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2018 - Raid Corsica
Cobbie's Selected Race Results

Raid du Massif Central - 6 days, 562 miles, 16,300m ascent, 46 hrs Report


Aug - Dee Mile, 2000m OW swim. 29:12; 60/301. Report

July - Raid Pyrenean Report

May - Chester Tri West Coast of Scotland Cycling trip ... 300 miles in 3 days. Report


Sep - Scilly Swim Challenge, 11 miles of swimming in 5 stages Report


June - Dee Mile, 2000m OW swim. 29:33; 25/275 Very Happy Very Happy


March - Gin Pit Marathon; 3:59:26. 14/39


Became a dad Cool

Oct 2011 - Feb 2012

Travelling the world Cool
Nepal - Annapurna Circuit and Chitwan
S. E. Asia and trekking in New Zealand
South America
Trekking the 'Circuito del Dientes de Navarino'; Chilean Tierra del Fuego


Sep - AXTri - Report

June - Chester to John O'Groats cycle ride with the Tri Club; 637 miles in 9 days

2010 Races

Sep - Ö TILL Ö; 14:19; Report

2009 Races

Nov - Pembrokeshire Coast Challenge; 78.6 miles. Day 1 - 5th in 4:39. Very Happy Day 2 - Retired with ITB injury after 15 miles Sad

Oct 4th - Sandstone Trail 'A' Race; 17 miles, 1750ft 2:19:15; 29/156

Aug 8th - Norseman 14:57; 81=/230 Report No1 & Report No2 Smile

June 28th - A Day in the Lakes HIM 5:55:18; 68/309 Report

June 17th - Dee Mile, 2000m OW swim. 29:12; 13/100 Report Very Happy

May 31st - Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Cyclosportif 107 miles, 3000+m ascent; 7:20:26

March 28th Cheshire Cat Cyclosportif 105 miles; 7:04 Report

March 21st - Chester Tri Runners vs Kayaks; Llangollen Canal 32.4 miles; 5:22 Report

2008 Races
The year I was a fat bast@rd Rolling Eyes

Atlantic Coast Challenge 78miles; About 18 hrs Report

Norseman 17:05 Report

Etape du Dales 110 miles; 8:40ish with puncture

2007 Races

Nov 17th - Penmaenmawr Fell Race (11 miles, 1500ft); 1:35:23; 50/220

Bala Olympic Tri 2:14:00; 217/773 (AG 61/203) Smile Report

Hathersage Hilly - 1:22:34; 19/169 and AG 4/43 Smile ; Report

July 11th - Dee Mile, 2000m OW swim. 23:16; 15/76 Smile

Jan 29th - Tough Guy 1:25:02; 59/3800ish finishers Very Happy Very Happy AG 5th Vet Shocked Very Happy ; Report

Jan 22nd - 4 Villages Half Marathon 86:52; 152/1570


Nov 18th - Penmaenmawr Fell Race (11 miles, 1500ft); 1:31:42; 24/237; Report Very Happy Very Happy

Oct 8th - Pentland Skyline (16.2 miles, 6,200ft); 3:30:54; 79/150; Report. Blisters Crying or Very sad

Oct 1st - Sandstone Trail “A” Race (17 miles, 1750ft) 2:15:14; 14/135 3rd V40; Report Very Happy Very Happy

Sept 24th – South Shropshire Sprint 1:23; 28/234

July 23rd - TLD Bike Relay 5:52:38; Report

June 7th - Dee Mile, 2000m OW swim. 28:47; 24/97 Smile

June 4th - Bala Middle 4:47:39 Crying or Very sad

May 7th - Fred Whitton Challenge 112 miles, 4,150m of ascent, 8:18:52; Report

March 19th - Edale Skyline Fell Race 21.3 miles, 4,620ft; 3:48:25, 100/260

Jan 29th - Tough Guy 92:55; 52/3283 finishers Very Happy Very Happy AG 6/521; Report

Jan 22nd - 4 Villages Half Marathon 85:43; 152/1655 Very Happy


Oct 30th - Snowdonia Marathon 3:54:50; 265/961

Oct 2nd - Sandstone Trail “A” Race (16.8 miles, 1750ft) 2:17:41; 29/111 Very Happy

