By Team planetFear.com
This weekend's training started off with a long paddle taking in the sights and sounds of Holyhead, before heading off to explore the north and south stacks. This area is just amazing for stunning cliff faces, nesting birds and views all around. Probably one of the best ways to see this coast line is in a fast ski enjoying the refreshing coolness of the sea contrasting the burning hot sun. I stopped on regular occasions to take it all in and enjoy my vantage point over the masses of coastal path walkers. This is definitely not training when it is as enjoyable as this. I recommend it to anyone looking for a new challenge as it's very very cool! I then went out for a quick blast in the double sea kayak before dropping it off at our teammate's for them to get prepared for the Adidas Terrex Race in August.
The next stop on the training weekend plan was a long drive down to Builth Wells for the MTB marathon. This was a fairly painless event, with good tunes, good food and a sunset over the hills as we headed deeper into the land of unpronounceable places. Arriving just before complete darkness to make a quick transition into bed and to sleep, well until our neighbours came back and woke everyone up until the wee hours!
On race day everything was prepared and due to travelling the evening before I hadn't shovelled enough carbs into me. So needs must and breakfast was a time for force feeding a) Pasta and Sauce, b) Noodles and c) Electrolyte drink. Thankfully the race would start with a lead out vehicle and police escort to keep the pace down through the town and road sections. This allowed me to settle into a rhythm and enjoy the buzz as we rode out of town. It also allowed me to watch the have a go hero's who pay way too much to shave grams off their bikes and then add kilos on their guts. It's the same at every race and the first hill after the pace car left was when they went out the back door and the racing snakes disappeared. The hill climbs were hot and brutal and nearly impossible to get enough fluids on board and ride at a decent pace. It wasn't long before the 1st feed station and a chance to fill up the bottles before the most amazing sweeping fast decent. This up and down pattern continued along some cool trails with views that were just amazing. The trails were easy to ride and gentle on the bike and body due to their rolling surfaces. The Hill climbs were hot and stifling with no wind, but the rewards were well worth being oven roasted for a few minutes. The feed stations were well spaced and I one even had a cooling stream to jump in that helped keep the core temperature down.
It was now reaching the later stages of the race and I felt good, I knew the 75km course would branch off soon and that would allow me to push a little harder to catch the riders in front. However my brakes were starting to make a squeal and I feared I was running out of pads so had to ease off on the descents. This meant I had to beast it on the climbs which were still going well for me so the pasta party in the morning must have worked. The guys I had been riding with most of the day were about and that lead to a faster finish than planned. Sensing I was nearing the last road section into the finish I put on a bit of power to get a bit of space. My world came tumbling down when the signs unexpectantly diverted us off the road and up a long climb. I pushed as hard as I could but my legs were rapidly tiring after bolting too early! The final descent into the finish was a welcome relief and a chance to have even more fluid. I had drunk 5 litres in about 3hours 30 which probably allowed me to race till the end; others were not so lucky and got ravished by the heat.
A quick change and refuel and I was away on the roads to beat the weekend traffic and get home for a BBQ and kit cleaning session. What a great weekend of training.