Customer Simon Hollis tackled the Great Himalayan Running Festival 2017
What’s that all about? Well you nip over to the Himalayas for a week-long celebration of running.
Apparently there’s a choice, run five full marathons on five consecutive days or run the entire 480km distance from Manali to Leh on the toughest & the highest highway in the world.
Simon opted for the five marathons in five days, and here’s what he has to say.
“I did the marathon stage, 26.2 miles a day for 5 days. We crossed some of the highest road passes in the world culminating in a crossing of TangLangLa the second highest road pass in the world at over 5300m above sea level.
“The weather was a big challenge with cool crisp mornings changing to freezing cold on top of the passes to scorching sunshine on the descents, add in the odd snow/hail storm and a whirlwind and you can see how difficult it was to plan.
“This is only the second year of the race and I am proud to say that I am the first ever Englishman to have a trophy!”
Simon, who’s been a customer at Advance Performance Peterborough store for many years, hopes to be a UK ambassador for future races – he’s waiting to hear from the organisers on that one.
Our Zone3 Local Hero for 2016 was Andrew Diplock and although we have a new Zone3 Local Hero for 2017, Kate Southorn, the Triathlon Centre@Advance Performance is continuing with support for Andrew throughout 2017.
Andrew’s year went well, with selection to represent Great Britain and race at the ITU Age-Group World Championships 2016 in Mexico.
However, as many an athlete knows, the best laid plans and training can go wrong on the day. With triathlon we’re susceptible to equipment problems and malfunctions.
Andrew continues his race story, “My game plan had always been to go for it on the bike, as it was a tactic which served me well at my last race, Monster Middle. I felt really strong, making decent headway on the leaders. The road was sublime, running parallel to white sandy beaches and unspoilt landscape.
“Unfortunately I punctured at around the 15km mark. The sound of my tyre deflating was devastating as was the heat, which ultimately was the likely cause of my misfortune. I nursed my bike to the next marshalling point and they radioed for a mobile mechanic…
“The mechanic arrived 45 minutes later. I knew the race was over by this point. As I rode back to transition, I thought about pulling out of the race. I was in last place by now… I decided to finish the race, I hadn’t travelled all the way to Cozumel to merely spectate!”
Andrew worked hard in 2016 and the support he received from both Zone3 and Advance Performance helped get him to Mexico.
We will be providing him with kit and shoes this year along with some race entries at some of our sponsored races.
Andrew will be racing at the Thorney 10K on 26 March, so we look forward to updates and photos from this and other events this year.
2016 was her season being able to compete after suffering a prolapsed disk, she completed 6 sprint triathlons as a weekend warrior at Blenheim and was 3rd in her age group in the Pitsford Standard Triathlon. Kate has great plans for this year and we hope the support she receives from Zone3 and Advance Performance will enable her to reach her goals.
Our Zone3 Local Hero for 2016 is Andrew Diplock, updates us on his race at the ITU Age-Group World Championships 2016 in Mexico.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger
That quote would ultimately set the tone for my race report on a tough day in Cozumel, not just for me but also for everyone who battled through the heat and humidity on race day.
We took the short taxi ride to race start at 5am to do some final checks on bikes and get race ready. Although still in the darkness of night, the air temperature was high. The heat lingered with intent, waiting to be reborn as the sun appeared over the horizon.
The race start was at 6:55am; I made my way over to the pontoon ready for the wrestling match. The sea current was strong and the water temperature was 30c.
The water was beautifully clear, the ocean floor beamed back at you reflecting off the morning sun. I prepared myself for what would be a mixture of swimming and wrestling with water polo tactics. We set off at a blistering pace and I made sure I was at the front of the pack to try and avoid the impending onslaught round the first buoy.
Unfortunately my choice of line was far from ideal, and I found myself tucked up next to the first buoy. I put in a good fight to prevent being dunked under the water, but the surge in pace took a lot out of me and I dropped back from the lead group after that. I still exited the water in sub-20 minutes, which I was really happy with, and a new open water PB for me!
