Where to begin?
Set off from Morpeth at 4:30am in clear sky’s, arriving at the site after a 2hr drive, in pouring rain and gale force winds and was met by the sight of marquees and tents damaged by the winds on Saturday night, even half the fencing around the transition area had blown down this remained where it lay for the rest of the day.
With the weather being that bad (Strong winds and freezing rain) I think the organisers wanted everyone ready to start straight away, so they could get everyone of site as soon as possible. You were told to rack your bike anywhere as the number stickers didn’t work in the rain. There was no place to shelter from the wind and rain so this made changing into your wet suit real fun for half the competitors and made everyone even colder for the swim. (plus you had the added bonus of standing bare foot into sheep shit every step you took)
Race brief was by megaphone as the weather had knocked the power off.
Now with signs of hypothermia showing in the competitors we entered the water, which to my relief seemed warmer than ladyburn lake. I was so thankful for those Thursday night swims. The swim was ok but once you were out of the water the weather seemed worse than before.
Most people had the same idea and wrapped up well for the bike leg (full winter kit was necessary). The bike route is really stunning, but with the high winds (gusts of 40mph) and driving rain and the odd bit of hail thrown in it made the going hard. There were a few crashes and reports of someone getting hypothermia (only had his tri suit on) you also had to keep eye on the traffic especially on the road back to T2 which was really busy.
The run is spectacular but with all the rain it meant that the assent trail was now a full flowing river with the occasional rapids section to get through to keep you on your toes (No chance of keeping your feet dry). Fell running is a discipline in its self and hats off to anyone who ran all the way up to the top. Descent was fine but the grassed areas were a bit slippery (I was praying for tarmac) then on to the finish line with the sun starting to shine, job done.
After all that, this is a great event with stunning scenery and can’t wait to enter again next year and would recommend it to anyone. just remember the weather so take lots of clothes (summer, winter and Antarctic) as you never know what it is going to be like.