Hell of a Weekend Training and Racing

After a busy season racing I felt the need to get a break from the usual training scenery and planned a training weekend in the Lake District, I had tried to get a group together but it seems I’m a Billy no mates and the only person who was up for some solid training was my dad. As the weekend approached I came across a race on the Saturday which I had never done before called the Bassenthwaite Triathlon, I figured by doing the sprint distance race this would make for a good hard session followed by some more bike training later in the day, on the Sunday there was a 1 mile swim race in Coniston Lake which was very handy as I had decided to camp at Coniston Hall campsite with the aim of getting some good prep training for my final race of the season at Snowman Triathlon which involved fell running up 3500ft to Coniston Old Man and back down.

Bassenthwaite Triathlon This race had an unusual start time of 1pm, this was great as I had camped over at Coniston and had a relaxing morning before setting off for the race. I didn’t know anything about this race which is very different for me as I would normally do a course recce or at least drive the bike route. I was actually looking forward to going into the unknown and figured that would be an added training benefit as anything which takes you out of your comfort zone will stimulate some kind of learning experience. Swim – 750m (seemed long) Going into this race there was no start list so I wasn’t aware of the competition I was facing, I was very relaxed and although was coming off the back of two really solid weeks of training and feeling a bit fatigued I was still on a high from my British Champs result and confident I could race well over a sprint distance race.

The hooter went and i went hard from the off, this race was all about going hard and getting the body used to race intensity, I just did enough before getting to the first buoy at 200m to get a few body lengths lead over the 2nd placed swimmer, I wasn’t keen on giving him an easy time in my draft so kept on pushing, I exited the swim with a 23 second lead and as I was exiting transition I got a glimps of the 2nd place athlete at which I didn’t recognise but noticed he had a Scottish GBR kit on. Bike – (25k) This was a ride of two halves as the first half was flat and perfect for a time trial and then the back half was undulating and against the wind.

As I got into my shoes and onto the main road I noticed the gap was closer than I first thought between me and 2nd place, I started as I meant to go on and put the power down until reaching a roundabout at about 10k which at this point I had a look back and couldn’t see anyone in the distance. I didn’t feel good but I didn’t feel bad on the bike and kept on pushing hard to take me into the second transition in the lead and to the buzz of the spectators enjoying the great weather we was treated to. Run – (6k) “killer hill”

Off the bike and felt ok, it was a slight drag up the road which kept the pace down slightly, as I mentioned, I didn’t have a clue what I was up against and as I hit 2 miles a marshal directed me left and said to me “well done, a bit of a climb ahead”, she wasn’t joking and this climb would of brought many to a walk, I have a very similar climb local to me called Foxholes in Horwich so I just kept plugging away with small strides to the top and then it basically turned down an adjacent road to descend the same distance of the previous climb, this was a quad basher and there was just 1 mile of running to get through the the finish first.

Result Was great to get the win and against a lad who races at an elite level. This was my first sprint of the season and I do prefer the longer distances but this race offered a perfect chance to use for training without to much post race fatigued. Well done to my dad who finished 22nd overall and 2nd in his age group, if only he could swim!

Credits Big thanks to SportSunday Photography for some great race shots Thanks to Tri-Lakeland for organising a great event. Session two – day one So after a post race refuel sat in the sun I drove back to Coniston and switched my race wheels to training ones and headed out for a 60 minute spin, this turned out to be just as hard as the race due to the amount of climbs I came across on route.

One climb I would of loved to have gone up but chose to make this my turning point was Wrynose Pass, I have been up there twice before and as well as needing to get back for the planned bbq, I don’t know if I had it in my legs to get up and then actually do another solid days training on Sunday.

Sunday After a surprisingly good night of sleep in the tent it was a relaxed morning with a start time of 12 o’clock for the 1 mile swim race in Coniston Lake, after breakfast I had a walk down to the lake and it was perfectly still conditions, unfortunately these changed a bit and the race was quite choppy.

The swim went ok, there was a group at the front which I found it hard to stick with and dropped off at about 600m, this left me to swim the rest of the race on my own and even had time to put my goggles back on when the rough choppy waves took them clean off, this has never happened before and I guess if I was in a battle I would have had to sacrifice the goggles. I finished just off the podium in 4th place and another good race intensity session ticked off. Day two, session two/3500ft of climbing After a quick change of clothes and refuel it was time to run up a mountain to Coniston Old Man, this was the final training for the weekend and I had the company of my dad, we both really enjoy fell running so was looking forward to this even though we had tired legs. The run up to the Old Man is a mix of terrain and there is a number of climbs before you get to the top.

After working hard to keep up with my dad it took us just under 2 hours to reach the summit at around 6.5 miles, this shows the toughness of the accent but also what good training and prep for the Snowman Triathlon it would be. At the top we had a quick drink and as I took a couple of photos my dad had already set off down the long descent, as I’m writing this blog iv got some serious DOMs in my quads and I blame this on having to chase my dad down the rocky descent and watch him pull away from me, iv nicknamed him “the goat” for his ability on hill and the only reason i caught him was because he didn’t know the direction, otherwise he would of enjoyed getting back to the car and showing my mum that he’s just beat his son at something.

After a quick soak of our throbbing legs in the lake it was time to head home with a very productive and enjoyable training weekend in the bank. Thanks As always a big thanks to my team VCUK and sponsors, they provide the best kit to enjoy weekends of epic training and racing. VeloChampion.co.uk ChampionSystem Clothing Base Bikes Club Roost Wheels SorryMate.com Lake Shoes Limar Helmets Kenda Tyres KMC Chains Jagwire Cables YourSportsFuel.com Carter Rigging Mark Lomax Chartered Accountants