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Rods Lands End - London - Dover Race Report Sep 2013
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Big Foot




Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 185
Location: Hertfordshire

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:50 pm    Post subject: Rods Lands End - London - Dover Race Report Sep 2013 Reply with quote

Having finished and unexpectedly taking first place I have promised a race report for the first running of the Lands End London Dover triathlon (LLD) and as you would expect it is rather long as it took me 64 hours covering 358 miles of cycling, including 22 miles of detours, 7.2 miles of swimming and 77 miles of running.
The Build Up
After my 2012 season was written off due to a serious medical condition I was determined to get back and prove I could still complete long distance triathlons. Having taken part in the UK’s first Double, Triple and Deca iron distance events the LLD immediately grabbed my attention as it was not only a challenge but racing was point to point ,something new and would add the dimension of varied terrain and navigation. I was probably the first to part with cash for the entry and putting this as my A race. My first comeback step was Forestman in June which I finished but in rather a disappointing time despite the high winds. July saw me take on The Anglian a new race in Cromer which had my first point to point sea swim. Not the easiest of triathlons but a 52 minute swim was a PB by over 20 minutes for me followed by a good steady bike. I bailed out after 7 miles on the run due to leg problems and sickness, but my fitness had signs of improvement. Training in August was sporadic but I managed some longer runs and rides early September. Confidence was low in actually getting to the start line as getting crew was a big issue as only one person, Simon, was available for 5 days but preferred to join part the way through the bike. Luckily Simon put me in touch with Steve and Tina who thankfully stepped in to help with the bike leg so now it was game on. Another volunteer stepped into to support Simon on the swim bike which was great as this type of race puts a lot of strain on crew who all endured lack of sleep and continually had to change location with the support vehicle. Steve, Tina and I drove down to Lands End on the Wednesday encountering heavy fog from Dartmoor onwards. Thursday was registration with more fog although there was a short sunny spell which allowed us to view the great scenery. Bit of a panic as one of my run crew advised that he could no longer help out with the run was now no longer available. Luckily Jonathan stepped in to take his place at very short notice who later proved to be a great asset. The forecast was possible fog and 20 mile north easterly winds for Friday which was not what we wanted especially as the wind is usually south westerly which put me in a dilemma on when I should start.
Game On – The Bike
This race allows you to start anytime between 16:00 on Thursday through to 12:00 on the Friday with your clock starting at that point. My original plan along with Paul Parrish one of my friends and a fellow competitor was to leave at 5:00am on the Friday. After much umming and ahhing we decided on leaving at 2:00am. Three of the competitors decided to leave between 16:00and 17:00 on the Thursday and it seemed weird seeing them off. After doing my final preparations I tried to sleep but my body clock kept me awake so ended up in the bar with a Guinness. The wind was really getting up and I could hear the howling outside but I did manage to get about 3 hours sleep though getting up at 1:00am was not pleasant. I started my bike a minute after Paul at 2:00am heading straight into the wind and on the first decline I had wheel wobble which is very unnerving and made me regret putting on the deep rim wheels. I almost stopped in the first 5 miles with a view to changing to my back up bike through luckily I hit a tree lined section which made things a little easier. Paul and I kept pace with each other for the first 3 hours supported perfectly by our crews who helped with the lighting as the roads were nice and quiet. The roads were undulating and descending in the dark at speed is definitely not for the faint hearted. The last I saw of Paul was trying to enter a MacDonald’s no doubt in search of coffee.
Just before dawn saw the first of the killer climbs which was a big wake up call on what was ahead as I continued towards Dartmoor traveling from Cornwall into Devon. My progress was nice and steady and my crew Steve and Tina made sure that I was eating and drinking regularly. There were lots of long up and downs leading up to Dartmoor which sapped the strength with a final 1 mile plus climb leading up to the edge of the park. In normal circumstances the hill into the park would have been okay but exposed to the full force of the wind it was torture and I ended up stopping for a breather half way up. On getting into the park proper there was no shelter from the wind it was foggy and the temperature dropped markedly and with it my mood and progress. Miles were grinded out and in places I could probably have walked quicker. Eddie the race director crept by in his car but I looked round taking my eye off the road and was promptly dumped on the verge which was luckily raised and covered in soft vegetation. No damage done apart from my ego. After what seemed like hours on reaching the easterly part of the park things improved slightly as the wind wasn’t totally in your face and the fog had lifted. My crew improving things further by delivering a hot cup a soup. Spirits up progress continued out of the park and on towards Exeter. I did hear from my crew that Paul Parrish had decided to take a sleep break after enduring the worst of Dartmoor and also found out that the tracker I had which was providing live updates to the world was noted as that belonging to Paul Parrish.
After progressing so well a mistake was bound to happen and we took a wrong turn out of Moretonhampstead ending up 7 miles west of Exeter and had to retrace our steps leading to a 14 mile/ 1 hour addition to our journey. Recovering from this we made it through the traffic of Exeter and onto the A30 toward Honiton a very fast and crowded dual carriageway and was I glad to get away from that road . Progressed through Chard towards Dorchester as darkness came down and then it was on to Blandford Forum and then Salisbury which was roughly 2/3rds of the way. Andover and Basingstoke were ticked off next it would be Staines and started to entertain thoughts that I may even have time to have a short sleep before a swim start at 9:00am. After passing under the M25 at a roundabout I thought my support vehicle had taken a wrong turn and took a different one which had Staines noted on it. Crew were right I was wrong so I had an 8 mile detour out to Hounslow before hooking back with them. Traffic and the number of traffic lights had increased and I was starting to get frustrated with progress. There was a horrible spell on the A30 into central London and my crew did a brilliant job staying with me. One right turn saw us in a queue several cars back where only one car was getting through every change of lights across a 4 lane road. Time was ticking, suddenly I saw a bloke jump out of a car further up the queue and I immediately clicked Chris one of the race helpers who I’d not seen since his Dec last year and was saying hello. I decided to get off my bike and crossed to the other carriageway and taking the right turn in order to keep going hoping that my crew would catch up later. Chris helped with some of the navigation through Putney, Chelsea Embankment and over Vauxhall Bridge. Traffic was awful with plentiful delays and not helped by roadworks. Did bump into my support crew on the way down to the Lido as they had somehow got past me. Arrived at the Lido at 11:00 hours away from my predicted time and having run out of food and water was not in perfect condition to start a swim. Steve and Tina had done a great job getting me to London for which I was very grateful , but now it was the job of Simon and Jonathan to crew whose first job was to help me get into my wetsuit as for some reason it was very tight.
