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Bala race report...feel free to get a coffee
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ray




Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 8476
Location: newcastle under lyme

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:31 am    Post subject: Bala race report...feel free to get a coffee Reply with quote

Bala Middle Distance

2000m swim, 48 mile bike 12.7 mile run

Bala is now listed as one of the top 10 hardest tri’s in the UK situated in the foot hills of mount Snowdon in Wales.

Leading up to the race most of the conversations were about the weather (forecast was rain and cold temp) and what effect this would have on the lake, as it is cold lake that gets some good chop on it when the wind blows.

My Goal for the race was to use it as an IM tester to make sure I know my pacing and to get my feeding on the bike right.

Sunday morning came round and we (me, my wife and son) made the short walk from our B+B to the race area , we were lucky as the race has an unusual sociable start of 09:30 for the first wave and 09:45 for the second wave. I registered and got my number marked on me and went and found my bike position and set up my area. It was still just before 9 so had about an hour to wait as I was second wave (veterans being an old 41).

There was a tanoy briefing giving you all the right information needed. Like the bike is hard and the run will kill you…nice. Oh and that the veterans and women were off at 09:30 now. Time now 09:10…#@?# panic. Wet suit on and off to the holding pen, we were counted in and slow edged into the lake…yep they were right it was cold (even though they said it was a reported 17 degrees at the edge) the first few attempts to get swimming came up short as I struggled to get use to the cold, but soon I felt ok.

The swim

The horn went and we were off, aim for the swim was take it as easy as I could with out just floating. A few times I felt myself being moved by the waves as the swell increased, not massive, but I have never felt this before so it was a bit strange. I got to the turn around marker and still not seen any yellow caps of the second wave, so happy with this. The return journey was not as easy, as my lack of swim prep started to show, arms started to feel heavy and I started to lose form and concentration ( will need to up my swim prep for IM) finally I could see the out jetty and bodies streaming out of the water. Stood up as closed in and the were got shallow only to fall over both time, finally hands grabbed me and got me out, watched said 48 min…happy with it but not a comfy swim that I wanted.

T1

Went smooth sat down after I had got my wet suit on quick gel and some water, kit on and off to the mount point, could hear my name being called from all over, seen Tracey and Jacob waved to them, mounted and off

The Bike

It is reported that all the major climbing for the ride is with in the first 11 mile, but I would say it is more the steeper climbs are with in the first 11 to 15 miles but the ride continues to roll for long after that. Soon as I was off I started my mantra of pace, water, and your race not there’s. This worked as I was passed by a lot of riders with in the first few miles; I would se these people later. Finally after 2 mile I had got myself in to a good riding rhythm taking on water, and HR in the Z1 low Z2, and pedalling felt easy and fun. Soon I was passing one or two riders, as the roads started to go up, we wound our way in to the welsh country side, and I allowed myself a brief moment to take in the site, and I am glad I did…stunning.

I was surprised how easy I was finding the hill’s I would either stand for a brief moment to give me a bit more power or if it was a longer climb move up a gear and spin up. This was working and again people were dropping past me, I still had one or two passing either better riders or people that just didn’t like being passed…but hey my race not there’s. First hour flew by and I still felt good so I up’d the tempo a bit, and again found it not to hard. The good thing about going up is at some point you have to come down, and when we came to the steepest drop of the race 10% hill I was a bit worried as I don’t descend well, however this was not a technical course and the road was stretched out before you and you could see the odd bend and for a good way ahead. So I let my self enjoy it so sat back in the saddle hands on the drops covering my breaks and body as low as I could…and away speedo said I clocked a 41mph max I can only assume this was he point, going down I passed people pedalling….why?

From about the half way point I noticed that groups were forming, not so much drafting, but course and speed forcing people to hang together, a few times I had to drop back or pick the pace up to make sure I was out of the draft zone. It was also at this point I lost the plot a bit on my tactics and got sucked in to a cat and mouse struggle with a few other riders, I would pass them and they would pass me and so on. I up’d the pace so did they, I then realised what I was doing and let them go. Only to pass them in the last 10 miles as they had blew up. With in the last ten miles I had a period were I just felt so good it was unbelievable. I could see a long pace line in front possibly 10 riders, and I just thought ~#*$ this I passing them, so down on my bars, dropped a gear and upped my cadence slightly, and I just went by as if they were stood still (or so it felt). Finally I could see lake bala so I knew only a few miles to the end, this was the worst bit as I suddenly found myself not enjoying myself…luckily it didn’t last.

However the worst was yet to happen, as we made the right in to the race area and headed to the dismount point, it was down hill, I unclipped and realised I was not going to stop in time, and for a split second I was not sure what to do, forgot what foot I had unclipped tried to put the other one down. and crash, took the poor guy out on my right good style. I made sure he was ok as It was my fault he said he was but was hit by cramp. So in to T2

T2

Nothing great here put some gel’s in my pockets swapped y shoes and helmet for trainers and a bandana and off on the run.

