Ultimate misery triathlon

Swim: Ironman Wales 2014 - just epic, no way would this swim happen today. It was a really messy unpredictable sea, what mariners call a rogue sea - and also the very last of the old mass starts I did.

T1: IM Bolton 2015. Just rain, mud and misery - really hard to leave the change tent.

Bike: IM Bolton 2023. Course was brutal, c11000ft climbing, road surfaces lunar and then throw in 40mph winds and squally rain.

T2: 70.3 Weymouth 2019 - biblical bike, hands too cold to undo helmet.

Run: Tempted by the heat exhaustion meltdown of IM Cozumel 2018 but going to go with 70.3 Wimbleball. Just pure evil: the continuous undulations, off road surfaces including spongey grass and dead turns. Everything nasty you could put in a run was on that course.

Put that little lot together, and I’m happily DNS-ing :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:


Brilliant, I’m tempted to say Helvellyn 2020 but I only did the swim and 15k of the bike so will think a bit harder.

Got a feeling Wales might get a few mentions and some brutal heat.

Edit: despite being injured and crap weather I liked Wimbleball run


I’ve thankfully endured less misery than you though I will add:

Luxembourg 70.3 last year they ran out of drinks on the run and it was low 30s. Once I’d finished there was a woman in her ~50s still going but clearly struggling. Her husband ran alongside her, sprayed her with water and shoved a gel in her hand. She was almost oblivious to this all but a whistle happy steward wasn’t. He ran over, called her out for accepting outside help which is against the rules and disqualified her!

This caused some minor uproar and, understandably, in the midst of this the woman broke down in tears. Sensing he might get lynched said steward backtracked and said she just got a warning but she was spent. I don’t know if she finished but really hoped she did!


I have never experienced misery in a triathlon, except possibly the misery of the death shuffle in an undertrained Alpe De Huez long course. But it was an amazing event & overall loved it.

Having said that, one race that left me feeling flat was the AG sprint worlds in Hungary a good few years back. Had to drive to Luton airport after work, get a Wizz Air flight to Budapest, faff at the other end assembling the bike, get to some random part of the city in the rain at 6am, do the race which took a bit over an hour, finish in the bottom half of the leaderboard, then pack up and get ready to go home & back in work Monday morning. Seemed like a disproportionate amount of faff, although probably I approached it wrong. Seems like just as much fun, in fact more fun, to do a local sprint plus a better chance of not getting an a$$ whopping from every man and his dog.


No misery for me but I was rescued on the Escape From Alcatraz swim 2005 as the current was taking me out to sea (to somewhere they called the “blood triangle”). They pick you up in a boat and drop you on the right side of the current to take you to shore.


The Vitruvian 2014, my first half & what I considered to be my first proper triathlon. Got food poisoning the night before and at the end of the bike I was dead, wanted to quit so much & had for a short while in T2. I think I would of quit at any future event in those circumstances but felt the pressure to continue not knowing how much suffering was triathlon & how much was illness. The run was truly miserable but ground it out.


Actually yeah - that reminds me of Cots 22. Had forgotten the unique pleasure of a half while under the weather.

With that in mind, my recipe for ultimate misery triathlon might involve a combo of: 1) be really undertrained, 2) make the race somewhere really hard to get to, 3) be ill on race day

I guess you could throw in some badly maintained kit for extra misery


I was OK with that swim. Kinda enjoyed it as I didn’t get sick, was able to get straight onto my nutrition as I got on the bike and this no doubt helped me get into a good position in the race.

I’ve never experienced bad weather in an IM (I’ve done 11). I guess Lanzarote winds is the worst conditions I’ve had but I expected it.


Nice work @TROSaracen :+1:t3::white_check_mark:
Great idea.

Like @fruit_thief - my one AG Worlds experience was diabolical. I’d never do it again. I did have fun qualifying for it though!

For me;

Swim: London Worlds 2013.
Drizzle, cold, dank. Everyone could swim 11mins for 750m, so I got drowned. And I’m decent. And not usually scared. But it was awful. Hated it.

