Helvellyn Triathlon

1 mile swim, 38 Mile Bike, 9 mile run

 If you don’t know the Helvellyn Triathlon route the above doesn’t sound too bad, but then you read the race briefing which shows this isn’t a normal course. “Whistle, Compass, Map, Full body cover, food and emergency blanket” are all in the compulsory list for the run section. A rear bike light is also essential for the top of the road called “The Struggle”. Then you hear about the 2 deaths on the mountain (3117ft high) in 2008 and I start to query my sanity.

But wait, it can’t be all that bad. Back in 2007 a teenager won this race. He was called Brownlee. Alistair came 1st and Jonathan came 5th.

The morning of the race, the sun was shining and the wind had dropped, breakfast and a cup of tea and off I went to the start line. A quick dip in the lake to acclimatise to the 14c temp. The horn went, and almost immediately I realised I should have started a little further back. It was one of the worst swims I have experienced with being swum over, side swiped and kicked in the face, but I survived.

The bike ride was undulating and I had to remove my race head at times to take in the beautiful surroundings. A long climb up to the Kirkstone Pass and you hit “The Struggle” a 1 in 4 ascent. I’m sure I read somewhere that I had to walk this bit so I duly obliged. Then it was almost downhill all the way to the transition, about 8 miles down the valley. Somewhere along the route I found out that I had put my number on upside down, so I started off as 165 and ended up as 591! Oops maybe I should have done the transition training sessions

So onto the run, or more like a hike. My legs were heavy but still doing as requested, and I started the route up to the summit. The route is a walking track with a fast incline, then a nice saddle which you can run/jog, followed by a rock climb to the summit. Feel sorry for the person who had to write the risk assessment for this race!!!!! The views were stunning, no clouds in sight, and plenty of people still coming up the track behind me. Then its downhill most of the way (there was one more hill that I had forgotten about).

 The finish line, a big smile for the cameraman, a look at the times and I beat my previous best by a minute. I was very pleased with this as that was 5 years ago.

 This is a great friendly event, different to any other tri, if you want a challenge it’s an amazing race, but not if you don’t like heights and definitely not for the feint hearted. Give yourself a day each side of the race, or more if you want to enjoy the amazing scenery for a little longer.


More information can be found here: http://www.trihard.co.uk/Helvellyn/Helvellynhome.htm