The Run

Now if I said this is a hard run, it would be the understatement of the year, the only flat bit is the first 800m and the last, the rest is a continues possession of climbs and docents the worst being at mile 6 leading up to the turn around, actually there are 2 hills and you obviously have to come back over them to get home. Again as I left transition I gathered my thoughts check my HR and put my plan in to action. I have trained with a run/walk strategy for the past 9 month so time to see if it works in action. At first I found I was going to hard so forced myself to slow and again seen a steady stream of people pass me, had a brief conversation with one lady, mentioned my run/walk and she sneeringly said “oh I can’t be doing with walking it’s defeatist” well she was defeated at mile 8 as a passed her again….smug smile time. So plan in place and I was going well, had to stop for a pee at mile 3 first of the day (I did try on the bike but couldn’t do it) I found I was reaching each mile marker as my walk break was coming up, so I figured I was keeping a rough 9 min mile pace going, but I was struggling keeping my HR were I wanted it, as the constant up’s were spiking it. Soon I gave up trying and just ran on PRE (this could have been a mistake I am not sure) I started the first of the bigger climbs and felt good as I was now catching and passing a few people that had passed me earlier, all looking tired and hurting. I was but I tried not to show it. I have to say I don’t remember any pain in my legs during these climbs, maybe I managed to block it out, maybe I was not going hard enough. At the turn around, I heard a voice say “keep going Ray you look good” I felt like saying I feel like #@?#, but I mentally slapped my self, no defeatist talk, so I just grunted I think. (only later did I realise it was FBL sorry mate for not giving a better response) so homeward journey and much of the same by now my HR was pretty much above 85% continually and this was to take it’s toll soon. Passed many more runners including defeated women..sorry for being smug but I hope she was hurting. Had a good chat with SimonG and pushed on. Now I had said before the race if at mile 3 I had something left I would let it lose here and go for it…oh how we laugh now…at mile 3 the wheels fell off and I felt the worst I had all day, I had one gel left and no water (mistake I should have taken my own bottle) but I knew there was an aid station about a mile ahead so pushed on, took the gel just before and grabbed 2 cups of water. Tried in vain to catch the guy’s in front but my legs were now stone. Suddenly I realised we were in the last mile and I could see the home turn across the bridge, checked my watch I had 5 min to get home under 5:30. as I got to the bridge another voice rang out encouragement (Alan FaST) I think I mumbled how crap I felt, and for this my punishment was to run harder, passed and caught the back marker of the small group I was cashing, and down on to the stony path to the finish, at this point I thought I would get in in time, so dug deep and pushed as hard as I could, I could hear cheers and voices ringing out, didn’t know if they were for me or someone else, I used them, as I rounded the short bend for home I caught a glimpse of my little boy pointing at me, what a moment, wish I could bottle it. Over the line watch stopped at…..5:29:30…DONE IT yes small fist gesture

Now at this point I would have and thought I should have fell to the floor in heap, but I stood there looked around for some water and went and found my wife. I still felt good although my legs felt a bit spongy, I just new I had had a good day.

So now the thank you’s

Sue and Alan thanks for being on the bike section (hope those pic’s come out) and the run section, Alan thanks for being at the right place at the right time on that bridge.

SimonG thanks for the chat on the run

The Pirates ….you just got to love these yellow clad fools, there voices were always there and there little supporters club was great,

Nice to have meet up with Duncan again and his wife Jane, also had a great race. Also to have meet for the first time Putt Putt and Spike and is one man supporters club, she was just amazing


So highlights…the race it just rocks, if you don’t do another race do this, just for that ~#*$ run

Low points, falling off my bike, not being able to swim, not getting my pacing together for much of the run (having said that if I had would have broke 5;30..probebly not)

Main question that need answers…am I on track for IMUK…YES
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wonderboy




Joined: 29 May 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one Raymondo! FBiL did that to me last year, my reaction was similar to yours!
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Barley




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Ray, great racing.
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leeboy




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

top draw ray mate hats off to you fella.

ps i needed 2 coffee's though Very Happy


wish i had the balls/ability to do this race.
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doug




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jolly good show old chap Winner
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Dale Cannonman




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ray - Great one mate. No, not the race, the report!

Seriously though, well done on a hard course that deserves respect. The approach you adopted worked wonders on the day and will set you up nicely for the big one.

Dale Cannonman Very Happy Very Happy
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snowbo@rder




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is my first post, and as a result of still being on a high after yesterdays race I feel compelled to write something down.

Firstly I'd just like to say how great to it was to meet various TriTalkers yesterday. What sociaable bunch you are Smile

I too found the run harder than expected. At the turn I remember looking at my watch at the turn and thinking I had 50 minutes to do the 10K to come in under 5h. The run has a way of sapping your legs, and as it turns out the run back took me 53 minutes. Chuffed to bits with 5h03 for my first middle and will be back next year.

The only downside is not having a polo shirt to wear when I register for Windsor in two weeks time. Maybe I can wear the towel as a sarong Very Happy
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Slacko




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now THERE'S a City man!!!

Great effort Ray, chuffed to bits for you.

Roll on August 19th!! Twisted Evil
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fatboyinlycra




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ray, you say you felt like sh1t at the turnaround point but you looked a hell of a lot fresher than a lot of the others around you

and you looked more like you had an idiotic grin on your face than a grimace!

glad you enjoyed it mate.

Just be glad you werent one of the ones I made go back for not running round the circle properly Twisted Evil
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ray




Joined: 03 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fatboyinlycra wrote:
and you looked more like you had an idiotic grin on your face than a grimace!


people have always said i am to stupid to know whats going on Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil


had to laugh when chatting to simon..he said i knew it was you i don't know how you just looked like you had to be Ray.

Wink
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Poet




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ray - Well done on what can only be described as an excellent race report and what sounds like an amazing performance from yourself. 5:30 for Bala Middle, I'd be lapping that one up!

Good look for Sherbourne, chap!
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Legs of Jelly




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done ray you are on track for the hills of IMUK. Cool
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Mrs Slacko




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats a great race report.....I love reading about the longer distance events, makes me feel scared senseless Wink. IMUK.......just a small matter before that for me Puke Your mantra about racing your own race and no-one elses I will use. Welldone.
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GeordieM




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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done! I was competing too - one helluva tough day out. The run is doubly sapping as it's an out and back. Still, you get to look into the eyes of those behind you and view the suffering!

G
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice one Sir. Clap
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