Joined: 30 Jun 2010
Location: High Peak
|Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:47 am Post subject:
|Thought I would tag this on here rather than a new post even though it's not technically right race
Ended up doing the Sandman Legend Distance at the weekend and it utterly sucked!
No fault at all of the organizers, Just bad weather, being overweight and undertrained led to a really really tough day! However, it could have been a lot worse!
Wednesday and the forecasts were for torrential rain and 50+mph winds! The Organisers issued a Disc wheel ban and advised against deep rims, warning of likely course changes for safety.
Friday night and the winds had been forecast to calm slightly but we were still in for 8+ hours of torrential rain and 10DegC! I had a proper hissy fit and very nearly considered not racing, I wasn't properly fit and quite simply didn't want to sit on a bike for 3+ hours in the pissing rain. I wasn't going to enjoy it or perform well so why ~#*$ bother!
Praying for a miracle or the event to be canceled I went to bed Friday thoroughly pissed off.
Saturday morning and the miracle had materialised. It was still giving it cold and a strong Breeze, but there was not a drop of rain in the forecast! Pretty staggered I packed up the car and headed to Anglesey.
Registered on Saturday and had a look about. The race briefing said trail shoes recommended, but I was doubtful and the trails around the transition looked fine in Road shoes (Road shoes are the correct choice, If I had gone for trail shoes I would have been fuming, it's 90% good trail/fire road). Checked out the Sea which was looking calm and around 14DegC so all good, Tesco for nutrition, then bed in a local Travelodge.
Race Start was 8:30am so a fairly reasonable 6:00am alarm was set.
Arriving at the venue just as the light broke, everything was calm and quite warm as we started getting ready. This was when the first bad news broke. For some reason, the water temp had dropped 2 Degrees overnight. and was now 11.9 DegC. For Safety the swim was being cut to 1k. This made a lot of people happy. Not me. I would much rather swim 1.9km in 14 DegC than, well anything in 11Degc! That's Faceburningly cold!
Walked to the Start and a quick acclimatisation confirmed it was really ficking cold. However it was pancake flat, and the weather could not be better for a sea swim. The gun went and we all tiptoed in ready for the burn.
After 100m I felt the temp changed, it felt warmer, and after a pretty uneventful swim we were heading for shore and hit the cold water again. A bit annoying the swim was shortened when the cold water was only very close to the shore.
Out on the bike and the start of the bike course is great, flat and following the straights with stunning views of the Snowdonia Mountains. Things were going great, as we hit Beaumaris the heavens opened, A mix of rain and Hail on a descent were not fun. But it was only a heavy shower. We then turned and headed into the desolate middle of the island.
I knew this would be the hardest part, its really dull, desolate and exposed and the profile revealed endless climbs and knowing Anglesey I knew there would not be an inch of flat. This was also into the Jaws of the wind, that was not blowing 25-35 mph. This was utterly miserable. Completely soul and leg destoying. My lack of training was really showing as my back siezed and things just go hard. I consoled myself with the fact everyone else was miserable too.
My watch was on just time, as there was going to be nothing encouraging on any other display, so I just looked at the watched and forged ahead for 10 mins, another look and the watched had moved forward 2 mins. Time had seemingly stopped. And we were STILL heading away from the finish, into the wind.
After an eternity in the wasteland, the course switched and headed for home(ish) at mile 43 there was a drinks station and we joined the Classic route. At this point, I got a bit giddy. We were at the tail end of the Classic so even untrained and knackered I was able to pick off lots of riders, and with the finish in my sights, I found a 7th wind.
Around mile 52, the legs just went. The last two climbs there was nothing, rather than cruising home my last attack had left me ruined. The last mile is all downhill but the last hill to get there was a real grind. On the descent, to transition, I did manage to get some air off the speed bumps which was interesting on a TT Bike
A Quick transition and I was out on the run, but not for long. My legs were just useless and my back just locked completely. I was in utter misery and only able to run 1-200m then needed a walk break.
The Forest was beautiful and it's a great run course but I had no interest in walking 12 miles so resigned myself to the fact I would complete a lap than jack it in, unless things got better. I kept trying to run and slow but surely the bike fatigue waned and my back loosened, and I was running the flats and powerwalking the hills.
Along the final beach section, I was constantly gee'd along with encouragement "nearly there" "Last Push". One particular lady tried her best to buoy me up, and point out the flags that marked the finish, My response of "No, I still have another lap" elicited a response of "Oh #@?#...Sorry!"
A quick systems check, showed I was ticking along fine. I knew I would be slow, two stone overweight and only six weeks of training in my legs, but my target was sub 6, and that was still on. I was moving fine, albeit run/walk and really had no excuse to even be miserable, let alone quit. So without much thought, I headed off on the second lap.
This went much better, it was a lot quieter as the Standard runners had all finished. And it was just a pleasant run it the forest, a slow, long, painful, pleasant run in the forest.
Finally, the final beach section showed just how fatigued I was, Maintaining a straight line was challenging, and even with 300m to go and 3mins to get under six hours I still had to take walk breaks. But I crested the final sand dune with 23 seconds to get under the six and "fell" towards the line to get across in 5:59:44
Not times to set the world on fire and only 49th out of 88 finishers, but it was a tough course, on a tough day and I was completely out of shape after enjoying the summer for once!
The event has a real small friendly event feel and I really enjoyed it, it was so easy to race, the car parked 20m from transition, and everything in a small well-organized area. The queue for the toilets in the morning was ZERO with several free. Nearly every event I have been to has been undersubscribed in the toilet department!
Can't fault the organisation at all, I even like the Tshirt, and we got free cowbells.