Slateman Tri 2013 – Gary Horner

They say bravado is a dangerous thing.

…and last year whilst having a giddy moment and texting Mr Kona for advice and being told … the sprint is for wimps, I decided to book myself onto the Slateman full triathlon…it was nearly a year off, that’s ages I thought … how time fly’s and how quickly the Slateman juggernaut was heading my way.

Suddenly my bravado had turned into a panic for the last couple of weeks…for anyone that was on the Majorca “training” camp will testify, I’m afraid of water (well things in water…long story) and heights … so for the past few months my brain has been struggling to understand the logic in entering the Snowdonia Slateman triathlon.

Anyway it was here and after having a restful night at Camp Lincsquad and a pre tour of the bike course with Steve as my guide race morning had arrived…after nearly forgetting my goggles last week at Grantham I went through my kit at least 10 times .. pre-race briefing when told how to make sure your lungs don’t go into shock with the coldness of the water didn’t help the nerves!!

Wave 1 and 2 had set off and I was in wave 3 with Rob Wood and Gareth Barker…into the lake we went and after warming the wetsuit as I had been told…I leave everyone to work that out lol, it didn’t feel too bad, it was a deep water start so as we bobbed there I took the opportunity to get my head under water…completely black..which was great for me as then I couldn’t see anything!!

As we set off my mind was concentrating on the people around me, there was a lot of jostling for position and that kind of helped, I got to the first turn point and felt quite relaxed, I decided that to turn point 2 I would keep my head down and give it all I had (part of this was because we were swimming over the deepest part) I got into a rhythm and started passing quite a few people, I was feeling really good, I got into clear water and kept going…I put my head up to see if I was close and realised the clear water was due to the fact I had strayed away from the racing line, I realigned and got to turn point no 2, the swim back was a bit dads army and I think I need to practice my siting a lot more but as I got close to the edge of the lake I actually realised id enjoyed it 🙂



That enjoyment turned to panic when I realised my fingers were that cold I couldn’t undo the flap on my wetsuit…I eventually got the top half off and continued to run to transition…transition 1 could have been quicker but I guess you learn from each one!! Onto the bike and a couple of small climbs before we got to LLanberis pass, I looked up and thought… I didn’t look that tough in the car yesterday!!!, so head down and a long slog to the top, with a certain persons wise words in my ear…if it’s hurting me it’s hurting them!! Id reached the top and then it was a very fast decent…after being told by Steve, Emily and Sharon not to touch the brakes much on the pre drive round yesterday I thought I’d go for it, over taking a bus around the hill/mountain edge whilst others tucked in behind the bus was one of my highlights and another fear was being conquered!! The bike was going well and before the second climb I was making good progress, just before the climb Lincsquad supporter’s team made up of The Dobbers, Mel and Kev had assembled at a junction and were cheering loudly, the feeling you get from that is priceless 😀

945322_10201127152212113_1127456370_nAnd so to the second climb and following more of Steve’s advice was to pick someone out and aim to catch them up…the hill was hard work especially after the first long climb…but what was that I could hear?? In the distance behind me I could hear the frenzied rattle of cow bells and screaming voices…right then before it got to me I knew it was the Lincsquadders and the vision when it passed me of Claire and Mel halfway out the window cheering and rattling the cowbells will stay with me for a long time…it made the climb feel a lot shorter… I got into a mini battle with half a dozen riders which pushed us on for the last 10 miles and as the town came closer I starter going through my head the professional dismount I was going to perform
I released my laces and slipped my feet onto my shoes, I felt good..but that was short lived as I had to overtake a car just before the bike in..I came in too fast and ended up cocking it up…another lesson id learnt!!

Transition 2 went well and I set off on the run…little did I know it was to be the biggest test id had ever had in my short running/triathlon career, first flat mile my thighs were cramping up, I kept going as giving in after the swim was never an option. I hit the hill!! Which was never ending…I was determined not to walk but after 10 minutes of running and not overtaking the guy 5 yards in front who had been walking this section I decided to join him…we continued to the top, running 10 seconds walking 1 minute…it never ended!! I was being broken!! We got to the top, legs exhausted I shuffled on, dropping down and climbing more!! Then was the major decent, but no rest as woodland terrain and large uneven rocks meant there was no chance of just letting the legs run, a mixture of hopping and shimmy’s got me closer to the bottom and I could hear the crowds and the tannoy…I was getting close!!

I hit the road to be told by the marshal to be quick if I wanted to miss the mini train heading our way “I haven’t been quick all day” was my reply and a received a slight chuckle from the marshal…we had 400 metres to go, as I passed the lincsquadders again who had all converged near the end to cheer us onto the end and a quick hi 5 from Clarky I had 300 meters left…2 children were shouting for their dad and Mum piped up “go Steve!!” I had worked out that “Steve” was just behind me!! I had my competitive head on!! And wanted to wipe the smile off the families faces…there was no way I was letting “Steve”!!! Pass me, I pushed on and gave it all I had, he didn’t overtake me…it’s only a small victory but non the less id won it 8)

253211_10151898876754056_1028053765_n-1I’d done it 🙂 in a time of 3hrs 27, emotions were getting the better of me as a couple of years ago I was 18 and ½ stone and would never envisage running to the chippy never mind completing this, I’d come a long way and that has been down to my partner Sharon who has put up with a lot, Steve for his constant help and niece Emily who persuaded me to join the club and the rest of the lincsquadders, whether it was the guys who had travelled hundreds of mile just to cheer us on this weekend , to every other member who takes the time out to give coaching, advice, support and encouragement throughout the year…what a great club this is!! Let’s all ensure it continues by helping out when we can!!

It’s funny how the brain works as after getting a hug off my brilliant supportive partner at the end I told her how hard it was and couldn’t go through it again..couple of hours later I was planning where to improve on next year and setting my diary for 22nd July for next year’s entry…hopefully see you all at Slateman 2014!!