Pete Chappills Bude Quad – Cream teas & belly flops!


Bude Awesome fouresome Quadrathlon.

Throughout the 2014 Quadrathlon season I have struggled with several open water swimming demons.

The feelings of, jelly legs, nausea, and lack of coordination in transition.

I decided to try and deal with them and how best but in the true Lincsqaud tradition “Extreme”.

So I went on holiday. That was after booking the Bude Quadrathlon in Cornwall.

This event entails a two lap sea swim. No more open and washing machine effect than that?

There is a very long run/stagger to transition, then a steep hilly bike ride.

So off I went, 7 ½ hours on the British motorways, at least they don’t charge for parking there yet. A graffiti artist with a sense of humour had added a 0 to the 5MPH average speed camera signs. The camp site was excellent, great views of the bays.

So onto business. The training ride went well didn’t wear my glasses and going downhill with brakes nearly full on under some trees into dark, thought the road went straight on, NO. That was a farmer’s field, the road went sharp left. At least the ride tested the heart rate. Back to camp fix the front brake. The roads are so frustrating. They have steep down hills which have to be taken with extreme care as they are also narrow and rough. You don’t get the free speed for the inevitable up section, could have done with a granny ring fitted.

Swim practise next. First attempt I arrived when the tide was out so it would have been a 5kms beach run, and I was having to rest that healing leg so tried the next day. The water was flat calm and everything went well. Able to sight small objects out and back. Felt OK when standing out the water, all good.

The weather was the best September in 50 years, so hydration went well, plenty of cream teas. Therapy on the leg twice a day soon spoils the mood, still No pain No gain??

Spent a couple of days looking at the course, transition, as I believe in preparation and visualisation, plus there were some great views and cafes on the routes.

The race start was 1530 hours dictated by the tide, “that’s my nap time”, most people over 50 will relate to that.

Now I had to deal with turning my body clock and bringing the nap to 1300. Race day great weather 20C a light breeze water temperature of 17C and it was going to be dark at 1930.

After reading Dobbers account from previous years I checked all my kit, 3 pairs of goggles in the box.

Registration was very relaxed, transition was on the village green next to the coffee shops and canal. 18 people in my age group, that’s great, another top 20.

There were around 50 people taking part mostly in teams, pairs, and a lot of sea lifeguards. Great for me on the swim knowing that over half the field were able to help if needed.

In the water and start on time, gave it max. Sighting easy as we used a channel between moored boats.

Past the last boat 75 metres from the turn buoy and some joker switched the wave machine on. I was like an amateur boxer with Mike Tyson constant blows on the head, the buoy kept moving, those lifeguards were playing football with it.

Reached the turn started back to the beach. Sighting the turn flag placed on the beach was impossible, every time I looked forward I was either on top of a wave and could see the hotels on the cliff top or at the bottom of the wave and could see the back of a wave. Those darn coaches at the pods don’t teach this. The next thing I was hand deep in sand trying to claw through it, better stand up and run then, easy, slow. Somehow came out right on turn, steady jog to entry point for lap 2.

There is a submerged wall that you dive/jump off into the channel. I hit it at a slight angle foot slipped belly flop, hope that’s on utube.

Again I was able to sight using the boats and now focus on technique. Turned at the buoy. Headed for home, “light bulb moment” sight on the distant hotel roof shape that is directly above and in line with the beach marker that way every time the wave lifted me I could breathe and sight. Got out bang on the marker but I couldn’t find the wet suit zip tag. Reached the edge of the beach removed wetsuit. This was on advice as the transition was so far away by the time I reached it all the water, and subsequent lubricating effect, would be out the suit making it very clingy and hard to get off.

Put on deck shoes due to having soft feet and allowing myself some comforts, concrete, sand and cobbles for that distance are not my idea of fun, jog to transition. Felt a little light headed, stay focused. Transition to bike went alright. I have to wear socks for the bike and run phase so needed to rinse away any sand, another hint from past participants, and these quads are hard enough without inflicting extra pain.

On the bike ride over cobbles out onto course up hill. One mile of climbing similar to the exit from Holmefirth, for those that have done that. I started to feel a little dizzy, caught nearside pedal on kerb then front wheel, felt water gush from left ear a pop sound and all was well.

Jelly babies as a reward for a decent swim and attacking those demons.

The bike course mid 1/3 needs “good gear selection”, thick brake blocks, and was an opportunity to practice my bike handling skills, been a long time since I have dropped body weight over the back wheel (make of that what you wish) to slow safely on a British road. The home stretch was brilliant even with slight head wind I managed speeds of over 40 mph, good surface and sweeping curves, great views, I was in heaven.

Kayak was a 2 lap 10kms slog on a canal which I am sure went up hill towards the sea!! One turn point was less than my boat length wide and took ages to turn. The top end was like kayaking in the sea. Drafted on the ups and overtook on the calm downs.

Now the other demon. How was the left leg repair going?

The run starts on a tow path so went easy. Felt ok at 2kms about 10 minutes, shared some jelly babies with a marshal as a reward, 50 mins for 10kms I would be happy with that. The with level of recent run training I was feeling better now. The path disappeared and took an elevated appearance. It was across fields that were flatter than the banking at Burringham thanks to a local farmer having run his heavy tractor across to mark the route. I reached the half way drink stop, I have to stop and drink from a cup if I don’t I just get wet. Quick chat check out the view as we were on the cliff trail now, sorry but it makes Cadney Lane look city centre.

I could see a BQA trisuited person 500m ahead, time to test the leg and even if it went, should be able to hobble back before dark. Caught them up, felt like forest Gump!! Not looking back. Nobody overtook me from there and I managed a strong finish, for me.

Minutes after I felt some sand irritation in left shoe. When I checked I found the swim wall slip had removed a large slice of skin right in the arch. I only wish I could bottle that adrenalin stuff as I had not felt it before now.

I managed to experience what it was like to applauded some of the other athletes as they finished. I don’t get to do that very often!!

Collect all the kit and back to the campsite, shower, food and therapy.

Nineth in age group, time around 3 hours 35 minutes. Due to all the firsts for me this was definitely the hardest event I have done. I would not have even started without the help of “Dawn the Therapist”.

I conquered so many demons today, go to sleep a happy man.

Would I do it again???