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!