Monday, September 3, 2012

Helvellyn Triathlon

Runners approaching the hole in the wall
The Helvellyn Triathlon is known as one of the hardest triathlons in the UK.  It starts with a one mile swim in Ullswater before competitors head out on the bike course, a 38 mile bike course which includes The Struggle on Kirkstone Pass, and then a 9 mile run up, over Helvellyn (England's highest peak after the Scafells).

nice downhill stretch from Birkhouse Moor
couple of years ago, I took my family along to watch the Helvellyn Triathlon.  We saw the swim and the start and finish of the bike.  This year, I thought I would do a walk over the classic route, up Striding Edge and down Swirral Edge, which would give us the advantage of seeing the runners who were going up Swirral Edge and then around to Whiteside Bank down the windy path and back along Glenridding Beck to Glenridding.

top of the run course, top of the world

cooling off in Ullswater after a tough day
We got to the hole in the wall before we saw the first competitors.  We thought about waiting around until we saw some 'normal' looking people but soon decided that we would be waiting a while so carried on over Striding Edge, along the top of Helvellyn and down Swirral Edge.  The competitors we saw coming up from Swirral Edge all looked very fit but also very tired.  From the descent on Swirral Edge, apart from a short diversion to bag Catstycam, we went down the run course the way the competitors came up.  We did, eventually see some 'normal' looking people and also some that we felt like telling to turn around.  It was a really hot day but all in all, my conclusion was that, yeah, I think I'm going to give this a go next year.

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