Slateman Triathlon - 22 May 2011
750m swim, 50km Bike, 11km Run
Report by Alex Ilyat
Back in January we were looking at what races to do this year and a brand new race caught my eye - Snowdonia Slateman. It wasn't until the summer (22nd May) and was only a short 750m swim - ideal! I persuaded Ian, Dave and Ellie that it would be perfect training for the New Forest Middle Distance as the bike and run were over distance. Dave and Ellie even changed their holiday plans from a week in Cornwall to a week in North Wales. Steve Pryke and Johnathan added to the Pembs Tri contingent but unfortunately Dave had to pull out. Fast Forwarding to the "summer/spring" and a recce of the course on the day before the race. We drove around the 50km bike course which was barely visible through the horizontal rain and the rivers of water on the road. The course was actually quite nice. From Llanberis up to Capel Curig down the Ogwen Valley to Bethesda and back round. The climbing was steady and long and there were no twisty bits. We were a little more confident having seen the course and were hopeful that the wind and rain would calm down by Sunday.
Saturday night was spent eating triathlon shaped pasta (amazing!) and a few glasses of red wine (for it's antioxidant properties - hic!). The rain had blown through by Sunday morning but the wind decided to hang around. The start of the swim was delayed so the buoys could be more firmly anchored - in a lake! The swim was in lake Padarn at 90m deep and only 10.9*C it didn't look very inviting. BTF rule 9.5 says that it is recommended that open water swimming does not take place below 11*C assuming that there is negligible wind chill factor (the wind was indeed "chilly"). On the plus side the water was clear and tasted nice. Getting in wasn't as bad as I expected probably due to a combination of complete sensory overload and a very full bladder. The swim was quickly underway and went surprisingly well with Johnathan 1st out of the water and Ellie and Ian not too far behind. There was a long run over grass and sheep poo up to transition and then the hard work really started.
The wind was in our faces all the way up to Capel Curig. The road was steeper than I expected and I was being overtaken by loads of wirey looking people and and one point a mountain bike. Fortunately what goes up must come down, and this was the best bit of the course! Ian hit 70km/h and I caught that pesky mountain bike and a few of the skinny triathletes -ha! The ride down to Bethesda wasn't quite so much fun, the scenery was stunning but the wind was in our faces again. At points we could be cycling down hill on the small chain ring and almost come to a complete stop when there was a gust of wind. This sapped the last of Ellie's energy, heat and resolve and after a valiant effort she pulled out after the bike to warm up. To everyone's dismay the wind was against us whichever direction we turned and it was a relief to reach T2 in one piece.
The run was mainly off-road with one major climb. This was a zig-zag path with fantastic views of Snowdon. I knew it was time to walk for a bit when I was overtaken by another competitor walking. The downhill bits were quite hairy too - a combination of rivers and wet slate. An ideal course for a mountain goat or a mentalist fell runner.
Despite the cold, wind and tough course most competitors including Ian and I had a massive smile on our faces at the finish. There is a certain amount of satisfaction from knowing that you have pushed yourself and completed a very tough course. I defiantly felt like a Slateman who would be spending a a couple of hours with the Sandman and left with the Leadman legs for the rest of the week.
Results for Club members below