My Swim
The atmosphere at Charlton Lido was very relaxed and after taking ages in T1 I started the first of 228 laps of the 50m pool. Eased into the swim and focused on getting in the energy drink and gels progressing steadily oblivious to any time constraint or how fast I was going. It was obvious I was the slowest swimmer but I had it in my head that I was comfortable on time, the swim needed to be completed within the window of 9:00 and 17:00 hours. 120 laps into the swim I asked Dan who was timekeeping where I was and he informed me that I would struggle to complete in time if I kept to my current pace. Panic set in and I increased my pace significantly. Muscles were soon protesting, nutrition was skipped, all I could think of was completing the swim and it became a bit of a nightmare as I was starting to lose the plot. Cramped up several times which made pushing off the side and use of legs properly near impossible. Soon I was the last person in the pool and knew this was going all the way to the wire. Didn’t even hear the shouts to say I had finished and only knew when Simon ran to other end of the pool to tap me stopping me doing any more extra laps. Thanks to everyone who stayed behind to support my efforts with the lesson being to keep a close eye on the clock and do not assume that your swim time will be the same as that if it had preceded your bike. One comment which I really didn’t get at first was that I was now viewed as being in first place which seemed very strange but it transpired that Dave Kershaw and Paul Dipanker despite valiant efforts didn’t finish the swim and Paul Parrish had decided to cut the bike short and focus on the swim and run as he is doing the Arc to Arc next year. Andy Moore, Paul Gosney and Judith Martin had all started 9-10 hours before me which left me an 8 hour cushion over 2nd place.
Just a Run to Dover!
The exertion of the swim, time in the water and poor nutrition left my hands and feet in a horrible white spongy state the latter of which would later cause me a few problems. Over an hour after the swim saw me start the last leg of my journey which I started steady and very soon had covered 10% of the distance and was feeling surprising good despite exertions and being awake for 42 hours. Further down the road I met up with Judith and we ran and chatted for a while. She was in good spirits and I kind of knew that she would make it to Dover. We drifted apart just before Maidstone which was a bit surreal to go through as the locals had just exited the pubs and clubs dressed in their posing gear and there was me with head torch, running gear and safety vest. Had an interesting conversation with one youth on the hill out of the town who was obviously worse for wear but thought we would try to match my pace. He kept asking where I was going and I said Dover and he thought I was joking though offered to run with me. This lasted about 400 meters where upon he gave up as he realised his mate had disappeared behind somewhere
After a very good purple patch of running in the early hours of Sunday the inevitable happened as I hit a ‘wall’ which started with a light headed feeling followed by drunk like symptoms. I had been going for over 48 hours with no sleep so not really surprising. I knew I had to sleep so stopped and asked my crew to wake me up in 10 minutes which they did though I still took a long time to come round and required some coaxing. Started running again and after a while my system woke and helped by the appearance of dawn. My feet by this stage were really sore to run on which was a result of continual dampness and stupidly I didn’t change shoes or socks but continued on all be it at a much slowed pace. One nice surprise was Simon’s brother popping up and delivering tea for all of us on route. At that time someone took a video and posted it on YouTube of me and I can confirm running form – none, shuffle steps – yes, bent forward with imaginary heavy back pack – yes. Well at least it wasn’t a close up.
On entering Ashford I knew I needed to do something about my feet and me crew arranged for the medic to look at them. On inspection they looked deathly white and the skin on one of my little toes was rubbed raw. Bandages, clean socks and shoes were applied which helped a bit but running was still very uncomfortable and I still had over 20 miles to go. Although my energy levels were okay future progress was a slow trot walk which was a bit of a downer but me crew where great, never complaining , ensuring I was eating and providing encouragement. There was a mile on a stony track beside the Eurotunnel yard which was very uncomfortable on my wrecked feet followed shortly by long hill up through the outskirts of Folkestone which was tough. On getting to the top I thought I only had 2 to 3 miles to go but when I realised this was more like 7 miles my spirit dropped even though I was informed by Eddie and Dan that I was comfortably in first place. Progress continued very slowly and I started to continually wish for the end but it seemed never ending and I was struggling. Eventually I reached my goal just as the light was going crossing between the Dover Channel Swimming posts after 64 hours 52 minutes after starting. Tried a mini sprint and tried to get the arms up for the finish but neither really happened, just pleased that I made it
All Over
A great result for me which was so unexpected but credit needs to go my crew, Steve, Tina, Simon, Jonathan who all played a key part in getting me to the line and for which I am really grateful. This is definitely a team event and I would recommend for future races of this nature that you should always have a minimum of 2 crew at any one time. Hats off also for the Enduroman team for putting on this great event as it is no mean feat to run a race point to point over these distances. With this being the first there will be some learnings and some changes to the route to make it safer. Entries for next year are now open but be aware this is a tough race both physically and mentally so prepare accordingly. Looking back would I do it again and the answer would be yes and I can see some things I could do better but one thing is for certain is that I hate cycling in London.
Rod
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2013 Lands End, London, Dover (1st)
2014 C to C, Enduroman 100, Ridgeway Challenge (86m)
2015 C to C, St Peters Way Ultra, Immortal Full, St Albans Stampede (12hr).
2016 C to C, ONER, Enduroman 100, ????
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Toyota_Crown




