Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon, 2016 Champion

This race in its original form (Cross Triathlon, 90km MTB leg!) had caught my eye in 2012 but at the time I did not own a MTB or had ever ridden one but if I could borrow one or something maybe next year I would give it a go. It ran up and down Ben Nevis after all and sounded awesome. Much to my disappointment the race disappeared, to be resurrected in 2015 with a road bike instead. I have said this before but I love the idea of a race that starts in the sea or lake at the bottom of a mountain and visits the summit, I don't know why but it inspires me, I always feel a real connection with the environment and excitement before and during the race that I often don't feel at other times. It seems to bring the best out in me and after a long season that started back in March, ups and downs but never really feeling I had hit a race right I was really looking forward to this one. Would I finally get to see the view from the top of the Ben?

I traveled up on Friday morning, checked out a bit of the bike course and had a swim in Loch Linne with Simon (Check out his site) then headed up to stay with friends Marie and Donnie after registering and attending the briefing. I had a great nights sleep and woke up at 4.45 for breakfast feeling refreshed.

I also find the atmosphere at these races amazing, meeting friends, catching up and talking to other competitors its always a relaxed, friendly feel. T1 was no different today, I got set up quickly and had time to say hello to friends and get warmed up. The loch can apparently get cold but at around 14 today this felt fine, once we got going ;).

I really enjoyed the swim, super easy to navigate out and back, 2 laps with plenty of kayaks to make sure you did not cross over into oncoming traffic. You also go little glimpses of the hills each time you turned to breath and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. I came out after a trouble free swim in 10th position, fast through transition and out onto the bike.

After checking out the bike course and some very useful advice from last years winner Alistair Robinson, the game plan for the bike was a steady effort both out and back, keeping effort level as even as possible and ideally as low as possible without loosing touch. A good run would be possible if I kept to this, I often ride hard out of the swim to make up time lost but with such a long run I did not need too chase too hard. The road surface is superb, with a slight long climb out to the turn around point, then its slightly faster back in but with a very slight headwind usually. At the turn around I was in 2nd behind last years second place Chris Watson, I knew my effort level had been perfect Upper Zone3 or Tempo so knew it was looking good for the run. On the way back it was great to get waves and encouragement from competitors on the way out still, smiling faces and amazing views always welcome on what can be a lonely effort on the bike leg of a race. I came in to T2 just in front of Chris, popped for a comfort break on the way out and started the run in 2nd.

Now comes the interesting bit! I got off the bike feeling weirdly excited about the run, I wanted to try and run all the way up but was not sure if it would be possible. I also knew I would have a fast run down so was in with a chance of winning after a steady bike. On top I had a lurking fear that a super fast local hill runner might be just behind off the bike and storm past me on the way down. The summit had its usual top of cloud but a surprise awaited. Now this is a long, long climb, with steep sections of steps and loose scree, pacing it right from the start would be key. I got to the checkpoint after a steady run out ready to head on to the hill, Chris was now just over 1min in front. I settled into that uncomfortable but sustainable effort level just below threshold and tapped away, I hit my threshold but my legs kept going. I eventually caught Chris on the steepest of the stepped sections just below the Half Way Lochan, we had a chat, unusual perhaps in a race but it just felt right, top bloke and I carried on into the lead. I kept expecting my legs to give up or feel to heavy but they just kept going. I only walked when the path became to busy with walkers to allow running and dropped into a zone. Head down slightly, I was sucking in air through an open mouth but my legs just kept going. Near the top of the zig zags I noticed blue sky, then we popped out above the cloud, it felt and looked amazing. A friendly face from Cumbria, Paul Dobson (check out his website) was on the hill to support and get some pictures, seeing him just pushed me on, by now I knew my legs were with me so I pushed harder to the summit. A handful of blue berries the summit, 10 seconds to reset ready for the down. I hit the first half to the lochan hard, more encouragement from fellow competitors and seeing my friend Marie powering up the hill as 1st lady spured me on.  The second half of the descent required a little more care and by now I could feel muscles cramping from the efforts dodging rocks, walkers and picking your way down the mountain. On the last bit of trail, I felt smooth and controlled. Hitting the tarmac with about 3km to go was the first time I really felt the efforts of the last 5hrs+ racing hit home. I got a bit paranoid about being caught but reasoned I just had to maintain pace and it would be ok.

