Triathlon X - Extreme/Full/Half

Is this the loons super series we’re the half has 10000 ft of climbing…

Using hardnott in a tri… should be against the law…!?

I think both Clive and I are in the “Challengers”, which in other words means we are way, way past loons.

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Well, Saturday went down the pan and I had my 2nd DNF in as many months. :roll_eyes:

Race report here: Triathlon X - Full X - 2019 report

Thoughts are with the family of the woman who died on Wrynose as part of the C2C in a day. We all got re-routed as a result (Wrynose pass got closed).


I could not cope with that change on the day, during the race. Chapeau.

Good read that chrace, and sorry about your race.

Sounds like you need a year or two away from the race if you ask me. Surely there’s tons of stuff on the list to get the mojo firing at full pelt again?

Tri X diatribe - hope some of it gives you a chuckle and/or may be useful.

My first attempt at Tri X and second ironman attempt after cramping and stretching out of time for the tri Extreme.

A new era, for the first time ever trying hourly salt tablets to try and fight the cramp, a real show stopper for me during the past 25 odd years of endurance events, slowing, stretching, shuffling, gallons of isotonic, even one event that I had to throw in the towel during the first mile on the run (a tri at Wasdale) due to being riddled with cramp, even walking made it worse!

Anyway, I digress, so the usual faffing pre swim, a few hours of to-ing and fro-ing betwixt car and transition, salt tab, banana and gel ingestion, and then finally ready for the swim.

A nice swim, really helped by the flashing lights on three of the turn buoys [great idea, thx], and water fairly warm. My usual bad judging distances and navigation meant that I did touch a few propelling feet, ooops, sorry if it was you, wasn’t intended. Didn’t take in the views this time unlike the Extreme – not sure why not as it was a lovely AM?

Anyway nowt exciting during the swim, swim done and T1. Getting swimsuit off for the first time no calf cramps, good, something’s working. Banana, more salt tabs, some flapjack and electrolyte drink, cycling helmet and shoes on and out on bike in tri suit (I like showing off the boney shoulders in nice sunny weather!). It was nice and warm and sunny, so for me, didn’t warrant any extra tops, although I did carry a showerproof top in pocket.

Struggle was enjoyable spinning with my super-compact 30-46 and I think 34-11 on the back. I won’t say effortless mind, but for a 55 year old with no ego (or power!!) I can cope with this – perhaps as I get older I could check out whether there are any 26/28-46 combos out there. Person in front gradually pulled away, there were a couple of lads behind me that had roughly the same speed, they were even chatting, more of a social, made me smile! Someone did pass me going nearly double my speed and vanished over the horizon – we all thought “shit, if you’re that good, have a chat with yourself about your swim pal!”.

Nowt really exciting up to Troutbeck, but I do like to get the A66 down to Keswick out of the way, and I think that this race start time at 0430 really helps to get me out of the way of the busy traffic.

Eventually found myself chatting with Derek during the pootle along Borrowdale, the odd spot of rain at the foot of Honister, and then the climb, felt like every human for themselves. Nice to see some water at the top, although I did forget any electrolyte tabs, schoolboy error? A car let me pass on the descent [thx], and I never saw them again… I do like the descents, admittedly (after doing 3 Peak Cyclocross ages ago with frogleg brakes) with disc brakes makes for a smooth pleasant experience. Nowt special about my climb up Newlands, apart from the view, that view along Sail Beck of Whiteless Pike and Wandope is to die for. Descent nice and quick, especially without traffic faffing about in front, although sometimes I feel that it’s quite a slog to Braithwaite.

Climb to Whinlatter the usual slog with a few flies taking interest. Always nice to look down below at Bassenthwaite and the view. It was nice to see marshals, supporters, the bag swap, and drink supplies in the layby [thx]. Got off steed, enjoyed some of my hula hoops, a marshall very kindly filled my bottles [thx], and I got chatting to a lovely family whose son had just arrived after me and whose birthday it was. Whoever you were, hope you had a lovely and successful day? I have to say, even tho supporters are generally there for someone close to them, I always find the support and camaraderie really nice and much appreciated [thx].