Sep 18th - Bala Olympic Tri 2:20:31; 83/433 (AG 17/100) Very Happy

Sep 10th - Helvellyn Tri 4:17:38; 43/331
Report Very Happy Very Happy

July 24th - The Longest Day 11:00:25; 40/150

June 5th - Bala Middle 4:39:54; 92/318 (AG 25/87)
Very Happy

Mar 15th - Wuthering Hike [31 miles 4400 ft] 5:35 Smile

Jan 29th - Tough Guy 93:49; 161/3,500 Very Happy

Jan 22nd - 4 Villages half marathon 90:39; 256/1504

Survival of the Shawangunks - 5:29:45 35/120 Very Happy
Wolverhampton Oly 2:19:50 Very Happy

The year of illness and poor motivation Crying or Very sad
Powerman UK 3:47

HIM Llanberis 5:09:40 Very Happy Very Happy

HIM Llanberis 5:38 Cool Cool
All about Cobbie

Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Location: Chester
Occupation: Consultant
Interests: Red wine and cakes

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Norseman 2009
Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:24 pm Cobbie
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I’m not really sure at what point I decided to do Norseman for the second time. I was undoubtedly a little disappointed with my time in 2008 (17 hrs 5 mins), though given my lack of serious training I know I was being harsh on myself, especially when I have watched good athletes fail to get the black T-shirt at all. However, I knew that with some serious training I could improve considerably so long as I was able to control my exercise induced asthma. I did some research and asked on tritalk and it seemed like a drug called symbicort might suit me better than my standard brown beclometasone inhaler – which to be honest didn’t seem to provide any benefit that I could identify. Thankfully my doctor agreed and I found life easier within a few days. Successfully negotiating the 3 marathons in 3 days on the Atlantic Coast Challenge on an average of only 15 miles a week running for the year was the confirmation that my breathing should hold up and so I signed up again on the Endurancelife supported trip and started preparing for the race.

My training in the run-up was an order of magnitude better than in 2008 and I focussed completely on a training plan specific to the Norseman. I cycled up a lot of hills, my running was solid with plenty of miles under my belt and my swimming in open water somehow improved without me even being aware that I was doing anything very differently. So, I was confident of seeing a significant improvement in performance, though clearly time ambitions have to be tempered in an event like Norseman where the weather can rapidly change and many unexpected factors are likely to affect your race. My target was to reach T2 in 8hrs 30 mins and give myself a chance of a 14 hour finish with a 5hr 30 min marathon. No doubt it was a stretch target but not an unreasonable one.

Last year my arrival in Eidfjord was stressful and late due to my baggage being lost in transit; this year we had a wonderfully relaxing day pottering around the town before the excellent race briefing.

As I read last year, the folk violinist was there – and very good she was too. Then a lively warm-up act in the form of the tourist officer for the Hardanger national park before the briefing proper. All I can say is that a certain UK ironman race could learn a lot from watching these guys at work. The highlight was the final slide, of a rather hairy backside in T1 (not even Bainsy Wink ) – there was a pause whilst we wondered what on earth was going on and then he simply said – please help put something back into the community as the locals get very little excitement at other times of the year! Laughing
There was also time to take a look at the swim which was very calm and we had already heard from Norseman Dave that the water temp was great – it was all looking surprisingly good since the weather forecast last week wasn’t at all promising.

Looking out at the swim from the exit point - it follows the coastline of the left hand side of the photo

Getting all the kit ready I decided to travel quite light – knee warmers in my cycle top just in case but tri top rather than base layer and cold weather kit in my transition box rather than mountain bag. I did make the mistake of filling my camelbacks too early though; one leaked all over my clothes and so I now really had to hope that I never needed to wear them.

I was sharing a cabin with Piers and he was up at 1:55 – my alarm was set for 2 but since I’d not changed the time to Norwegian it was only an hour later that it went off Rolling Eyes - good thing he was on the ball. I was already awake listening to some calming music so fine to get up, quick bowl of muesli for breakfast and on with my P20 sunscreen and race kit. It was already very warm so I made the decision to discard my sticky kit, something that almost came back to haunt me later as I forgot to replace my leggings with my windproof fell running trousers.

Down to T1 and had my kit laid out an hour before the ferry was due to leave. My Chester Tri club mate Terry took a photo which shows me looking very relaxed and this was how I felt.

