I’ve had a proper holiday so I’m really looking forward to exploring Yosemite National park. Oh and I’ve entered the ASA National Masters swimming championships the day after I get back too…. 100 IM and 100 fly. Bring it on!