Set off, and was passed by someone who seemed to not be a competitor, but seemed to want to burn me off, then he slowed down, what a dick I thought, until I realised that he was supporting and then waiting for a competitor (oooops). Similar to the train of 3 drafting competitors/non-competitor combo, and the runners with friends, for me personally I would only do this if I had to (ala Extreme), my competition is about how I mentally and physically cope on my own. Having said that (not a moan, just an observation!), I did enjoy the odd chat/natter with fellow competitor colleagues.

Anyway I digress, the descent was very enjoyable, then I always find the traipse around the Western flanks a real drag, although I always take in the views especially Loweswater way, and appreciate being alive.

Did get some piss take from an (insecure?) MTBer among his friends… nearly said that I was into off-roading before he was in his dad’s bag, but then the grumpy old git audit alarm sounded. I stayed stum and smiled at my lack of sense of humour.

Met Stuart/Stewart a supporter at Eskdale Green, who helped with the water and also supplied me with some electrolyte tabs – thanks, a real game changer for me. Why did I forget/not plan for these? Grrrrrr.

Met and had a nice chat with Simon from my previous hometown, Nuneaton, then that nice climb up Hardknott. Never gets easier, but I wonder if the climbing is easier than trying to cycle straight along a 2ft wide channel whilst being passed by cars, is slightly more tiring in terms of concentration and power?

Nice descent as I’m ok with these, past Gareth on the descent (he was being sensible) and then arrived at Cockley Beck with a chap telling us that we had to turn right [thx] due to a fatality. So with the aid of Mark’s signs [thx], Gareth’s common sense and satnav [thx] got to the climbs. We had a nice chat and then he left me on the ascents, in fact some of the bike pictures show me breathing out of my a*** trying to keep up with him hah hah.

The descent was nice until I got to the closed gate. Got off opened it, and then waited for 2 cars to pass going the same way before closing the gate – big mistake, they drove very slowly down the rest of the hill. I was pleased to turn off…… for a short while!

That unplanned climb – wow, mentally I had not prepared for this, never ridden it, nearly had me mentally, certainly chipped away. The 4 clouds of flies didn’t help – did I smell of sh**? A clould around my head, my neck, and each of my hands…… what was that all about? Really pleased when that was over, really really pleased.

It was nice to feel near to Torver and Coniston, back on piste as it were, and recovering from that mental knock. That small climb out of Consiton seemed to be like going up Everest, funny how the mind plays tricks when it’s down sometimes.

Eventually caught up Gareth who then had to stop for something. Was nice to see transition, but, the two hot cross buns that I’d consumed the previous day at 1500 hours needed to be evacuated! And had done for the past few hours! Aahhhhhhhhhhh, that’s better, but T2 time of 24 minutes not good – lesson learned to not eat anything 14 hours before breakfast/food at start.

Nice green Fijian (acquired during that disastrous Lions NZ rugby tour 2005!) hat on, and run commenced. New gear rule 1 broken – running with a Montaine Jaws 10 rucksack after colleagues’ advice [thx] and fit like a glove, was perfect, was I lucky? Nice water stop on the way [thx]. Took run steady to checkpoint, and felt bally good. At checkpoint I changed to my fell shoes, got a bladder refill [thx], ate, had a natter, and then felt my body temp plummet. Started to shiver…. What was all that about, it seemed to still be quite warm? Anyway, put on Helly top and all was ok again, set off, then passed even more the Lakeland 55 (?) competitors throwing such comments to me as “wow, you’ve done well to be back so soon”…… what!!! …….”are we going the right way” …… I think my reply was quite grumpy “I don’t know, I’m in the triathlon” short and sharp. I did congratulate all I passed tho in my defence! Those black and white running sighns were brilliant, they really made a difference and stood out [thx].

Got to final checkpoint before climb up the Ghyll “are you feeling well, are you feeling sick, question 3, question 4, etc etc”. I know this has to be done [thx], but who in this ironman would be feeling chipper, 100% tickety boo at this stage? Answers on a postcard please?!

I found the steps up Rossett Ghyll quite a challenge and tried to keep in my sights two competitors who were stronger than me uphill, one Scottish chap with poles who swore that they really made a massive difference. Well he was storming ahead of me so who was I to argue.

