Challenge Vichy with Charlie and Bella.

At the finish line, so brilliant for all 3 of us to be there together!

What a great weekend. The first trip away with Charlie for Bella and I. We headed off on Friday to Challenge Vichy in France. We had Amy Marsh as a travel companion too. We all fitted nice and snuggly in the car with the bikes on the back.

On the Saturday before the race we had a little swim, bike and run and sussed out our surroundings a bit, saw a bit of the swim course and run course but didn’t have time to see the bike course so it was going to be a surprise to us come race day. What we did know is that this was going to be one hot race, it was a heat wave across France with temperatures in the high 30’s.

On race day we walked down to transition, it was already pretty warm. I did my normal warm up and then got ready to head down to the swim start. I noticed nobody had wetsuits with them. I check with the competitors and was informed it was a non wetsuit swim. So no need for the neoprene. Into the water and it was very warm, lovely for swimming!

I had a good start and was behind Raul Shaw and Ben Sanson(two really great swimmers) so was happy with this. Towards the end I moved around Ben and came out on Raul’s feet. A good start to the day. A qiuck transition and I was out onto the bike in 1st. Riding past our hotel and seeing Bella and Charlie was great, a qiuck wave and smile to them, and a nice shout from Bella:)

I was expecting to have some athletes catch me but in the end I was riding strong and only got caught by 2 guys at around 125km and then we 3 stayed together till the end of the bike.

Out onto the run and I had a small gap to 2nd and 3rd. But it was really really HOT! So I kept the pace conservative. I also went through a bad patch around 7km mark and I got passed and lost a fair bit of time to 1st. But I got through this patch and just kept a steady pace in what was crazy hot temperatures. I was stopping at each aid station to drink as much coke and water as I could fit in my belly without being sick!

Each of the 4 laps I would see first Brett (who turned up out on the course, which was a surprise to us all, a nice surprise!) with some words of encouragment(Brett style:)) and then Bella and Charlie which really kept my mind on the job to try and bring home the bacon:)

Just before the half way mark the time gaps to the leader started coming down, then at about 21km I passed the leader, he was stopped at an aid station and obviously not enjoying this hot hot weather!

So I now was in the lead again and feeling ok, but knowing that in this weather it is not a sure thing to keep running good, so I kept the pace comfortable and tried to keep a track on what was happening behind me. I had 2 guys Jamie Whyte and Teemo Lemmettylä running well behind and at times starting to close the gap. So with some good advice from Brett, he said “just keep it steady till the turn around with 5km to go and see what the gap is”, furtunately the gap had opened to 2nd and I knew I just needed to keep going at a decent pace to take this one.

But I didn’t want to be sure till I was at the finish, so I kept my mind on the job and made sure I did everything right to keep hydrated and fueled and got to the finish to high 5 Brett! Then into the brilliant finish arena to see Bella with Charlie in her arms, I gave them both a quick kiss then carried on around the arena waving to the crowd and then crossed the finish line for my 3rd Iron distance win. There were a few joyous tears:)

To be greeted by Bella and Charlie at the finish to hug and kiss them was THE BEST! I will never forget that moment.

After finishing in a dissapointing 8th the Sunday before at Challenge Copenhagen I really was a bit down but with Bretts help and getting me to enter Challenge Vichy 1 week later, I won! It’s a funny thing the body and mind, I would not necessaily do an Ironman a week before another Ironman and want to do well. But that is exactly what I did and for the swim and the bike I felt great and only because of the heat was the run such a struggle!

Thanks Brett!

Big congrats to Amy for winning the womens race, great job. Also for being such a pleasure to travel with all weekend. Thanks and Well done!

And well done to everybody who competed on Sunday it was a real hard run in that heat, I don’t think anybody felt good on that run, it was just a survival type of run!

Thanks to Felix of Challenge, and Gael and the rest of Challenge Vichy organisers for allowing my late entry and for putting on a great race in such a beautiful part of the world. I can recommend visiting Vichy for this race or just for a training trip, really great triathlon training in this part of the world!

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Introducing Charlie Comerford Bayliss.

Introducing Charlie Comerford Bayliss.

Me with Charlie.

Charlie was born at about 5am on 5th August. It truly was the most incredible experience of my life. I am sure Bella will say the same but maybe in not quite the same way! (she will do a blog soon about her experiences).  The birth certainly was not an easy thing and is a seriously hard thing for women to do.  It was also not an easy task for me either to watch the one I love going through such pain!

But to see our baby arriving into the world and then holding him for the first time really was amazing, fantastic, incredible, and more. I know how often babies are born and just before Charlie popped out, in the other room another pooped out:) But it just feels like the most personal and special thing that can ever happen.

Bella at home with Charlie.

As you can tell I am so over joyed with little Charlie, he is so brilliant!
I was not soon keen to leave for my next race as he was so young and I want to spend every minuite with him, but he needs his mum more than me at the moment and so I went off to Challenge Copenhagen to try to earn some money:)

The race was going realy well, a good swim leading out with 2 others, then out on the bike and only Bjorn Anderson came past until another athlete came past in the last 4km and I came of in 3rd with 5mins and more to the eventual top 3. I really thought this was going to be my day!

Unfortunately as soon as I started the run, my stomach didn’t feel good, and I started being sick, after that I got going but soon I just came to a crawl with no calories, I managed to get going the last 21km but by then the race had gone, I finished 8th and picked up 700 euros and thanks to Challenge who paid expenses, I did at least come away with some profit.

I came back to Leysin with my travel buddies, Rebecca Keat who won the womens race with a really strong performance, and Jodie Swallow who lead the way in front of Bek until the start of the run where she had to stop beacuse of an ongoing foot injury. We had a good time together in Copenhagen but I wanted to get back to see Bella and Charlie.

Once back I had a chat with Brett and we decided to head to Challenge Vichy this weekend. So Bella and Charlie will come with me for this one, we will all go in the car.  Amy Marsh will be coming to do the race as well. So a little road trip for us all this weekend.

I haven’t ever done 2 Ironmans 1 week apart so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I feel pretty recovered from the race in Copenhagen, I feel like I only really ran 21km as the first 21km was so slow, so I think I can still do a good job. We will see on Sunday:)

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70.3 UK, Ironman Austria and Pregnancy.

I’ll start by talking about 70.3 UK.  Bella and I left Leysin, Switzerland on the Friday before the race in Wimbleball.  We both were looking forward to our weekend down in Wimbleball.

We always enjoy our time there at Gilians B and B, Holworthy Farm. I can highly recomend a trip to Holworthy farm any time of the year for a training camp our just a nice relaxing break.

Anyway we had a great busy weekend, Bella did some great work as co comentator with Whit Ramond and Emma Jenkinson, they were a great team and Bella was great with her insightful comments before, during and after the race.

I love the race at Wimbleball it is such an excellent, challenging Half Ironman. The swim went well, my freind and training mate Dan Halksworth lead the swim and set a good pace so it was just Dan, Martin Jensen and my self exiting the swim together. After a swift transition and a good climb of the first hill on the bike course it was just Dan and Myself setting the pace up front.

Towards the end of the 1st lap of the bike eventual winner Mikel Azegzabel came past. He had a 2min lead at end of the bike I had 1min on Dan. Onto the run and my run legs weren’t quite with me, I had had a hard run week the week before and I think that this had taken a bit away from my run. So I did my best and finished 2nd, 1min 15secs behind. It was the best I could do and was keen to recover from this and get prepared for Ironman Austria in 2 weeks time.

We spend a great 11days in Carshalton at my parents. Did some good training and resting getting my body ready to do a good race in Austria. On the wednesday before the race we had a great day up at http://www.profeet.co.uk and had some really intersting info on run biomechanics.

On Thursday we travelled out to Klagenfurt Austria. It is such a beautiful area a brilliant location for triathlon. My Mum and Brother arrived on Friday, my brother Mark would be doing his 2nd Ironman here in Klagenfurt, he is in good shape considering the amount of training he can fit in with his hectic work schedule. It was really nice to be able to spend some time with ma brother and mum.

It was very interesting to see how relax my brother is about competing, he has no real worries of how the race will go. He doesn’t bother doing all the loosening up the days before the race that i do. He just gets to the race and starts when the gun goes off and just goes round the course enjoying the day and doing the best he can. Where as I am deadly serious about every little thing being just right before the race, I focus completely on warming up before the start and don’t like to be distracted with small talk with others at that stage. Mark found this quite funny:)

I know this is all because I am racing for my pay check and my brother is racing solely for the fun and challenge of it. That is what is great about Ironman, all sorts of people are racing and all for their own personal reasons.

It is really important that I get as high up in the placings as possible, especially this year when we are relying on my prize money and with no prize money from Bella this year. So when I do a race, it really is my days work and if I don’t do well then I don’t get paid and it is a lot of effort for nothing.

So to the race. The swim in Klagenfurt is lovely in a warm clear lake. I got a good start and was in 2nd behind Marko Albert, unfortunatle I couldn’t quite stay with him and ended up coming out in 2nd place with 4 others behind me incl Marino Vanhoenaker. On to the bike and Marino went off like a rocket, I tried to just settle into my rythm, I felt I had a decent bike ride and came off the bike in 4th with Tom Lowe. But we were already 20mins behind Vanhoenaker, not such a great time split to get!

