Sunday, 29 May 2011

Llanberis Slateman

The inaugural Llanberis Slateman was an absolute cracker! We registered on the Saturday and the weather in Llanberis was horrendous. Blowing a hoolie and teeming with rain, we were praying for better weather the next day.
Sunday morning and the rain had died off, but the wind was strong with gusts of 70kph! I opted with a deep dish rear wheel with a shallow profile front wheel off my training bike in the hope I wouldn't get buffeted too much. The lake temperature was 10.9C. In previous races I have really struggled in the cold, so I was a little concerned how it would affect my race. In an effort to combat the cold I opted for a compression T shirt under my wetsuit and copious amounts of warm up oil all over!
The swim itself was bloody cold and I came out of the water 2 minutes down on what I expected. I chucked a windproof jacket on in transition to beat the chill and out of transition. The mount line was pretty congested so I hopped onto the pavement, ran an extra 100m, jumped on and got going to the Llanberis Pass. The Pass went in a blur, the cold was affecting me slightly, with my top heart rate down by around 10bpm from usual. The tail wind from Pen Y Gwryd to Capel made for quick riding, before swinging into a harsh cross\head wind in The Ogwen Valley. It was savage! Down onto the small chain ring and tucked as aero as possible. Halfway down the valley I saw Rhian, leading the womens race, and local talent Arthur Connell. I knew I was at the business end of the race and needed to get time on the quicker runners. From Tregarth to Llanberis it was a block headwind! As we hit Pentir my mate Big Al "Hincapie" Roberts, riding for a relay team, came past me and offered a few well needed words of encouragement. It was just what I needed and gave me a boost for the final leg. We both got into transition at the same time, Al's race over and me out onto the run. What a run. Pain. Hills. Pain. As I headed onto the run a relay runner bounded past me then another local talent, Gareth Jones of Revolution Cycles Bangor, passed me. I kept my own pace as he initially pulled away, than as my legs came back to me, I was back on his shoulder. We ran side by side for the next 5km, pushing each other on, trying to close down a runner in the distance. We pulled the lad back on a particularly nasty ascent, I was suffering. Then I sensed Gareth slipping back, and it was me and the lad we'd chased down. With 1.5km to go there was a steep descent, I was cramping horribly in my quads, and trying not to let on. We hit the flat with 750m to go and the guy opened up a 200m lead in an instant, I had no answer to that!
I finished 7th overall which was fantastic, I am genuinely very very chuffed. Rhian was fastest woman, delivering an absolutely brilliant performance! Big Al Hincapie's team placed 2nd in the team comp' which was a great result.
A great race and a great atmosphere, hats off to Tim and the team for delivering a first class event that even the weather couldn't put a dampener on!
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Saturday, 7 May 2011

Under Starters Orders

Well it's May and I'm starting my season later than usual this year, with The Llanberis Slateman on the 22nd of May. I'm blinkin' excited and can't wait to get going!!!
The ETU Championship's are in Pontevedre, Spain at the end of June and as long we can get our flights sorted we'll be on the start line, under starters orders.
The Welsh Assembly Elections have just been and gone, and I'm ashamed to say I forgot to vote! With that being said, I'm sick and tired of politicians trotting out the same tired party politics and treating the electorate like fools. Let's have some positivity guys, I'm sure people would be far more interested in what you've done, what you can do and what you believe in rather than what your opponents won't do, haven't done or done wrong. Now they're under starters orders, let's hope they run a good race!
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