T1: Rother Valley standard 201?
Grim. I was pulled off the bike course whilst still in the park. Foil blanket. Chicken soup and a warm ambulance :face_with_peeking_eye::cold_face:

Bike: Bolton was crap. But that was my own doing. Three punctures. Rain. People in ditches. Chaos. But I think Helvellyn beat it :face_with_peeking_eye: my recces were in 20° and it was ace! But race day was biblical.

T2: Outlaw 202? WHY THE HELL DOES A TRANSITION NEED TO BE A DAMN MILE LONG :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Run: despite hopping a marathon in six hour for my first IM, and being paralysed for two weeks afterwards, that wasn’t my worst … it was the opening 10km to a Duathlon. Done in 35.3x, then spending the next two hours actually dying :rofl::rofl::rofl:



LD Worlds in Almere 2008 with Mrs FB.

Day before was an IM distance event and they had to reset the boys for the swim from 3800m to 4000m. Except they fucked it and swim was closer to 5km. On the swim we also had to contend with a strong headwind to the exit point and frankly I was going backwards (my swim in those days wasn’t great). When I saw a support canoe next to me I asked him how long I’d been in the water - when he told me I thought “Fuck, I won’t make cut off at this rate” as I still had about 500m to go.

So I jacked the swim and DNF’d. Only time in a GB suit.

Found out after that they’d extended the cut-off to allow for the extra distance and headwind so I would have been OK to carry on. Too late by then.

Mrs FB got out of the swim OK (always a better swimmer than me) and completed the race as the last person to cross the finish line inside run cut-off - she’d suffered on the run in 33C heat and walked a fair bit.

As she crossed the finish line she was handed a bouquet of flowers by Chrissie Wellington who’d won the ladies race. And then found out she’d been DQd on the bike for drafting but never got the message in T2 which is why she ran. She wasn’t best pleased and still isn’t to this day as she says she didn’t draft. But hey - TO judgement call eh?? :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Not the best day out for Chez Buddha


Midnightman 2013. Started in heat, bright sun, swim was boil in the bag as “luckily” someone managed to get the temperature below 24, despite swimming in cooler pools :wink: Got out to driving rain, proper Northern stuff. Got changed, took forever putting on wet weather kit, what a waste of time that was as the rain got biblical, standing water on course (20 laps of a dual carriageway) As it got dark it became harder to see the water and as the roads hadn’t been swept it ended up a large stream of people repairing p*'s. I mean lots, some people having 4 or more! I had 2 spare tubs, at about 23:15 after riding for 4 hrs and only about 70 miles in awful conditions I got my third and final p* and I’ve never been so happy in my life. At that point rules had long gone out of the window and people were riding side by side. I was with @Richard from TT1.0 who seems gutted I was leaving him. I had also spent half the night with an American dude from NYC who had flown in just for the event and was racing, without irony, in yellow Discovery kit not long after the shocking news broke of Lance doping :wink:

2 events at Hyde Park, first in 2009, Olympic, terrible planning, terrible course which had a swim with a dead turn after 50m, even I nearly died, dunked numerous times, bike exit was narrow and full of cocks, I was running side by side with a guy on a blade, some cock pushed passed me and knocked paratri guy over and I went arse over tit over the top of the metal barrier and ended up covered in sticky energy drink laying under my bike. run was 5 laps around a field where you had to play dodge the football. Awful experience for the money. No.2 was 2011 at the Olympic test event. Great race, great course, but i broke a metatarsal 2 weeks before but wasn’t going to miss it for the world. Even the swim was painful, swam about 30mins :open_mouth: bike was not too bad actually, but a very painful 10k run/walk that took about 55mins (I’d give a broken metatarsal to run that now :wink: ) Ended up a PW in 2:45ish , 2:45 of utter painful misery.


