Snowdonia / UMUK Ultraman Triathlon
In September 2018, I headed up to beautiful Snowdonia in North Wales to support one of my best mates Adam Pritchard "Trigger" who was taking part in the UMUK Ultraman Triathlon. The event was held over three days in the beautiful but brutal mountains of Snowdonia. I've known both Adam and his brother Mathew (Dirty Sanchez, SWYD - Sleep When Your Dead, Dirty Vegan) for several years and to watch them both go from doing just a little exercise to what they have both achieved over the past fast few years is just awe-inspiring.
Both brothers have completed various endurance events including iron man, double and even triple iron man competitons in the past few years as well as several other ultra marathons, cycling / swimming events which are just too ridiculous to even comprehend.
Having supported both the lads a few times now at these races, you can only begin to imagine the physical strength and fitness needed to take part in this type of event. But, I think it's the amount of mental strength and discipline which is required that is the most inspiring, if your mind can think it your body can do it. I can't describe in words how much I respect both Adam and Mathew having seen them take part in these races, their physical and mental strengths are super-human and somehow they both manage to do it with a big grin on their faces!.
So, UMUK. In short this is the equivalent to a double iron man competition. A 10km Swim, 420.2km Cycle and an 84.3km run. If you add to this the brutal and unforgiving nature of the terrain in Snowdonia as well as weather patterns which can change at the drop of a hat then you can begin to imagine the task that was ahead for Adam.
I'd arrived a few days before the event to hang out around Snowdonia my aim was to finally surf Surf Snowdonia and ride some trails on my mountain bike at Coed - y - Brenin. On the first day, after a long drive upto North Wales I took it easy, and took one of the shorter trails "Temtiwr" (Tempter). Having not been on my bike for a while this was perfect to blow out the cob webs. Temitwr is a short 8.7km, red grade trail with a steep technical climb follwed by fast, flowing curves all the way through forest back down to the bottom. The trail took around 40 mins to complete and left me absolutely buzzing with excitement and adrenaline at the end.
Feeling great after such a good ride I decided to take the hour or so drive from Coed - y - Brenin upto Surf Snowdonia with the plan of staying there over night and go for a surf in the morning.
On arrival it looked suspiciously like a ghost town, with just a few cars in the car park. Now, ask any surfer in the world how they feel when they rock up at a spot and there are very few cars already there. It can go two ways, either you are going to get great waves with just you and a hand full of guys out or it's going to be rubbish.
At this point that I would love to say that the following morning I had surfed Surf Snowdonia on my own in pumping 4-5ft waves. But, the dream was soon shattered when I spoke to the nice ladies at reception who informed me that the wave was shut for the weekend due to 'maintainence issue'. To coin a famous surfing phrase: 'you should've been here yesterday!'. Like a child who'd burst their new football, I headed off with a face like thunder 'maintainence','f@*king maintainence'...