August update…

sometimes your memory can play tricks on you…

It’s a sunny day on the bike, and I’m riding on the Brutal course. Somewhere during the terrible climb to Waunfawr I know the climb has to end after the next corner; I know from last year that it’s slightly longer than you would think, but this time, after that next corner, someone decided to move the little village even further uphill! I forgot; the climb isn’t ‘slightly’ longer, but it’s ‘a lot’ longer (and steeper!) than you would think, even if you know the course!

The Big Brutal Swim is always a good excuse to come to Wales and do some training, and enjoy the pre-Brutal nerves. A week of swimming, cycling and running around Snowdon it is, with all the variations in the weather that you can expect; it’s been cold, rainy and stormy, but also nice and sunny…
When me and coach Jacomina arrive we immediately get on our bikes for a bike-lap; for me it feels like being at home, having done the lap quite a few times now (but still, I did really, really block the memory of the ‘Waunfawr’ bit…), for her it’s the first time she’s on her Double Brutal course. We ride a relaxed pace (even stopping for ice-cream along the way), and just enjoy being out there…

The next day it’s time to climb Snowdon. Mark Yates joins us for the run, and although he asks us to go easy on him, he’s sprinting up Snowdon as if it’s the flattest part of the course… At the top the wind and rain have really started to tell us that it’s just another Welsh day, so after a quick photo it’s time to go back down. And, when the weather is bad, it seems that the only way to keep warm is to sprint, so both Jacomina and myself have to push hard to keep up with Mark…

It was a great run, and the rest of the week there were some sore legs… A short ‘easy lap around the lake’ follows, and then Mark heads back home, it was a good day…

Over the week a few more lake-laps followed (some nice and relaxed, some insanely fast), another bike-lap in the sun (yes, sometimes the sun seems to shine here as well!), but the reason to come to Wales was The Swim…
Pre-swim there were mainly some concerns over the lake-temperature (which turned out to be a really comfortable 17 degrees), there was some time to catch up with some old and new Brutal-friends, and then there was the little 8-lap swim course to conquer…

There’s not much to say about a 10km swim; the views were amazing (every lap Snowdon seemed to change; sometimes it was ‘Snowdon with a clear blue sky’, and sometimes it was ‘Snowdon with a pitch-black cloud’), the water was nice, after the first lap the field was spread out, so it was easy to swim my own pace, and at every exit (every 2 laps) there was race-marshall Justin with his (sometimes wise, sometimes not so wise…) comments… A beautiful morning in the lake, and after the swim some time to chat with the always amazing Brutal-crew, and the final recce of the Triple course was done…

final trainingsessions…

Back home there’s only short sessions left, mixed with a few longer ones; 6 hours on the bike (which doesn’t feel that long, until you put in 6 blocks of 20minutes at full power… ouch…), a marathon (which is a nice distance for a Wednesday afternoon), and finally an iron-distance trainingday…

Let’s try and not say too much about that final full-distance… I didn’t finish, simply because I completely messed it up… There was absolutely no nutrition-plan, and I didn’t eat enough, didn’t drink enough, and basically just made all the rookie mistakes (that I keep on making…). Looking back I’m totally frustrated, but at the same time, it’s the wake-up call I needed… Now there’s a plan for the Triple, and believe me, that plan will be followed as much as my body can handle!

Now it’s time for the final preparations; packing, packing and packing… In the meantime I’m trying not to freak out about a 11.5km swim, a 565km ride and a 126km run…

Two weeks to go!

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