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Monday, 20 May 2013

The Slateman Triathlon 2013

Ironman Training Week 19
The week is finally here for my first triathlon of 2013. The Slateman in Snowdonia. I have been really looking forward to this. My calf & ankle has also been a lot better this week so i was anticipating a great weekend.
Calorie burn January = 29,160
Calorie burn February = 34,932
Calorie burn for March = 47,799
Calorie burn for April = 28,453
Calorie burn for May = 15,208

Training Hours - 6 hours 12 minutes
Didn't do a great deal of training this week as I had the big weekend coming up

Bike - 34 minutes
Rest Day


Open Water Swim 35 minutes

Coldest one of the year for me. 12.5 degrees. Did about 1250 metres.


Bike - 46 minutes -


Bike - 32 minutes -

Arrived in Llanberis today ready for the weekends triathlon so thought I'd go out for a little bit to make sure the bike was OK after the long drive over. Thought I'd have a ride up to the waterfall I'd heard about (turns out i went up the wrong hill anyway). Had to push the bike through a gate thing. As i got back on to pedal away up the hill i missed the clip on my peddle & toppled over in front of a load of hikers. As long as that was going to be my only mishap for the weekend I'll be happy.

Accommodation we stayed at in was Llanberis Lodges. Really friendly owner 'Bob', (sounded like Paul O'Grady). Room was really clean, breakfast was the best I've ever had in a B&B. Free WiFi was really handy as well.
Perfect location for the event, was only 5 minutes walk away from the start. Breakfast was 8am - 9am but Bob offered to do breakfast at whatever time i wanted to fit in with the triathlon or any training i had planned.

Had a wander down to the lake & dipped my toe in. Didnt feel as cold as i thought it would be so looking forward to getting in there on Sunday morning. Always Aim High had also arrived on Friday & had begun setting up transition & Race HQ.

Went for tea at Petes Eates. I stayed here years ago & ate in this place everyday as the food was great. Pete must have done a runner & it's changed hands as it was shite. Expensive for small portions. Served me up liver (made me heave) & bacon instead of the mixed grill i'd ordered. Wife's lasagna had hairs in it. Free wifi didn't work either!

View from the lodges

The Lake Swim

The run route out of the quarry

My transition spot

Rest day, wander around & triathlon registration. Also went up to the Snowdon summit on the train.

Did a 5 minute cycle test, again to make sure everything was cool.

Had a walk up to the waterfall. Safer than cycling

Was freezing & view less on the summit

UK's highest Mobot, unless someone has done one on Ben Nevis
Sheep wandering about all over the place in llanberis. Caught these ones on video jumping over a high wall -


The Slateman race report

Woke up at 6am, had arranged for breakfast to be done at 7am. First job was to have coffee, a shower & add race numbers to body and bike.  Race numbers to go on your arms were temporary tattoo things as opposed to your perm marker scrawl.

Had a full fry up for breakfast (fuel of champions) Also started drinking a bottle of High 5 energy drink to prep me up. Headed off to transition to set up with Arleya at 8am

Off to the start, was a bit nippy but forecast was for temperatures to reach 16 degrees + today

Checking into transition had two check-points. Competitors had a blue wristband on to get past the first check-point. The next check-point you had to make sure you had your cycle helmet on and strapped up.

Sorting my kit out

Sceneic backdrop to the transition area

Race briefing was at 9am, everyone needed to be out of transition by 9.15am & heading towards the swim start. There were 4 waves to the swim. First at 9.30am then 10 minute intervals. I was in wave 4, based on my slow swimming. Took an energy gel prior to heading to the swim start.

With Richard, a fellow TriAnglian

13.9 degrees my arse!

We had just under 10 minutes in the water prior to the start which was plenty of time to acclimatise. went from a deep water start & for the first time i was confident enough to start in the pack as opposed to out the way at the back.
My new found confidence earned me a kick in the face two minutes after the start as some whale like creature came blundering over me.
Overall though the swim went pretty well. Red marker buoys are definitely easier for sighting than the big yellows we use down the lake here. I must be getting quicker as i even caught a green hat up from the previous wave.

