Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Sandman

Quite an eventful week…..

Feeling really positive that my head was in the right place and my body had started moving I got an email about marshaling The IAU Trail World Championships at Gwyir Park Llanrwst which led me to Always Aim High Events and The Anglesey Sandman.

Always a believer in fate this looked right up my street and with almost 13 weeks to go I made the fatal mistake of asking the question on Facebook The Sprint or The Standard? The overwhelming response was The Sprint. I was gutted. Lessons to be learned: If it’s a yes/no question and you don’t want to hear no, don’t ask the question and certainly don’t ask the question on Facebook. This got me thinking again that I was spending far too much time on Facebook so I deactivated my account. A proper Teddy out of the pram, drama queen reaction but I needed to give myself headspace.

My wonderful husband, Mark, who dislikes most things triathlon, who has only watched my first event, who never criticises my triathlon dreams, but never actively encourages them either, grew up on Anglesey. He phoned his mates to discuss the bike route and had it confirmed that it’s a 60k up hill all the way loop. I could not for the life of me see how a loop could be all up hill.

I asked Iain from the Coaching Station's advice and he came up with a plan. A horrible plan. Bike, bike, bike and bike some more and the warning that if I didn’t bike he would find me and he would kill me. He nearly didn’t have to.

On Thursday I had a meeting at 5:30pm to discuss the plan. It had poured down all day. I have to travel home over the mountain. The road was flooded. Not sure how a lake forms on the top of a mountain road and the road down turns into a virtual river. When I get into Mold I hit Tesco roundabout, aquaplane and end up facing the wrong way. Bearing in mind this is rush hour I have no idea how I don’t hit anything and nothing hits me. I have this typical frightened rabbit in headlights moment where I do nothing and then realise I’ve actually got to reverse off the roundabout.

I put it to IDM that Bala was 2 weeks earlier and only 38k and flatter. He was having none of it. Stick to the plan. Suck it and see was the verdict. So I will.

Yesterday hubby decides to show me The Sandman bike route so armed with a picnic and my Mother off we trot. Just over the Menai Straights I’m told to look out for a Toll House on the left and that’s where you’ll come out. Great except the climb to the Toll House. Upwards we go through Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch . Onwards and upwards and upwards and more upwards and windy bends and more upwards through Gaerwen, Gwalhmai, Llanfaelog, Aberffraw, Maltraeth with the added commentary from my Mother which sent hubby into total hysterics of
“You should have done this when you were 21.”

“It’s not as if you’re a spring chicken.”

“There’s a history of heart failure in your Dad’s side of the family.”

“There’s not even a pavement to run on here” (after the 20th time I stopped correcting her that this was the bike route!) “You’re the wrong side of 30 you know.”

“Mark will you follow her in the car to make sure she’s ok?”

“It would kill me if I had to bury you.” (and you wonder where I get my Drama Queen tendencies from?!?!)

Then Morgan pipes up with the “Are we nearly there yet?” as we turn into Newborough Forest. Absolutely beautiful. We had our picnic on one o the numerous picnic benches and headed off to the beach. I’ve been to Newborough once before when I was 9 or 10. I cannot remember it being so absolutely stunning. We walked along the beach collecting shells and stones and walked, or should I say scrambled back through the dunes. There were lots of people but it’s so vast there wasn’t a chance of overcrowding. Great to see a kite surfer, a little chappie flying a kite, families playing cricket and football and everyone having a general fantastic outdoor time on a rather windy, grey late June day.

The last part of the bike route took us upwards through Brynsiecyn, past Plas Newydd and one of Mark’s old houses at Plas Coch.

So the verdict. It’s long. Very long for a Standard. It’s less than a 112 mile IM though and Bala Middle’s 80k both of which I should have done by now. The Jury’s still out but we do have higher, steeper and longer hills around here. It’s “Summer” adverse weather conditions should not interrupt training! Light mornings. Light evenings. It’s all down to how much I want it and how much I’m prepared to give it and sacrifice to get there.

On the way back we called at Llandudno and were fortunate enough to watch Rhian Roxburgh win the women’s Standard race and Rhian and Simon claim the female and male Welsh Championship medals. Nice also to see Julian, Chris and Shane from Wrecsam Tri all set to dismantle the scaffolding.

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