Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bala Middle

With the benefit of hindsight the final line of last weeks post “Bala middle next weekend where with a bit of luck I’ll both start and finish!” was tempting fate somewhat!

In the days leading upto the race the weather forecasts seemed to change each day as to whether the rain (they all said it would rain) would arrive early or at lunchtime. As it happened, it started raining the moment I arrived in Bala yesterday and didn’t stop. So it was a slightly subdued transition area as we all prepared in the rain trying to keep warm.

Swim start, left it as late as possible to get into the lake and sneaked in to the line at the far right next to the pier. Thankfully not too many people messing about in front of the start line so we were underway without too much delay. Felt good initially then for some reason almost threw up about 2/3 of the way to the turn which was a bit weird. But overall the out leg felt quite easy. The reason for this was immediately obvious once we rounded the turn and were constantly hit in the face by waves and chop all the way back.

Out of the water and spent an eternity in transition putting on a winter bike jersey, gloves and shoes with overshoes on – all with barely functioning hands. Rode hard to try to warm up but after five or six miles almost all uphill I was still freezing cold so had a “why the hell am I doing this” moment and decided to turn around and head for home and a DNF. Totally happy with my decision, I do tri for fun after all and even if I had made it around I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed a single minute of it! I was much happier with many layers of warm dry clothes on munching on a sausage and egg barm.

Much respect to everyone who started yesterday, and even more to those who finished! Completely freak weather conditions, it wasn’t so much the rain that was the issue (I’ve done a few very wet races before, Horwich 2008 and Trentham 2009 spring to mind) more the unseasonable cold – even in Wales you wouldn’t expect temperatures to be in single figures in the middle of June. I don’t think there was much more I could have done as I do suffer in the cold, especially my hands. About a quarter of the field retired yesterday which must be unprecedented. Also, I should just say that Wrecsam Tri did a great job under very difficult circumstances, with plenty of vehicles rescuing people who abandoned on the bike course.

Looking for a positive to take from the race I think my swim was actually OK, on the face of it a 42 min swim was nothing to shout about, only a minute quicker than last year which was an absolute shocker (with good reason, I’d hardly swum a stroke for three months after busting my collarbone). However, some TriTalkers who are even bigger geeks than me (hard to imagine I know!) reckon that swim times were on average 4 minutes or so slower yesterday than in 2010. The results bear this out too as my swim time was well in the top half of the field.

A Day In The Lakes tri in two weeks time, is it to much to ask even for some “average” summer weather? Please?


Ups and Downs

Been a while (too long) since my last blog post so plenty to catch up on.

First, I’ve had to finally face facts and pull out of the UTMB for this year. My ankle is still far too weak to cope with regular off-road running and a 100 mile ultra marathon is not really a race you can go into with any doubts about your fitness! I’m doing lots of work on the ankle to regain its full range of motion but it’s a slow process. Fingers crossed for the UTMB draw next year (in terms of both being fit enough to enter and then getting selected) otherwise all my qualifying points will expire and I’ll have to start the whole process again!

So, that leaves plenty of room for some other races, and the plan is to concentrate on tri upto Alpe d’Huez at the end of July, with Bala Middle in a weeks time then A Day In The Lakes in three weeks. After that a switch to a run focus for Chester Marathon on 9th October, aim to get in shape for a PB after missing London with the ankle injury.

Getting back into proper triathlon training has been a bit of a shock to the system, I’d forgotten just how organized you have to be to fit upto 9 training sessions in around a job (and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the alarm going at 5:50am for a morning swim session). I was lucky that April and the start of May had a settled spell of good weather and a whole slew of Bank Holidays which gave plenty of opportunities to get the cycling back up to speed, including a couple of fun MTB rides on perfect dusty trails in the Peak. Swimming has been going pretty well too, probably swimming as well as I ever have.

Running has been a bit more problematic, some good consistent runs with plenty of quality (weekly tempo and track sessions, the latter under the watchful eye of Paul Savage) but since the desperately hilly Eyam Half Marathon (450m of up and down!) three weeks ago I have been struggling with calf problems which meant a DNS at the Snowdonia Slateman triathlon (I’m racking up record numbers of DNSes this year!) and very limited running since, but fingers crossed I’m over this now.

I did manage to start a race yesterday, a 25 mile time trial on the infamous J2/9 course; I didn’t finish it unfortunately due to a road closure after a motorbike crash. Happy with my form though as I held my target 270 Watts for the 50 minutes of racing I did do and was possibly heading for a course PB.

Bala middle next weekend where with a bit of luck I’ll both start and finish!