My game plan had always been to go for it on the bike, as it was a tactic which served me well at my last race, Monster Middle. I felt really strong, making decent headway on the leaders. The road was sublime, running parallel to white sandy beaches and unspoilt landscape.
Unfortunately I punctured at around the 15km mark. The sound of my tyre deflating was devastating as was the heat, which ultimately was the likely cause of my misfortune. I nursed my bike to the next marshalling point and they radioed for a mobile mechanic. As I waited, watching people go past with looks of pain on their faces, I felt envious. How could I feel envious of people inflicting such pain on themselves?!
After some reflection, I think I was envious I had been denied the right to inflict pain on myself. I mean nobody really wants to go through that agony!
The mechanic arrived 45 minutes later. I knew the race was over by this point. As I rode back to transition, I thought about pulling out of the race. I was in last place by now and the heat was starting to set in. I felt pretty low on that ride back.
I decided to finish the race, I hadn’t travelled all the way to Cozumel to merely spectate! So I set out on the run at a fast pace to experience the heat like everyone else. At around the 3km mark my heart rate shot up to 190bpm, this was not good! I knew I would not last another 7km with that pace and heart rate, so I slowed down to a comfortable pace. As I was no longer in the race, I could afford the luxury of slowing right down and pouring water over my head at every aid station. No matter how much I slowed, or water I poured, my heart rate never did decrease from 190bpm until after the race. It just shows what overheating can really do to your body and I was slightly relieved I did not have to run at max effort!
The result was not what I had hoped for in Cozumel, but the experience was well worth the trip and it can only get better from here.
Thank you to Advance Performance and Zone3 for supporting me throughout the year with running and swimming related products and advice, I’ve seen huge improvements in both areas this year!
I would also like to thank BKL for the support they have provided while I’ve been training and competing. The financial backing has been so helpful in helping me to achieve this goal, but it’s the personal support and encouragement that has really meant the most.
Well done Andrew we’ve has a great year with you as our Zone3 Local Hero, it’s such a shame about the puncture.
Our Zone3 Local Hero for 2016 is Andrew Diplock, he has updated us on his training and races.
My last race report was for Outlaw Holkham, a stunning course and my first ever middle-distance triathlon. I was feeling very tender the following week; all my muscles were aching and my body was battered.
What would be the perfect cure for that? To go and race Long Course Weekend in Wales the following weekend? Sure, why not!
So that’s what I did.
Long Course Weekend is held in Tenby, South Wales. It’s an iron-distance triathlon event, but unconventional in that it’s spread over 3 days. It’s still run in the same order, so sea swim on Friday evening, hilly bike course on the Saturday, and unsurprisingly, more of the relentless hills on Sunday.
A big group of us went over for the weekend and had an absolute blast! Tom had targeted me for the 3.8km sea swim on the Friday evening, which meant I had my work cut out! In the end it came down to a sprint finish, I got him by one second! Pretty sure my new Zone 3 wetsuit had shaved a few vital seconds off my time – it’s small margins that make a big difference.
On the Saturday was the grueling 180km bike course. At halfway, I was in trouble. I had absolutely nothing. My body was still recovering from Outlaw the weekend before and I wasn’t sure if I could carry on. I devoured 3 or 4 snickers bars and decided to push on to the end. I was pretty broken after that ride. I haven’t felt that tired in a long time! James on the other hand was completely solid. So much so, he was crowned King of Wales in the mountain climbing competition! Rightly deserved.
Sunday was time to run up and down a few mountains. Barney set off at a brisk pace and I decided to go with it. I kept hinting at Barney to slow down by reading out the splits, he chose to ignore me though and carry on at this brutal pace. In fact I actually think he sped up when I called out the splits. Strong run from Barney and I was merely a passenger! We finished in 4th and 5th respectively. Barney could have dropped me with about 1km to go but he waited for me to cross the finish together – that’s true friendship!
The crowd were amazing, especially at the finish. It was without doubt the best crowd I’ve ever experienced in a race. The spectators really get behind you in Tenby; I’m sure it makes Ironman Wales an unforgettable experience. Long Course Weekend certainly was.