I crossed the line with a finishing time of 5hrs30.31, super happy to win the race but more pleased to have finally felt the hard training come together and pay off. It means a lot to me to have it all come together like this, on such an amazing mountain like Ben Nevis. As much as I love racing and getting a good result, the feeling on mind and body working so well together in such an amazing environment is my main motivation. I find life is as simple and amazing as it can be when you hit it right in the hills. So many things made this a special day that I wont ever forget. I hope everyone else found something special during your day, you were part of mine.

Special thanks to the race organizers and marshals for putting on this amazing event, it was lovely to be involved in the build up to the event as well so thank you for the opportunity. If you are interested in entering next year I cannot recommend the race enough- 

Also Marie, Donnie for letting me stay and such good company, Dobo and Jane for support on the hill and anyone else up there on the day, sorry if I scared anyone hurtling down the hill but I know what I am doing, honest! ;)

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Update, Legend Half, Helvellyn Tri and Hells Hop build up for the Ben!

Its been a while since my last update but its certainly not been a quite few months. After racing Oravaman I decided to enter the Always Aim High Events new race The Legend middle distance. Its a fantastic course with hills and a mixed terrain off road run but is still very fast. As usual the event is superbly organised and the local support out on the course is great, much like the Slateman. I was really happy to finish 3rd here, sharing the podium with some really fast young guys but felt a little flat during the race, particularly the bike. I had not really had a solid block of training since Celtman so fitness had eroded a little, although I had been racing well and still performing ok, so it was time to top up.

Next up after some good training was Helvellyn Triathlon, a local race that always attracts a strong field and is a super challenging course, with 25%+ gradients on the bike and a run up and down Helveylln, 950m of ascent and descent. With the help of Blair we had come up with a plan to target the Ben Nevis Triathlon as an end of season goal, so this race would provide a perfect chance to test out the form after 5/6 weeks solid training. The race went well, I was happy with 5th place although I did prob overcook the first hill on the bike and my back locked up on the steep hill as a result on the run. As I said though, it was just a test and I felt confident the training plan had done the trick. 

However something had come up that could be a spanner in the works, a big problem I have is saying no sometimes and I just could not pass up the opportunity to take part in a swimrun adventure in the Outer Hebrides. Hells Hop, from the team who brought us Celtman, Loch Gu Loch and many other awesome races was an unreal adventure. We began the day 1-2km (depending who you ask!;)) from shore, jumping from the side of a tall ship into a 2-3m swell and swimming back to shore. The Captain of the Lady Avenal was heard to say 'You came here to swim didn't you?' when questioned about how far he intended to go before stopping the engines! We then mad our way via sea stacks in the Sound of Barra, peaty Lochans, rough moorland, trail, tarmac and surf swims back to the finish in Lochboisedale at the Borrodale Hotel. It was superb and everyone who took part agreed. Unfortunately after taking the lead with around 8km to go, my partners ITB became so sore he could barely walk, so we had to pull out. I carried on and finished the course missing 1 swim but it was still and adventure to remember. South Uist and the outer Hebrides are a wonderful place and I cannot wait to go back soon. 

Anyway, 4 days off the bike, with some heavy swimming and hard running was not exactly the ideal prep for a peak at Ben Nevis but sometimes its good to throw out the rule book and do what you love. I actually felt very relaxed about the race, the 2 turbo rides I did the week after Hells Hop felt ok, along with a good session during a staple 30mins of 30sec Max/Easy Effort run. During this session I had averages better than before Celtman so the signs where good. Not a taper I will repeat though I think!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Oravaman 2016!

Wow, what an experience, Oravaman delivered on all fronts, it truly has everything that makes an event great from my point of view. I can honestly say I wont forget my week in Slovakia in a hurry. Once in a lifetime comes to mind but hopefully I can go back next year. I hope I can do it justice with this blog and hopefully this will be an race report with a slight difference.

It was actually around this time, a few days after the race (2015) that I came across the Oravaman triathlon. With over 2400M of ascent on the bike, 1000M on the run, all off road and visiting a mountain top it promised to tick all the boxes for me, it was clearly hard, extreme, possibly the hardest half distance in the world. I then came across a film, I have never seen a film like it from a race before, the love for the event and what it represents for the community in which it takes place was instantly clear and I knew I had to race it.

Check it out, see what you think -

So a quick email to the race director Peter and the date was in the diary, this is where the Oravaman experience began, in the year before arriving in Zuberec I made new friends because I would be taking part in the race, they offered help, advice and we got to know each other. Oravaman was becoming more than just another hard race and when we finally arrived in Slovakia this really began to show.

