Triathlete Chris Heys had a good day out at the Ullswater 70.3 Half Ironman triathlon. Fuelled by the food of champions (lasagna) and washed down with real ale….

As a half Ironman, races don’t come much tougher than this and paired with choppy lake conditions a tough day out just got even tougher.

We rolled up to Ullswater on Saturday set up camp, registered then bumped in to a few of the usual suspects from Lancs Fire Fighters. What followed was a trip into Pooley Bridge for some carbohydrate loading and hydration. After a dubious horse meat lasagna and garlic bread the suggestion of a beer in the Royal Oak was banded around and we all agreed on one. Then boom there it was – the holy grail of real ale – Iron Maiden ‘Trooper’. After a few of those it was back to camp to rest up for the race.

The swim was 1.2 miles in rough conditions which went off pretty uneventfully. I posted a time of 37.36 which was 4 mins slower than last year but I was happy just to get out alive.

Onto the bike for 56 miles over the Kirkstone Pass and Shap fell. The bike is always a tough one to call with regards to time trial bike or “regular” road bike. I opted for the latter and was soon picking off some expensive carbon bikes up Kirkstone Pass. Feeling strong with extra horse power from the previous nights lasagna I pushed on hard over Shap fell putting me into a good position for the run. My time for the bike leg – 3hrs13.

The final 13 mile fell run has two main climbs. The first comes straight after transition 2 and is runnable even by my standards. Lots of other competitors opted for the power walk so I made up 10 positions at the start. The second climb is at 7 miles and running it is a definite non starter so striding it out is the only option. By the 10 mile point the route hits a road which rolls all the way into the finish and although it’s only 3 miles,  it’s a grim three miles to say the least. This section was definitely my downfall last year so i was pleased to keep good pace into the finish and recorded a time of 2 hrs 9 minutes, my overall time for the event was 6hr 03;40.

I would have loved to have gone under 6 and with better lake conditions I would have. This is still one of my favorite races on the calendar,  made better with the local ale selection.

I’ll definitely be on the start line again next year, but next up for me is Ironman UK  in August.