Well that’s the end of this year’s supbikrun series. And what a great series it was. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I would have done one of these triathlon events but now to have completed all four I am amazed and so pleased with myself.
What Sam (supbikerun organiser) has done has changed the elements of a traditional triathlon to suit a more alterative way of thinking. First is a 3km SUP then a 30km mountain bike and 5km cross-country run. It’s more of an experience than an race, but that does not mean it’s not competitive, we all like to do well and beat our times , but after its all hugs and high fives with others.
Whimble Ball Lake
The first of the year was back in May down on Exmoor at a place called Whimble Ball Lake. We were told this event was going go to be 3km sup 25 km bike and 5km run as the bike was a little harder than the last one. Great setting the middle of nowhere. My first thoughts when driving to the event was s*** this place is hilly!!!! But very beautiful too.
I arrived the day before and camped the night there. As with the first event last year, all the staff that helped out were very welcoming and friendly. So I sat with them and chatted in the evening. Had my first disaster of the weekend when I tried to cook dinner my gas bottle ran out so could not cook anything but luckily they had on site catering. As with all great athletes early to bed it was!
So came the morning of the event it was nice low winds and blue skies, so I got all kit ready to start the race. It’s a very laidback start at these events so no real rush to get going. As I am a series ticket holder registration was at 8am. The start time on water was about 8.30 am. I was second on to the water to start the 3km part of the sup, this is always a great start as it leads you into nicely to the next part the bike. This was done on both single track up hills and descents. Sam and his team found the hardest course they could for the bike ride. About two thirds of the way round came a very nasty decent on loose rock and shale. This part broke my bike; I only had three gears and locked brakes. So riding from there was not going to happen! I had to push the last bit back to transition zone. Could only cycle the downhill sections but even then it was not nice, and the worst bit was see people coming up the downhill sections running up!
Once I dropped my bike off for the run/walk I was not happy and the last part I found really hard as my legs hurt. But I still finished with a smile on my face in about 3hours 30 mins. I would have liked to get nearer 3 hours but ce la vie…
At the next event I had a new bike and had done loads of training and was really looking forward to it. In myself I felt fitter and stronger.
Off to Carsington Water in the Peak District we went. Again we were told beforehand it’s a 3km sup, 35 km bike and 5km run as bike was a lot easier than Whimble Ball which I was so pleased about. Up the day before again to scout the place out and to meet up with friends. This time I was going to be staying the week in a cottage which meant a nice little holiday to go with it. Once again the team picked a beautiful of places. Not as hilly as Whimble Ball but there were still some. The only downside was it was raining on the morning of the event, but as they say the show must go on.
The sup was first again, but the downside was the rain and wind – wearing glasses the rain got on them and I could not see a thing on the lake. There was a head wind too, but oh well just head down and get on with it. I did think to myself on parts of this what am I doing?
Sup done then into transition to get on my bike, but not before cleaning glasses so I could see. By this time it had stopped raining. The course this time was on very good paths that took you up on to the high peak trail. The views were stunning but I didn’t really get a lot of time to stop and look.
The first half of course was mostly going uphill. And when we got to the feed station and was told the next part was about 12km all downhill that felt great! At about 3km away you had one last steep hill to climb but that was fine as with the downhill legs were good. Then a short fast downhill back in to transition. Then on to the run.
This took you back along the side of the reservoir. Having spoken to Sam on the way out I asked if it had any hills – he said no with a smile on his face. This I found out was a lie! Only a little one but still a hill. After all the training I had been doing I felt strong for the run. I only stopped once to shout and swear at my legs. Even managed a sprint finish. Then to check times – I was again hoping for under 3hours but just missed out with 3hours 3 mins . But on plus side I was getting quicker with each event I did.
Then on to the last event at Chichester. This one I was really looking forward as it was near to home and very similar to first one I did last year. Again we were told at the start it was going to be 3km sup 27km bike and 5km run. But there were lots of uphill and some awesome downhill.
I was in the first wave to go out on to lake, but, first they made us do an aerobic warm up which was a bit of a laugh. On to the water, I had a brand new 14ft Fatsick race sup to compete with. It was only the second time I had used it. I entered the water 7th and by the first turn was up in first place. I was now thinking this is going to be a great event. Coming out of water I was ahead by a way in my group. Then off out on to bike.
First part was on road until we came to the climb. As it had been raining for the past week this was going to muddy all the way up. Not just muddy but sticky mud. It was hard going but fun. But as we know when you go up you have to come back down at some point.
The course was very hilly as it is in the Southdown’s National Park but again very nice country side if you get chance to stop and look around – no such luck. After the feed station there was another fast downhill back into transition zone. I was looking at watch hoping that I could at last get under the magic 3hour time mark I had set myself.
The run was great and I felt good, my legs were working and I didn’t have to swear at them this time at all. Our run course was similar to last year so I knew roughly were I had to up my pace. Again I managed a fast sprint finish. I looked at my watch thinking I haven’t done it, but found I had done it in 2hours38 mins! I had smashed the 3hour mark by nearly an hour. To say I was happy was an understatement…
To me this was the best event of the year so far. I had been training very hard so was very happy with the way the year had gone and how I had improved.
This was something that I never thought I would have been able to achieve. I have never been sport minded – I would have laughed at anyone who would have said a year ago I would have done this. I have met some great people through doing these events. If anyone was unsure if they could do one, of these I would just say do it! It’s the best thing I have ever done. I just can’t wait for the coming 2016 series, which will be awesome. It’s just a shame that I have to wait until next May but on the plus side I have lots of training to do before then.
Finally a massive thanks to Fatstick, my sup sponsor, and the supbikerun team who put on a superb series of events. See you next year!