A Day In The Lakes
Gareth Huxley sends in this report
I Thought I would do a post about this race, as there are few triathletes in the club, and maybe others out there who are tri-curious.
A Day in the Lakes is a Half Ironman distance race at Ullswater, run by Trihard. As with all Trihard events it is a not a course for the faint-hearted, or those who like a nice bit of flat! The race is over a 1.2 mile lake swim, 57 mile cycle (including a climb up the Kirkstone Pass), and then a 13 mile fell run.
Final race preparations were less than perfect. After a big plate of fish and chips in the pub, and a sensible pint and half of ale, me, Sarah and Dita the dog settled down in the tent, only to be woken a couple of hours late by Dita barfing up her supper (a tennis ball) on the inflatable mattress, keep this in mind when choosing a mattress. Having cleaned up and settled down again, Dita got wrestless again. This time she just made it out of the tent, and managed to throw up on Sarah’s birkenstocks!
After a bad night’s kip, I managed to sleep through the alarm, and didn’t have time to make porridge, so had to settle for a couple of jam butties. Readers might like to know that Club Treasurer Dave Moir (winner of Britain’s Hardest Accountant, 2005-2010) takes a container of pre-made cold porridge to this sort of event, to save time on the morning of the race, and psych himself up for the challenge ahead!
Race morning was cool, quite windy, with some threatening clouds over the fells up towards Kirkstone. With a substantial swell on the lake,
the race ref took the sensible decision to shorten the swim by about half a mile, but the chop still made sighting the marker buoys difficult. Safely round and out on the bike, it is a flattish 12 or so miles from Pooley Bridge along by the lake to the bottom of the Kirstone. Half way up, we hit the clag, and visibility was cut to 100m. The descent was very tricky, with wet roads and the fog, but out of the cloud, the weather began to fine up.
Half way round the course there was a set of temporary lights. In tri, riders must follow the rules of the road, and the race organiser had
made it clear that if the light was on red, you had to stop, or would be DQ’d. Unfortunately the light was just changing to red as I approached it, so I stopped for what was probably about 2 minutes. The 2 lads behind didn’t bother though, and went straight through, which they got away with as the marshal hadn’t made his way round to that part of the course yet.
Off the bike, and on with the running shoes. I was in about 10th position at this stage, but could see a few runners not too far ahead. As usual, the legs felt heavy for the first couple of miles off the bike, but once we hit the first downhill, I started to reel in the lads in front. At the highest part of the course, it was very muddy, shades of the Harrier League in February. On the last descent, I passed the second of the lads who had jumped the red light, to get up into 4th place. He seemed to be tiring, with only 3.5 miles of flat road to the finish.
The last 3 miles seemed like nearer 10 as the temperature rose along the sheltered lakeside lane. Suddenly red light jumping man came past, going like a train, and put 50m into me in no time. But with less than a mile to go, I started to catch him, and when he stopped to briefly vomit, I was nearly up with him. The chunder must have given him a lift though, as he then held me off for 4th place over the last half
Was happy enough with 5th (3rd V40), a kick in the pants under 5 hours for the whole course, and 1.43 for the run. 3rd place was only a minute up ahead, but the winner was miles clear of the rest, and was on his 3rd pint when I came in. Also took out 1st place in the dog sick cleaning category (Sarah was a DNS in that). Prize was some marigolds and a bottle of dettol.
If anyone in the club is interested in having a go at triathlon, please give me shout. There is a really lively local training and racing scene. Most of them are a bit easier than this, so please don’t be put off!