SLATEMAN TRIATHLON 2015
So there it is, first triathlon of 2015 completed, its always a relief to get the first one out of the way, I find pre race nerves are always a little heightened, but soon as the start gun goes all that disappears and race auto pilot takes control.
What better place to kick things off than Llanberis, Snowdonia and the amazing Slateman triathlon. It really has a big race atmosphere, friendly feel, great competition and an awesome course. Over 1200 people took part in the race on Sunday, long may this continue.
The race is short and fast by my usual standards so pre race goals were short and sweet. A better swim, hold back a little on the bike and finish with a strong run. Last year I was 178th out of the water and finished 27th, I had to really hammer the bike for that, hence all the work on swimming through winter.
Last year I was actually scared at the start of the swim, this year I felt loads more relaxed and confident. I was a bit disappointed the swim was shortened, but again not enough to worry me. I decided not to change my plan for the swim, go out hard, not too hard, then settle down. With the shortening, flat out from the start would have been more appropriate strategy but the plan will go with me to Celtman and Norseman, good to get it ingrained. I made a mistake positioning at the start, way to far right, but at the front. I tend to pull slightly right and the distance was greater, mental note, think about this and assess as soon as you get in the water, it was a little too late before I noticed.
I hit the first buoy wide, nice not to be involved in the madness in tight, turned and settled down. I felt stronger as I went on and swam at a pace I would be comfortable at for a long time. Only one lung full of water on the way round, the water was fresh but I did not feel cold. I got out and realized I had actually enjoyed that swim and felt fresh. From 178th last year to 71st this year, think we can take that as a success Blair Davies ;).
Heading out onto the bike there was still work to do, but certainly less than last year. The bike course is amazing! Undulating, lumpy, with a couple of significant climbs but open roads, it feels fast. I felt strong as we hit the first climb, Pen Y Pas, defiantly more in the tank to play with than last year and the descent from here to Capel Curig is unreal. Perfect road surface and open, you can really hammer it. As we turned onto the next climb over to Ogwen, we hit the wind. I settled down and stayed on the bars, last year I was still hammering here but this years effort level felt easier. Another fast descent had me smiling, the locals were out in force again with cowbells and people stopped cars to cheer us on. Another reason I love this race.
It was good to come into transition feeling fresher than usual, I had held back a little and could not wait to get out onto the run. Its another cracker, the runable zig zags of the quarryman’s climb eventually lead to a technical single track descent through the woods, with a slight sting in the tail. The course had changed slightly from last year and was longer. I found my running legs quickly caught a few places before the climb. I did not feel great here, but was gaining on a few and running with 2 others. I knew my cards could be played on the downhills and technical running to come. Running with 4 others as we hit the first bit of single track, I hit the descent really hard, dropping 3 straight away and eventually the 4th, but it took a really big effort, not much left in the tank. The 4th guy would eventually pass me on a steep downhill on the road, I managed to maintain contact and we passed 2 more on the final sting in the tail hill. Could have done with a bit more speed in my legs for a better run, but my game plan worked as well as I could have hoped for.
I finished in 2.32 (2.41 last year) and 17th place overall. A successful day, more race rust shaken off and some good improvements on last year. I feel confident things are looking very good for the seasons main goals :).
Massive thanks to the organizers and the amazing support from locals out on the course, this is an amazing event, highly recommended, it should be on every ones bucket list of triathlons! Probably see you next year :). Great to catch up with friends who also had great races, well done everyone!
Also thanks to Zone3 wetsuits, my VictoryD wetsuit was amazing in its first race, pretty sure I did not feel the chill in the lake thanks to this and its unreal to swim in. If your looking for a new set of hoops, check out Eleven Sprocket, awesomeness in a carbon clincher, hand built with pride in Yorkshire, the 58mm wheel set was perfect in the blustery conditions. My LaSportiva Helios SR shoes worked great without a sock, perfect for off road triathlon. As usual Trec Nutrition and CurraNZ looked after nutrition and recovery.
Next triathlon stop, Coniston Standard distance! Maybe see you there!