I practiced my transition a couple of times, confident of beating my 6 min effort in 2008; had a chat with LadyboyHarv about ‘Ö till Ö’ and then finally it was time to get on the boat. It was a much larger ferry than last year so quite a few supporters were able to join us which made for a more relaxing and festive atmosphere. The only concern was that it was pretty windy and we could see waves all over the fjord and there were also several jellyfish sightings. I had a good chat with a fair few people; Ed (ejls) was nervous, Henry who I met last year was worried about having put on weight and not finishing, Norseman Dave was very annoyed having just found that he would not be eligible for a green T-shirt as he had 2 each of black and white and needed all black – felt very sorry for him. The Endurancelife team all looked ready and team photographer Sarah snapped away, capturing the moment as she continued to do all weekend.
It did soon become apparent that the ferry captain didn’t really know what he was doing as we went round in circles a few times and ended up 200m short of the start (or perhaps the water depth was lower than normal and this was as close as he could get?). Eventually the call came to jump in and swim to the canoes…everybody was confused but soon enough started to leap and then it was my turn and once again I froze. I nearly backed out completely and just couldn’t make myself jump, so sat down as last year before dropping into the water. I would love to do it properly but my age old fear of falling is too strong. The first thing I noticed was how salty the water was compared to last year. I am guessing that there has been a lot less melt water this summer and hence saltier water has made it further up the fjord from the sea – certainly all the side streams into the fjord were dry. Still, no point in getting flustered, just swam gently over to the swim start and positioned myself in the front row, far enough out from the shore to avoid the main crowd.

The other strange thing was how light it was compared to last year – it turned out the messing about in the ferry meant we were 15 mins late setting off. But then the hooter went and all thoughts were forgotten apart from swimming hard. It was horribly choppy and combined with the saltiness, this made it feel to me like very hard work. I tried to swim well but it was like being in a 1400 spin cycle; I was gagging on the salt water and my stroke was as choppy and short as the waves. To say I wasn’t enjoying it is an understatement.
I found some feet but they were getting in the way so tried a couple more with the same result – everybody seemed to be more compressed than last year and the rough water meant that thinking clearly about tactics was difficult. It seemed like an age before we reached the first headland and I deliberately kept close to the shore. On my inside, very close to the rocks, there suddenly appeared a faster swimmer; I have no idea where from but I got on their feet and had to work hard to stay there – just what I needed. The water was now a little calmer, though still breaking over me at times and I was still taking in water occasionally which was horrid; I was certain that I would soon be sick. The only diversion was sudden flashes of yellow in the depths, the jellyfish that I’d not noticed earlier. Then we got very close to the coast for a while and the water was so clear that we could see the seaweed anchored below and growing up towards the surface like a mutant coral reef, all grey in colour and then a sudden drop into blackness and the unplumbed depths of the fjord.
As we got closer to the turn boat, clearly lit this year, we caught a third swimmer and our direction seemed to become more erratic. I nearly lost my tow on a couple of occasions and then finally did as we rounded the boat. Now I was having to work hard to catch up and eventually realised that instead of heading towards the calm of the jetty, they were taking a longer route. So I went it alone, through the fresh outflow which was cool and allowed me to wash my mouth out, then alongside the jetty where I could see that I was catching a large group. I was right up with them at the exit but felt I had had a disappointing swim, perhaps 1:15 and was feeling pretty sick. I exited onto the beach and walked up the grass to T1 with loud cheers and a big ‘Go Cobbie, you’re doing really well’ from La Marquise. I jogged to my bike, noting that hardly any had gone and went through my change routine. Wetsuit down, cycle top on, malt loaf in back pocket, arm warmers onto my wrists, gloves on (bast@rd things are sticking…ggrrrrrrr), helmet, number, camelback, wetsuit legs off, bike shoes on. Ian from the Endurancelife crew got my discarded wetsuit and I was off with my bike.

I later discovered that I was 19th out of the water, the same as last year but from 230 starters this time compared to 180 in 2008. Time 1:03:47 – over 21 mins up on the very slow conditions of 2008.
T1 was quick – I was in the top 10 fastest with 2:37; 3½ mins quicker than 2008 Cool

In all, 25 mins up on the same point in 2008

At that point I had no idea about times, all I knew was that I wanted to honk, my mouth was as dry as the jokes during the race briefing and I had a very sore neck from rubbing on my wetsuit. I soon noticed that this was much more common than normal, somebody later suggesting it was down to the harsher salt water, combined with needing to twist your head and neck more to breathe in the choppy waves, which sounds feasible.

