Lucy Gossage did the double (or the triple) making it three Ironman wins this year, but with two of them being just two weeks apart. On Saturday Gossage took out the inaugural Ironman Italy, having won Ironman Wales two weeks earlier and Ironman UK back in July.

Text By Laura Siddall | Images By Getty Images

 

Gossage took control on the bike and never looked back, winning from Tine Deckers with Marta Bernardi in third.

Jenny Fletcher led a group of six women out of the water, which included Deckers, Gossage and Bernardi. With a transition of over 1km in length Gossage and Deckers got a few seconds gap over the rest of the field.

(c) Getty Images

For the first 50km or so the pair rode together before Deckers got a gap over Gossage of about a minute around the half way point. However, another 20-30km later and Gossage was back in front, and stretched away in the second half of the bike to come into T2 with six minutes over Deckers. They had a further twelve minutes to the third women into transition, Marta Bernadi.

On the run Gossage was holding off Deckers, adding a few seconds each kilometre and remained ahead to take the win in the usual customary Lucy Gossage “doing a Lucy” style!

(c) Getty Images

Deckers held off a faster running Bernardi, but who also had to hold off an even faster running Elisabeth Gruber. Gruber was ninth at the start of the run, but produced a speedy 3:02:20, just running out of road and finishing agonisingly 22-seconds behind Bernardi.

It’s hard to do a two back-to-back iron distance races, but to do it and win both is impressive. Add in Gossage’s win at Ironman UK earlier in the year as well as a third at Ironman Lanzarote earlier in the year, all this whilst returning to work as a Doctor, three days a week.

(c) Getty Images

We managed to get Gossage (aka Duracell Bunny) to sit still for a few moments during her deserved celebrations to ask a few questions. As a self coached athlete, who claims to make it up along the way, she’s of course got huge experience to back herself and an incredibly strong outlook on life! There are some good lessons that we can all take away in the interview below.

Witsup: You’ve just completed a double iron distance race. It’s not so bad right? Not only did you complete two iron distance races two weeks apart, you also won both! What are your initial feelings and thoughts at the moment?

 Lucy Gossage: Simple. ‘Wow’! I thrive on challenges and setting myself up for something crazy and racing two Ironmans so close together is something I’d never done before. It was really exciting to be entering the unknown again. I’d been looking forward to Wales all year, but since it had a very small pro field it became a little bit less of a challenge than I’d hoped for. So, as it turned out I was perhaps more excited before Italy than I was before Wales. I knew I could finish Wales. I had absolutely no idea what would happen in Italy. But at the same time I had nothing to lose.

 I guess I saw it a bit like a ‘Buy one get one free’ Ironman. I didn’t want to end my season at Wales. But equally I didn’t want to recover and force myself to continue training for a later race. Honestly, with work, racing is easier than training! So I figured what the hell. Worst-case scenario I have a nice holiday in Italy. Best-case scenario I surprise myself. I guess I got lucky with the latter!

W: Was the plan to get some early points to put yourself back in a position to be back in Kona next year?

LG: Not at all, though it is nice to have options open. I think the last fortnight means I’m more or less safe for Kona should I choose to go back. But I think I’m realising more and more, there’s more to triathlon than just Kona!

W: How did you approach IM Italy after IM Wales? (What training or recovery did you do (including from a wedding I think??)

LG: Ha – you’ll laugh! Like everything I do in triathlon, I made it up. I worked the Tues-Thurs after Wales so did very little other than two short swims and a spin on the Wattbike. That was the toughest part. Trying to recover from an Ironman with hectic working days on top of trying to pack for another Ironman and a wedding was hard! I then flew to Biarritz for my cousin’s wedding. She had arranged for me to borrow a road bike so I did a couple of short rides, a swim and two jogs. I flew back to Cambridge Monday evening, had dinner with friends, swam with the club on Tuesday morning and flew out to Italy straight after that. I then had a few days in Italy to ride the course, sleep and get my feet up. But in all of that, I stupidly didn’t make time for a massage. I’ve been using Xendurance this year and I think this has really helped my ability to recover from races.

W: How have you changed things over the year getting the balance right between work and training. You mentioned I think going into Lanzarote, you may not have got the formula quite right? Was that the case or was it just adapting back to work and training life?

LG: I think the hardest part for me was moving cities and losing all the ‘on-tap’ friends and training partners I had in Cambridge. I had exactly two and a half weeks between getting back from Kona to find somewhere to live, move cities, find a work wardrobe and remind myself how to be a doctor again. Learning to fit training in around work was tough. But losing my training partners was far tougher. I’ve never done pro-triathlon the way most pros do. I’ve generally coached myself, mainly so I can do as much as I can with friends. And all of a sudden, not only did I have less time to train, but I also had to do nearly all my training on my own. If I’m honest, I spent the winter falling out of love with triathlon. I’m now much more settled in Nottingham and do feel I have a much better balance. I love work and being an oncologist definitely adds a huge amount to my life. But so does triathlon. I feel like I’ve found a healthy balance this summer, though how sustainable it is in the longer term I’m not sure. I’m definitely ready for a break now!