Marino did go on to smash the Ironman World Record so he was going very very fast!

Onto the run and I had to just get into my pace and settle in, the first 10km were not great, but I gradually losseend up and got a decent pace going. Tom was off in front by now though and I was in 5th. I ran as hard as I could and stayed in 5th. It was a decent race, and about where my fitness is right now. I am not in my best possible shape and for my first Ironman of the year I am satisfied with my performance. I know I can get my bike and run performances better in the mext couple of months.

So a good couple of weeks, we then drove back to Leysin and are very happy to be back home and get back to perparing for the birth of Baby Bayliss and also my next races.

Bella is doing great, her Belly is getting bigger still. She is still swimming and walking lots. We have been seeing lots of people with new babies it is interesting to speak to them abou their experiences. It is getting more and more exciting to think that we will have a little baby very soon. I know that , as the TV show says, 1 is born every min, but it feels so special to be having our own baby growing inside Bella, just and incredible incredible thing, amazing!

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4th at Half Challenge Barcelona, Race report.

We had a short trip to Barcelona from here is Leysin. We arrived on Friday night. I had a bit of a recee of the course on Saturday then race on Sunday.

The swim for the race was a 1lap in the sea with a beach start on the nice golden sands.  The bike was 2laps up and back on the coast road and the run was 2laps up and back on the promenade on the beach.  A fine course and a nice sunny day for the race.

I swam well coming out in the front group. Onto the bike and Sudrie rode off into the distance with Poulat. During the bike Jensens would also ride away and had a 2min advantage at the end of the bike. I caught Poulat towards the end of the bike and came off the bike with a group of 8guys and with Sudrie at 4mins and Poulat at 2mins ahead. Onto the run and I felt good and ran off from the others I was with. I was gaining ground on the 2 in front. I caught Jensens at around 12km, and was about 2min 20sec behind Sudrie. Unfortunatley I started to struggle with about 5km to go, I quickly realised it was a lack of calories and tried to get some food and energy drink in, but by this stage it was a bit late! I slowed considerably and got passed by Faure and Jensens. I was dissaopinted to come 4th as I felt in good shape and if I had just got more calories in then may have held on to 2nd, but if and buts are no good, Whatever the reasons I finished 4th and will have to not make the same mistake again.

Bella was a great support and was very happy to see me running well in 2nd place, but then not so happy to see me come back in towards the finish in 4th:(

Next stop for us both is 70.3 UK, Bella will be comentating and I will be racing.

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Challenge Fuertaventura Half

Bella on the Playitas beach.

The race it’s self was one of those races when I felt not so good but managed to keep pushing on and came around to get a decent result. The race was held at the Playitas resort which I was very impressed with,  great facilities and nice accom and a great location for triathlon training.

Me swimming in the Leysin pool. Thanks to Daniel for the great swimming pictures.

Coming out of the swim with the leaders, Henning, Jensen and Dan Halksworth.  I felt awful running up the beach to transition and lost touch,  I then managed to get back up to the front with the lead 3 but at about 15km lost touch.  After about half way my legs started to come round and I eventually caught back up to the leaders.  Jensen then rode hard the last 20km really well and put 90secs into the other 3 of us.  Onto the run and I didn’t quite have the speed I needed and Henning ran way to a 1min win and Jensen hung on to 2nd 30secs ahead of me.

I was happy with my race,  it was a decent performance,  just a bit more work needed.

Well done to Dan Halksworth, showing some real improvement, he has been training really hard and it is starting to pay off.

Dan after the race and after his massage with his recovery drink:)

Bella and I are back now to Leysin, the pool is shut here in the village so we are having to go down to the bottom of the mountain to swim in the outdoor 50m, which is a beautiful pool, but freezing cold (well 20degrees, that is freezing to me;)  it is lovely and warm to my channel swimming brother), so most of the swimming is done in the wetsuit.

Bella kicking in the Leysin pool.

See more pictures from Daniel here: http://web.me.com/boussole2/boussole2/Accueil_1.html
Beautiful pictures of Switzerland.

See more about Bella and I on:
http://www.theironcouple.com (to be updated soon)
http://www.teambayliss.co.uk
twitter: @theironcouple

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Lots of races coming up.

Leysin Switzerland

I’m really happy to be back in Leysin Switzerland.  I decided to leave Krabi Thailand earlier than planned as the Koh Samui triathlon I was planning on doing got cancelled because of damaged roads and buildings due to the awful flooding that happened across southern Thailand.  It seems we were fairly lucky to be where we were in Krabi as the flooding was no where near as bad as some other parts not that far away.  As I understand at least 10people died in Krabi and at least 45 died in Southern Thailand in total.  So it was an awful time for many.

