Having arrived on the Friday afternoon, I found several other triathletes at the same camp site. We were able to compare previous experiences and talk about what to expect on the day. Three of them were more used to fell running and one had already completed the Roc, England, 2 weeks before. Having others around certainly made my race prep easier.
Race organisation was relaxed and there was no bag or bike checking whatsoever, other than your had a corresponding race number tattoo or timing chip on you. The sea was like a mill pond on the Friday but by Saturday morning, a light wind had arrived but there was no more than a gentle swell. The water felt remarkably warm which took away some of the swim anxiety.
The swim went better than expected and I actually went past a few people in the sea. Sighting is still an issue for me, so I watched out for people who looked like they were sighting and tracked them. Mostly this worked and I was never too far off line. I was 76th of 131 coming out of the water but from then on, my cycle leg was again well below par. The bike route was well signposted, with stop/go Marshalls at various critical points. There were no major climbs and little by way of a head wind.
Arriving at the foot of Snowdon, we racked in a boggy field, took out kit from the adjacent tent and made our way upwards. I took my Lexi running poles, which I think helped for the first 3km but I packed them away thereafter and didn’t use them on the return leg, although others certainly did. Cheltenham Tri Club were entered as a ‘stag do’ group of 5, and we passed each other at various points giving encouragement on the way. Their chant of ‘Gloucester, Gloucester’, coming straight from The Shed at Kingsholm, echoed up the mountain. I made it up to the mandatory 4km check point with 25 minutes to spare so thereafter all pressure was off and I knew I could finish.
I was happy not to have fallen over on the way down, and the bike route back was just a case of grin and bear it, as far as I was concerned. Better cyclists could have made much better time than I did.
The 1km beach run finish was a great pleasure , as I was no longer sat on a bike. Despite being amongst the last of the finishers (112 of 129), there was tremendous support at the end, and I was not too late to see the CTC group finish and also the prize giving. All in all a tough event but eminently achievable. Next year, I think the Roc, England is calling me.. and perhaps you!