W: So what is next? What’s the plan for next year?

LG: Honestly, I have absolutely no idea. That’s not me being coy. But I need time to process this year, and work out what is most important to me next.

W: What have you learnt this year with balancing the work and training? 

LG: I guess last year, with one injury after another, I learnt that it’s possible to pull out decent performances when you’re not in A game shape. My 2nd at NZ on the back of just 2 weeks of running, and 9th at Kona after my collarbone break, meant that I started 2017 with a bit of confidence that I might be able to race well, even if I’m not quite at my best physically. My 2017 opening race at Gran Canaria was pretty disastrous and I think this could have thrown me off course psychologically. But I’m pretty proud I dealt with it, moved on, and didn’t let it affect the rest of my races.

 In terms of what I’ve learnt this year…

  1. Well, firstly, racing lots is easier with work than training. Fitting in short pre-race or recovery sessions around work is infinitely easier than trying to do the longer tougher ‘proper’ training sessions.

 

  1. Secondly, sleep is more important than an extra swim session. At the start, I was trying to do too much and I just ended up over-tired. I’ve learnt I have to prioritise sleep and no longer feel guilty about doing this.

 

  1. Thirdly, always take emergency food supplies to clinic! I’ve had several ‘bonks’ when the morning clinic is still running at 3pm.

But most importantly, my job reinforces to me every day how precious life is. I’ve treasured every single race this year. None of us know what’s around the corner in our futures. I guess I’m learning to live a bit more in the present and appreciate every experience for what it is. It’s so easy to take life for granted, or to do things for the wrong reasons; because you can, not because you want to. In the winter I thought triathlon this year might be a slog. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m still in love with our sport; I just lost my way a bit for a few months.

(c) Getty Images

Ironman Italy 2017 Results

Place Name Time Swim Trans 1 Bike Trans 2 Run
1 Gossage, Lucy (GBR) 09:06:39 00:54:25 00:04:44 04:51:59 00:04:02 03:11:32
2 Deckers, Tine (BEL) 09:13:35 00:54:21 00:04:50 04:57:58 00:03:30 03:12:58
3 Bernardi, Marta (ITA) 09:20:04 00:54:23 00:05:17 05:08:43 00:03:53 03:07:51
4 Gruber, Elisabeth (AUT) 09:20:26 00:54:27 00:04:58 05:15:02 00:03:41 03:02:20
5 Lindholm Borg, Camilla (SWE) 09:34:37 01:02:24 00:05:29 05:06:03 00:03:26 03:17:17
6 Kunz, Martina (SUI) 09:35:52 00:59:41 00:05:39 05:04:39 00:04:15 03:21:39
7 Fletcher, Jenny (CAN) 09:48:12 00:54:09 00:06:08 05:14:02 00:04:18 03:29:37
8 Livesey, Caroline (GBR) 09:48:45 00:54:32 00:05:32 05:13:57 00:03:37 03:31:10
9 Deligny, Camille (FRA) 09:50:16 01:00:49 00:05:39 05:02:50 00:04:03 03:36:57
10 Hooijman, Pleuni (NED) 09:53:57 01:00:36 00:05:54 05:04:11 00:03:22 03:39:55
15 Herrero Gomez, Helena (ESP) 10:06:34 00:59:30 00:05:50 05:36:21 00:05:09 03:19:46
23 Dogana, Martina (ITA) 10:20:03 00:59:28 00:05:29 05:29:33 00:05:13 03:40:22
26 Bueno Perez, Patricia (ESP) 10:27:50 01:00:43 00:06:11 05:30:28 00:04:39 03:45:51
29 Vantassel, Amy (USA) 10:30:49 00:59:43 00:07:46 05:53:25 00:03:45 03:26:13
30 Skvortsova, Elena (RUS) 10:31:32 01:16:02 00:08:06 05:25:08 00:06:19 03:35:59

 

About The Author

Laura Siddall
Reporter

Pro Triathlete, Ironman Champion and multiple half distance Champ. 4x Amateur World Champ. Witsup contributor, Sid Talks (Fitter Radio) podcaster, Global Traveller, British, Aussie, Kiwi. Ambassador for MORE Than Sport, SisuGirls and Women's Sport Trust. Engineer, Consultant, ex-Military, Public Speaker.

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