A 55 year old triathlete’s attempt at the Extreme…
I arrived in the car park at 0615 to allow plenty of faffing time (how TC does last minute I’ll never know!), and despite thinking I was calm, even then, I managed to put on my wetsuit back to front ha! How does that happen?!
The swim went ok, enjoyed it sometimes breathing every 2, sometimes every 3, and sometimes every 4 pulls! But, for some unknown reason, my right hand pull has stopped grabbing the water at entry! This happened a few months ago and I am having to go back in my once a week swim to fist pulling and then alternating fist, hand, this seems to be helping but I just need to do this 10,000 times. I missed a few pulls during the swim, what a prize chump! Took in the awesome views as for me, life is too short not to!
Unlike everyday glasses I wear, I haven’t got varifocal swim goggles so many a time can’t see much!!! At one point I was near to two swimmers who then diverged… as I couldn’t see much I hedged my bets, but it was a bad choice, and whoever I followed went off piste ha, I wondered if they knew that I was using them for navigation - of the many lessons I’ve taken to enable completion next year, one will be to get swimming goggles I can actually see with
Heard the cuckoo down Stock Gill below Wansfell, always a pleasure hearing that same place every year as I’m breathing out of my * climbing the Struggle.
The views were awesome, I did try to take them all in and am always in awe of being alive, healthy and fit enough to appreciate these things, when so many others don’t have that luck etc.
Lovely tick tock tick tock as climbing in saddle as I had a 34-11 on the back and a 30-46 super compact on the front. Some spectators said how calm I looked with no upper body movement and smiles climbing Kirkstone - ha, that was because I was going very slow and had Chopper gears.
Loved the nice, fresh air… until convoys of old cars pass, in one case it was rather nice looking old Porches, so I fogave them on that occasion.
Loved the fast descents, until the rain appeared and turned them into survival techniques, gingerly twitching and descending abut 1/2 mph!
Was told to wait for ambulance to come down Wrynose (which was ok as gave me a chance to stretch!), and then when setting off didn’t realise that there’d be about 20 cars coming down behind said ambulance, so in the end it was quicker for me (and safer) to put bike on shoulder and run up part of Wrynose past the procession of bemused onlookers… until I was knackered again and had to get back on the trusty steed!
The usual cramp appeared, on the flat, climbing in saddle vastus medialis, out the saddle hamstrings, so had to do a sitting style but out of the saddle!!! Bizarre. Will be seeing a doc for blood test to see if I am missing something.
Liked the eerie lack of noise, people, competitors whilst in the mist and clag on the tops of Hardknott and Wrynose, enjoyed the loneliness, human v the clock - even the drivers and their cars had gone home!
Very bad hire van driver nearly knocked me off the road despite me going very slowly and right on the edge of the road whilst coming down Wrynose, they had plenty of room the other side, so I gave them a massive bang on the side of the van - was this the frustration of cramp coming out, or my lack of fitness angering me, or just that 1 van driver being a buffoon, out of hundreds of really nice caring kind and considerate drivers? Hmmm, jury’s out.
Just where (I found out later) others had crashed, I was nearly found out on that sketchy bit off Wrynose… back wheel slid, red and black tri shorts nearly changed colour, but managed to stay on and upright (how the hell???)
What was funny was watching the awesome, humble, fabulous machine that is Mark Duggan passing me the other way at the various stages. In the end, knowing that my cutoff times were over, my new competition would be all about getting back to T1d before he passed me on his way to T2. Nearly, nearly, nearly there, just one last effort approaching the Jn at Ambleside near to the rugby club, just one last eff… “ah shucks, here’s the train coming past, chapeau indeed, whoooooosh, there he goes, ah drat, my last race (within the race) over, as Mr D has got back to T2 before I even manage T1d!”. Legend.
T1d and out, no run for me as I felt bad about not completing the bike in time.
The support and camraderie among supporters, marshalls/volunteers and competitors was awesome - it all makes it such a lovely day out, or as I said to myself before the weather arrived, and possibly at the speed I was going, a nice potter about the Lakes sightseeing!
Tried to congratulate and smile/wave when passing every other competitor - at my area of competition, I have the time to make this effort for our community, it’s nice back but don’t expect it as I know that most are really focussed. Additionally with what, 15 competitors this made things easier and the swim a clutter free breeze! !
Thanks to Mark and all volunteers and helpers, supporters and competitors, an awesome event that I will one day conquer.
Thanks to someone for hanging up my swimsuit and ‘waterproofing my run kit’, have to say, some really nice kind people about including the many motorists who put up with the pain.
I loved it, and will be back for next year, thx again to all
PS was it true that out of 100 entrants, only about 15 started?!