Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A Day in the Lakes - Race Report

Following the first year of this tough event when Colin & Genevieve entered this challenging race without quite realizing what it was, Team ATHelite have turned up with more & more numbers each year. This time was certainly the biggest ATHelite onslaught yet. Even at registration the organizers couldn’t believe the number of people we had in the race – 6 relay teams plus Alan Stirling doing the whole thing. Registration was a little confusing as we had lost Jack from the 1st team at the last minute & there was some complicated restructuring going on with none of the teams remaining the same as initially planned.

The weather forecast on Saturday was always wet & windy and we pitched the tents quickly before the rain started. In the middle of the tented corral we also had 2 gazebos to shield us from the elements – in fact we had so many tents, windbreaks & fancy furniture we were virtually back indoors again.

Having indulged ourselves in a bbq meat overload & a light drink we all headed to bed and (in a Beaver Triathlon flashback) spent half the night awake as the wind whipped through the camp site & the lambs bleated away in the adjacent field.

As we nervously peeped out of the tents early on Sunday morning it looked pretty unpleasant outside with heavy cloud & a strong wind blowing. We started to hear rumours that the swim was being cut short due to the conditions and were initially annoyed but, as we finished the race briefing and headed down to the lake it was clear to see why. The safety kayakers were having real trouble & I have never seen such big waves on a lake. There were 2 swim heats depending if you predicted faster or slower than 30 mins for the 1.9km (though the distance was now cut down to about 1.3km ish). As I had replaced Jack I found myself in the first faster heat and whilst I should have been at the back of this pace group I saw people struggling with the conditions & went to just behind the front instead. Alan Stirling was also in this group

The Swim - Ullswater (1.3 ish km’s not including the vertical ascent!)
As the hooter went it was immediately clear that this was going to be tough. Those people who weren’t breathing away from the waves were really struggling. It was quite nauseating at first & I was really fighting to stop being dragged away to the right. Sometimes as you went to stroke there was no water there & you then dropped into the trough before being hammered by the next wave. It was also impossible to see the buoys and on the way back in a group of about 30 of us were dragged out to the left but I eventually sighted on the buoy & picked up the pace & pulled away from the group I was in. Despite being in a faster swim heat I actually exited the water in 28th position to hand over to Michael before chucking up about 4 litres of lake water all over the grass!
Alan Stirling was also in this group & appeared to have a solid swim before heading out on the tough bike leg. Genevieve finished very strongly on the swim and despite starting 5 mins later in the 2nd heat exited the water ahead of a lot of people from the first heat. Graeme had a chat with a man in a Kayak & Dawn swam the whole thing breast stroke?!

Swim times for the miscellaneous distance were as follows; (I hope these are correct as the teams & names all changed)
Colin  22.24 (28th overall)
Genevieve  24.39
Alan  26.01
Sandy  26.11
Lorna  28.53
Graeme  29.02
Dawn  29.33

Having watched the bikers go out we all headed back to our little tented village & put our feet up for a couple of hours. This is the first time I have done a relay as opposed to the whole thing & I could definitely get used to it!

The Bike
The bike course is actually slightly long at 58 miles but it is the climbs that make it tough with a particularly hard ascent up & over Kirkstone Pass (in the clouds & rain) followed by the climb up Shap. The wind made it doubly hard for the riders too.
As we headed back to transition to watch the bikes come in it was clear that there were some really fast guys racing today – the lead guy had already built up a 7 minute lead & would extend this lead even further on the run.
We were expecting Michael to arrive in first for us but it was actually Brian who came in first & he had clearly had a flier. Brian handed over to Colin Bain and we waited for Michael who appeared a few minutes later handing over to Alan Derrick who set off to see if he could hunt down Colin B. Whilst the others waited to see in Lisa, Frank, Ian & Don, myself Genevieve & the Gman started our run out to the feed station to cheer everyone on. By now the weather had really warmed up to the mid 20’s & even running out on the road it was really hot & sweaty. It was going to be a tough 13 mile fell run for the final legs competitors.
Unfortunately Frank had some knee trouble on the bike whilst climbing Kirkstone & had to turn & come back. We also had a disqualification as The Blonde Rocket Lisa jumped a set of amber traffic lights right under a marshalls nose!!
Relayers Ian & Don both had strong rides & Alan Stirling was still progressing well in the full event. 