I quickly found my rhythm on the bike and soon enough the queasiness passed. I was straight up to my power target – 200W on the flat, 220-230W on the climbs – through the first tunnel and then onto the old road to avoid the long second. Last year I was passed by loads of people from here on but not this time, I had the road to myself. Then past our cabins from the night before and through a little village before the proper climbing started. A couple of strong looking bikers came past here, one with a seeded number (between 1 and 15) – cool, I had beaten one out of the swim. The main road here has some fairly wild water in the river below on the right and large mesh baskets of rubble as retaining wall on the left. It seemed to go on for longer than last year but soon enough the turn onto the old road appeared and now we were away from the traffic. A drip, drip, drip of cyclists came past, more low numbers – blimey, perhaps I did better than I realised – and actually passed somebody (no, really) on the steepest section before the road levelled half way to the top. If the early section had dragged a little, this had flown past and I even touched 20mph in the large chain ring briefly before the climbing started again. Last year it was really murky and quite ethereal; hanging mist masking spectacular rock architecture. This year it was sunny but with a nagging headwind. I had not appreciated how beautiful the upper section was, the road following the contours of the hill, gently upwards, never very steep and with a delightful, babbling brook on the other side. I was passed by a PlanetX sponsored German lady on a bright pink stealth who I’d spoken to on the ferry and we exchanged a few words of encouragement, then Arnfin, a Norwegian on our Endurancelife trip came past, though I wasn’t sure at the time who was saying hello really.

Suddenly we were at Dyranut, the large yellow building that marks the top of the long first climb appearing and there was just time to wave at the crew before tucking up onto the aerobars for the first time as I started onto the Hardanger plateau. The 1250m climb had flown by, a joy this year compared to the suffering last time; 8kg lighter really made a tremendous difference.
I had been a little worried that my pacing strategy was too aggressive but I felt fine. 220-230W on the climbs, where I would be putting in a steady effort was exactly what my body was used to from my training rides; similarly I thought that 200W on the flat would be fast enough and not cause me any problems with concentration which is my big weakness on the bike. So far, I had been passed by no more than 15-20 people, of whom half had seeded numbers. Given what animals the Norwegians are on the bike, I was pretty well chuffed.

Last year the section to Geilo was cold and damp, the many lakes forbidding and bleak. This year it was warm and sunny, though we suffered the famous headwind and despite averaging 30W more, I don’t think I was really much faster. It was lovely though and I relished every moment; the light was glinting off the lakes and the summer cabins were bright and welcoming. The rose bay willow herb that I remembered vividly from 2008 was glowing lilac and there seemed to be more sheep and cows, their bells clanging away merrily.
I stopped at Geilo, the half way point on the bike to switch camelbacks and have a quick wee behind the van. Arnfin and Piers both arrived (I had leapfrogged the former at Dyranut) before I set off so it was a chance to have a few smiles and say well done. I also got my first time check, 10am, so I knew I was 25 minutes up on last year. [actually I was 40 mins up as the race had started 15 minutes late].
From the van, the climbing starts immediately, the first of the four set piece hills. Piers caught me after a km and we rode up the remaining 2km together, though I could see that he would be too strong for me to hang on to for long. Arnfin also came whizzing by, a lot slighter than your typical Viking build but with power to burn none-the-less.
I was comfortable at 220W but seemed to be slower than 2008, 6mph as opposed to the 7mph that I remember but no point in worrying, I was cycling well. My only problem was that the warmth of the day before had made my GO electrolyte a little fizzy but it was drinkable so not a big deal. Over the top and I was a good 5mph slower on the descent due to the headwind that now became obvious – perhaps it also had an effect on the way up although I hadn’t felt I was being slowed? Then hill 2 which was less steep than the first but notable for me as I started to overtake as many as overtook me – only a trickle but showed I was keeping pace within the field.
The descent is a little more technical off the second hill, careful in the wind before the next climb. More of the same for another 3km but I had forgotten that this one has a false summit. It didn’t matter last year but the headwind was tough to negotiate this time and it was a slow slog for the last section – mentally I started to prepare for more of the same on the 10km plateau on top of Imingfell. La Marquise was whooping on the top and snapping away, I asked about Spike and she told me he wasn’t far behind, I had wondered what was keeping him.

