Great to come back from competing at The Caledonian Etape, 2013 to find we've now broken through the 8000 hits barrier - thank you!
Race today was great fun and should prove fantastic preparation for IM Austria - now only 48 days and 11 hours away!!!
We stayed outside Pitlochry in Dunkeld, so after a fairly rushed breakfast at 5:30 a.m. we decided to cycle to the start of the event - a nice 22km warm up ride!!! After quickly nipping to the 'facilities' on site, we squeezed our way through the 4000+ riders to the start line and a 7:06 a.m. we were on our way.
We'd already decided to race at our own pace, so I only saw Lorna at the start line and after she'd finished. The weather was cool and cloudy but thankfully the wind was reasonably low and it wasn't raining (yet).
I had a strategy to eat a protein bar on every hour and a gel on every half hour and this managed to sustain the energy levels throughout the ride.
I was making good progress in the individual sprint race until a couple of riders blocked my line and I came off the gas. I still posted a fairly respectable time, coming in 72nd out of 4265 riders!
The climbs up Schiehallion were a little more challenging, and by this time the winds had picked up. Again, wayyyy better than last year, I ended up 691st (/4265) in the 'King of the Mountains' category.
I kept on plugging away and it was great to see a few familiar faces from the ATHelite team - special thanks to Alan for his super domestique support in the final 12 miles of the race - helping to drag me round the final section of the race.
I ended up with a time of 4 hours 19 minutes and 18 seconds, putting me in 984th place (/4265) overall - and a whole 1 hour 12 minutes faster than my time last year! Result.
I waited for Lorna at the finish - who also posted a new personal best and we then rode (a fairly hilly) 25km route back to the hotel.
Not content with riding 175km (only 5km shy of the full IM distance), we decided on a quick 10 minute run… That was 'interesting' shall we say.. especially as I tweaked my left knee busting up the final climb of the race after my gears got stuck in the highest cog. I'm sure after a bit of pain with the 'foam roller' it will be back to normal.
All in all, an epic ride today, especially given how ill I'd been all last week. A well deserved rest day tomorrow and I'm back at swimming on Tuesday - trying out the wetsuit again for the first time this season.
Here we are, appearing (briefly) at 0:06 seconds… can you spot us?!
Looking back to last year - when I was wearing a far less subtle Heinz Baked Beans top - appearing at 0:55 and 1:15… Never mind 15 minutes of fame, I'm settling for around 5 seconds of fame :-)