I had goosebumps on Saturday, they started at 5.30am when I got up and headed out on the bike and they didn’t stop all day long.
The initial goosebumps were probably from the cold, it was a typical October Lancashire morning – thick mist, howling winds, driving rain and a general gloom. Pity we are almost at the end of May! I was supposed to be meeting my mate Stu, who is training for his first Iron distance event at the Outlaw. Unfortunately he slept through his alarm which meant I was riding solo for 2 hours, no big deal, solitude is much a part of triathlon as swimming. I’m used to it, comes with being an unsociable sod. I had a good ride, loving every minute of it, now the pressure to train is not there I’m falling in love with the bike, savouring every moment that I’m out spinning the pedals. The highlight of my ride was when a beautiful white-tailed deer bounded out in front of me and cleared a six-foot hedge with a graceful ease. You can’t help but love cycling when you are rewarded with a sight like that.
I made it home, drenched, cold and in need of hot coffee and breakfast. A quick warm shower and I was good to go for a long day of being an armchair supporter.
This is where the second batch of goosebumps came into play as I watched live coverage of Ironman Lanzarote, trying to spot my COLT and Pirate teammates. Constantly hitting refresh on the tracker. Everyone had made it out of the swim, and luckily there was no more updates until the end of the bike. So I had a good 6 hours at least to get some jobs done and maintain some brownie points with the boss.
However I was also tracking the events of the North Downs Way 50 mile ultra that featured an international field of runners including my brother Craig. The NDW50 is a 50.8 mile point to point run along the North Downs Way National Trail from Farnham in Surrey to Knockholt Pound on the outskirts of Greater London with a total climb of 5,600 feet including the famous Box Hill. Craig has been in great form this season becoming British 100km champion back in March, and following that up with a 2.36 at the London Marathon. He took control of the race early on and set a blistering pace, that would eventually see him smash the course record by some 35 minutes as he crossed the line in 6hrs 47mins 19 seconds – averaging 8 min mile. An outstanding performance. I was dead proud of him. You can read the race report and see the photos here
So that was one brilliant result, and they just kept coming after that. Chris “IronHippy” Wild lead team COLT home on the lava isle with a phenomenal 3.32 marathon despite breaking 3 toes in T1 ( YES you read that correctly ). He finished in under 11 hours despite also losing 25 minutes to a puncture. And then it was just a steady procession of my mates crossing the line, each with a story to tell, each making massive improvements and each inspiring this old crock to want to get out there. If online entry had been open my credit card would have got a hammering, thankfully it wasn’t. Realistically as much as I want to be in Lanza next year I have to sort my body out first, if I ever race Ironman again I want to be 100% fit and well. I’ll maybe get some answers and a recovery plan on the 1st June when I get my MRI scan results on my knee. keep your fingers crossed for me.
I want to bed Saturday night just buzzing for everyone that had achieved so much that day, I couldn’t sleep, my mind was racing. I was up about 2 hours before my alarm and met my buddy Chris Lawson for a bike ride. Chris is a much stronger/quicker athlete than me ( at the moment…) but he’s coming back from a broken shoulder that he got in a bike crash. Let me tell you it hasn’t effected his cycling ability. He set a blistering pace and I just hung on as best I could as I completed my longest ride in months and loved every minute of it. Over the past few weeks I’ve been averaging 30 miles in 2 hrs, with Chris I did 40 miles in 2hrs and eventually made it home in 3.04. My legs felt trashed for the rest of the day but inside I felt so good.
This past weekend has made me so determined to come back stronger next year, no matter what next year may hold for me…..and I have goosebumps about that.