Cholmondeley Castle Gauntlet 70.3

3 days of recover post-Challenge Herning, 5 days mediocre training, 4 days tapering towards this weekend…I was feeling so unfit and unprepared for another 70.3! I hadn’t deliberately slotted in another race so soon after Herning – it was deferred from last year when I was unable to race due to back op.

Kez and I trundled up the M5 and M6 to register before heading to a lush little AirBNB for the night. In the days leading up the this race, I just wasn’t feeling it. Training had been average and to be honest I just couldn’t be arsed. I wanted time off and it was an effort to get myself out there. Felt like a right sausage – this is supposed to be what I love! Even standing on the startline, I was yawning away not really paying attention to the race directors comments. I felt lethargic and uninterested… Uh oh!

Swim – 28:56 (incl. Australian exit)
The swim start was grim. Knee deep in mud, we could probably have walked the whole swim course. The water level was a few inches lower than usual, but I was still scraping my fingers through mud most of the way round. Having said that, I found a nice rhythm and, although I was a long way off the front pack, I emerged from the first lap in 3rd. A very uneventful second lap say me hit T1 in 3rd place.

Bike – 2:41
It only took a minute to realise my chuffing power meter wasn’t working again. What is it about races that it hates?! Hasn’t worked properly in one of the three races so far. Sending it back after today! So it was all riding on feel today… Rain was lashing down and I really struggled to shake the lethargy. My mental game was weak, and I wanted to stop. Fortunately for me, Kezza drove the first lap and popped up a couple of times to give me some wise words without which I would have likely pulled at the end of Lap 1.


I focused on just getting 2 laps done – at Kezza’s request! – and my mood slowly improved. The bike course was pretty shite. Maybe the rain contributed too, but the surface was poor, plenty of pot holes and rough enough to shake your bones at times. I was overtaken a couple of times and found myself in 7th place. But I decided to hang onto the guy who just overtook, and used him to pull me (legally, I’d add!) around most of Lap 3. My mental game was improving and the encouragement from Kerry was epic. I ate well and pulled back into 6th place about 10km from T2.

Run – 1:21.51 (yes, it was massively short! About 11.9 miles).
I felt good hitting the run. The weather had improved and I was pleased I could stop soon haha. I set off around 06:30mm but that quickly dropped to around 07:00mm. Pretty average, but with a couple of decent climbs it was acceptable. I passed 5th place early in Lap 3 of 3 and ran well to the finish.


Summary – 4:33.45
A really, really average day in the office. Positives to be taken however:

  • Fuelled really well. Could probably have done with some caffeine before the race to wake me up.
  • Dug myself out (with help) of a hole after which I ran solidly.
  • Came 5th overall behind a couple of really strong athletes.

I should have really snuck onto the podium, though.

One to leave and move on from.

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