 The thing with Oravaman is, it truly is a celebration of the beautiful yet challenging landscape in which it takes place, it is a chance for the local communities to welcome visitors from around the world or cheer on friends and local heroes competing and it also brings people together in a way I have never experienced in a race before. Everyone involved just wants to make your day as a competitor as special as possible and they want nothing more than to see a smile on your face. Just watching the event come to life over the days leading up the event was amazing, the sense of community and family grew. This seems to transfer across to the competitors as race day approaches and goes by. Like all good races it is special and has its own unique character that has to be experienced to be believed.

I am going to keep the race day brief but after the last few months of frustration and disappointment, Oravaman was just what I needed to remind me how much I love this sport and what it gives me in return for the efforts in training. Condition's could only be described as epic, wind, rain and cold for race day after a weeks perfect weather in the lead up. The swim had a huge headwind blowing between the middle 2 buoys at the first turn, it was rough to say the least but I had a good swim for me, coming out inside the top 30. I lost time in transition faffing trying to get a top on the headed out onto the bike. The wind and rain continued, it got pretty spooky at times, I had 2 crashes on the descent from Huty, hitting the deck as the road felt like glass due to the surface water, wind and a polished surface. I was relieved to hit the final 12km climb to T2, which also has the steepest part of the course (14%) for the final KM, I felt pretty good and knew I had paced the hills on the bike pretty well as I pulled away from some other competitors, but my quads started to cramp on the last KM. The run felt brutal, but is up there with the best I have done in an XTRI or anything off road. 95% off road with single track, forest trail and a brutal climb underneath a ski slope leading to a fast but rough forest trail descent. My quads screamed but I gave it everything and knew this at the finish.

I had no idea what position I had come in and honestly stopped worrying as soon as I got on the bike, today was about coping with what mother nature threw at us, getting to the finish line in one piece and knowing I gave it everything. It was far from a perfect race but like I said, Oravaman is more than a race, its a celebration and it reminded me the of reasons why I do these races. I felt so alive after the finish it was unreal. For those interested here is a link to the results, all things considered I was happy to come in in 9th position in such a strong field after the day we had had, but if I had come in 50th I would still have been happy.

I had the 3 course home cooked traditional Slovakian post race meal and a pint of Kofola, chatted with other competitors about the day we had just experienced, met up with my new friends and chatted then headed to bed completely spent. The awesome after party with live band carried on till late despite the rain and mud, no one seemed to want to let it stand in the way of a good time but why would they after the conditions on race day? :)

I hope I have done the race some justice with this report but I do not think you can truly appreciate how special it is unless you experience it. With short course and relay options as well as the full distance it is attainable for most, so check it out, I promise you will not regret it!

Bude Ako Nebolo as they say in Slovakia, "Like never Before"! There is plenty more to come this season so stay tuned!

I have to say a huge list of thank you's for this one and hope I mention everyone-

Peter Pala, race director for your help, kindness and efforts to make our visit so special.
Mark Wilkie, for welcoming us, showing us around and introducing us to the real Slovakia, legend ;) (Check out Marks chalet, perfect location for a training camp, skiing or just a chilled getaway)
Tina and family for your support out on the course in the pouring wind and rain at the top of the hill!
The staff of Penzion Prebisko for amazing food and accommodation for our stay.
The volunteers of Oravaman, Mountain rescue and the local police service for keeping us safe and making the day so awesome.
All the amazing competitors and new friends I made.
The town of Zuberec and all other locals who lined the streets to cheer us on.
The country of Slovakia for being so amazing!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Taking the rough with the smooth...

Quiet contemplation, Thanks Marie

So at a time when I should have been another race report, I found myself once again cursing the gods of triathlon after a series of bike issues forced a withdrawl from Celtman 2016 after only 110km of the bike. The worst thing about it was the fact I knew there was nothing I could do about it, it was a dose of bad luck right when I did not need it. Maybe I have been lucky not to suffer such misfortune the last 2 years and it was just my turn but it did not make it any easier to accept.

The 110km went something like this- First cattle grid, lose gel bottle at high speed, same at second (I have tested this for 6 weeks on bumpy, rough, lake district roads with no issue, seems it did not like the XL Torridon cattle grids), Chain drops twice, hit pothole at about 60kmhr, front tire blow out (close one), second puncture after another 15min of riding then I hit a bump in the road and the bars dropped (second close one), this took a while to fix as the bolts were hard to access with a water bottle installed. This time I took the hint, it was not going to be my day and worse still I was lucky to be un hurt so far. I think you have to pick your battles and it was clear this one was a lost cause.

