Sunday, 16 June 2013

An eventful weekend!

Well, as I sit here on Sunday afternoon I can reflect on another eventful weekend of training.

On Friday we went up to Loch Lomond for one of our last open-water sessions prior to the race. Hard to believe what a difference a week made… 7 days ago and the Loch was lovely, not exactly warm, but 'refreshing'. On Friday, the best description was 'Billy Baltic'. We came out after about 30 seconds given the rain battering off the Loch had turned the mirror like surface into a seething watery turmoil. I remembered rule 5 from training and got back into the Loch… not too bad I thought, then I swam out over the shelf into deeper water…f-f-f-f-f-f-f-freeeeeeezing!!! After about 30 seconds my feet, even with neoprene booties were getting chilled to the bone and my hands were starting to lose sensation. We turned round, tail between legs, got out of the Loch, got dried and warmed ourselves up with (undeserved!) fish and chips… No point in cold weather training, Austria is currently about 26 degrees C.

My better half was out on Saturday at a Triathlon Coaching course so I missed the usual ATHelite bike ride. However, the weather intervened in this session too and the rain, strong winds and low temperatures had even the hardiest of souls heading back in to defrost after only a couple of hours. I stayed dry and warm by focusing on my leg stretches in the gym and then an elliptical session down at Virgin Active later in the day, either side of a dog walk down by Bothwell Castle.

Sunday morning and after learning my lesson from last week, my bike is ready and waiting for me. I met up with John who is training for the Iron distance outlaw - 1 week after Austria. We spent the first couple of hours burning up the roads in South Lanarkshire… probably much faster than I should be travelling in my taper period, but good fun none the less. I left John after a couple of hours and continued on towards Lanark on what I thought were fairly quiet roads.

Quiet in terms of little traffic, but still dangerous as it turns out… I was almost taken out by an old lady who was obviously struggling to see above her steering wheel. She cut straight in front of me at a junction and had certainly not seen me - thankfully I had slowed down to take the 90 degree bend, if I hadn't I suspect this blog would be coming to you from Wishaw General Hospital.

5 minutes after avoiding Mrs Magoo, I heard the yapping of dogs as I passed a farm, then a fat Jack Russell dog jumped out of the bushes right in front of my bike. I hammered on the anchors and came to an emergency stop with the rear of my bike at least 30 cm off the ground. The years of BMXing as a kid helped keep me stable and I amazingly managed to get my foot out of the pedal - stopping me from flying over the handle bars. Not content with that, the dog continued to growl and bark, snapping at my ankles until his big mate, the Bernese Mountain Dog came out and bit my left knee…

Right knee smacked off handlebars...

Left knee bitten by Bernese Mountain dog…

I shouted at the dogs to clear off and tried to alert the owners of the house who had seen fit to leave the gate open for the dogs to escape onto the road as they pleased, but surprisingly no-one came out. I decided to pedal off and put some distance between me and these mutts.  The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful after that!

Well, that's another week done: 171.28km covered, 12 hours 34 minutes and 55 seconds and burned 7,079 kCalories. Only 2 weeks to go now, so the next couple of weeks will see a dramatic reduction in training from 10 hours next week to 5 hours in the lead up to the race. Looking forward to my rest day tomorrow!

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