It was odd not seeing Jools at a Championship race. Here’s the reason why.
“Survived today’s Blowy Blaenafon Tri. Think the time was 3:22:27 though they were having difficulties sorting the results out after an Excel user error. 23rd overall out of 78 starters.
Good swim: 13:40 for 800m without tiring myself out, slow transition then onto the bike. Once I’d got my gloves on I was flying all the way up to the cattle grid before the masts (you remember the one Daren & Catherine) then the wind really hit me. Battled on, overtaking a Cardiff Tri guy on his carbon bike en route crested the hill & then fought the wind downhill to the main road! There then followed a hairy descent with rain & wind gusting sideways, which almost took the bike from under me crossing one of the many cattlegrids. There was then another short climb through Forgeside to the Varteg road before another wet n windy descent, where Carbon Cardiff went past me, a sharp right & we were onto the British. I’d heard the horror stories but thought it was exaggeration. Oh no! The road surface is so pitted it feels like you’re hanging on to a Kango & that’s on the way up! Passed a guy from the previous swim wave who was pushing his bike uphill crying & shivering (too cold to ride but determined to press on: he refused the marshal’s offer of assistance too!!) I’d overtaken CC again here & was just thinking “how can this get any worse?” when the wind & rain struck again. I was now struggling to make 13/14 mph on a gentle downhill gradient! The sheep were roaming aimlessly across the road, the surface was becoming totally broken up with slicks of mud every now & then plus my fingers had now gone numb so I couldn’t be sure if they were touching the brakes since every jolt was knocking me about. CC again went past me. After a scary double hairpin: the lumpiest road surface imaginable on a 20% downhill gradient; the mountains were done. Suddenly I was on a well surfaced main road with a 1% downhill gradient & legs that were hungry for action = 27mph for nearly 5K More good roads, couple of roundabouts, close shave with a car almost turning across me, quick blast uphill before dropping back to Pontypool Park & T2. Again very slow as I couldn’t be sure what my fingers were doing & my brain was also frazzled from the effort of staying upright. Still the sun was shining now & although I couldn’t feel my feet I was soon running along a canal before a sharp climb to the Watchtower & a steep descent back to the Park where carpets of bluebells greeted me before, a treacherous bit of muddy woodland descending, a stream crossing & then plain sailing to the finish. Never really pushed hard enough on the run because I was enjoying it so much.
Arriving back I discovered there was a complementary buffet to gorge on ,so together with a smart red Technical tee & friendly marshals: all in all cracking event.
I will be back”