They say you are what you eat, but I don’t remember eating a LEGEND!

Steve Germaney – 2024

Slateman Legend weekend has arrived, my final warm up triathlon before tackling IMW again in September, but this time in the blue and orange of TTG.

After a very gentle Ross on Wye Parkrun I set off for Snowdonia. The 4 hours of an audiobook and boredom flyby(!) and I can see the mountains. I’m lucky with the weather, the cloudless summits of the Snowdon Horseshoe standing tall like sentinals standing guard protecting the rest the National Park. I coast the final 5 miles from Pen-y-pass, down the valley past the hordes of walkers trudging their weary way up, sailing unnoticed past the rock climbers as they haul themselves up impossible cliffs and I’m in Llanberis. I find my accommodation for the next couple of nights, I’m too early to book in (the only time I’ve every been early, those that saw me at the 51fiver can attest to this) so, as I’ve already told Chairman Jon my race number so can’t back out, there’s nothing left to do but go and register!

I park up, get out my car and am hit my the distinctly unseasonable north-westerly ’breeze’. Dressed in shorts and t-shirt I’m a bonafide southern softy so stood in a car park its it’s a swift outfit change. Taking a leaf from Adey’s book I’m looking resplendent in TTG clobber, no chance of anyone not knowing I’m a member of the friendliest club in the country!

Walking past the dark foreboding Llyn Padarn I can see the swim course already set up, it looks cold, very cold. A quick splash of a hand in the shallows confirms it. It’s not just cold, it’s shrinkingly cold! (Gentlemen readers will understand). The start/finish/registration/merch area is set up at the end of the lake, overlooked by the disused slate mines that have a very Tolkien-esk Mines of Moria/Mordor look about them.

Registration is a very slick affair, just what you’d expect from an Always Aim High event, having an unusual surname helps but 2 minutes later I’m the proud owner of a race t-shirt, a new High 5 bottle and some free socks. Oh yeah, and my race numbers and timing chip! Still too early to book in I pass a very worrying sign outside an outdoor shop and find a cafe for a cup of tea, a piece of cake (I am racing tomorrow after all) and relax in the rare Welsh sunshine.

Clearly one to take my training and racing very seriously, carb-loading consisted of burger, chips and a pint for tea!

Race day

Alarm goes off at 5am ready for a 7am start. Blurry-eyed I check the forecast…suboptimal! Forcing 2 porridge pots and a coffee past the massive lump in my throat into a very nervous tummy I take a couple of immodium, put my kit bag on my back and head to the race.

Transition is a fairly chilled affair, the usual sense of nervousness. A marshall walks past, water temperature is announced at a balmy 15.1deg. Apparently this is warm and has gone up from yesterday by a whole 0.1deg!

The swim started at 7am sharp, 2 laps, one small, the other a little larger. As I said above, I am a bonafide southern softie and found it very cold but, I came out slower than I’d hoped and in 78th place.

My strategy for every race is survive the swim, beast mode on the bike and don’t be s**t on the run. This one was no different! So, swim survived its onto the bike. A cold, wet, windy route…on a TT bike…with deep carbon rims. Should be fun! The course goes out of Llanberis, up Pen-Y-Pass, past Tryfan, to Caernarfon, past the start of the Watkin path and back up to Pen-Y-Pass before the final decent into Llanberis. 

For the tech geeks out there, I averaged 16.6mph at an average power of 158w and hit a very brave 40.5mph!

I got off the bike after 3hrs 22 minutes and unbeknown to me, made up 54 places and was in a respectable 24th place with the 5th fasted bike split of the day which was really encouraging as I was riding well within myself. 

Onto the run and this was another 2 lap affair but up and around the long disused slate mines. At approx mile 2 and 8 there was a 2 mile climb which was brutal! Convinced I was last I saw another competitor in the distance and set about catching them. This took a while but eventually I passed them just before a lovely single track decent. Keeping my nutrition going in as the miles ticked on I was feeling stronger and stronger. Going into the 2nd lap I made it my mission to not be over taken. That plan lasted about 10 minutes! Feeling a bit miserable and very sorry for myself I re-evaluated and vowed to make the best of it. I was outside, in the stunning scenery doing something I love, what did I have to my down about??!?!?!!

7 hours 12 minutes and 40 seconds after stepping into the water I crossed the finishing line placing 46th. 

Would I do it again? This is a very difficult question to answer. The organisation was brilliant, volunteers superb and the route was stunning but Wales had clearly not got the memo it’s summer and on my own, it was a very long way away. As a weekend away with family or with the amazing TTG then the answer is a definite yes.