Rain and clag appeared, luckily I was able to be really lazy and focus on those small red flags [many thanks, excellent job]. I can navigate, but it was nice to have to use a few less precious brain cells! Despite the rain, I thought I’d hold on with the lovely green hat and helly, no cag seemed to be protecting me ok. By this stage, it was getting quite difficult to chew the 4 hourly (vegan) salt tabs, and they seemed to leave an acidic taste in my mouth and felt like sulphuric acid going down into the stomach. The vastus medialis muscles reminded me that I had to up the salt tabs as they were on the cusp of (the usual) cramp. Ughhhh, salt tabs, fizzy chews, urghhhh, but potential game changer? Even the electrolyte became a chore!

Eventually slogged up to Scafell Pike and the checkpoint [thx marshals]. Sat down, something to eat, salt tabs and watched other competitors arriving and mooching about, reminded me that I was in a race and not sightseeing!

On the descent off Scafell Pike, I got a new found will to compete, all of the downs and ups became effortless running, the odd slippery rock moment, but it felt great.

Nice to see Esk Hause checkpoint again [thx].

On the descent down into Rossett Ghyll, I was caught up and passed by two fell running triathletes – you awoke me from a pootling slumber [thx] and much appreciated allowing me to hang onto your coat tails as you descended like banshees. I think you did an awesome job as you both reminded me that I’ve been fell running on and off for about 32 years, and that I might be cr*p uphill, but descending is my skill, my trademark. Why the heck I was zoned out and pootling heaven only knows. A short stop at the Ghyll checkpoint and water and onward. I was starting to feel really good, passing a few on the way including one, I overheard him telling his two female support runners that the unplanned bike hill was like “going to the moon…. It just kept on going up and up”. As I passed you I chuckled to myself and fully concurred.

Passing the hotel there was not as much support as the outward, but it was still nice and appreciated [thx]. A future viewing point and drinking location perhaps?

Checkpoint, change back to road shoes, some salted cashews [thx,a real help] and some electrolyte and some of those (by now) blessed salt tabs. Also put on headtorch ready for dusk.

Eventually ran with two Scottish lads, they setting such a pace that I was breathing out of my * again and thought to myself “wow, can I keep up this pace?”. They eventually decided to walk, so, feeling on fire, full of energy and crampless, I thought the sky is the limit. I pushed on at a good pace, ran all the way up the ramp to the last water stop, nice cup of much needed water [thx]. That lane thru the fields seemed to be going on forever. Even tho I was keeping a good pace, I spent too much energy constantly looking behind me for any fellow competitors! Managed to pass two colleagues. Ran up that hill on the road from Elterwater (?), on a real mission now, really giving it some. The road seemed to go on for ever (mind playing tricks). It was nice to join the road into Ambleside and then thro the gates. Nice support the other side, a supporter waiting for a competitor [thx for your support]. The last bit along the road I managed to really up the pace and give it some. For the first time ever in my life, no fear of cramp. No fear, anything goes!

Just before I arrived I heard another competitor finishing at about 2229. “Drat, if I’d have known that there was someone that close, I’d have really given it.” Ne’er mind, arrival back to great support [thx] at about 2230 and 18 hours, first ever ironman nailed. No cramp, salt tabs, a game changer. Now I can be more and more confident to go faster without any cramp worries.

80 starters, 50 finishers, I was 28th, 18 hours. Not the show stopping winning time of 14 hours or the first V50 and 5th place with 15 hours, nor the many other competitors (or V50s before me), but for my first completed ironman, and being 55 years old, I was really happy. The week before a friend had died of cancer, and a few months ago another great lad whom I knew from my local pub passed away same reason, so I was really focussed to make the most out of life. And I think that day I did.

I felt dreadful once I’d stopped, and I balfed 6 times, but empty stomach so nowt came out, eughhhhh.

How long does it take before being proud and satisfied goes to how could have done better, what was a good decision, what was a bad decision, where didn’t I use enough energy, what strategies worked and didn’t work!!! For me, about 8 hours after finishing the race.

