Thursday, October 30, 2008

Perhaps The Craziest Thing I have Ever Done.

We have had a wee run of nasty weather recently. This week we've had snow which is sttill present on the hills around us. Last week we had rain and gales, this lasted for the whole of the 'tatty holidays' the last week I was off work but did almost nothing because of the dire conditions.

On Saturday 25th I did do something, something I will remember for a long time and something for which my body is still hurting.

The Charmer

Saunders decided we were entering several months ago, as it is a two person relay I decided to go first as I am the slower one.

The 4 mile downhill run, 4 mile cycle and 4 mile run back up look like this with just the cycle gradient shown.

From Charmer2008-10-25

Lets get the nitty gritty out of the way first. I finished a disgusting 151st out of 182. Saunders had a respectable 44th which gave our team a 47th out of 91.

The first thing I must say about race day was that the wind was quite strong. Here is an extract from the official race day report:

"Winds in excess of 120 mph on Cairngorm did not deter a record number of 91 teams (out of a total of 105 who had pre-entered) turning up for the second staging of the Cairngorm Charmer ...
which is a challenging enough route even without the 120 mph winds thrown in!"

In fact the wind was so bad that:

"a number of broken car windscreens which had been damaged by the wind"
It was blowing in the windows in cars !

It was chilly at the start and I was glad to be going first.

From Charmer2008-10-25

I was off downhill with my starting group of five. We went five at a time at one minute intervals.

From Charmer2008-10-25

Down we go...

From Charmer2008-10-25

Look at the heart rate data for running downhill, it should be quite low but when the 'run' is actually someone trying not to be blown over it's a different story.

From Charmer2008-10-25

The cycle was quite easy although some of it was into the wind so at 4 mph !

After the cycle it was time to run back up the hill. I don't look well :)

From Charmer2008-10-25

I did make it back up, having to walk the last 2 miles into the wind.

Saunders made it too in a much more respectable time.

From Charmer2008-10-25

We received a goody bag at the end and in light of the exceptional circumstanes they included a printout from the Cairngorm Weather Station's annemometer.

From Charmer2008-10-25

I will actaully be doing this again next year just because it was so crazy. Hoping for a lot of snow next year, we only missed it by a couple of days this time.

Oh, once again BIG thanks to the support team of Karen, Jean, Sol, Molly and Hollie.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The CAT. I paddled !

The CAT is the Cairngorm Adventure Triathlon.
3k paddle, 20k cycle and a 5k run.
It's another thing that seemed like a good idea at the time. Once again I have been quite busy and unable to donate enough time to training. Although I have paddled a wee bit over the last few years I have never set foot in an open canoe.

The day started off dry but cold and windy. We were to set off in four groups, me and Todd were in the third group so we had to hang about until 1130 hrs. We drank and ate.

From CAT

As the start time approached the wind increased and it began to rain !

We ran from the start point and jumped into the boats, it was a hectic start with plenty of collisions and water pouring in and on. That was the exciting bit, the rest of the paddle was a shock. We simply could not get the thing to track straight, the 3Km paddle was probably 5 or 6km for us. I was in the back desperately trying to paddle forward but could only manage three strokes before having to rudder.

From CAT

The rain came down.

We got around in under 50 mins and ran up the the transition. Changed into dry socks and cycling shoes and sped off. We had a wee hill to start us off and I tackled it at a moderate speed so that Todd would keep up but he wasn't having it. I waited at the top but when a couple of other cyclist apeeared I assumed Todd had punctured or given up, I took off.

The conditions were very wet and slippy and a marshall warned us of the descent from an slugan down to croftmore. The cycle was very nice though and I enjoyed it. I managed to overtake six people on the cycle and was not passed.

From CAT

From CAT

Cycle over, and it was 26Km according to my GPS ! My wife and kids were at the transition and helped me pull off one of my top layers which was soaked. The soaking cycle shoes and socks came off too in favour of some trainers.

I started the run. I immediately got cramp so cut the pace back a wee bit. I got the cramp under control and ran by three other competitors who looked like they had cramp too.

I pushed a wee bit more with a Kilometre to go and the lurking cramp came back. I crossed the line in 82nd place !

From CAT

Todd arrived soon after in 117 th.

From CAT

I would consider doing it again next year but I would need more open canoe practice.