Bowhill long duathlon and mini adventures

I was very remiss last month, as I never got round to writing about the Bowhill long duathlon! It was the last in the series and lived up to all expectations with fun trails, water and lots of mud.

This time I went down with Andy, who took lots of photographs, but only after he had ‘tested out’ the run course and only just made it back in time for us racers to start! I will let the pictures tell the story of a very fun day.

As far as the results go, I had a fantastic bike ride and was leading for 12 minutes on the run! Things went a bit downhill from there, as my run was slower than last year and I was overtaken by both Jo and Caroline. I still came 3rd though – another bottle of beer for Andy, and I was 2nd in the series – another bottle of beer for Glen! He also got lucky with some homemade chocolate marshmallow icing biscuity things I rustled up the night before.

Easy to use space for up to 6 bikes! I am not used to this luxury.

Easy to use space for up to 6 bikes! I am not used to this luxury.

Fast forward a few weeks and it was time for a mini mountain bike adventure. Andreas is a friend of mine who is training to become a ride leader and wanted to get some experience. He had chosen a route and came to me for some company. I willingly obliged and brought along Marie and Elizabeth, who were equally up for some wild fun.

The only downside was my sleep deprivation in the week leading up to it – with two early morning swims, a trip to London and a 5.30am pick up on Saturday morning! We drove up to Taynuilt and had half an hour to wait for the train to Tyndrum, where we would start the ride back again. I was most impressed with the bike carriage provision – easy space to get into for 6 bikes!

The ride was a mix of wide tracks with little tricky bits thrown in and quite a rough crossing over the watershed in Glen Finglass. We had chosen well: we were riding into a strong headwind all the way, with additional rain at several points, just to give us a free facial, as Marie put it! 😀

Whilst Marie and Andreas jostled for position and rode on ahead, I was more than happy to ride further back with Elizabeth chatting about holiday plans, races and life in general. That is, when we could hear each other over the roar of the wind in our ears.

This was another excuse to try out some new portables – on the menu were polenta squares (tasty but turned out a bit squishy), French toast cake (very good, especially with added sultanas), potato and ginger rice balls (surprisingly OK) and my favourite from last time, sweet potato cakes. I also had a few Quorn mini eggs, just for good measure.

Shame I didn’t eat more of them before I nearly bonked an hour in, or wanted to stop, lie down and sleep halfway through. All good Itera training, I told myself. I’d love to go back and enjoy the fantastic scenery and amazing waterfalls another time – though waterfalls are always better when it’s raining! I enjoyed the random bog walk / bridge hunt, which was the only part of the day where we really had to do any navigation. On the second ‘looking for the path’ occasion, right near the end, I asked someone how to get to another bridge, even though the others said that was cheating!

We ended the day in the Real Food Café as we drove back through Tyndrum. I must have been feeling funny, as in addition to my usual soup choice, I found myself ordering a plate of chips and cheese! I am not a big chip fan, preferring spicy potato wedges instead. I found a good spot for these though. Full tummy, warm clean clothes, not too far home and I was definitely ready for my bed!

Finally, this weekend I was in the Lake District for Lucy’s wedding party. She had chosen somewhere close enough to Kendal for us to get to without a car, but not so close we could stagger back there at the end! So I found a gem of a B&B just a mile along a country lane, complete with a genial host and an upstairs lounge with word burning stove and balcony.

Breakfast is served upstairs

Breakfast is served upstairs


Sunny balcony

Sunny balcony


 

We made a weekend of it. Even riding to the B&B on Friday night was interesting, as we picked our way there in the dark, made a turning down the wrong steep hill just as it started sleeting and finally went to three wrong farms before we got the right one …

On Saturday we went for a run to Staveley, to try out Wilf’s cafe. We were supposed to walk back, but ran out of time and had to run instead – suddenly we had covered 26km! Perfect preparation for a night of ceilidh dancing.

On Sunday we took advantage of the sunny weather and went for a 97km road bike ride taking in three counties (Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Lancashire) and a huge variety of landscapes. Andy praised me for finding something approaching a flattish route when we were staying in the Lake District, though the one long climb to get into Barbondale did nearly finish him off. Although I almost always talk about MTB adventures, this does prove I sometimes ride a road bike 🙂 . I’ve got half an eye on the Coniston Old Man triathlon coming up in June. This is the only triathlon I’ve entered so far this year, and I want to give it a decent go!

Fantastic bike route!

Fantastic bike route!

Somewhere in the last few weeks we also had our club prize giving evening. Here’s me with the handicap trophy for triathlon. Last year was the first year I raced a lot of triathlon, so my handicap rating was favourable. I also did well in quite a few of the qualifying races (which were all in Scotland), helping me to come out on top. It will be going to someone new next year, but meanwhile I have to find somewhere to keep this rock! (it’s very heavy …)

Club triathlon handicap trophy held aloft = weight training!

Club triathlon handicap trophy held aloft = weight training!

Next report will be from the final Open 5 of the series, where I’ll be back in the Lake District again!

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Posted on 24/03/2014, in Adventure Racing, Race Reports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Looks amazing! Not yet official or confirmed but am hoping to be in the UK (mostly Wales and England) in March and April 2015. Want to walk Offa’s Duke and the Pennine Way. Have 2 months set aside so am sure will find a weather window of sorts for both walks and have time to chill somewhere pretty in between. Your pics and stories make me excited to be there. Am going to make sure I have good wet weather and warm gear though. 🙂

    • I have been reading about your plans – though they seem to be ever-changing at the moment! If you do make it here I am sure you will have a great time. I will look out for your possible arrival! 🙂 And yes, you will need gear for literally every sort of weather. Last weekend we had snow, sleet, hail, downpours and glorious sunshine. Today I was definitely over-dressed cycling to work, but this time last year a triathlon I was going to do was cancelled due to the cold, wind and icy roads! Unpredictable and changeable are two words to describe it 😀 .

      • Yeah. Currently changing because it’s part of my process. I’m like that with everything. Haha. But once house sells I’ll book something.

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