2017 IM Wales bike wasn’t much fun.


Pre race faff: bike got delayed on the flight to the states for the 70.3 St George worlds. Honourable mention to the 2020 113, and losing my saddle/seatpost on the roof of my car

Swim: I’ve done some rough ones but always enjoyed them, Weymouth 2018 and Wales 22 are probably the highlights

T1: Hevellyn 20, hamstring cramped and had to stretch it out on the bike rack

Bike: Weymouth 18 and Wales 17, Hevellyn 20, Bolton 23 was shite, Bolton 22 not too bad, Outlaw 14 I had an issue with my rear tub and ended up nabbing a rear wheel from a marshal in the end

T2: Outlaw 14, took ages going for a dump, probably about 10 minutes!

Run: South Africa 16, just miserable, the course is decent but I was not and got horrendous sunburn. A run almost as long as the bike kinda day…


Pretty much every long distance has been misery as I can never get trained sufficently for them. But I must enjoy the suffering as I keeping going back for more.

But my ultimate misery triathlon would be.

Swim: ADITL 2018/2019? Thankfully a shortened distance swim. A huge storm caused giant rolling waves in the lake. The water was so cold and combined with the low air temperature and high winds the whole thing was just miserytastic.

Bike: IM Wales 2017. More storms, more high winds and stood shivering at the side of the road with a broken bike for over an hour waiting recovery. Hypothermic misery achieved.

Run: IM Nice 2015. It was hot, hot, hot! People collapsing everywhere with what seemed like more ambulances than athletes on the course. Through sweating and accidental soakings from water, both of my feet blistered badly under the ball of each foot. Both audibly popped as they burst and soaked my shoes with blood. Running 14 miles on directly raw wounds is firmly in the misery bucket. I don’t think I walked properly for about a month afterwards.

I’d definitely hit the deferral button on this one.


Hmmmm, I’m not sure I look at events that prove difficult as ‘misery’, although I understand why people do.

For me, misery would be doing something like Kona. Hot, windy, boring, no wetsuit and very expensive. Luckily I was good at avoiding races which didn’t suit me.

So, no to misery from me.
Don’t start a thread on ‘disappointing’ though or I’ll be writing all day :roll_eyes:


Man. You’re an optimist innit :exploding_head::heart_eyes::star_struck:

I guess I’d tend to agree with you now. :face_with_monocle:


Precisely why Mrs FB turned down a spot after winning her AG at IM Nice in 2007


I never really had bad swims or bikes. But the run at Frankfurt in 2015 has to go down: 40 degrees in the shade!

Swim: Austria 2009 only because it was my slowest ever at 65 mins
Bike: Challenge Walchsee because I had a self inflicted ‘slow puncture’ via a loose valve core (DNF)
Run: 40 degrees in Frankfurt

Really I’ve been quite fortunate over the years. But you make your own luck right? Never a DNF in an Ironman. 8 for 8.





70.3 Weymouth 2022 - racing beautifully, blew past previous year’s AG winner on the bike and was lying 2nd AG……then hit some debris, double puncture and a valve issue on one of the spare tubes meant had to wait for support……90 mins later finally on my way, last in the race and behind the sweeper which I had to catch and pass before the next cut off :rofl::rofl::rofl:. Just to show my form on the day, hopped off the bike and ran fastest half marathon in AG. Arse!!

Kona chasing on Cozumel, 25th out of the water, 8th off the bike. At mile 19 my Mrs said ‘you’re 5th in AG, and gaining on 3rd/4th’. I thought ‘this is it’ and gently raised the pace……this tipped me into heat exhaustion and within half a mile was staggering all over the road, puking and in a world of trouble. I’ve no idea how I got to the finish with being pulled off the course or collapsing, but it took 90 minutes to cover that 6 miles🤣

Dorney sprint: it was a superdry winter/spring that year and there were forest fires raging in Bracknell a few miles away. It fucking poured down……Swim 8 minutes, t1 2 minutes and about 1 minute into bike I got a race ending puncture. Total race time 11 minutes and a very wet walk of shame back to T1​:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl: