Monday, 8 October 2012

The Brutal - A Race Report

The weekend of 22nd September saw a group of intrepid athletes take on our latest challenge - The Brutal. The name of the challenge gives a hint as to the nature of the challenge; a long distance triathlon set in the heart of Llanberis in North Wales. Here follows one of our challenger's race Report!

Dave Parker - Double Ironman

The alarm sounds, it’s 5.30 and freezing! That’s ok; I’ve planned for it, extra thick suit with vest, surf hat and thick gloves. Don’t worry about it making me slow, I only want to avoid the cut off. Down to the water, quick chat with some other competitors, cuddle from the boss and we’re off!


What a beautiful place to swim, mist rolling on the water and mountains for backdrop. Start as I mean to go on, nice and steady, control the breathing and concentrate on the stroke. There’s a group going my speed, green hats, doing the full, find some feet to follow and settle in. First lap seems to fly by, out of the water for a quick drink of tea but don’t want to lose my pals so straight back to work. We’re starting to spread out now so just do my own thing on the return leg, might as well get used to it. Out again for tea, what a great Idea, why don’t they have it at all races? There’s nobody anywhere near now but that’s OK I’m still on target, only two and a half miles to go. Feel like royalty on last laps, two lovely canoeists for company and not a ripple on the water, sun getting warm and I’m doing the Double!


Glad that’s done, the cut off was always going to be close for me but I’m ten minutes up on schedule as I go into transition. I couldn’t get a seat in the bloody tent at 6.30 now it’s deserted. Take my time getting ready, full cycling kit as planned, with a nice thick jacket for the first lap so I can warm up. Pockets full of flapjack, a pasty to eat on the way and off we go, 11am and I’m 10 minutes up. 225 miles and 16500 feet of climbing to go, that’s OK, I’ve planned for it. No tri bars, just twiddle along, enjoy the scenery and eat. First lap just ease into the rhythm, see how the legs feel after my long taper and prepare for the day ahead.

First lap feels ridiculously easy, but I’ve got a plan and I’m going to stick to it, so into the transition lay-by for my Bacon and Egg butty and a mug of tea! Two laps straight through now, same tempo, have given myself 2.15 per lap during daylight and I’m cruising. Get some great company on each lap from Jeff and then Richard who are interested in what’s going on and happy to go at my slow pace for a chat. Have to call in at ground control before 4th lap to fill up with flapjack and grab a sausage roll, happy to see my support  team has shown up (my kids and their partners), just one more lap before tea.


Halfway there, 7.20pm, eating a lovely curry while my bike gets its lights put on. Dark is closing in and the temperature is dropping quickly, that’s OK I’ve planned for it. On with all my winter clothes and off with all four of my support in the car, leaving the boss for a well earned rest, after she’s washed up. The plan was for them to alternate cars with two in each so they got a rest, but they’re having so much fun that they all spend the whole night with me! After a bit of practice we fall into a routine of them waiting 15 minutes, passing me to pull in at earliest point giving a silent cheer as I go past and repeat. I have given myself 2.30 during the night and it flows by without a problem, plus after midnight I start to catch and pass people, I have no Idea what position I’m in. Finish bike at 0540, twenty minutes up on schedule and fresh as a daisy, practicing riding through the night has really paid off.


Grab some cereal and coffee then off for the run, this is where I find out if the training has worked. Get two laps done before we have to go up Snowdon and it’s not as bad as I expected, actually making up time, meanwhile my poor lad has to get up after only a couple of hours to go with me. I walk the whole way up as planned, eating as many pasties, chocolate bars and flapjack as I can manage. Then walk and jog down, meeting a few mates on way who have come between nights to support, it gives me a real boost.


Bacon and eggs for breakfast, a very steady lap with my pal to get my legs back, then it’s in with the earphones and down to work. Start to pound out the distance, have a break at the feed station with the best two helpers in the world ever, still don’t know their names, and feel the miles pass. Don’t know what has happened but have moved up to second and I’m flying! Force out a fast seventh lap just because I want to, then a cruise to the finish trying to thank as many people as possible. Can’t believe I’ve done it!! Just over 36 hours and nearly 5 in front of schedule, nearly all made up on the run. Not bad for an old lad. Thanks Claire, Brian and all at Brutal. The rest of you know who you are.

If this has wetted your appetite to take on a challenge far greater than you have ever done visit here for details of our 2013 events!!
Midnight Mountain Marathon - 29th June 2013
The Pig Ultra Duathlon, Llanfighangel-y-Pennant, Gwynedd - 14th July 2013
Smugglers Run, 24 hour Endurance Race, Swanage, Dorset - 31st August 2013
The Brutal Extreme Triathlon, Llanberis, Snowdon - 21st September 2013

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