A huge thank you to Adam Newell for providing us with this race report…..a fantastic result, Adam! Congratulations from all at STC!
When you receive the start list for your A Race you can’t help but feel excited. As a keen amateur I usually look to see my start time and if I had been allocated an interesting race number. This time I got more than just an interesting race number, I was in an age group of 4 athletes. Thoughts of crossing the line in a good time had suddenly turned to thoughts of winning my age group – something I’ve never done before. So I do what any normal person does in a situation like this – I stalk my competition. I managed to find all of them and even better, one of them writes blogs about his races. Looking at their strengths, I felt if I got off the bike first I would stand a chance.
Fast forward to race day and were all standing next to each other on the beach with a light drizzle over us. A turbulent swim, few mouthfuls of salt water and a jelly fish face tickle later I got out of the sea. I was in 2nd place in my age group, which changed to 1st after a slick transition.
Off on the bike, the first 10km is up and down the Great Orme. I set off in good spirits as I climbed the hill and only losing a few places in the process. Then as I go downhill I hit a bump, my wheel is skewed and it is rubbing against my frame. I lost 2 minutes trying to sort it and ended up having a slightly wonky wheel for the rest of the race. There were no mechanics in sight so I just prayed to God that I just get round the course in one piece. Whilst looking skywards I noticed my main competitor zooming past me and I knew it was time to grind. I persevered over the undulating 56 mile course, taking in the lovely views on Conwy Hill along the way. I knew if I just kept peddling I could stand a chance on the run.
After 4,170 feet of climbing I raced along the Promenade towards transition to screams and cow bells ringing. I rack my bike and see that none of my age group have come in yet, thoughts of winning sprung to mind. I’m a decent runner and I should have this in the bag. I’ll be starting the run in pole position – happy days! I befriend a fellow competitor who was running at a fair pace and we set off round the Little Orme together. Everything was going well when I experienced the worst stomach cramps in my life and I’m ground to a halt. I tell my new best friend that he should go on and forget about me – which he did all to easily. I’m hunched over trying to take on water with my mind flitting between positive imagery of me crossing the finish line and the crowds cheering to thoughts of me walking back to my wife and telling her I’m sorry and I couldn’t take it anymore. Just when I was thinking it was my race over, someone else from my age group ran past me and I realised I was back in 2nd. The competitive side of me awoke and I ran/walked/screamed my way round the rest of the first 10k lap. As I approached transition my wife tells me I’m 2 minutes behind 1st and that he looked tired. So I muster up all I have and start pushing through the pain barrier, then 5km later I reach my target. His name was Matt – the triblogger – I knew he was a runner and that I had to play this carefully. We run the next 4km together making small talk and we were both struggling, he even offered me one of his energy gels as he took pity on my sorry state. We get to the Promenade neck and neck with 1km to go and the pace increases and increases and it looks like we may finish the race together. Then I think back to the one and only track session I’ve done with Clarkey where he tells me “pump your arms, this will come in handy in a race when you need to finish stronger”. So I start pumping my arms and averaging 5:30 min/mile, I was in full Park Run mode. I cross the line and keel over knowing that I gave it my all and that is was time for a pint! Matt crossed the line about a minute later, we shook hands and he congratulated me on the strong finish.
After a short while the prize giving began and I eagerly awaited my name. Having started triathlon a few years ago, I had only ever achieved participant medals and this meant so much to me. I proudly waddled up to the man with the microphone to receive my winner’s cup and posed for a photo in front of the winners screen. Llandudno was a hard race and I would only recommend it if you like a lumpy swim, a lumpy bike and a lumpy run!