Bike times as follows
Brian 2.53
Michael 3.01
Alan S 3.30
Lisa 3.47 (DQ!)
Don 4.02
Ian 4.02
Frank DNF

The Run
The run route teases you initially with a bit of flat road before kicking up right into the hills up a landrover track then undulating along a rocky path for 5 miles to the feed station & then the main climb (walk) up the fell and around a tough loop before coming back to the same feed station & a 3.5 mile hobble on the road back to the finish.
We waited at the feed station & saw everyone through with Genevieve giving her usual high octane encourage to one & all, prompting one of the marshalls to ask if she had an ‘’off switch’’!
By the second water stop Alan had swept past Colin B & we were now sitting in 2nd team position with Colin B holding onto 3rd team position.
Our other relay runners Dawn, Shirley, Lorna & David were all looking good & enjoying themselves. Alan Stirling, like all the others doing the full event, was starting to look pretty hot & tired but still moving forwards at a steady pace and seemed in good spirits.
We ran back to the finish line & waited for all our guys to finish. Alan Derrick is totally in his element on this kind of run & cruised past several people to finish & give us 2nd team prize & Colin B also held his position to win the 3rd Team prize. Out of 40 teams this is some result.
Dawn, Shirley, Lorna & David all finished to big cheers from the rest of the teams at the finish line.

Run times as follows
Alan D 1.39 (3rd quickest run of the day)
Colin B 1.48
David 2.10
Alan S 2.59
Lorna 2.28
Dawn ??? (chip time incorrect)
Shirley ??? (chip time incorrect)

Overall Times;
Colins Team 5.02 (2nd Team)
Genevieves Team 5.07 (3rd Team)
Sandys Team 6.41
Ians Team 7.01
Alan Stirling (whole event) 7.01
Dawns Team 6.05 (DQ’d)
Graemes Team (not quite sure!)

After the event half of the group had to pack up & head north again but a few of us stayed for another night of more BBQ & (a lot) more booze in the evening sunshine &, apart from us, a much quieter camp site.
The next morning was glorious and following breakfast & a gentle morning swim in the mill pond flat lake (what a difference a day makes) we were the very last to leave the camp site & head north to the greyness & driving rain of home!!
This was a fantastic weekend & highly recommended event. We will no doubt be back but I am doing the whole thing next year!!

Paolina Allan wins Welland Half Ironman

Huge congrats to Paolina Allan (Genevieves sis) who decided last minute to enter the Welland Half Ironman in Canada. She only went & won the event beating 5 Pros & broke the course record finishing in 4.29!! All the damage was done on the bike. Well done Polly!!

Gray and Allan win the Welland Half Iron

Toronto's Nigel Gray and Aurora's Paolina Allan took the overall wins at the second Welland Half Iron Triathlon.
Allan used a top bike ride (2:22:03) to secure her victory. Toronto's Ayesha Rollinson led the swim (27:51) closely followed by Torontos Suzanne Zelazo (28:40). Once on the flat but windy 90-bike course that is where Allan took control and powered to the front of the women's race. Toronto Chiropractor Cindy Lewis, making her professional debut, rode a second best 2:26:50 to get into third. Zelazo chased hard during the final run (1:29:59) but Allans lead was just too much. Allan stopped the clock at 4:29:04 to take the win, Zelazo who used the race as a tune up for Ironman Lake Placid, settled for second (4:31:17), and Lewis maintained her bronze medal position (4:37:37).

'' When I got onto the run I knew I was in the lead. I am not used to running scared, that was a scary run, said Allan, who is toying with the idea of returning to Iron distance racing at Rev3 Cedar Point. I am pretty shocked that I won because the field was very steep''.

