One of the toughest of all UK triathlons, Wensleydale is the re-working of the Yorkshire Dales triathlon started life in the late 80’s. A 2000 metre lake swim, 42 mile hilly bike ride and 20 km run. The run course takes competitors up the Great Shunner Fell the third highest mountain in the Dales. Hurricane Bertha decided to show her face this weekend – ha ha.
The Swim took place in the beautiful sometimes temperamental glacial lake Semer Water. On this occasion the rain fell so heavy and the wind was blowing a gale. We only had a small amount of time to acclimatize
to the water. Once we were all settled it all started with a hoot from the horn. The swim ended up being just shy of 3km because of bad buoy positioning. The swim was my weakest discipline so after an hour swimming in cold choppy and strong winds I left the water 5th from last and feeling deflated. Now time to compose myself for the bike, so wetsuit off a quick banana and get dressed for a windy cold and wet bike leg.
A tough start to the bike route as still exhausted from the swim and to be honest at this point I was ready to quit, faced with the steep accent 1:4 ( 25% ) climb just 500 meters into the ride. This is where I focused on the task ahead and put Babs in my mind and all she’d been through. also I could hear messages of support from all the great people that sponsored me for the Cav Alliance UK.
Travelling over the famous Butter Tubs route which connects Muker and Hawes made famous by the Tour De France in 2014 was awesome, the wind was strong and rain was heavy but with Babs and the cause in mind I’d relaxed into to race and accepted everything it had to threw at me. Through stunning barren land and open moorland with plenty more ups and downs with plenty more 1:4′ climbs and downs, I started to enjoy the ride and the scenery I’d gained about 20 places.
Riding into the final transition smiling it suddenly hits me, as I’m sharing a nice hot coffee with a fellow competitor that I now have a 12 mile fell run up and down to the check point at the summit of Great Shunner Fell.
The rain had stopped now and the wind had eased slightly as I started the run I felt good and still smiling I passed 2 more competitors.
Then as the path got rocky and steeper I was nearly at walking pace then Bang! my old quad muscle strain came back to say hello ouch.
So I was down to a slow jog and walk to the top loosing many of places but determined to finish. Painfully reached the top and started my steady jog down which to my surprise was less painful than expected. So nice and steady enjoying the views I caught up with 2 other competitors and we chatted and shared the experience to the finish line ( the pics of me at the finish was taken straight after as they forgot to get a pic as I finished ).
Crossing the finish line and collecting my cheese was the best thing ever and it all felt worth it the see my friends cheer me in and to know I’d done what I’d set out to do.
With the Hurricane hanging over us only 60 people turned up to compete with only 52 finishing, I was one of them in a respectable 39th in a time of 6 hours 23 mins 59 seconds.