Many, many thanks to Mark and all of the team for such a great event, and such fabulous marshalling. Your time and help is much appreciated. Without your help my achievement would not have been possible [thx].

As my biannual plan next year I shall be helping at the X, so see many of you again next year, or at this years ½ x, or next years Extreme?

Thanks to all of the supporters and competitors, your support and friendliness really made this a top day out, and at times was really needed.

Also many thanks to my long suffering girlfriend who put up with moodyness, with me training loads, thanks to my mates for understanding why I temporarily became less of a pisshead!

Was it worth putting in too much training v MBA time and thus the 6,000 instead of 9,000 dissertation words meaning a retake in October 2019? You bet!

If this helps anyone, here’s a summary of training:

Month/Cardio hours/Core and strength hours/Rest days/Av weight kg





May (incl Extreme swim and 3/4 bike)/48.5/12/15/68.5

Jun (not incl X)/43/10/10/68

Hope that all makes sense? I have chosen to live somewhere very hilly, and whilst not the Lakes, we have many 1 in 4 etc climbs, and lots of fells to run up and down.

Many of the rest days were easing back due to niggles.


Good to read your report, Clive.

What mg per hour did you have from the tabs? Na, K (and Mg)?

I’ve not taken salt tabs in 5 years of IM, up to 37C heat, but I do take a slow-Mg supplement. My only cramps have been when I’m insufficiently trained for a specific event. Same age as you, different diet, slighter build; typically 2 IM per year plus a few halves, although I’m doing less now.

Hey Andy

I guess would have to assume ingestion of an average electrolyte at 750 ml per hour, whatever the avg might contain? But here’s the facts from the Saltstick fast chews per hour:

Calcium: 20mg
Magnesium: 12 mg
Sodium: 200mg
Potassium: 60mg

This is based on 4 tablets per hour.

I have never added any salt to my food (apart from the 2/3 weekly oven chips), maybe one of the issues.

This was a complete game changer!

Hi Clive
You finished about 1 minute after Spike of this parish. In fact, seeing you inspired him to resume running to the finish.
I used to buzz around at the start of races asking for TriTalkers, but have (perhaps fortunately) got out of this habit.
Just for clarification: you did Wasdale Full X. The Wasdale Extreme X was the one earlier in the month, where only 1 person finished.

The new TriX Oly & Sprint should be a giggle tomorrow in this fine weather. Shame the weather is breaking for the main event (HalfX) on Sunday tho!

I’ll sandbag and say I have had manflu all week - only just recovering.

Problem is there is finally another from my tri club who’s coming along so now it’s race on. Typical.

Well done to all finishers at yesterday’s 1/2 X in what were brutal bike conditions - I will post some pictures of the temporary flooded transition with kit floating away in due course.

TC first V50 prize, chapeau old boy

I took paracetamol in the morning to dampen the leftover fever (had been in bed 3 days with manflu last week) and had honestly expected to maybe finish the swim.

As it turned out, hammering down Trout Beck at 60kph in torrential downpour with another experienced X’er and just having a giggle like small school girls at the bottom was all it took to clear the nostrils. We must have passed like 20 people on that descent. :slight_smile: Almost went off at Wrynose West due to overestimating tyre grip in the wet, but that’s another story…

Overall I finished 15 mins slower than previous years, and that includes the rather a lot harder run change.

Awesome event as always. And big thanks to Clive for being around to help out!

Hi all, I am very tempted to sign up for Full X. Never attempted anything like it (most extreme events I have done is IM Wales, Alpe D’Huez long course and the Wensleydale Cheese (amazing race; RIP). I am just wondering what the turnout is like competitors wise, what the logistical support is like (eg feed states, signage/marshalling)? Also, given it is open road, on a weekend in summer, does it get congested with cars esp on the steep ascents/descents?

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Welcome to the forum JRW

The old Wensleydale cheese, ahhh, I remember, my first ever tri in 2007, and next one was the Ben Nevis that had the 56 miles of MTB, and tootling along the road early AM in wetsuit to T1 for the start, ah, those were the days eh!

Re the Full X - about 77 starters (100odd entered online?), 50 finishers this year. Signage was good, especially as there was an ultra run also crossing paths. The roads, surprisingly didn’t seem to be that bad, although there was that crash on Wrynose this year so it was shut thus cutting down on the traffic.