Top 5 Men
1. Nigel Gray  3:59:55
2. Wolfgang Guembel  4:03:36
3. Chris Van Kooten  4:10:24
4. Tyler Lord  4:15:42
5. Matt Barfoot  4:19:01
Top 5 Women
1. Paolina Allan  4:29:04
2. Suzanne Zelazo  4:31:17
3. Cindy Lewis  4:37:37
4. Ayesha Rollinson  4:40:58
5. Nicole Van Beurden  4:49:51

Monday, 20 June 2011

UK 70.3 Ironman Wimbleball Race Report

Derek Stewart took in his 'A' race at the tough UK 70.3 Ironman Wimbleball at the weekend. Here is his race report...........
According to the 2010 Ironman World Champion Macca, this is the toughest 70.3 in the world.  I had entered it because it is famous for its bike course with 5,900 ft of climb in the 54.6 miles but as I came to discover, the run course was harder!
The day started with a 4am breakfast of Muesli, yoghurt and a banana – I’d normally go with porridge but the hotel we’re going to entertain that at 4am.  I felt extremely calm as I waited for the mass exodus down to the lake – 1,200 rubber clad hopefuls.  I picked my position towards the back and off to the side as it was a deep water start it was a real punch up for the first 300m and at every buoy thereafter.  People stopped in front of you and it was like a pile up on a motorway.  I exited on 40 mins which was my target time but could have gone faster if I could have found some space.
T1 was 400 yards up hill so I took my time as I was quite dizzy and got half out of my wetsuit.  Disaster struck in that my orthotics weren’t in my bike bag.  It took a few minutes of searching before I realised they were in my run bag so I had to go and get them.  12 mins 54 sec for a transition was at least 6 mins over schedule but I couldn’t go on the bike without the orthotics.
There was a strict cut off time of 5hrs 30min for the swim and the bike and I was worried about this because of the reputation of the hilly bike course – I didn’t know how long I’d take.  So my strategy was to make sure I did a fast bike as running is my strongest discipline.  It was windy and cold and the bike course was challenging with the narrow roads, long inclines, 3 monster steep hills and 1 “falling off a cliff” decline which burns your brakes out.  Peoples’ bikes were failing within the first mile – there were at least 8 and I counted 3 bust chains.
The 3 steep hills were hell especially as you knew you would do them twice.  Lots of people walked the hills but I am pleased to say I wasn’t one of them.  My guts didn’t feel good on the bike and I stopped eating solids earlier than I would normally, reduced my isotonic intake and only managed 2 gels – I felt there was a looming explosion on the horizon and it could be either end!  I managed the bike in 3hrs 54 mins so for 56.4 miles that’s an average of 14.5 mph.  I was 40 mins inside the cut off time.
Disaster number 2 struck as I tried to dismount the bike and my left quad ceased.  The marshal shouted on the paramedics but the thought of two hairy arsed fat guys rubbing my quad made me carry on without their assistance.  But I knew my legs were in trouble.
T2 was better at 3 min 54 and I am sure this was assisted by leaving by bib shorts on (completely forgot but don’t know if my legs would have coped taking them off anyway).  The run course is a complete bast**d with 1,300 ft of climbs over 3 laps.  Within 200 yards my hams were starting to protest so I ended up nursing them round.  There was one hill I wouldn’t have like to have tackled on the bike and most people walked it.  I kept running the whole time except when I reached the top of this hill I had to stretch my hams out. 
On the third lap my mantra was “pain is only temporary, failure is permanent”.  Each step hurt and I had to be careful my hams didn’t give up.   I knew my 1hr 45 wasn’t on when I saw the course the day before and had mover the target to 2hrs.  I managed 2hrs 3 mins and my total time was 6hrs 54 mins which was under the 7 hours I’d set as a must beat time.
Crossing the line was a relief.  The queue for the massage was a mile long so I rehydrated, packed up and drove the 7 hours home stopping every couple of hours for a meal!  As always I have learned a lot and having thought I had prepared everything one simple mistake cost me a lot of time.  I need to sort out my nutrition, especially a cold breakfast that give me what I need, but in the end I am very pleased that I managed the tough bike course.  While I’m slightly disappointed in a very painful and ugly run I am immensely proud of fighting off the mental demons that visit you and tell you to walk or give up.
If you’re looking for a challenge then look no further that this event.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Saturday Bike Ride

This week we are departing the shop half an hour early at 8.30am so we can nudge up the miles slightly. Still the same pace and, as always, no one gets left behind.

Should be around 32 miles tomorrow - see you there!!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

MBT Clearout!!

We having an MBT clearout so all MBT's are now on sale with some BIG discounts!!


Friday, 3 June 2011

NEW Limited Edition Asics 2160

We are quite excited about our new drop of Asics Shoes. We now have in stock the New AW11 2160 in colours exclusive to us as a Running Expert Retailer. These shoes are available in-store only.

Pictures to follow!!