I wont lie, it took me 3 days to get over this. After so much hard work over the winter and knowing I had gotten into the best shape of my life it felt like now or never (I know that's not how it is now:)) and I guess after missing Slateman through illness I felt I deserved a good day. My brother had traveled from Bristol to support the bike leg with Jo and a good mate had driven from Ambleside to do the run with me. I felt bad to have dragged them all the way to Torridon for not even half a race.

I am a lucky guy though and have amazing family and friends, many of whom were in Torridon for Celtman and realized there own goals starting, finishing and some not but finding their limits. Although it took me 3 days to get over it the recovery started there.

Check out the picture above that Marie sent me. Its taken about 9pm the night before the race, a bit of quiet time down on the front at Shieldaig. I can sit here just looking out forever, its an awesome view and my point is the journey to the race brought that into my life. That moment I felt calm, happy and am privileged to visit these places doing what I love. I have many, many moments like these, all the time and am lucky enough to have photos and videos to remember them but they are not needed. My life has been enriched by these experiences/friends and continues to be along the way to each race or challenge. The race really is such a small part of why I do this. All the messages of support the last few weeks have been awesome, so thanks everyone for this.

So I quickly got back into training, spotted the local Winderemere Triathlon was taking place the following weekend, entered and won! The Olympic distance is not one I would usually count myself as a contender for but I have been working hard with Blair to change that. I dont like hearing myself giving excuses so try to do something about it ;). A surprisingly good swim for me, fastest bike split of the day (despite a dropped chain!) and a solid run givens me good confidence going into Oravaman in 2 weeks time. I know the competition level will be high but hopefully I will have a good day, if not I guess it will just be another awesome experience along the way! Its an amazing journey whatever,

Lucky guy for sure!!

Thanks again for everyone's support over the last few weeks, it means so much.

Moving forwards, always :) 

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Slateman 2016 Race Report...but noooooo! Stay Positive!!

Its about the time I should be writing another race report, analyzing the performance and looking into how that fits onto the grand plan that kicks off the season proper. However there isn't one to write, near enough 4 days in bed was not part of a new taper I have been perfecting and I did not forget to set the alarm clock for race morning, no, I got sick on the Thursday evening, a nasty virus that has been going around. Its the classic tale of illness in work, me being the third lucky recipient. Its the worst I have felt in years and bizarrely I got through the whole of this winter without any illness, talk about bad timing. Still not feeling 100% now but happy to get any easy swim and run in the last two days, feeling better by the minute.

Anyway the reason for writing this no race report is a positive one, in the past something like this could really knock me and leave me feeling very negative for a long time but I have chosen not to let it. Its amazing how much time, effort and passion we invest in things that matter to us so its never easy to deal with when things don't go to plan but that's life, no matter how many hours, how much effort or how great you feel it owes you nothing. It is what it is and the best way forward is to look at what you can do, not what you cant.

  • First thing I did was to remember the bigger picture, I have loads of races I am looking forward to this season, more exciting if I am honest and they are all still there.
  • Secondly, I looked back over my recent training, its been great and all that is in the bank, with a cautious approach to begin training again nothing will be lost.
  • Realistically, this race was 1 training session in the many months of training and racing already done, a drop in the ocean. The light taper week went well, I missed the race day and then would have had 2-3 days off after anyway and hope to get some harder sessions in towards the end of the week. This is still a possible target.
  • If not all the training is not going anywhere and 1 session does not make a successful build.
  • The numbers are great, a result in a race would be nice to confirm that but its not needed, if I was less confident in this I would be questioning stuff more.
  • Get the rubbish luck out the way early, always a good thing!
It does amaze me how much better I am at dealing with this sort of stuff now, essentially triathlon is a game, a hobby but the things you learn can be so useful in all areas of life. Having a good coach always helps in this situation, Blair was super positive as always and in touch, cheers Blair!

That will do for now I think, hope its useful, stay positive and keep your eye on the prize! 4 weeks and change till Celtman ;) 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Kurio Compression, Totally Bespoke

It seems every big sports brand now offers some form of compression garment, along with a few smaller specialist companies who started out in this market. Its not exactly a new thing though, having been used in treatment by Doctors for many years previously. Its proven to improve circulation and increase blood flow which has to be a great thing for improving an athletes recovery and performance right? I think so, which is why I have tried various forms and brands over the last 8-9 years, looking for something which works for me, with extremely variable success.

