Thursday, 12 June 2014

Arctic One's Hawrdige Duathlon

Firstly I have to say the photo's included in this blog about both Ern and mines visit down to Hawrdige and Arctic One's duathlon event don't do it justice. We had a brilliant time. Ern will agree he may be good at some thing's however taking photo's isn't one of his strong points. Maybe it's the whole multi-tasking thing you know, looking at a screen and pressing a button at the same time. When I checked my camera when I got home, thinking "ooh I'll pop some of those pics on to my blog" I discovered only 28 images in total and many of those were of inanimate objects, or objects that were moving in the form of people however with either their heads cut off, or if there was a head, it was only at shoulder height and far more sky in that actual head or shoulders. Never mind my dad tried and regardless of pictures we had an awesome time.

We decided to set off to get down to Buckinghamshire at 11:00am. I had suggested my dad should call into next on the way at Durham so I could treat him to a new pair of Jeans and a couple of shirts for Fathers day. I'm pleased he said "yeah ok" as normally he is a nightmare to buy for always saying "don't bother"...I mean when my kids ask me what I want for father's day I always come up with good stuff "hows about a new bike" I said when my daughter Kayleigh text me on my way home.

The drive down to Buckinghamshire wasn't to bad, Ern driving most of the way and me messing around on my mobile as we drove. I think I drove the last 60 to 70 miles or so and we arrived at Pace, where I was to meet up with Scott. Scott was going to be doing the running sections of our duathlon and me the riding on my Fat Bike. Yeah I know a Fat Bike isn't exactly the norm for these sort of events, but hey for us it was more about the taking part and having some fun. I'll get sorted with a road bike later on.

We left Pace and followed Scott in our car along to where the duathlon was taking place. Once there we parked up and immediately Bex came over. Bex is one of the trustees of the Arctic One charity. I got to meet her a good few months ago when I was last in London for the Pace Rehabilitation conference on Real Lives. It was lovely to see her again. Just then Matt turns up and it was great meeting him for the first time. Matt and I have shared many a conversation on the telephone and chat to one another along with Bex about what we are all up to, Arctic One, fund raising etc, so it was fantastic to actually get to meet him and support Arctic One at the same time by taking part in one of it's events.

As time got on, both Scott and I got ready, switching our limbs and popping on our individual gear ready for the race. Ern unloaded my bike and I got one or two strange stares as I pushed it over to the transition area. Everyone else appeared to be on bikes with much skinnier tyres than mine. I have to say there was a vast array of some pretty sweet looking bikes, lots of carbon fibre frames and wheels in a multitude of colours.

Helen Chapman
    Ok ready for the off, the rules had been read and explained. One I found interesting was no drafting on your bike. Essentially you have 15 seconds to pass someone, if you can't do it in that time you have to drop back. I guess I wouldn't have to worry about that lol. The runners head off first. I wait in the transition area for Scott to complete his circuit. After a while he 
appears, it looks as if he has run through a car wash, the poor blokes sweating buckets. A slightly soggy high five and I grab my bike, push it to the road, get on and I'm away like the clappers. This bit isn't so bad it's almost downhill. As I'm riding along, in high gear no one comes past me, though I can hear someone behind me. "ooh I must be doing ok" I think to myself...I can still hear this person behind me and also see whoever it is casting a shadow over my shoulder. I then start to think to myself about the rules and "hey this cheeky bugger is drafting behind my Fat Tyres". Well it's not until I get to a tricky tight left hand bend that I realise it's one of the marshal's who had been following me on their bike.  After the bend the road starts to gradually wind it's way upward. this section is a little more harder work, though I enjoy pushing myself and go as fast as I can, trying to judge how much energy I will need as I know I have another lap. Just then I hear heavy breathing and the whoosh of a bike as I get past, it the n happens again and again. I complete my first lap  which was around 5 1/2 miles in what I think was a fairly decent time all things being considered then I'm off on my second loop. This one proves to be a litte bit harder, however it's still an enjoyable loop. The various Marshall's and people dotted along the course offering words of encouragement and admiring my bike.

As I pull into the transition ready to tag Scott I notice he isn't wearing his running blade. As I get up to him he explains his prosthesis just isn't fitting right and he has skinned the front of his shin, just below his knee "Ouch" Poor Scott's leg has been bleeding and is rather sore. Not wanting to give in Scott does finishes off the run section of our leg by doing the small lap of the green and coming across the finish line. Well done mate.