Close to the top of hill 3

Then it was time for the descent, more hairpins on this one before rolling quickly down to the right turn at the bottom of Imingfell and another wave to the Endurancelife crew. Last year this climb tested every sinew of my resolve, this time I really quite enjoyed it, overtaking a few despite feeling a little tired and jaded now. I passed maybe 4 or 5, including the PlanetX lady before rising out of the trees and back into the wind for the final couple of switchbacks before the crowds whooping at the top. I knew this wasn’t the end though, a headwind across the plateau would be tiring, both mentally and physically for the next 10km.
This was why I had been a little frustrated not to be able to manage my plan for a last couple of hundred mile training rides on the bike, they would hopefully have given me confidence to push on at this point. Once I start to flag mentally, I do tend to drop off the power and find it hard to get focussed again – and so it was here. I never had a sense of humour breakdown like 2008 and everybody else was suffering as well but even so, I knew I could cycle faster but seemed unable to gird myself sufficiently to do anything more than fight through the wind. PlanetX lady came past, her tiny frontal area no doubt helping and I did pass a couple myself but it was a long old slog across the plateau. One of the Endurancelife vans stopped at one point and I got some encouragement which briefly lifted me but it was mainly just a case of getting to the other side and the final long descent.
Despite being windy, it was actually pretty warm so I didn’t pull on a windproof, just dropped off the top and was soon up to the first hairpins – new tarmac as promised in the briefing – then swoop down to the third which I nearly overshot last year. It was marked more clearly with an arrow this time and I slowed right down to get past all the ruts and bumps. From there on it is pretty straight all the way, though the headwind meant more pedalling and sometimes even under 20 mph Mad . I’d had enough of cycling now and just wanted to get off. My mouth was sore from the salt water of the swim, my neck was sore from the wetsuit chaffing, I’d stopped eating solid food as my stomach was complaining, I’d had a couple of twinges in my right quad, my right knee was getting quite painful and I was feeling pretty knackered – hmmm, not the best frame of mind for the run. Then Matt caught me up and we had a chat and I felt a lot better. I had just run out of electrolyte so he let me swig from his bottle of water. Suddenly I felt more positive; a buff would cover my neck on the run, I sucked on some mint cake which went down OK, of course I always get twinges in my right quad and my knee was OK now that I wasn’t going uphill. Positive once again, I kept pace with Matt and then John (who passed me before Dyranut last year) arrived to make it a real English group that arrived in T2 together, a lush, green, tranquil field next to a big lake in the village of Austbygde.

I got out of my shoes at the dismount which meant walking across a pile of rocks into the field – ouch! Then quickly over to Gary at the van. I had stuffed arm warmers and gloves into my back pocket on the descent and shades down the side of my bar-top box so it was just off with my camelback and cycling top, on with socks, shoes and running camelback and off. Unfortunately I also managed to unclip my number belt (see pic) and nearly left without my mobile which Gary had to run back for as it was in my bar-top box.

My bike split was 7:25:16, compared to 7:55 in 2008 and the general consensus is that it was 20 minutes slower due to the wind, which would put me close to my 7 hour target.
T2 was again quick, 2:15 compared to 4 mins in 2008.

Overall, I was now at 8:34, close to my target time of 8:30 and just under an hour up on 2008.

I got into my running straight away, 9 min miles was a little slower than I’d hoped for but that was the speed that I knew would make for a sustainable effort. It was warm but breezy which kept me cool enough as I fiddled with my Garmin which, on reflection wasn’t much help with pacing. Eventually that started working after half a mile and I was able to relax as much as is possible and take in the views of the lake on my left, small boat houses near the water and larger houses at regular intervals – all very picture postcard. I was initially passed by a guy I’d overtaken on the bike and got the time of day from his support. 2pm initially sounded disappointing but then he told me about the 15 minute delay at the start and I realised I hadn’t accounted for the mile or so already run and estimated that I’d started the run between 8:40 to 8:50. In general I overtook more than overtook me for the next 10 miles of steady running and was thinking that I might hit Zombie Hill after 2:15 for the first 15.5 miles. John came past around the end of the lake section and we had a quick chat – he was dispiritingly fast for somebody who has only run 3 times this year but then again, that’s talent for you. In reality I was pleased to have kept ahead of him for so many miles, given that we went into T2 together. I also knew that Spike was catching me as I was seeing more of La Marquise who was riding the course offering encouragement and support.

