30 km of trail running, including 3764ft ascent up welsh mountains
180 km of cycling with 5641ft of ascent
2750m of swimming in Snowdonia mountain lakes and the Irish Sea.
It was well worth it....
Chilling out on the Island of Nevis in the Caribbean, the 1st place prize for Ewan Brown and myself for winning the Always Aim High Series. Encompassing the Slateman, Sandman and Snowman Triathlons in North Wales. Can you win a better prize in UK triathlon races? You can read my previous reports on the three races by clicking on the links above. If you fancy you can sit back and watch the races that were n channel 4/ eurosport in the Video section of the website here
Nevis, 36 square miles in area, apparently more monkeys inhabit the island than people, average daily temperature of 82 degrees, operating on two currencies; the US dollar and East Caribbean dollar, which is fixed at 2.7% of the US $. 409 Hotel rooms are available across the island, many luxurious and more use to the grey haired wealthy brigade than triathlon prize winners. You can find out more about Nevis on the island website here.
Nevis is truly a tropical island paradise. How was the trip? I have been asked by family and friends in the last few days, since returning to the UK. So here are some of my answers to the questions I have been asked recently.
Did you have to wear an anti- shark wetsuit when swimming in the sea?
Does an anti shark wetsuit even exist?
The sea was bath temperature and because I was doing serious swimming I wore my bikkini, it's more areo than a swim costume. There are sharks around, but according to the locals only little ones, if you see one we were advised just to wave and smile at it and it wouldn't bother us. Thankfully I never had to put that advice into action. Ewan did scare the living daylights out of me, by popping up out of no where on one swim, thankfully he sent me this shark article once we were home.
What is not to like about swimming here?
Did you get pricked by sea urchins? Like that time you went skinny dipping in Greece?
Hey, I was 18 then, and yes I know skinny dipping after a few cocktails is never a good idea, I have learnt my lesson!
Ewan managed to get some sea spike type things in his foot during one swim. Though it didn't put him off swimming. He was back in the sea later that day after some tweezers sorted out the spikes. Like most days, we took advantage of the bath temperature waters; clear views down to the sea bed, admired sting rays, brightly coloured fish and sea turtles. We got in plenty of open water swim practice. It was good to meet someone else who also translates "little swim with sea turtles" as "several kilometres around the headland in choppy waters"!
Perfect bay for swim practice and no Sea Urchins or Sharks (that we saw!)
Did you swing on large vines in the jungle, like in the jungle book?
Nevis is covered in dense jungle like vegetation. The island is volcanic and is dominated by Nevis Peak, a 985m high Volcano in the middle of the island. We hiked up to the summit on Sunday morning before breakfast. Scrambling up steep muddy trails with the help of ropes, roots and vines, I did feel quite Mowgli like!
Happy Hikers at the top of Nevis Peak and GI Jane Hansom using the ropes and vines.
What was the other prize winner like, were you guys out triathlon training dawn till dusk?
"Thanks guys for not being weird and odd balls"
Ta lizzie, same to you guys!
Ewan Brown won the men's series and he was joined by Lizzie, his girlfriend. Adam my boyfriend joined us and the four of us lived here for the week (Oualie Beach resort). I think the prize was just as much a reward for Lizzie and Adam as you can't win races alone. The people behind the scenes are very much key to the success.
Munching on Pineapple outside the Oualie Beach Resort Bungalows.
Training dawn till dusk? Well Lizzie, Ewan and myself took a Hobi catamaran out for a spin while Adam cruised around windsurfing. And if one of us spotted a sea turtle or sting ray we would all hurtle in and splash around it. It was pretty hot and humid, surprising really for a tropical island at 17.10N longitude and 62.35 W latitude! So while we did hire bikes, rides around the island were morning affairs or just transport from one beach to the next, with plenty of sight seeing stops.
Thanks for being awesome holiday buddies guys!
What did you eat? Can you now eat spicy jerk chicken or do you still have embarrassingly mild taste buds and sweat when you eat spicy food?
Hang on, that incident was due to a very hot spicy curry, about 7 years ago!
Anyway, yes I did have Jerk Chicken, once, the final night buffet at our host Oualie resort. Other than that, the four of us, shared cooking duties. Being in adjourning bungalows we stocked the fridge full on day one at the local super market, not so easy getting the shopping back in the local Reggae Reggae mini bus, a different story.
Between Ewan, Lizzie, Adam and Myself, we cooked up a piece de resistance each night. The speciality was the final days lunch extraordinaire, aka use everything up. Rolls filled with peanut butter, scrambled egg and split peas, washed down with red cabbage salad. Apparently according to Chain Reactions Grant, we were breaking all the pre flight dietary rules!
Cooking the final days lunch special!
Sounds like you laid about in hammocks and on the beach all day, were you not meant to do a Triathlon?
Ah yes another element of the prize was free entry into the Nevis Triathlon. Which we were in top form for. After our end of season break, of doing bugger all, eating and drinking aplenty, we were in fine form! That didn't matter, this was a more laid back, fun race. The sea swim was just as much about spotting a sea turtle and the ride about avoiding monkeys than PBs. Recovering from an Achilles injury I took part in the relay, doing the swim leg, passing onto Adam who rode the bike so hard it punctured so he ran it down the road and passed the baton to Always Aim High boss Tim Llyod who put his competitive spirit into action as he sprinted for the line in an epic sprint finish. Ewan won the standard distance men's race, with tri247.com Paul Shanley in second, while Jane Hansom, who was ultimately responsible for us being in Nevis in the first place, won the ladies event. A top effort by all in the heat, I was pretty happy to be only involved in the swim.
Ewan and Jane won the Olympic Distance race, while I was joined in the relay by Adam and Tim. Good to see Tim put in some effort!
If you win the prize again next year, can you take me?
I think you should enter the Slateman, Sandman and Snowman triathlons and try and bag that holiday yourself! You can enter them here.
All in all it was a fantastic week away. I can not thank Jane Hansom, Greg from @NevisNaturally and the Always Aim High team enough for such an incredible prize.
The week in Nevis brings the end of season break to a close.
Training will resume, it has been great
having a rest since Snowman at the start of October. It has been nice spending time with friends and family, celebrating weddings, congratulations Nikki and Alex. Taking my role as chief clown at the hen do seriously and abandoning the structured swim, bike, run training for a few weeks.
This time of year is great, the training instructions from coach Lou were "do what you feel like" so the mountain bikes got muddy, the cafe stops got longer and generally nothing has been too serious. I think that may all change though...
A big thanks to my sponsors Raceskin and Always Aim High. It is great to be working with you guys. I look forward to keeping toasty wearing your kit during winter training. I know the school kids at Lingfield Notre Dame School appreciated the buffs, water bottles and swim caps supplied by Always Aim High. Having quiz prizes definitely made the talk I did for them way more fun. So Thank You.
A final big thank you to Sarah J Pitts, Chris Kitson and Danica Bonello Spiteri for all their help, magic hands and knowledge in their ongoing help with fixing my dodgy Achilles.
Good luck with your own winter training and hope you all have your thermals ready!