I chose this race because I have done The Sandman and The Slateman and enjoyed them. This was the only race in the Always Aim High North Wales triathlon events that I hadn’t done. It was in Snowdonia, and it was late season. I entered soon after I realised I wouldn’t be racing Ocean Lava Wales. I felt like I needed to complete one race this season
We travelled up on Friday, in the morning, without the kids, which made for a different and easy way to travel. We drove up part of the course in beautiful sunshine, and checked out the amazing descent of the bike course.
The Swim garmin data here (8th in gender 44th overall)
There was two waves of swimmers starting at 10am, a great time to start a race, plenty of time to have breakfast and get to the venue. (The parking was about 1km away) When driving to Capel Curig my only concern was the temperature on the car dash!
Once we were in the sun it was lovely and warm though. The organisers decided to shorten the swim as the water temperature was 11.2, so we only had to swim about 400m. As the second wave, that I was in, started to warm up we noticed that the first wave were already swimming back towards us so we had to get out of the way pretty quick and then the start horn went off soon afterwards. With such a short swim I didn’t really get into a great rhythm as every time I started drafting someone I had to adjust my course again to be in line with the buoys.
T1 garmin data here (6th in gender 52nd overall)
T1 was a shambles. I had a top that I wanted to put on which I had practised with at home, but not when I was wet. I couldn’t get it on past my forearms so abandoned that, then forgot to put on my race belt in the panic!
The bike garmin data here (5th in gender 83rd overall)
The bike course is great. A big ascent and a brilliant downhill. I knew that I had lost some power over the past few weeks from my training tapering off but I was aiming to keep between around 180 to 210 watts.
After my scrappy T1, I settled in to the bike quickly and everything was going great, until I was approaching Blaenau Ffestiniog. As I changed gear, my chain came off the front chain ring, and got jammed up against the frame, exactly what had happened at Brecon. My first reaction was that I couldn’t believe this was happening again. My bike had been serviced and I had been riding it for several months with no issues whatsoever, but luckily I had read an article about coming up against these situations before the event. I really recommend you read the article as it helped me get myself back on the road very quickly. The link is here. I lost about 4 minutes, and then promptly missed a turning not long after, which wasted a bit more time! I didn’t really care anyway I just wanted to finish this race and that is what I told myself. The descent was great fun and I had my fastest ever downhill speed topping 50mph.
Riding back from Betws y Coed was probably my low point. I had run out of drinks and my power was dropping, also the thought of Moel Siabod was lurking in my mind, and I was probably a bit scared!
T2 garmin data here (14th in gender 104th overall)
T2 was pretty slow, I was quite relaxed. I stopped to drink some water, and I had also chosen to put socks on and tie my laces as I knew that when I was running downhill I wanted to have confidence in my feet.
The run garmin data here (2nd in gender 44th overall)
I had thought I would probably run most of the way up Moel Siabod, then walk the top rocky bit, but as I had never been up there before and I didn’t really know what it would be like. When I started running it soon became apparent that I wouldn’t be running a lot of the way up! So I joined the other athletes walking as fast as I could. My quads were starting to cramp up and I felt a bit dejected so munched some honey stinger chews. As I was walking up the photographer told me I was just behind the 4th woman. I rolled my eyes and he said that 6th place probably wasn’t far behind either. I didn’t really care at this point and said to myself “what will be, will be”, carried on my walking with a bit of running on the flatter bits (there weren’t many!) It was Ok though because EVERYONE was walking. After a while I saw a woman ahead and heard her saying ow, she was with someone and they asked her if she wanted to stop and have a break, I was walking slightly faster so managed to pass her. The first woman ran downhill past us and shouted well done. As I neared the summit I spotted another woman running down, she didn’t look that fast descending and I started to feel quite positive I knew I could descend pretty fast and she was only about 90 seconds ahead. I hugged the cairn and declared my love for it! Patrick was at the top taking photo’s and he gave me some encouragement as I started the fun downhill!
After a few meters I overtook the 3rd placed woman and kept up the pace all the way down. My legs were cramping up quite badly now as it was pretty hot going up and I had to stop again at one point when my inner thigh locked up, but I knew I had made it into 3rd place and crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.
Full Results here
Wow, what an amazing way to finish the season. This race seemed to work to my strengths, and I think I overcame some demons! I always enjoy the Always Aim High events they are challenging but great fun, so thanks to them for putting on the event!