I had a bit of break after that and did not race again until a few weeks ago at Monster Middle Distance in Ely, which was also the Eastern Region Middle Distance Championship event.
I entered the race last minute after deciding it would be good training prep for Mexico!
The swim went really well and I was happy to exit the water in 26.44, which put me in 4th place.
The bike course is very open and exposed to the wind, which made it a tough ride on the day. I feel my biking has really improved this year and soon managed to get myself up to second place. Sitting in first place was Simon George, who was looking strong, but he crashed round a greasy left hand bend and that was game over for him. I almost came off round the same corner, but just about managed to stay upright. After that brief bit of off-roading I pushed on and opened up a 3-minute gap, which gave me a nice buffer coming into T2.
I was cramping a bit on the run but that soon subsided and managed to fend off 2nd place Scott Wiseman who was chasing me down to finish in a time of 4.24.47. My first overall win!
Well done to Monster Racing for making the race completely stress-free. The organization was impeccable and it really makes a difference on race day when everything runs smoothly.
I’m off to Mexico soon for the AG World Champs and will post my next update soon after.
Our Zone3 Local Hero for 2016 is Andrew Diplock, has updated us on his first middle distance triathlon.
Following on from my last update, June was a relatively quiet month for me! I didn’t have any races apart from a stag weekend, which consisted of a Insane Terrain event. It was just as tough as a triathlon!
The 3 July did however see my inaugural middle distance triathlon, at Holkham Hall in Norfolk. The race was an Outlaw branded event, organised by One Step Beyond (OSB). I originally picked Outlaw Holkham as my first middle distance race because of its close proximity to Cambridge. Holkham Hall also offers a spectacular backdrop for the race and I was really looking forward to racing in such immaculate grounds.
The race start time was 6.30am, so we camped over in the grounds meaning we could roll out of our sleeping bags at 5.30am, with our bikes already racked in transition from the night before.
The race started with a 1.2 mile swim in the lake outside Holkham Hall. The swim wasn’t a conventional out and back course, as you had to swim around an island at halfway. Approaching the island, sighting was really difficult due to the sun’s glare. I ended up slowing down and swimming behind someone else as I couldn’t see a thing, in the hope that they knew where they were going! Luckily they did, and I made it back to T1 at the front of pack 2.
The bike leg was a 56 mile loop of the Norfolk countryside. I was expecting the course to be fast and flat, but it was actually quite undulating. The lovely scenery made up for the unexpected hills, and the marshalling was the best I’ve ever experienced. Nobody came past me on the bike apart from someone doing the relay, which made it quite solitary. I tried to go with him and hung on for a few miles, but then I let him go as I knew I had a long way to go. I arrived back into T2 with nobody in sight, I wasn’t sure if this was a good or bad thing! I found my racking point quickly and went on my way for the run.
The half marathon course was a 3 lap loop through the grounds. As I started the run out of T2 I felt really good, and immediately thought I would be going for a fast run split. However, I immediately regressed on these thoughts when I started running uphill! My legs felt tired and I was slowing down, fast. I could feel someone chasing me down and there was nothing I could do about it! As he came past, I managed to latch on to his shoulder and increased my speed to stay with him. I was really lucky that he came past me when he did, as it gave me the mental push that I needed to get myself back on track. After 1.5 laps I reclaimed my place from him and made a push for the finish. I gave it everything I had and was really suffering towards the end of the run. Racing a middle distance was a lot harder than I’d imagined. It has cemented the respect that I have for my friends who race middle and full distance races on a regular basis.
The race itself and organisation by OSB Events was excellent. You get a post-race massage and a meal when you finish – an added touch which I wasn’t expecting. Every part of my body was hurting and I really appreciated the massage. The food was also really good, and it was nice that competitors had somewhere to sit down to eat, offering each other post-race reflections, congratulations and consolations!
Well done Andrew on completing your first middle distance triathlon! We look forward to more updates.