A year has passed since my disastrous race in England (Devon Coast to Coast in September 2011). My race report was aptly named "Adapt or Die" and can be read on our blog or http://www.ar.co.za/. If you don't have time to reread the report here is a quick summary: I went unprepared for the weather, expecting to race the same way I do in South Africa; I ended up with hyperthermia due to cold temperatures, consistent rain and wind, and ultimately missed the half way cut off.
|Day 1 in Red, Day 2 in Green|
Adapt or Die, Part 2 - The Perfect RaceDay 1: Run 11km, Road Cycle 77km, run 1km, paddle 1km, run 1.5km
Weather prediction: 12-16C, 0% rain, winds SE 35+ km/hr
As no rain was predicted, but the temps were lower than I'm used to at home I went with clothing for cold but OK conditions:
Hi-Tec trail shoes, Compression Socks, Long Lycra Tights, Cycling Bib Shorts, Long Sleeve Top, Cycling Top, Wind Proof top, Buff, Cap, Long finger Cycling gloves
Leg 1: 11km trail run (single track)
Leg 2: 77km Cycle (Road)
Transition was nice and fast using a triathlon style transition area with all the bikes in rows etc. It made it easy to come in, eat something, put my backpack on and to get out onto the bike leg. Day 1 biking was all on road, fortunately my hire bike (a Dawes 20") did not have heavy off-road tread. The whole bike leg was in a stiff wind from the South East, while we were riding South West. This resulted in either a full on head wind, or a strong wind from our left. An abiding memory will be the line of riders in front of me all leaning over to their left to keep upright. Wherever possible I rode with my front wheel on the right-hand side of someone else's back wheel, giving me some protection from the wind. I was feeling good and rode every hill (quite unusual for me), tried to fly down every down hill, had occasional food stops, (about every 45 minutes). However, at about 67km my energy dried up and I started struggling, I crested a hill, quite please I had ridden up it, only to see a hill, far steeper, at the end of the next downhill. In the end I pushed up most of it, and we crested into the strongest wind of the day, the steep downhill didn't even help as when you stopped peddling, you got blown to a standstill. I struggled through the last 10km, including a downhill that would have been very pleasant if the wind had just held up for a bit. Unfortunately near the end of the cycle leg I lost the bite valve of my bladder and had to finish the race without a bladder for water.
Leg 3: Run/Paddle/Run
|Photo taken around 30 years ago in nearly the same spot!|
(Yes, I saw Nessie, he wanted to eat me but said something about tough South African steak or something). Another short run got me to the end of Day 1.
Other than the wind, and the last 10km of the Cycle I had had a great day of racing. I felt reasonably strong once I was off the bike, I felt positive and was enjoying the views when they were there. I saw some of the weird woolly Highland Cows (aren't they just so cute).
Day 2: Off-road Cycle 26km, Road Cycle 23km, Run/Hike 23km, paddle 1km
Weather prediction: 10-14C, High Chance of Rain, Low winds, mostly SW and Westerly
With rain being predicted, and the temps being substantially lower than I'm used to at home I went with clothing for cold and rain:
Hi-Tec trail shoes, Compression Socks, Seal Skin Socks, Long Fleece Tights, Cycling Bib Shorts, Long Sleeve Fleece as base layer, Cycling Top, Wind Proof top/Rain top, Buff, Cap, Glove Liners and Long Finger gloves
Added to my compulsory gear was my Wind proof top, and a balaclava
Leg 4: Cycle
Leg 5: 23km Mountain hike/run
|Ben Nevis on a COLD day.|
Leg 6: Paddle
I felt strong the whole day. My hiking was strong and I probably passed more people than passed me. My clothing was once again suitable for conditions. (I have found a good fleece to be the best possible base layer as it keeps the heat against your body).
I was better prepared for this race than for the race last year. I knew myself and my equipment better, and had taken a lot of time to prepare for the conditions I was going to experience. I was not particularly fitter (I was probably a lot fitter the previous year), but I had spent a lot of time riding when it was cold, trying different kit, I did some running in the rain to see what I needed to keep warm. I cut down on weight by carrying less water, less food, but sufficient for my needs during the day.
|Tired, wet, covered in mud, but Finished!!|