Bikewise - A major feed station at Whinlatter, apart from that I just remember a few containers of water being dotted about. I found it to be sufficient on what was a hot day this year.

Run - there’s a water station and then a fabulous feed station that are both passed twice (out and back). Marshalling was ok on the run, the signs did most of the work, and the fabulous small red flags on the tops really helped. Camraderie seemed good as well. A nice fairly low key event.

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There’s a few on here who knows that race quite well, myself included. I’ve started the full 4 times, the half 6 times and was one of the 15 idiots at the Extreme. Fire away if you got questions.

The race is extremely low key all through, no m-dot hype anywhere. There’s usually around 100-120 starters so swim is very non-biff, also because everyone knows there’s no bloomin’ reason to get in to trouble yet.
Since it starts at 4:30am the roads are almost clear until you exit Keswick. Even then, it’s small roads 90% the way and very few cars (exceptions being the A66 in to Keswick and the west coast main A road). Going over Hardknott and Wrynose you’ll see perhaps 10-20 cars (often some bad smelling smoking veteran cars, god knows why they drag them up there).

Logistical support is as low key as the event. I normally count bringing food for a 5 hour ride to get me to Whinlatter, with water refill at Honister (2 bottles with refills will get you through anywhere). Food stop at Whinlatter is a bag you fill with stuff and they transport there, plus often a few other bits the awesome helpers at the stop supplies. One year it was scones and strawberry jam, yum yum. :slight_smile: Other than that, it’s good to know of a couple of stops/shops along the way - Gosforth village shop (coke, sandwiches, bars, icecreams, etc), and the train station nearer Hardknott (free water point on the top floor platform). There’s course a water point in Eskdale but this year a lot missed it (even seasoned people like me).

Run is 13(?)k flat to a drop place, again your stuff transported there. Then 3k more flat-ish to the bottom of the mountain, and then a stooopid steep 5k or so to the top. Same way back. Getting off the mountain in daylight is your target, it’ll make life a lot easier (and if you’re there in the dark you’re probably going to hit a cut-off).

Short version - this is a low key event where you are somewhat expected to figure out stuff yourself. You’ll not get pampered through like an m-dot. There are no big crowds, mostly just sheep. But all your fellow competitors are all trying to help you get through, and only the top dogs are doing it as a competition. It’s not easy, but if you’ve done Wales you can do this one.

What it really is though, is a f…ing great race. Just be aware it’s rather addictive. :slight_smile:

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Oh, and do go ride Wrynose and Hardknott if you haven’t already. They are in a league of their own and while you might be the world’s best climber, you do need to get your brakes sorted.

Hi, I am signed up for Tri X on 6/6/20.

Any recommendations for a running hydration pack? I am guessing I will have to buy some normal wheels as well in case they disallow deep section rims, which is a bit of a pain as it will mean additional cassette and disc brakes…

I am going with two friends that tried some years ago, but only just managed the bike cut off so just ran the first part…

Anyone else already decided to take part?

I used the Montane Jaws 10 (I think it’s called). First time I ever wore and used it at Tri X ( a suggested no no!) and found it a perfect fit, serving its purpose well. The only annoying thing was the faffing to refill at the water stops, but not sure what systems are the easiest to refill?

Jury’s out for me next year, 1/2 of me knows that I can beat my 18 hours this year, but the other half of me wouldn’t want a DNF to spoil my achievement. Maybe my easy way out is to help instead, esp as I have the Extreme a little afterwards!

T2T - I’d be extremely surprised if they disallow deep rims. Mostly, really, it’s your choice and calculated risk.

Let’s put it this way, we had a TT bike at the Extreme this year. If they were ever to disallow something, Mick would’ve been out. :slight_smile:

(At the same time I’m curious what deep rim disks you got? Been pondering using the Venge for TTs)

I’d advice bottles at the front but it won’t matter that much really. The run for Full X can easily be done with a normal hydration pack - but make sure you can carry enough for 3-4 hours of hard terrain as the last trip up the mountain often has zero refill opportunity.