This race was definitely an eye opener, the event was held in the national diving centre just outside Chepstow. The swim was in a big quarry, one of the deepest in the UK apparently with depths up to 80ft. It really did look outstanding from the top, the only downfall was the hike down to the bottom.
I was lucky enough to travel down two weekends in a row to do a recce of the bike/run course. More than anything, I felt I needed to go around the course before the race just to get my confidence after coming off the bike in Marlow 70.3 a few weeks ago.
The evening before the race I decided to stay the night with my mate Dan who was also doing the race. He only lives 10 minutes from the event so it just made sense.
The morning of the race I was up at 4 am buzzing ready to get going. The race didn’t start till 8am so I had loads of time to get my stuff together and get a good breakfast in me.
Dan and I made our way to the event, we were both geared up for it by now. We registered and racked our bikes so we could spend whatever spare time we had left to workout the transitions and get a feel for it.
Everyone started the long trail walk down to the bottom of the quarry for the race briefing. The surface was rough so everyone wore old trainers down to the start.
The swim was two loops of the quarry. The water was gorgeous, perfect for swimming in.
It was a filtered race start so no real issues in the swim. I was able to just push hard and not have to worry about any distractions. Exiting the water I slipped my trainers on and began to climb up the track out of the quarry towards T1. The climb was brutal coming out of the quarry, by the time I got to my bike I was blowing.
Onto the bike, Nathan did a detailed race plan for me to follow throughout. Maintaining my target power for the the flat and the hills, and getting a strong bike in to see what pace I could hold on the run was the main target for the race.
The bike course was spot on too, apart from the temporary traffic lights scattered about the place. I got caught up in 5 sets of lights going at a decent speed so it just killed all the momentum I had going.
By the end of the bike my legs felt like they had worked hard, so it was onto the run and seeing how long I could hold my target pace.
Bike racked up, trainers on and straight onto the run. Target here was to hold 6.20 min mile for as long as possible. The run course was a rolling course through country lanes which then joined onto a disused railway line with a 1km long tunnel to run through. It was an out and back x2 so I got a good indication on how far ahead the other lad was. Every time I passed him he looked strong and I wasn’t really closing the gap so I didn’t try to do anything stupid so early on in the run. At this point I was 2nd in the race and when I got to the half way point I could see one of the other athletes was pushing on and closing in on me, so I cracked open my caffeine shot and dug deep.
¾ of the way in and my legs were like jelly, I just tried to switch off from that and focus on my cadence and stride and maintaining that all the way to the finish which thankfully I managed to do.
I was over the moon with my performance especially my run. My family were there to support me as well which made the whole experience special.
Massive thank you to them for all there support and the main man himself (coach) Nathan ford.