Bike (40 miles): ~2h45
Run (12 miles): ~2h04
Total: 4h55 (16th)
Like two years ago the weather was terrible, probably worse. Not as cold but very windy and heavy rain. The wind was so strong there was a big chop on small Semer water and the swim was cut short to 400m. There’d been so much rain that T1 was completely flooded, as was the car park by the lake and the water was right up to the road. This meant that T1 was a do it yourself job. ie find a bit of grass, bush or tree to prop your bike up against.
I think I must have been one of the only entrants looking forward to the swim. The wind was so strong no one heard the start until the amassed crowd shouted go ! It was straight into the wind and chop. Great fun. One second swimming well, one second smashing into a wave, one second swimming in thin air. I got so far ahead I looked back to see if I’d false started ! By the turn buoy I was well ahead of everyone. By the exit I was 30m (per my mum) ahead of the next person.
Took my time in transition getting stuff on. For me this was a training day and I was determined to view it as such – so no ultra rush. One concern was that I couldn’t face having Jo come running by me on the run again and with the shortened swim that certainly was likely.
I was still at my bike as Jo came in. The bike was really tough, not only the 4 25% climbs but the pissing rain, the savage winds, only in the last quarter were these tail winds – prior to that side or head winds. Also the Coal road was a mix of massive potholes and gravel on the ascent and descent. Made it tricky. Good job we’d recce’d it a couple of weeks ago. Ride went well. Top of Buttertubs was cruel with the final steep section into a gale force wind. It was the best I could do to keep upright bringing back memories of Jo and I struggling over Kirkstone pass two New years ago in similar weather.
The final descent to Hawes was awesome. Another slow transition – I could even see my mum was concerned at my relaxed approach. I saw Jo coming in along the road as I ran out. She was pretty close … lucky if I’d made 5 minutes on the bike. If I ran like 2 weeks ago she’d have me on the run up ! The valley was flooded. It was funny as I entered the first field there was a massive puddle – I ran round it, a guy coming the other way (on the half cheese race) ran straight through it. I thought “it must be wet up there” … about a minute later I found the massive flood we had to wade through – it came above my knees. Luckily it was warm.
I didn’t feel good running but used my usual tactic running uphill of being determined to ALWAYS run. I was slow. I decided to munch the Kendal Mint Cake that was in the goodie bag. It was delicious. By 3/4 way up the climb I started to run well. As I came back down I saw Jo, only about 6 minutes behind but I was pretty sure if I ran well downhill I should make time on her. I ran really well on the descent and pushed hard along the valley.
Great race. Kendal Mint cake is gonna be my race food for Wisconsin.
One of the guys that own the bike shop and organise the race asked me if I thought I would have won if I’d not got lost. I explained I hadn’t got lost. Turns out some cyclists had made a wrong turn. They know me cause I won the inaugural race two years ago and am often in the shop – very nice to know they’d assumed I’d be in with a shot of winning it. Perhaps next year ! Jo got her prize and I asked if there was food in it… there wasn’t but the organizer went out back and gave me 3 bars of Kendal Mint cake as my ‘prize’ – All set for Wisconsin now !