I entered this race back in October 2016 so I have been looking forward to doing this one for a long time.
Friday morning & the weather was lovely for the drive up. We arrived in Llanberis around 1pm(ish). When we arrived our hotel room wasn’t quite ready so we did a bit more driving (culminating in about 6hrs in total) & did a reccie of the both bike routes. We drove up on the Friday because I had to register then, so I picked up the Race Pack at 6pm & then headed back to our hotel, which was in the centre of Llanberis. We then had a two minute walk to the restaurant for a pre-race dinner before heading back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
The Slateman Sprint, Saturday 20 May 2017
Yes, you guessed it, race day dawned wet & miserable but then what would you expect from North Wales!! We traipsed down to Transition for Race 1. I racked my bike in plenty of time & then headed down to the lake for a 400mtr swim & yes, it was cold in the water. The “Savage” athletes, who were competing over the two days, had their own swim wave start, Wave 1, which kicked off at 9:30am. I managed to get over onto the righthand side of the lake to keep out of trouble. The swim went OK but the only thing that crossed my mind as my feet were getting colder was that I had to do this again tomorrow, but would be in the water for a bit longer.
Out of the swim for a long run up to T1 for a fairly good transition.
I then headed off on my bike for a 20K ride up Llanberis Pass & down to the turn around point. This consisted of a 6 mile ride up the long drag to the top of the pass then down for a bit to the road junction where we then had to do a dead turn in the road & repeated the trip back to Llanberis. The only issue on the bike was that whilst heading back down Llanberis Pass, the Welsh Gods decided to through in a hail storm which made descending down the hill at 40mph a little bit clenchy-bum moment.
Back into T2 where I came up against a major issue. My fingers were so cold by now that I couldn’t feel, let alone undo, my helmet. I tried many times to unclip it & by now I was thinking that I would have to do the run with my helmet on, which was not a good look. Luckily, about 10mtrs away, was a Technical Official who came to my rescue & undid my helmet for me. And luckily for me she didn’t give me a penalty for this outside assistance!!!
I then headed off onto the 5K run, still with arm warmers & gilet on, but managed to give Coach 2 a Hi Five as I ran passed her. Now, as for the run, the only way I can describe it is it was bloody hilly & bloody hard. We just ran across the field, over a railway track & started climbing, and climbing, and climbing. It was just so steep & then when you think that you are at the top & it flattens out, they give you a bit more to climb. Eventually we did come to the descent but it was just so rocky with tree roots sprouting up everywhere so it was very difficult to descend at any speed, but I eventually managed to reach the bottom & finished Day 1.
Coach 2 commented that whilst I was out having fun in the Welsh hills on the bike, she was enjoying “Baa-gate”, i.e. she said that whilst the triathletes were all coming out from T1 to head off on their bikes some sheep decided to make a run for it from the field where transition was.
The marshalls just looked on as the sheep ran through as there was nothing that they could do to stop them from escaping. The escapees included a couple of ewes with their lambs plus another adult sheep. This kept her amused as they seemed to be causing havoc with the local drivers who weren’t amused at having sheep in their road, just looking up at them & bleating as if to say “what’s your problem – just go around me!!!”
As for me, my splits for this race are as follows:
Now that the race was over the recovery stage starts with drink & food then back to the hotel for a nice warm bath, clean the kit, then my bike, then a little walk around the town to keep the legs moving before heading off for dinner followed by another good night’s sleep.
The Slateman Full, Sunday 21 May 2017
Today was going to be a big day. In my 20 years of triathlon, I have never done back to back races.
I woke up feeling quite good actually. I had my normal breakfast of porridge & a banana & then headed off to transition, which was only a 5min walk away. Today it was dry (yay) but blowing an absolute hoolie & cold with it, so yet again I wrapped up very well & racked in exactly the same place as yesterday because The Savage men had the same numbers for both races. And, as yesterday, the athletes who were doing The Savage started in the first wave which today started at 9am. And, as yesterday, it was the same scenario. I started on the righthand side but this time it was for a 1000mtr swim. The water was just as cold as the day before but it didn’t seem to bother me as much as it did previously.
Out of the swim for exactly the same run to T1 then out onto the bike which was a 50K ride straight up Llanberis Pass again, but this time I had to dig out the lowest gear to get over it today, but unlike yesterday, when we got to the junction, we turned left & headed off towards Betsw y Coed. The ride was a bit difficult because when I tried to raise the pace the legs just didn’t want to respond, so I just had to hold on throughout the ride. I was getting a little bit frustrated though to have so many people overtaking me, but I wasn’t too sure if they were Savage athletes or doing the single race. But I enjoyed the ride though.
Into T2 for another difficult transition. This time it was my feet that were so cold because I was having trouble in getting my right foot into my run shoe, however my left foot was fine. I eventually managed to get it in & headed off onto the 11K run which consisted of the iconic Slateman Run – up the side of the quarry. But before that, we had a gentle downhill pavement run before we headed off into the quarry & like yesterday, although not as steep, it just went on & on & on but I was determined that this run course wasn’t going to make me walk. Yes, it wasn’t pretty & it wasn’t fast, but eventually we reached the top of the quarry where I thought the climbing was finished. But oh no. They took us into the forest area & up we went again. Eventually we reached the same point as yesterday’s run & started the same descent back to the finish line.
Coach 2 said that Baa-gate was still around & causing havoc on the roads (same ewes & lambs as yesterday)
My splits for the full race are as follows:
I am a “Savage” & my splits for the full two days is as follows:
PS: This was one of the hardest races I have ever done but I am very proud of my achievement