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.
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- www.bravehearttri.com
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! ;)