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big
Foot
Tastic
Party

Winner
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veggieboy




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Location: Wearing Hokas/Altras/Sketchers and Ashmei - looking good is more important than running fast

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't be arsed to read it

Did you nail it what?

Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool
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RiRi




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Rod! Great race and report. Cool
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hillwall




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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great stuff Rod. After speaking to you when we had both DNF'd at The Anglian, I wasn't sure how you'd get on here but sounds like you got it nailed. Definitely doesn't sound fun cycling through London after 30+ hours on a bike though.
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mudman




Joined: 11 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great result, good report - chapeau! Worship
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repoman




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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant stuff Rod, well done
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p00key




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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool Cool fantastic
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Toyota_Crown




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Location: Lincoln / Scarborough (Algerino-Land) / Fircombe-on-Sea. sandbagging for daveM

PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hillwall wrote:
Definitely doesn't sound fun cycling through London after 30+ hours on a bike though.
depends if you give a stuff about red lights tho Laughing
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mitten reloaded




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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blimey, never knew there was a Lido in Charlton ... All those wasted turns in a 25m pool Laughing

Well done by the way
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chrise




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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice report Rod
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curry




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great endurance Rod.

This tops you completing Ironman Austria in 2003 with a broken collarbone (if I have got the correct Rod!!)

Clive
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putt putt




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

awesome effort!! well done. P
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Big Foot




Joined: 25 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curry wrote:
Great endurance Rod.

This tops you completing Ironman Austria in 2003 with a broken collarbone (if I have got the correct Rod!!)

Clive


Yes I am this Rod and it looks as if I didn't learn from this and came back for more punishment. Good to here you are still out there competing.
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2013 Lands End, London, Dover (1st)
2014 C to C, Enduroman 100, Ridgeway Challenge (86m)
2015 C to C, St Peters Way Ultra, Immortal Full, St Albans Stampede (12hr).
2016 C to C, ONER, Enduroman 100, ????
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Toyota_Crown




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Location: Lincoln / Scarborough (Algerino-Land) / Fircombe-on-Sea. sandbagging for daveM

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

go on then rod, give us more on the IM A story. Did you fall off the bike somewhere? How far did you have to struggle with bust CB? Cool Worship
I'll compete with you on my fractured elbow only 1 mile into the bike at IM CH in 2008! Doh
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Ard2 D2 FMan-11 TT2 Out16 10.15 CDS5 Ang3 IMUK-11 Jx1 Ult6 BW3 Stap1 Hel23 IMW11 Hx6 BxD1 Wx9 RR8
97IM+12DIM+D+3Q+4T=158IM
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