Monday, May 09, 2011

Racing Ace

I'm having an amazing time at the moment.

Last week I finally got to experience the Sheffield tri club race / training sessions. It was the most amazing evening for it. Hills stacked on top of hills as far as the eye could see as I drove through the peak district. At Fairholmes we registered and I started getting to know some of my new team mates. Lots of fit and not so fit women and an almost equal proportion of men. Bob gave us a pre race briefing which mostly included which way to go and where to get on and off the bike.

We left our shoes and bikes under the watchful gaze of a team mate and headed off, women 5 minutes ahead, down the lane, across the bottom of the dam busters dam and up the other side. At the top near the gateway the 180 turn around and hardest downhill sprint back to transition with the kicker of an uphill at the end.

On to the bike with the usual flourish but straight into a hard climb which sorted out those of us who've been on a bike a lot and those who haven't. The bike course was wonderful. 15km of the most interesting climbs, descents and hairpin bends I've ever known. This is how I dream of time trials. Geese by the reservoir and a road I'd never driven on because it's closed except for access and busses, nor would ever dream of walking up... Because it's a road yeah? At the roundabout at the head of the reservoir, a 180 and back the way you came. Passing a few and still battling with that one lady who won't go away and eventually comes back past me.

On the last few climbs I make last ditch attempts to catch people by descending like a nutter but there's no one here on a shopping bike or their dad's hybrid.

I try my usual flying dismount but the downhill to the dismount area is so steep I nearly lose the back end.

Shoes changed again and this time the legs are really done for. I prance across the transition line but only because my legs are still pedalling. I just can't get a rhythm going and flit between bounds and sprints. I revert to looking up and cheering the men going the other way then those catching me up.

How nice that everyone stands by to cheer others back in before heading back to their car. I take a jog with Elliot and Pam, chat to Allison and promise to meet Sally at the pub which I break as I am desperate to eat and not spend money doing it.

On Wednesday it was the Tiger's Todger fell race. Tiger because it leaves from the Sheffield Tigers rugby ground. Todger, apparently, because it is a cock of a race.

A vicious downhill on the road, uphill through a park and woodland I didn't know existed. The saving grace, the dry conditions and the unexpected 340 degree view from the moor when we reached it. Briefly enjoyed that and the gritstone boulders before heading back down to civilisation. 6 miles and 248m of climbing made me realise how poor my distance running has become though I had done a full working day and managed to carry all my energy up until about mile 5.5. By the last slog along Long Line (named after the Long Line of people in front of me) I had stopped feeling like I'd eaten too much at work and started feeling hungry.

I managed the turn into the field with team mates giving me a woop when pointed out I was one of them.

Once the race was over It was straight over to Vicki's to collect my new team top which means I won't have to draw peoples attention to my club allegiance anymore. And everyone will know what my name is.

(Pictures to follow)

The rest of last week lost out to dental surgery on Tuesday meaning that I was very well rested on Friday. I was requested to run in the Calderdale Way relay race at the weekend with the Dark Peak Fell runners womens' team. How could I resist?

Sadly, I was feeling far to keen on Saturday so I went out and did an 85km ride in the Peak District up hill and down dale - literally.

The Calderdale relay was really fun - lots of driving from village to village up precipitous lanes to be delivered to race from Wainstalls to Shelf with Lesley who was a really lovely, patient lady that nursed me and my tired legs through the race, making sure we finished and opening gates for me, checking I was OK and genuinely, jogging alongisde me.

We had quite the chat about knitting.

Today it's the trunce. While my ride on Sunday was over-distance for my triathlon (I need that training with June not so far away), the Calderdale relay was only half of the run distance so, the second 2/3s today.

The finishing squad

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