Bella and I were missing each other alot and so the silver lining for us was that we decided that I would come home early and are now really happy to be back together again.  It already was far to long to be apart!

I got back to the fresh air of Switzerland and the amazing summer temperatures that we are having at the moment, it is crazy, just like summer here at the moment!  Training for triathlon here in Leysin is the most perefect place in the world when it is warm and sunny.  I have got in some decent training since getting back, feeling quite tired at this precise moment, always a good sign that I am doing enough work;)  I will be heading to Fuertaventura next Wednesday to race the Challenge Half there on 29th April.  I am looking forward to testing myself.  And riding my SRAM and USE equiped Quintana Roo CD.01.  It is such a great bike, some really clever design features. I have been so impressed with this bike.

After Challenge Fuertaventura,  I then have a series of Halfs I will be doing in a build up to IM Austria in July.  I will do, 70.3 Mallorca, Challenge Barcelona, 70.3 UK, then IM Austria.  Then the build up to the big event the birth of our first child, which should be about 1 month after IM Austria!

Bella is looking great.  She is doing her swimming and lots of walking, she did pace me on one run I did last week, riding her bike and encouraging me along, I like it when she does this,  it makes me run fast:)

My brother Mark completed the Marathon Des Sables, he is back at home and working hard at Wings, he must be recovered as he is doing a 10km run and the Thames Turbo triathlon this weekend.  2 very short sprints for him after running a marathon everyday for a week!  Cheack out http://www.teambayliss.co.uk  for some great blogs by him about the MDS.

And if anyone wants to buy a nice track bike you have 1day left on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280659859921&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT#ht_500wt_949

you can follow Bella and I on twitter: @theironcouple.
or our website: http://www.theironcouple.com
or the http://www.teambayliss.co.uk

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Ibiza-Abu Dhabi-Thailand.

I am currently in the midsts of some serious torential rain here in Krabi Thailand.  I have been here for 2 weeks now.

The view from the 18th floor, you need a head for heights!

I travelled here from the Abu Dhabi triathlon.  That was a great experience, an amazing experience to see the country and really good that Bella and I could be there together.  I enjoyed the whole time there, we got looked after so well by the race organisers, we were in a spectacular 5star hotel so who’s going to complain about that!  We were on the 18th floor, man that was high.  Their were a few more floors above us though, no good if you don’t like heights.  I had a little extra stress leading up to the race as my bike hadn’t arrived with me, in the end it arrived at 2:30am on the morning of the race, it was like christmas when i woke up in the morning to find it outside my room.  Massive thanks to Justin Rees, he is a big part of the race organisation, my bike wouldn’t have turned up intime if it wasn’t for him.  I know he helped alot of athletes over the week with all sorts of different problems, and was always professional efficient and polite about it all, well done Justin.

The race was also a great experience, I had a great swim and managed to get out onto the bike course in 1st place with a super fast transition.  Then the bike course was long and windy, I think my legs were not quite ready for 200km at 40kph and i lost a bit too much time to the front guys on the bike,   but i felt good on the run and picked a few off and ended up in 13th place, so not great but not bad either, great preparation for the rest of the season.

View of The Emirates Palace from our balcony window.

After the race, Bella and I had a sad good bye, as we then sperated for a few weeks, Bella went back to Scotland and had a scan, the baby looks great and is very healthy in Bella’s belly.

Baby Bayliss, incredible to be able to see him/her so clearly! Looks brilliant. So amazing! The Aberdeen hospital has a policy of not telling people the sex of the babies, so we don't know! Will have to wait till it pops out!

I headed off to train in Krabi Thailand for a few weeks leading up to my next race in Koh Samui Thailand.  I love training in Thailand, it is great, so different to most other places in the world, the people are so friendly and so relaxed.  As I said at the start we are having some major rain at the moment, it is crazy the amount of rain that can fall, and non stop for days!  So needless to say there is a fair bit of flooding.  It is keeping the pool temperature down though so that is nice as it is normall like a warm bath!

So next stop is Koh Samui triathlon on 24th April.  After that I head back to Bella and will be very happy to see her and our bump again, it is not easy being apart, i am not sure we would do this again!

Other big news in the world of TeamBayliss is that my brother Mark is in his last preparations for the Marathon De Sables in the Sahara desert, now this race is pretty crazy, good luck bro!  You can read about his experience here http://www.teambayliss.co.uk

You can also visit our website at: http://www.theironcouple.com
Or on Twitter @theironcouple

Thanks for reading
Stephen

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