A well done for a good performance and a thanks to Spencer Jones who has given his race report.
With an iron distance triathlon (challenge Weymouth) booked, I searched for a testing local triathlon event to get me out of my early season lethargy. I stumbled across The Titan, a new middle distance race based at Bryn Bach Parc and with a £100 race fee,10 weeks before my A race, seemed it seemed like a perfect test.
So on July 4th, me and 66 others were racking our bikes on a damp Saturday morning whilst trying not to become gnat food. After racking I sought the sanctuary of the café (which was conveniently open at this early hour) and counted the bites over a coffee.
After getting the wetsuit on (for the 1st time this year) we were summoned to the lakes edge for the briefing. The swim was a 2 lap affair with an Australian exit. With relatively few competitors the swim was a gentile affair with sighting the big red bouys easy and the only issue being the reeds that infest Bryn Bach Lake. After the swim I was pleased to see there were some bikes still in transition. I used my TT bike with an easiest gear of 39 x 23 and set off with the drizzle lifting and the sun breaking through.
The bike route took us towards Ebbw Vale, across moorland and down a steep descent of aprox 3.5 miles to Llangyniddr then along country lanes towards Brecon where you could build up some speed. Next up was Heol y Senni where an 18% ramp up hit us. Now a rapid return to Brecon via Libanus and retrace our route back to Bryn Bach. With every pedal stroke I was asking myself whether my bike choice (and more importantly gearing) was correct. As I hit the climb I soon realised that it was not. Out of the saddle just about all the way, the hill was Brutal and at one stage I was as close as I have ever been to pushing!! But the 2nd half of the climb eased and amazingly I overtook 2 others near the top so I reckoned I wasn’t the only one to suffer. With ¾ of a mile to go to get back to Bryn Bach the road inclined so I changed to 1st and the chain slipped off, aarrgghh. After 30 s of faffing about the chain was reengaged and I completed my 61 miles.
The run is a 3 lap affair of once around the lake (flat) and the rest around the pitch and putt golf course (not flat at all). Although the run was pretty testing I really enjoyed it as you could gauge where you were in comparison to others and my plan was to run it at my Ironman Marathon pace and I managed to do this.
I crossed the line in 6hrs 37mins and wasn’t sure to be happy with this as I kept thinking was this really a hard event or was my lack of fitness showing? I spoke to a former Taff Ely member Matthew Haines after the event and to quote him “my legs felt better at the start of Ironman Lanzarote than today” so that assured me that it indeed was a toughie.
The event next year has been pulled forward to June 20th next year and so not to clash with the Long Course Weekend and I hope more people enter this event as the more local events the better and I feel this really could become a classic on the circuit.
My advice to anyone who has Ironman aspirations or is indeed down to do IMW in September is, the Titan at 11-12 weeks out from IMW would be a great event to test your fitness and if you can complete this you are well on your way to Iron Distance glory. The event is local, has free onsite parking, held on a Saturday, no more than a 30 minute drive away and at £100 is a bargain compared to some races of this distance. I really do feel that by doing this event it gave me a great boost, towards my A race of Challenge Weymouth.