Friday, 12 July 2013
Celtman 2013 Race Report
Well it was a long journey getting here…over a year of training as much as a job abroad and a young family will allow. Then the actual trip up to Torridon which was stunning. Scotland really is one of the most beutiful countries in the world.
This was the view that greeted us! Not bad is it. Slightly scary but stunning.
Anyhoot, my team and I were going full luxury and decided to use a motor home and stay in the local campsites which were perfect. We stayed at Torridon Thursday, Shieldaig Friday (swim start was near there) and Torridon again Saturday post race.
Showers and toilets provided and just a 5 mins drive around the loch was the Torridon Inn which does the best chicken and haggis I have ever had. Oh and some nice beers to settle the nerves before the race J
We came up Thursday night and regd on the Friday and did race briefing etc.
Here I am on my way to reg and behind me you can see the stunning loch Torridon.
Race day arrives, we bimble our way down to the coaches after a small breakie:
I’m sat on the coach and suddenly remember that I am very stupid and that I don’t have the little electric tag I need so, in my crocks and wetsuit ,I run the fastest 2 km I have ever done to the other end of the village to find that all the officials have left! I think that I have missed the event and screwed everything up! I get back to find that my brother has done a Tiananmen Square and stopped them leaving and that the tags have been brought to the bus!! Phew, so now sweating like an elephant seal in a sauna I relax on the bus and try to find a happy place to be. Drama number 1 taken care of…Thanks Ed for stopping them! Arriving at the swim is very strange as it’s a scene I have been watching on youtube for a year! Wow I’m here and this really is happening!! I meet up with my mate Angus and he is just as nervous as me. Photos are taken and off we go…first thoughts…damn this is really very cold!! I have never ever attempted to swim in water this cold! The weather is rubbish and the tide is pulling us out…to not beat about the bush basically I have a horrific swim. I shout at myself in the water and finally manage to get to the shore and see the funny side of how stupid this whole idea was!
I’m a pretty good swimmer so I wasn’t worried about this section but I paid the price for underestimating it! What should have taken me less than 55 minutes takes me 1 hour and 7! T1 is very funny as I can’t use my hands and all of my clothes stick to me. Bike gloves don’t go on and my brother has to work hard to help me get into my kit. But finally off we go:
I soon settle into a decent rhythm with a strong tail wind and I’m flying. Loving it and trying hard to stay calm and not get carried away. I really enjoy the first 100k or so but when I hit the big hill and headwind I suffer, I look around and I am still over taking so I realise its not just me. At the top of the hill I meet up with my super support team and they give me the good news that I just did the big hill!
How things change quickly in the hills of Scotland. The rest of the ride is truly horrific and I have to work very hard the whole way. I haven’t dropped many places so am thrilled to be where I am which is around 27th overall.
Somehow I make it to the end of the bike:
My team help me change and get on my way again. The whole atmosphere is great in T2 and everyone is pumped. I push myself as fast as I can all the way to T2A as I want to get there within the 11 hour limit so I can get a blue t shirt! I make it with 30 minutes to spare so am pretty thrilled. That is then destroyed by the news that due to the terrible weather the mountain is closed! My moral crashes and I want to quit. My brother comes running up to me ready to roll and tells me it will still be wroth it, white t shirt doesn’t matter, its Celtman and its supposed to be damn hard. Can’t tell you how close I came to throwing in the towel but thanks again to my great crack support team I am on my way. The low course is not easy! Firstly we climb a hell of a trail and my legs hurt but I start to pick up my spirits and think about the end. The track isn’t really a track and we end up throwing ourselves across a bog and rock covered landscape which actually is tough going but really fun.
My brother gets me back to the road and we actually run back to Torridon. I finish in a time of 13:41 and am thrilled to have done it. I cant quite describe the feeling but its really amazing. My body is used but my mind takes over and everything seems great. A few pints of beer and my mind gives up Bed time!
Loved this event. Hardest thing I have ever done. Loved the format of having your own support team. Loved the number of other competitors too. Really great atmosphere and organisation! The mountain rescue guys are incredible and the support from all the other support teams was great.
The weather only added to the ”extreme” part of this event and made it more special. In the end the Celtman guys and girls decided to give some of us Blue T shirts as we made the cut off which I was surprised about but very happy about too.
Thanks so much for a great day I will always remember. Thanks also to my support team David and Ed who made the whole thing great. Congrats to Angus Bateman who used this as his first ever long course tri! Nutter.
For anyone thinking of doing this event DO IT! I may well come back one day! It’s a tough event but I couldn’t think of a better place to do it. Get up there early on, get into the atmosphere and enjoy the build up. Train like you would for an ironman but just add in hills, lots of hills and swim in cold water at least a few times first! Also, run off road…its mostly off road so get used to it. Read the race info and DON’T FORGET TO PICK UP YOUR RACE CHIP!!!