Sunday, May 11, 2014

Grizedale Race Report - actual race day 16th March 2014

The story of my race Starts on Friday when I arrive at the Camp site to discover that the cosy shed I have booked for the weekend is just a shed.

Chez moi

There is nothing cosy about it.

I rebel, cook indoors and shiver until I fall asleep in my down sleeping bag. Unfortunately this means I am awake at 2am, sweating and dehydrated.

I head out to meet up with mum and dad on Saturday.  This is my first pre-race rest-up mistake as there's a rather large 1/3 hill between me and them which I repeat in both directions - although it doesn't dent me too much as I'm on my mountain bike.

I stock up on a new tyre on the way back and eat my lunch before I head back out to the bike shop to get some more kit.  It's a 9 mile round-walk filled with elevations and excitement and beauty so beautiful but then again, not great pre-race resting.  Dad comes over for a chat then I settle down to another too cold / too hot night in the shed.

I head out on the race day early and enjoy the fun atmosphere of race registration, the line up.

Sheffield Tri Club colours might look out of place at a mountain bike event but they sure do stand out.
I still don't have my running watch so I settle for pacing by heart rate.  I soon get dropped on the first rise, a line I walked up yesterday, full of the joys.  Still, I'm saving it all for letting rip on the bike.  The second run in this duathlon has been scrapped for co-ordination restraints so it suits me, I don't have to worry about pacing on the bike to save myself for that last run.

Hurt locker
Not sure at which point I actually blacked out.  I didn't really black out, I just don't remember anything of the route except battling with a lady in pink shoes and the descent back to the transition area that I'd walked the day before and a man saying, "You've got two minutes to go".  Music to my ears.  Apparently I don't do too well at pacing myself.

I picked up the bike and headed off again like lightening I thought.

I hate hitting the bike course at the back.  I could see myself threading through the crowds, passing all the slow-coaches and those pushing their bikes.  Unfortunately the legs didn't deliver.  By the third hairpin bend heading up the hillside, the second lady I passed, I already had calf cramp and it wouldn't go away.  Finally I tired of trying to pass people then being passed back when I had to get off and walk to relieve the cramp.

I sat down and got out my food and started having a snack.  I called it my fish and chips.  As folk asked if I was all right I replied, yep, just need to eat, just need to start enjoying this.

Back on the bike, I kept hauling up the paths and finally out on to the stinking wet moors.  I was joined by another rider from November and we talked bikes as we picked our way along the land rover track.  As I watched him go over the handlebars he concurred that we could all use one o' them 29'ers.

A few minutes later I had left him behind.  I headed down the hill and passed four others, then a couple of guys fixing a puncture and a few more.  Hmm, not last.

The last third of the course did go up again but it was very entertaining indeed and all of my cramps had gone.  The final descent put my bike to the test and I was too tired to argue with it but I was on my Scott and it made me feel like I was Nick Craig, even if I wasn't riding like him.  I hurtled around the corner and there was the finish.

116th / 137 starters, 4h:05min:2secs.  Challenge accepted.

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