Last minute training
I’m facing my last big test of the summer! Next weekend I’ll be heading north to Fort William for the Big Ben Nevis Tri. This is billed as ‘gruelling’ and ‘the UK’s toughest triathlon’. Nothing to worry about then …
With only a week to go I realised there was some essential pre-race training to be done!
SWIM (1.9km). I had only swum in my wetsuit outdoors once this year, and that was in May. So I took my last opportunity to go out with a group on Wednesday night. This was at Threipmuir Reservoir in the Pentlands. Just an 11km uphill pedal away from work, I left a meeting at 6pm and rode up as fast as I could to get there on time. About then, the thought crossed my mind that I really should have brought some water.
3 laps and 2.1km later, I stumbled out, found I couldn’t really speak any more and spent so long getting changed that my feet froze and everyone else had gone home. I was still thirsty – when I had accidentally swallowed some of the murky, peaty water it seemed to taste good! Halfway through the long ride home I hit the metaphorical wall and began staring longingly into takeaways when I was stopped at red lights. I stumbled in at 9.15pm and began emergency re-fuelling!
Oh, I have also been having problems with old leaky goggles which will be no good with contact lenses in. So I ordered a new pair, which arrived on Friday and got a test in the pool today. They leaked a bit but I was checking what 1.9km non-stop would feel like and how long it might take, so I didn’t want to pause and adjust them. I also got an unrelated cracking headache – hmm.
BIKE (90km off-road). Well, I ride to work all the time, so not too many fitness worries with this one. But after the Trans Wales, I couldn’t backpedal in the small rings of the cassette without the chain catching. Cue an emergency trip up to the Bicycleworks for some investigations. The mech hanger was straightened, the (supposedly-long-lasting) cables were lubed a bit and the tension adjuster twiddled. But unfortunately no concrete diagnosis could be made. Ach well, it still seems to go forwards OK. I’ve also added a headset protector and mudsplash thing, as I think some gritty bits got into the bearings and I don’t want it getting any worse! Only one decision left – whether to ‘test out’ the new saddle in a race or stick with what I know?!
RUN (21km – up Ben Nevis and back). I’ve been nursing a twisted ankle, which doesn’t bode well for the ascent, or more likely, the descent (!) of Ben Nevis. However, I did want to test out what it would be like to carry all the required kit for the running stage in my hip bag. I set out from work to do a loop round the grounds one lunchtime last week, looking the picture of sartorial elegance. I’m glad I did, because it didn’t go well – the bag was too heavy and bounced up and down, I had to tighten it so much it dug into me and it was generally uncomfortable. Rucksack it is then. I’ve been assured it’s mostly a walk anyway 🙂
Given how all that has gone, I’m changing tack. Between now and the race I’ll be taking it easy and trying to get some decent long nights of sleep. My mum is doing the honours of taking me to the race, cheering me on and looking after me. I think I’ll need it!
There are not many women entered – 8 of us so far – which is more than usual. I have just noticed that the course record holder Hannah Barnes has also signed up, so there’ll certainly be competition! For this race though, I am concentrating on a) finishing and b) getting round in under 10 hours. Anything else will be a bonus.