For me, and I think I speak for many who entered last years Velothon, it was a great event and we all finished up looking forward to this years. Yes, there was bit of negativity by some mindless fools chucking tacks on the course last year and most of us had to stop and pick up our bikes some not so lucky and coming off really bad and ending up in hospital. This year however there weren't any major problems and the organisation was spot on. Something I did notice were marshals everywhere you rode keeping an eye out for everyone and some amazing support from start to finish from the locals in all the villages dotted around the course which was nice to see.
I joined my two mates Dylan and Leigh and we arranged to meet at gate C (third wave off). I woke up pretty early to get my porridge and macca powder down my neck and make sure I had everything I needed including my nutrition for my ride which were 4 bananas and a bag of dates. Everyones different when it comes to nutrition but i've only just realised the power of dates. I used to hate them as a kid but now their like natural toffee's to me and full of carbs and natural sugars which give you a right boost when you need it most. For all cyclists out there we all know when you start to "bonk" its too late but you know as soon as you eat you can feel that food kicking a treat. I used to be hopless with my nutrition as i used to think i could make it home without having to stop for food (I hate stopping) but then all of a sudden I can feel my head and body going wonky and you have no choice but to stop, hydrate and eat to pick you up again and get home.
I met Dylan and Leigh and we chilled in pen C until kick off at 7.08am and off we went at a steady pace out of St Mary's Street then as soon as we hit the open road on went the rocket packs and we were off and going at some speed. All I kept thinking was "Jesus, there is no way I can keep this pace up for 87 miles" but I was loving it. Closed roads, weaving in and out of other riders, joining up with other pelatons and generally feeling like I was in the tour de france (laughter) but far from it. I think thats the fastest i've ever gone from Cardiff to Usk and just before I got to Usk my legs knew about it (laughter), i slowed up a little and took on some food and kept it at a decent pace because I knew the Tumble wasn't that far away and I needed to be fuelled up and hydrated properly before I started climbing. I wore 2 layers along with a GoreTex jacket as I saw the weather before I left and it looked like we'd hit some rain at some point and luckily for us it came just as we started climbing the Tumble which was lovely and refreshing. This would be the 4th time I'd climbed the Tumble and I wanted to get my PB but I knew it was a big ask after such a fast start but, I made it up in one piece nevertheless despite stopping at the top to catch my breath as I was close to being sick. It’s a beauty of a climb, really steep at the start with a hairpin corner which carries on going on and on and on then over the top and it’s a good few miles of bombing down the hills. Due to the amount of rain (GoreTex jacket to the rescue) this year we were much slower going down for obvious reasons but there was something quite satisfying about getting completely soaked, head down and just gunning it on the straight downhill roads. It eventually stopped raining and I started taking on more food as I knew there were a few littler climbs coming up plus we had the 16% caerphilly hill to conquer which beat me last year. Of all people to be behind me as I got off my bike half way up Caerphilly Hill last year was my coach Mark Whittle, all I heard was "get back on that bike" (laughter). This year however I was determined to beat it and I'm glad to say I did. My legs were screaming but it was a strangely enjoyable pain and I think it was that enjoyment with got me to the top along with the great support with all the spectators shouting at you to not give up. On my way up I could see the big pink Cr@p Tri signs on the lamposts which also made me chuckle along with the usual river of pink Cr@p supporters at the top of Caerphilly Hill and as you go into Lisvane. As soon as your over the hill its downhill to the finish. I was having a bit of a race with Rich one of the Cardiff Tri boys and we were going hammer and tongs all the way to the finish which was amazing, crossing that finish it felt like my lungs were going to blow up and my thighs go pop but I made the 87 miles in 4.37 hours of which I was over the moon with. I cycled home had a shower and spent the day replacing the 4,000 calories I burnt up. Great event, great day and I can't wait for next year already. Well done to all that entered, the organisers and the locals who came and supported us.
That was my last big training day before the continuous triple, from here on its time to taper down.
It started with the Cardiff half marathon, then it went to a full marathon. The next thing I know I'm swimming and cycling so I guess the next step was to enter the ulltimate triathlon challenge which is an ironman. After getting a few Ironman triathlons under my belt I was looking for a bigger challenge and I found the Double Brutal (double ironman) up in Snowdonia in September last year. That to me at the time tested me to my absolute limits however, I was still looking for something more testing and I then came up with the 30 half iron distance triathlons in 30 days which I’ve now ticked off my bucket list.
Whats next???? On June 3rd I’m going to attempt the continuous triple ironman which consists of a 7.5 mile swim, 336 mile bike ride and a 79 mile run all to be finished within a 65 hour time cut off. My brother Adam Pritchard is also doing it so it’ll be great to have the both of us pushing one another over the 3 days. My brother has also completed the double brutal and numerous ironman races so he’s no stranger to endurance sports either which helps a great deal.
After doing the Brutal last year I said never again but then when you get time to sit back and reflect on what you've achieved it’s a pretty good feeling and to cross that line after such a physical and emotional fight it’s all worth it. I have no doubt in my mind that this really is going to push me to tipping point but I think deep down this is where I want it to take me. Some might think thats weird but it’s that fight and the will to keep going no matter what the pain is is where you get the buzz. If I can deal with that then I can deal with anything and it’s that energy which I can transfer into other things in my life like business.
When I train I think quite a bit and I'm trying to work out why I do these things and without the violins etc I really do believe that when growing up and getting bullied and getting told that I’d never make anything of myself it really does hammer home mentally and affects one in later life. If I was served a silver spoon and had everything I wanted then I would naturally have no fight but I grew up with what I was saying above and I have a lot to prove and I really think thats where I get my energy and drive and I see the same thing in many other people. To top it off if you really have love and passion in what your doing then that also helps a great deal.
I’ve been training a lot recently for obvious reasons last week was my last full week and I finished it up with the Velothon. There’s only so much training you can do for the distances I’m about to attempt as it’s a lot of mental strength as well as physical. I’ve been reading a book recently about endurance sport and I’d say the average athlete says its 70% mental and 30% physical.
I’ll be doing the triple as part of my £100,000 challenge so I’ll be very grateful if you could donate by clicking the following link www.pritchards100kchallenge.com and click on the donate button, it only takes a few mins. I will be keeping you updated on my progress via my social networking channels twitter, instagram and Facebook if you wish to see how I'm getting on.
I think thats all for now. Wish me luck and hopefully if I finish I can share the love when i’ve rested.