Cholmondeley Castle Series 70.3 The Gauntlet
Last weekend, I raced at Cholmondeley Castle Series Race in their Half ironman 70.3 distance race called The Gauntlet. This only my second bash at the 70.3 distance racing! Set in the estates of Cholmondeley Castle the bike and run course provided great views of both Beeston and Peckforton Hills, making for a challenging day on the bike (~750m Elevation) and the run (~200m elevation).
The two lap swim, featuring an Aussie exit in-between laps, providing a key uniqueness to the swim course. If I’m honest, the weeks leading in to the race I had felt pretty fatigued in training and even right up to a couple of days before, I was unsure if I’d be feeling at all fresh come race day. Not getting stressed by this, trusting my body and my training and reminding my self of Gwen Jorgensen’s mantra of “feeling does not dictate outcome” was key. Anyway, the race was on, swimming on the first lap I was feeling good. I got out nice and hard and pushed on in to my race pace rhythm. After lap one of the swim, I was leading by about a minute. I pushed on through the second lap and exited the water with around 80 secs on the rest of the field. The Yonda Ghost 1 did me well!
My ITU style racing background makes for minimal time in T1, clocking the fastest T1 of the day! I headed out on to the open roads of the bike course with only the lead motorbike for company. the three lap bike made for tough riding with three key hills on each lap. As the bike went on the heat of the day was starting to kick in. After leading for the first 3 hours of the race and with only 2km left to go on the bike, I was caught by the second place male. In Long course racing the one thing I have leant is you have to stick to your guns and your own pacing. I made it to T2 with only a 30 second deficit to the leader.
I set out on the hilly and challenging, part off road run course. With the heat of the sun beating down, little shade and with only myself to blame, I had failed to consume enough liquid in the first half of the bike when it was markably cooler. The second half of the run became an exceptionally challenging final 7km. Muscle cramping kicked in with 3km to go with a fair bit of climbing and descending to do! Sport is not always finish tape smiles but often grunting, gurning and grimacing just to hang on to podium positions or just to get to the end. Needless to say there was a lot of very loud grunting and grimacing in the last 3km, fighting the pain my legs cramping and just having to push on up and down the steep hills of the Cholmondeley Castle estate. I hung on to 2nd Place overall on The Gauntlet!