Here’s a few of the claimed benefits-

·        Improved venous return (the rate of blood flow back to the heart)
·        Reduced muscle oscillation (vibration)
·        Kinaesthesia (body awareness)
·        Reduction in DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
·        Improved posture, body shape and support
·        Changes to blood flow
·        Body moisture wicking
·        Help to prevent swelling and deep vein thrombosis during long periods of travelling

I first tried some compression tops from one of the most well known brands out there, to try and improve performance whilst training for rock climbing. In all honesty the tops just felt like any other Lycra top, stretched horribly and were not actually comfortable in any way. I felt no benefits and quickly the tops got shoved in the draw, I still have them actually but never think I might use them. I have tried a pair of leggings from a different brand but found the same issues. For the last 2 years I have been using Compress-Sport products, which I have found do not stretch out and have been useful for recovery, I’ve practically lived in them between hard sessions and after races. I do believe they helped recovery but always found some drawbacks. I often had slightly cold feet whilst wearing them. However I could never use them during any exercise as my legs quickly went dead and I also suffered with soreness over joints where ligaments etc passed close to the skins surface. I tried the larger sizes but they did not fit over the muscles and were to long and slack in places.

The problem is they just do not fit quite right. Compression needs to be graduated, with less compression the closer you get to the heart and also in the correct place over the muscle group. If it isn’t you are never going to get the full benefits. It also needs to be at the optimal level, too much will lead to poorer circulation, too little and we are back to stretchy tops with no benefits. When you think about it, it’s clear the standard Small-XL sizing is just not going to provide this. The only solution for true performance has to be custom made and quality material choice for the garment is essential.

So I was pretty excited when U.K based company Kurio Compression contacted me and asked if I would like to try a pair of there totally bespoke leggings. They are a driven and passionate team who clearly want to deliver the best possible product to help athletes improve performance and are leaving no stone unturned in order to accomplish this. After a long chat this became clear, they have researched every aspect of their product and this is ongoing. Just check out this link and the research they have had conducted on there own product and others in order to achieve this.

Pure attention to detail! I had 34 measurements taken of my legs and after a week or so 2 pairs of leggings, one for recovery and one for training arrived. Being U.K based for design and production certainly has its advantages, I did not expect it to be that quick!

Unboxing the leggings are well packed and come with a letter with care instructions etc, hand signed which I thought was a very nice touch and shows the care and attention to detail taken to produce them.

 I am now living in these and have to say I am initially blown away with the performance. Perfect fit, no more cold feet in the recovery tights and my legs just feel slightly warm whilst wearing them, a good sign of increased blood flow. Recovery has been excellent and I have suffered no DOMS after wearing the tights, plus my legs feel fresher going into the next session. I also wore them on the flight for a recent trip to race in Malta and had fresh legs the other side. In the leggings for training I have found a pair that I can exercise in with no ill effects and they certainly feel supportive whilst being comfortable to wear. It’s difficult to quantify if they lead to an increase in performance but I will give opinion on this after more testing. So far so good, I will post another review to update on the long term performance, durability etc and will certainly be putting them to the test over the coming months training and racing.

I will post an update once they have had a good thrashing! Be cool to hear what people think about compression and Kurio. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Xterra Malta Race Report

If you are looking for an early season triathlon opener, some sunshine, perfect racing temps and an awesome country to visit, look no further than Xterra Malta. Deidre, Nathan and the rest of the crew will make sure you are welcomed, well looked after and provide a challenging but fast course for racing.

Nice setting for a race! Swim and run route visible :) 

I have been meaning to try out the Xterra series for the last two seasons but the UK event always clashed with something else so this season I decided to make it happen. This event had been recommended to me by a few friends who really rated it and there are quite a few cool videos about so it seemed an obvious choice for an early season fitness test.

I travelled to Malta on the Friday morning, feeling healthy, fit and well rested but did not really know what to expect standard wise at the race. I thought I might be able to make the age group podium and that was a loose goal I had set myself, it was not a target race or a seasons goal but its good to have something to aim for. Friday afternoon I went for a nice swim in sea, it was clear, warm but choppy and I practised Australian exits and diving in to get past the waves. The excitement about the race started to build!

