Monday, 22 October 2012

The Brutal by Derek Boothby

Another of our intrepid Brutal athletes has submitted his Race Report for us to share - read on and enjoy!

First of all I need to thank Katy, Morgan and Charlotte who have had to put up

with me disappearing for hours on end to train for this race and also the week

before when my nerves were becoming a bit on edge with the realisation of

what I had set myself up for.


Thanks also has to go to Chris for the training plan which got me to the start

line and round to the finish, plus the support all day and on the final leg up

and down Snowdon. Tom was a great help in being a kit man and sorting out

digs for the night before and Ian for turning up and joining me on the last lake

lap and trekking up Snowdon with me and Chris at the end.


The day started out clear and cold (frost on ground) and in the dark at 5am

as I loaded up the bike with food (too much it later turned out) before heading

into the heated tent to set up transition bags. The two hours before race

start disappeared very quickly and it wasn’t long before I was stepping into

the mist covered lake at 7am (just getting light) which was at 13 – 14°C and

given the low air temperature did not feel too cold.
The first lap of the swim was spent hopping from pod to pod of middle distance swimmers to try
and conserve energy for the second lap which I knew would be swum pretty much

in isolation due to the lower numbers of competitors in the full and double

(insane) races. Due to mirrored glasses I could not see too well on the first

lap as the light levels were still quite low and just followed the feet of the

swimmers in front. I exited the first lap feeling good and warm and begun the

second lap. Due to the lower numbers of swimmers the lake was now like a

mill pond due to the lack of wind, as I turned the top buoy to head for the swim

exit the sun had come up quite a way (glad now for the mirrored glasses!) and

was silhouetting the mountains at the end of the valley and made for the most

amazing sight every time I lifted my head to sight. I exited the swim feeling

pretty good and headed off down the field (still with frost on!) to the nice,

warm tent to get changed for the bike leg. In the tent marshals were handing

out warm drinks whilst you dried off, so a few minutes later now dry and in

bike gear and with a cup of tea inside me it was off to start the bike leg, with

Sam doing an excellent job on the bike exit stopping traffic.


The first lap on the bike was still quite cold as due to shade in the valleys and

from trees, etc but the spectacular scenery took my mind off the hills and cold.

The long climb up to Pen-y-Pas was not as bad as I had thought, just a case

of getting in the correct gear and keeping a steady pace all the way to the top

before the descent into Llanberis. The first two descents were disrupted by

traffic, the third was ok except for the traffic light in Nant Peris being red, but

the last descent was brilliant, no moving traffic, traffic light on green and being

able to sweep around bends with out fear of hitting something was great and

meant that I reached transition with my legs having had a nice rest on the way

down. Overall I was pleased with the bike, but did have to adjust my nutrition

as the gels started to affect my stomach and give me a headache, so I had to

lay off them for a while and rely on my other forms of nutrition – a sausage roll

and flapjacks.


The run started off with three 5 mile-ish laps of Llyn Padarn, which included a

climb after about 2 miles, which I had decided before the race I was going to

walk up to rest the legs for Snowdon. This strategy worked pretty well as the

legs felt strong and with the aid station being just after the top of the hill gave

chance for a short rest for some cake and water. Ian joined me for the last lap,

which seemed to go quicker than the previous two.


After the lake laps it was then back into transition to pick up Chris and

mountain kit and head up to Snowdon. Ian also went to grab his mountain kit

and joined us for the last leg. This again was always going to be walked and

we kept a good pace, stopping for a minute to speak to Matty Roberts from

Eryri. At the last bridge under the railway it was getting a bit chilly so extra

layers were donned for the last push. The view from the summit was amazing

with Llanberis lit up below and a steady stream of headlamps lighting up the

path below.


After punching my wristband at the summit (whilst Ian wound up some fellow

competitors) it was time for a brief check-in with the medics at Bwlch Glas,

and off down the hill I went.

Even though I had now reached the point that finishing was priority I wanted

to put some distance between me and the runners behind so began running

the less technical areas of the path as my legs felt surprisingly good. After

Halfway House on the way down however my racing instincts got the better

of me when I saw two other runners just ahead and set off after them, with

Chris reminding me not to take any risks as I was catching them, which we did

and carried on to put distance between us when I could. We finally got off the

mountain path and onto the final bit of tarmac into Llanberis when we heard

the gate behind us open with another runner and his support bearing down

on us. At this point the pace really picked up as we rattled down the steep

tarmac, blocking the way for those behind us, I was finally caught just as it

flattened out, but managed to kick again and go past them, before Ian pulled

alongside to pick up the pace, followed by Chris who just told us to keep going

until we heard behind us “I’m not keeping up with that F*****G pace!” which

pretty much meant the pressure was off and it was onto the main road by the

train station and then across to the finish and slump into a chair whilst I was

fed cake.


All in all it was an amazing race, which was helped by the glorious weather

and having a fantastic support crew, especially for the unexpected sprint finish

at the end!



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