It is always down to preparation. Rarely will you do well at a race unless you are fully prepared.
For the Strathpuffer my intentions had been good but then some things came up that messed with my plans a bit.
1. I started work on a documentary series on Syria that saw me filming away from home. Istanbul life was hectic enough and although I tried to hit the gym – those horrible gym bikes never feel like real training.
2. I came back to do one last long ride – before my taper – but whether it was the 2 degree weather, my pathetic wet gloves and freezing feet. The bugs i probably breathed in flying in the day before … but I got man flu sick. I spent Tuesday,Wednesday and thursday going to bed at 8pm and trying to sleep it out and get healthy.
3. I had the equipment sorted. Great bike lights, new cleats on my winter boots, toasty Sealskin mtb gloves and spare discs for the bike.
I spent Friday driving up past Inverness to the race location at Strathpeffer. I was swigging calpol and cough medicine and downing cold and flu tablets and treating myself to throat lozenges …. I wasn’t pretty. But then out the front of the window the view was a tad scary.
Got there and saw the accommodation for the night …. we were hardly roughing it.
Race day rolled around and Dr Heart was going first – I had cycled 50m up the road from the camper to realise the whole fire road was iced. So after the bunch went past i started to put on the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro’s
I didn’t get them both on in time for my turn to lap – the tubeless was not going to work so Heart did a second lap and in the confusion so did I sans dibber …. Dr Heart said a few cross words (naughty C and F words) and headed out on the 3rd lap. The Ice Spikers were amazing I couldn’t stand on the trail but i could cycle it which I find quite mind-blowing.
The course was great – fireroad climb technical rock section singletrack across the top then a sweet descent back to the start – all just 10km long
… our camper was halfway up the fireroad so the laps on strava always include our off lap.
Robbie and Huw were another team of pairs and they sped off on their laps – after a few laps they were running 4th and we were 15th …. out of 50 pair teams. Huw was bashing out laps of 37min within a few seconds of that (and all night stayed in the 45-47 mark) and Robbie was steady at 42min (which he did for the whole race) Da Automaton
My breathing was sketchy post cold and I had my HRM beep me if it went over 145bpm so my laps were a slow 45min – 52min. After 6 laps i had to ask Tom to do a double as my coughing now had an iron after taste. Huw and Robbie were now tying for 2nd and we were up to 7th although 1.5 laps behind. Dr Heart, Huw and Robbie were also all on 29er’s which got me thinking …. (but for another post)
But after my 8th lap I said I couldn’t do anymore (well I couldn’t afford to get sick all week). My legs felt great and if it wasn’t for my cough I am sure I would have lasted. Dr Heart pulled on some more impressive distance but then got shut eye for 5.5 hours. When we were both up again Huw and Robbie were winning by 10min and we were back in 15th although Thom did a last lap flyer and he clawed us up to a 14th.
The winners won their prizes … then it was a 4hr drive home …. YAWN
There is a Strathpuffer LITE (in SUMMER) …. Mmmmmmm maybe
Very little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.
Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.
Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:
“But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”
He said at the beginning: unfortunately, very little has been said of the gesture. And it’s a shame. In my opinion, it would be nice to explain to children, so they do not think that sport is only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, fingers in the eyes of the enemy …
Yesterday was told to do a longer ride and then taper for the race …. but surely tapering involves training i thought to myself ……
Went out in the sleet with a 2 degree C temp and my summer cycling gloves and summer shoes on. Now call me stupid but i have proper waterproof mtb boots but still with eggbeater cleats on from 2 years ago …. and gloves are gloves right.
I should have picked up the hint when my Garmin Fenix failed to lock on until I had done over half my ride …
By the time the screen above started recording – I had lost all feeling in my thumb and forefinger … my feet were frozen and where i was stopping to open gates on the west highland way the snow had forced into the SPD pedals and frozen solid so that i was forced to bang the pedals to dislodge ice and i was even contemplating urinating on them to get them working again.
But rohloff great in all weathers as usual – bike fine … old raceface jacket warm, snug face warmer worth every penny but I was in pain on my return and my fingers took 3 minutes to thaw to be able to undo my camelbak clasp – how pathetic.
So today bought:
1 Sealskin Winter gloves
2 SPD cleats for winter shoes
3 Neoprene covers for summer mtb shoes and for road bike …..
Just got to get spare brake pads now and I will be grooving ….
Doing more things in a shorter time than it takes me to struggle out to the back line …
In the final months of 2012, Travelling to 3 continents in as many weeks,
Ben skinner & Adam griffiths, good friends and rivals from Cornwall,
Compete in the ASP World championships held in China, In amongst a crucial European longboard title race.