After roughly 10 miles of slightly undulating terrain, the road leaves the lakeside and becomes open, pan flat countryside. There had already been more traffic than I remembered but now it got very busy; apparently there was some sort of folk festival and practically, it meant that there was very little room on what is quite a narrow road once you took into account a runner often with a support cyclist and two cars. Most were very respectful but occasionally a car would cut past too close for comfort.

The wheels started to come off somewhat after 11 miles. I was feeling somewhat hotter and had lactic building up in my calves so started to walk run a little. I had been slowing down and telling myself I could run to the half way point but common sense eventually prevailed. Endurancelife had set up an aid station at this point and I grabbed a couple of cups of water and some jelly babies which I ate quickly before the thought of anything solid made me feel unwell. Despite feeling good on the nutrition front, I wanted to get a few extra calories down me before Zombie hill. I think the sugar did me some good as I sped up a little on the final mile and turned towards the aid station just as Spike caught me up. He immediately asked whether I wanted to go up the hill with him which sounded like an excellent plan – having caught me I assumed that he would be dragging me up. The reality was that he was actually pretty knackered, having had a few problems with his wetsuit and bowels on the swim.

Two views of the long climb up Zombie hill

I think I probably would have been faster if I’d gone it alone but this is a section of the race where I knew from experience how lonely it can be and I was pleased to have a friend to go up with. I think we chatted for most of the 7km, certainly according to La Marquise who was waiting at every switchback with encouragement and offers of food and drink. We were moving at about 18 minute miles, a couple of mins faster than my speed last year and aerobically much easier. It was still hard work though and great to see the 32.5km checkpoint after about 12½ hours elapsed time; only 10km to go, though 800m of ascent left and more importantly another black T-shirt secured. There was no medical check this year so we headed on up and now got passed by a few people on the flatter section, probably 10 people in all from the start of Zombie hill. The top of the mountain had been wearing a fluffy cloud when we were down in the valley; now it was wreathed in some quite dark stuff and I began to feel a little concerned about the mountain getting closed off suddenly. This feeling intensified when it started to rain and soon we were getting pretty chilly in our tri kit. We walked a little quicker and soon enough reached 37.5km and the start of the mountain path. James met us here with the van and we proceeded to don our wet weather kit…at least Spike did as I realised that I had no long trousers packed OMFG . I almost panicked, then realised I had my knee warmers in my cycling top so put them on to make them look like leggings and was sure they would let me through. Then Matt caught us up so we waited for him and set off together, all smiles as the marshal was getting wet himself and clearly didn’t want to spend too long examining our safety kit.

The mountain was pretty grim this year; cold and windy, wet for the most part and quite muddy on the early section. We took it carefully, passing some walkers whilst a couple of keen triathletes came past. Unfortunately, the stop had brought on my asthma and I hadn’t thought to take a snort of ventolin or symbicort as a precaution, so it was a wheezy Cobbie who toiled upwards and now I was really pleased that Spike and I had stayed together. Matt was also happy to stick with us, so we plodded on upwards, in a damp misty bubble. La Marquise had planned to walk all the way up but we met her as she turned back at about half way, sensibly given the need to get back down again. Of course there was time for a team photo:

Matt, myself & Dave (Spike), roughly half way up the mountain section

Then it was on again, hard work now with wet rocks, some of which moved underfoot and care was needed not to slip. Suddenly there was a break in the cloud and we saw the radio mast and finish line just ahead. One more person came past at a real pace and then we sped up in some unspoken agreement to hold off another, grabbing hands to cross the line together in just under 15 hours. I have rarely felt so happy. Sarah was there with Will from the Endurancelife crew so we had a warm welcome and were soon wrapped in blankets with a cup of the special Norseman tomato soup. A team photo followed before we all started to get very cold and decided to head down to the cable car station:

We finished 81st equal of 230 starters, in 14:57:12.