Swim done
Run to T1

 Was an easy exit from the water but a fairly long run back to transition. Lots of encouragement from the spectators though & the cow bells that everyone had gave it a nice touch.
1000 metre swim took -  30 minutes 49 seconds

Had a bit of a faff in T1 which took nearly 4 minutes, i did pack my wetsuit into my tri bag though & there was a good 30 second run to get out of transition again. Mind you, i still left T1 before a lot of the faster swimmers.

Cycle stage -

Bike started off really well & was up to a 17mph average before i hit the start of the first and longest climb. This began by about the third mile & carried on till just over 5 miles. The climb wasn't exactly steep, it was just a relentless slog. Certainly got the heart pumping & legs burning though. By the time i got to the top my average speed had been reduced to around 13mph.

You were rewarded by spectacular views of the Snowdonian mountains & valley. Plus you had a fantastic fast descent through lots of smooth sweeping bends. Half way down the valley there were flags waving us to slow down. It  looked like someone had plowed straight into a stone wall on a bend, emergency services were there sorting that out. Not sure of the exact details or if they were a competitor or not. Hope they were OK anyway.

Rest of the route was up and down but nothing difficult. Views were stunning all the way round. The sun had even come out to make it an even more special experience. By the time i was coming to the finish I had managed to get my average back up to 16.4mph. Also noticed i had smashed my top speed PB on a cycle by touching 40mph on one of the descents.

One disappointment on the ride was the abundance of energy gel wrappers that had been discarded along the route. Doesn't take anymore effort to put the wrappers in your back pocket & bin them after the race.
Cycle course  stats

Arriving back at transition

T2 was a bit quicker. 2 minutes 10 seconds. This included having to move the bike that had been racked over my number, wiish some people would  take an additional second to rack their bike in the right place?
Run stage
Only 11km's to go & i would have completed The Slateman. What a long 11k this turned out to be. Calf was a bit niggly as i set off, it normally is though & tends to settle down once i get warmed up.
First part of the run was across a field & out onto a tarmac road. You then ran along flat road into the slate quarry, round the edge of a crystal clear lake & along a semi circle bridge. The place looked like you were running round a Lord of The Rings set, it was quite stunning.
Just past the actual quarry you headed up a track, some were walking but i was determined not to walk no matter how slow i ran. First few inclines & switchbacks were fine, but the switchbacks became relentless and steeper to the point i had no choice but to walk. I lost count how many switchbacks there were, the small of my back was killing me every time i tried to run on the flat bits.
If I'm going to be on C4 in July i can guarantee it will be at the point that I'm totally done in trying to get out this quarry, where i spied a cameraman sat on a pile of slates filming

Finally made it to the top of the quarry after around 30 minutes
According to the guy who took this picture it was nearly all down from here. mmmm, wasn't quite the case & some of the steepest sections were still to come. From here you run a further half a mile which includes another hill before you reached the halfway water station.

It was then downhill for quite a way so it was nice to get running a bit better. However, some of the steep descents required some careful foot planting or risk taking a tumble over the rocky pathway

Once out of the greyness of the quarry you started a woodland trail part which again has some cheeky up bits in it & boulder jumping descents. You could however start to hear the announcers down in the valley as people were finishing. The steepest part of the course is up a concrete road about 3km from the finish. You then hit another check point where they take your number (make sure all are out the quarry).

My bad ankle had started to hurt now & was beginning to swell up again. The thought of putting it in the cold lake gave me more motivation to get a move on.

Came in to the finish area, lots of applause & cow bell clanging. As all the race numbers had names on them everyone shouted your name & gave encouragement

Coming in to finish

My finish time & splits

 At the finish you received a slate coaster instead of a medal & a protein shake. Also plenty of water & biscuits.

Free (or give a donation) sports massages were available. These were provided by students who had come over from Norwich City College.

The Slateman was a brilliant, well organised event. The setting for it is stunning & i would highly recommend anyone doing it. There were also kids races, bands playing & other family entertainment going on in a tri festival atmosphere.

I will do it again next year & hopefully encourage a few more friends to come along for a fantastic weekend.

So, whats next?

Back on the training properly this week, depending on calf and ankle issue as usual. Only three weeks until my half ironman distance triathlon. The Grafman.


Bought a Co2 bike pump. Will speed up any tyre inflation during a race if needed. Will also mean i can get 100psi into the tyre. Struggle to get half that with my hand pump.

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