A few minutes later Helen rides her bike into towards the transition area. Dismounts and heads to swap her leg. Helen is a lady who takes part in lots of different events on behalf of Arctic One, after they supported her in getting a running blade. Today at Hawridge Helen was the only amputee competitor doing the full duathlon , both of the runs and the cycling and it was also her first duatlon. We all wait for her to complete the run section which is very hard after coming off the bike. After a while Helen strides in, completes the final lap of the green and everyone cheers her on. She has done amazingly well though personally doesn't feel she has done all that good. Well Helen if you get the chance to read my blog let me assure you, you were and indeed are one amazing lady and everyone was so proud of you. I'm sure on reflection you will be able to see the huge accomplishment you did. And hey the little things you aren't happy with you can always work on and improve on.

Scott with his competitive head on
Poor Scott
Just keep going Scott think of the chickens
    Whilst I was at Hawridge I also had the pleasure of meeting Andy and his brother Steven, two great lads. Andy is an above knee amputee and is also being supported by Arctic One in getting a new socket so that he can compete in comfort in his chosen events. You can checkout Andy's blog here
Blade runner Andy's Blog

Helen getting ready to do the bike section

Scott had to head off to put his chickens to bed (didn't want Mr Fox to get them) so he left his address and postcode with Ern as we were going to be spending the night at his. Meanwhile Ern and myself stayed back and enjoyed some lovely fish and chips that were provided by Arctic One for everyone.

Don't ask me what Ern was tring to capture, maybe a rabbit in the hedge
Time to say goodnight. I had arranged with Bex to go for a swim with her the following day and get some coaching from a friend of hers, named Amy.  Ern and I popped Scott's details into my phones sat nav and after around 30 minutes or so found our way to Scott's.

 A quick cuppa and then off to bed.
As promised I met up with Bex and was introduced to Amy. Now I think my swimming sucks. I have no endurance, often breath in the wrong place, ie under water then choke, cough and tense up, panic and get ready to drown. It was very encouraging to hear both Bex and Amy say then that my swimming although not great wasn't as bad as I had made out...Cool at least something to work on there then. A huge thank you to both Bex and Amy for all your tips and advice. I promise to practice breathing better, slowing my arms down and keeping my head in the water. Lets see how things look in August when I will have to swim 400 meters in open scary. Andy and Steven had joined us in the pool and it was just a nice chance to relax. The pool being a really nice open air one and the water heated just nice.

Following our swim Ern,Bex and I headed off to a coffee shop and there we met up with Matt. This was a great opportunity for us all to come up with some idea's for Arctic One and just generally get to know one another. Andy and Steven also joined us and we had a good old chat. I've really enjoyed my few days off and think they have been rather productive.

On leaving the coffee shop Matt suggested I have a look at one of his older road bikes he had brought along, something he said I could borrow to see if it was for me. It was a canny bike and should be good just to see how I go, so Ern strapped it onto our bike rack along with my Sandman and Matt's bike has come home with me.

From here it's lots of training, both in the pool and out on my bikes. I need to be fit for the 23rd August and the triathlon at Dorney Lake. I'm a little dubious about the swim, confident on the cycling and kind of dreading the run as I can only manage a slow walk. I suppose in a way it doesn't really matter what time I do it in as regardless it will be my own PB as I have never done a triathlon before.

In the future with everyone's support I'm hoping one day I will get the opportunity to learn to run, however as you all know this is rather expensive and hence why I'm trying to fund raise. Normally I wouldn't fund raise for myself, however if I don't have the equipment to get the job done then in  turn I can't head out to try and do it for other people, kind of catch 22.

I would like to end in saying a huge thank you to Arctic One, all the Marshall's and the people who support and give up their time. To Pace Rehabilitation for supporting me in my cycling adventures as well as Brian Bartlett and Leftside Inc.. Oh and I can't forget my friends and family, especially my best friend my dad, who is always so supportive, even if he can be annoying what with not taking a decent photo of me and loosening my bike handlebars lol. 


Scott admiring my helmet I think :D

1 comment:

  1. Nice one mate looks and sounds like you had a top time, let me na if your coming on sat for the bbq...