On Saturday morning I took a trip round the bike course with Mat Stephenson, another UK athlete taking part, there were also a load of athletes out doing the same. One of the things I loved about the event was the relaxed atmosphere before the race, no one seemed to be taking it too seriously and I had a good laugh with Mat on the way round. The course was tamer than I am used to in the Lakes but had plenty of technical interest, one longish climb over varied terrain, from wooded twist single track to rough gulleys and fast flat trail. I left the run recce out to save the legs but Mat assured me it was fairly challenging. My hotel was only 4km from the start in the town of Meiliha, another bonus that makes this race so accessible and easy. I felt really relaxed in the evening but excited to race. I think all the winter racing helped here, getting the pre race rituals dialled in, all those learning experiences help to settle things down. I knew what I had to do, did it and that just left turning up to race in the morning. Blair has really helped with this side of things, along with Chris Francis from Eleven Sprocket, its certainly an improvement from the faff, unfocused worry of last year.

                               Evening stroll Meliha

Popeye's Village!

It was super nice to wake up on race morning and just take an easy 15min spin down to the race venue to get set up and sorted out. That friendly relaxed vibe was still present and I had left plenty of time to get ready. Auto pilot kicked in again and I knew I had nothing to worry about in transition. The bike was sorted, bolts tightened, everything in place and I had loads of time to get the wetsuit on ready to race. Unusually for me the water temp was ideal for a pre race swim warm up, a real novelty and not the sort of thing I would advise at Celtman or Norseman! I was pretty excited to be racing in my new Zone 3 Vanquish, redesigned and tweaked for this year, it feels unreal, so flexible and comfortable but super buoyant.

I knew I would not be super fast out of the water so just relaxed and found a rhythm, it was a 2 loop circuit with an Australian exit and short beach run halfway. I made steady progress though, overtaking and catching groups all the way from the first buoy and defiantly did not feel the swim had taken much out of me. No splits yet but I don't think it was a bad swim for me at all. Transition went smooth and it was time to go to work on the bike.

The bike starts off with a slight climb on bumpy, fairly technical terrain, you have to be efficient and pick a good line, hover over the saddle or stand up to smooth it out. I spent most of the first lap of the bike passing people, settling in and riding steady to pick things up on the second lap. I always felt I held back a bit but still made steady progress through the field, good signs that the time on the turbo over the winter was ready to be put use this season. Xterra allows drafting on the bike so it was interesting to ride in a group, take turns on the front and just try to hold wheels on climbs etc. It adds an interesting dimension to the race, again its a more social friendly style than the lone TT efforts of long distance races, I enjoyed this. The course was littered with water bottles, its bumpy, if you race bear this in mind! No bike issues for me though, I came into transition in one piece and feeling reasonably fresh considering.


Another smooth transition out onto the run, an 11km that can be broken down into a fast flat start, steep to draggy climb and a fast but technical downhill blast over 2 loops. I aimed to run as close to even splits as possible for the two loops. I hit a pace that felt maintainable but hurt, passing a 3 or 4 athletes on the first lap but one guy just blew past me, he ended up finishing 3rd in our age group and clearly was a superb runner. On lap 2 it started to bite but I still ran every step of the climb apart from a short step you had to climb over, that even split goal driving me on. I nailed the descent, it really started to hurt now and made up one more place before hitting the flat road to the finish. It was so nice to finish the race with no issues and such a smooth day. I could not have gone any faster and feel I paced it well. In the end I finished in 2hrs45mins, 3mins of the age group podium in 5th and 35th overall including the Pro field. Not a bad first effort at Xterra and I will certainly be racing more in the future with a bit more focus. I really need to get my swim time down to be competitive at these shorter races but it will come.

The flat finsh
So a final assessment of my performance. Things could not have gone any smoother during the race, it feels good and shows winter work has paid off in this aspect, its even more important for longer races so all good. Without seeing the race splits its difficult to assess the 3 legs but I know I had a strong bike and a decent run, not enough to make the podium but 3mins down and 5mins to second is not a disaster, its important to remember the main goal is a faster race at Celtman and a good show at Oravaman so training is geared towards this. I am pretty sure last year I would have been a bit further back, I also know longer races are where I tend to shine, so its a good start to the season and always a good motivator to keep moving forward and bridge the gap. Slateman at the end of May will be telling.

Results link here

3 days off after the race and its now back to training, Blair has put a few sessions up on Training Peaks for me this week, no let up on the bike I see! Thanks as always to Zone3Wetsuits, TrecNutrition, LyonEquipment, CurranzHealth and ElevenSprocket for the support.