Some Stuff About Me ......

I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with my wonderful wife and soul-mate Helen. I have two incredible sons - Evan and Matthew - who are occasionally show up at home, usually when they're hungry or need money. The three of them are the best thing that ever happened to me and I love them all. I spent over 24 years in the Royal Navy, but since I packed it all in and got a proper job my life has gone from strength to strength and I've never looked back. I am a die-hard soul music fan, but my heart truly belongs in the fells of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ....

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Murky Depths

So, I went to Ripon Lake last night for my last training session prior to my dubious participation in the Day In The Lakes Triathlon (a half-ironman) this forthcoming Sunday. Swimming isn't my weakest discipline (cycling is) but paradoxically it's the one I've put most work into this year. I was determined to become a better swimmer, so since January/February I have been doing three solid sessions a week and taught myself to breathe bilaterally i.e. on both sides - harder than you might think - dramatically improving my front crawl stroke into the process.

However, for one reason or another, predominantly weather I suppose, I've been slow to get into Open Water and in fact only ventured back to Ripon Lake a couple of weeks ago, however since then I've been about 6 - 7 times and I'm glad, because to be honest OWS is a completely different matter to swimming in a pool. It's hard to swim bilaterally in the lake, your sighting goes all to pot and now I understand why so many elites breathe unilaterally, also you can get a lot more air in that way and believe me, you need it. Soooo, last night was a try-out for the big day .... Ripon lake is in the middle of the racecourse and the NYP Triathlon club (NYP = North Yorkshire Police) have the rights there. Starting from the landing jetty and swimming around both islands, it's about 1.1 miles so, given that my swim target is 35 - 36 minutes I thought it would be good if I could get back in around 32 minutes. As it turned out, I had a belting swim, my sighting was much better than in recent swims, and I got back in a touch over 31 minutes. If I can swim like this or better on the day, I will be very happy.

I have to be philosophical about it though. Ullswater will be much, much colder than Ripon Lake and there will be a lot more bodies splashing around and trying to punch/kick and swim over you. Realistically, if I do it anywhere under 38 I suppose I should be grateful. Also, there are diminishing returns here .... I will really have to up my stroke rate to get in a fast time and this is a LONG race. I should really save my best shot for the bike, that's where the real time savings are.

On the subject of bike, I have fitted my new wheels (Mavic Ksyrium Elite) and the difference they make is astounding. I went out for my last long ride over the weekend, getting totally soaked into the process. The bike seems to leap forward much more eagerly, I suppose they ARE considerably lighter. I've still got to face up to Helen's wrath when she sees the credit card bill, but hey-ho. I've weathered that storm before. I may buy flowers and chocolate in advance.

The run route is pretty familiar, as it forms part of the both the Tour de Helvellyn and Lakeland 50/100. Basically, you start in Pooley Bridge and head out to the Eastern shore of Ullswater then follow the trail down to Howtown and Fusedale. It does part of the climb up Wether Hill before turning around, through Martindale and then back along the road to the finish. By fell-running standards, this is pretty benign. Of course, I will be knackered by the time I come to it so am not expecting any miracles. My last off-road race of any consequence was the Wharfedale Half and I had a terrific run, so hope springs eternal.

I can still smell neoprene on my skin. I obviously didn't spend enough time in the shower. Perhaps I should have used soap.