I was 2 hours, 8 minutes faster than in 2008

Looking like I will never stop smiling - Matt, Dave and myself at the finish

We got to see Clare from the Endurancelife trip finish – her OH James had finished 17th overall, an excellent effort and was waiting for Clare to arrive. Then Chris (Spectre Pilot) arrived just before was headed off the mountain. The funicular railway is one of the limiting factors on competitor numbers as it can only take some 40 people an hour (support teams have to walk down) and it was an experience straight out of the cold war; concrete tunnels leading to a rickety tram, on which the driver was clearly too sensible to join us. Thankfully there were more blankets as it was pretty damn cold. We had to switch trains half way and had a driver for the second half before exiting the tunnel into the relative brightness and warmth of the Norwegian evening. Back at the hotel, we met up with Arnfin and Piers who had both had great finishes themselves and learnt that 4 more from our trip were heading for the summit; the rest were on their way to a white T-shirt, including my club mates, Terry and Lorain. I grabbed some food and a beer and then headed over to the finish line to cheer a few people home. This was the biggest let down for me last year, arriving back at the hotel at 2am when everybody had gone to bed so I was determined to cheer this time myself. All the people finishing now had tales of pain to tell; Andrew had barely missed the cut-off (though needed a slap for eating a salami sandwich in T2 Rolling Eyes ); Trev had serious gear problems, being unable to get into either of his two lowest gears – as he is a big lad, this was quite serious and he had to climb every hill out of the saddle – respect; one of the Singapore entrants had crashed on the final descent and was out of the race whilst the other was nearly last, we saw him come through with a lap to go. The worst news at this point was hearing that Norseman Dave had pulled out; I think we all knew it was most likely due to being so very disappointed about missing out on a green 5 time finisher shirt and the race crew were mortified, especially as we all knew that he didn’t have anywhere to stay – I can only hope he is OK.
Terry and Lorain got home in 18:34, finishing together and it was time for most to go to bed whilst a few of us waited over a glass of wine for the final mountaintop finishers to return. They got in at 1am and finally it was time to get some kip.

The presentation ceremony the next day was much shorter and sweeter than in 2008, a good thing. The race director summed things up:
“We expected you to have a slow swim and you all surprised us…We then expected you to have a fast bike…and again you surprised us”

Chopsy was all smiles, having finished top Brit in an excellent 16th place and Henry had also got his second black T, just making it through the cutoff and finishing second last on top of the mountain – he would have been last but for the German behind him not having a head torch and having to follow him up.

There are so many people to thank – Lynn for knowing how much this meant to me; Endurancelife for providing such excellent support; all of you at Chester Tri who I have trained with over the last year; Dave and Matt who I finished with and Susannah for her excellent support and photos; the other triathletes on the Endurancelife trip who made the whole experience such great fun, especially Terry and Lorain who were so cheerful throughout.

Back in black - with 6 time finisher John Hey on my right and Paul Jenkinson of the Serpies on the right as you look

Now that the dust has settled, I am still not planning to return in 2010, despite a really strong desire to do this wonderful race again – it is without doubt in my mind the best triathlon experience in the world. At the moment, I want to leave it at that as I can’t imagine having a better trip than this year. SO PLEASE STOP ASKING ME Smile

And of course, ‘Ö till Ö’ is calling Wink

Split (Elapsed time)

Swim 1:03:47
T1 0:02:37 (1:06:24)
Bike 7:25:16 (8:31:40)
T2 0:02:15 (8:33:55)
Run 6:23:17

Finish 14:57:12; 81st=

230 starters
Almost back to being an athlete in 2016 Shocked

Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:38 am ChrisW
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Inspiring. Well done.
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He's soft and he's fat and he's wearing my clothes and he's getting too old and he was born on my birthday and I'm afraid if I stop running, he'll catch up with me

Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:34 am FaST
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Really enjoyed reading your report Pete and well done. It sounds nails and has the mind wondering if Lanza will be the last of the long distance events should I remain injury free:shock:

The scenery looks awesome and its kind of an exclusive club it seems. Dont understand the Green T=Shirt thing? Is this something you get if you have completed a certain number.

Anyway, great report. Total respect.

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:03 am Bluepoolshark
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Really good report that is. Seriously chuffed for you to get the time you wanted, well done Clap

I'm going back in 2011 so you can join me then if you like! Very Happy
Enjoy the little things, cos one day you will look back and realise they were the big things
Mud, Mud, Mud, gotta love Mud

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:06 am Slacko
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One of the most enjoyable reports I've ever read. Smile A testament to your planning and preparation. Cool brilliant.
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:26 am Paul L
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Fan-bloody-tastic Pete! Cool I am really pleased it went so well for you, Chapeau! Take care, Paul. Very Happy
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