Snowdonia Double Brutal Recon!
by IronjediApr 24th 2013
Wow what an amazing trip so far. Thursday morning and the four of us loaded the car and headed up to Snowdonia where we would as a family check out the course for the Double Brutal, a Double Ironman which I am hoping to complete in September. We arrived after lunch donned our running kit and headed down to Llanberis, parked up near Lake Padarn. We set out on the 5.2 mile lap around the flat part of the Lake. The lake was stunning, and cold. Apparently 100 ft deep at some points, I cant imagine that's going to heat up much ready for September. They say the water will be between 12 and 14 degrees. Once you cross the bridge at the far end of the lake the run starts to head up and you are taken to the top, the views back over the lake with Snowdon in the background was beautiful. The views were soon gone and we started the off road section, the sky's opened and it began to rain. We pushed on went off course and ran just over 6 miles. I cant believe the kids are still able to run after the efforts put in with the cycling down in the Brecons. So with the run complete we headed back to to YHA at Pen-Y-Pass and out for dinner.
The next morning, full breakfast to fuel up and we headed out from the YHA at the top of Pen-Y-Pass for the Bike section recon. A large section of downhill into Llanberis which was fast. As we left Llanberis the rain started and followed us through to Beddgelert. So we stopped for coffee and cake near the river which was fantastic. Whilst we were stopped the rain stopped, the sun cam out. The temperature warmed up and we set off towards the climb of Pen-Y-Pass, a 4.5 mile climb which on the day of the race I will have to climb 8 times. Wow........ Wendy set off ahead with Zac, I stayed behind with Jake to give them a head-start. The reason for this was due to the previous day when we drove up it, Wendy and Zac were identifying the places where they would stop and get their breath back. I didn't really want to stop. Jake and I waited for about 10 minutes, could see them in the distance so set off to catch them, believing that it would not take us long to catch them. The road twisted and turned, not too steep, just a constant climb. We went past the first planned stop and could not see Wendy and Zac, in the distance ahead they were still ploughing on. We continued on and eventually caught them, they were riding great guns and both determined not to stop until the top.
Jake and I started to leep frog them taking pictures and videos of our experience. Snowdon looked daunting in the background and almost overshadowed the road and our path upwards. There was still patches of snow around, but the sun was out and spirits were high. As we crested the top of Pen-Y-Pass there were celebrations amongst us, another milestone for Wendy, Jake and Zac. For me the reality of the Double Brutal was starting to set in. Yeah one lap was easy, but I've got 8 (224 miles in total) to do with riding through the night when the temperature will drop considerably. This after a 4.8 mile swim and then once the bike is done, only a double marathon left (oh with a climb to the summit of Snowdon too) What on earth have I let myself in for.
So that was easy! It wasnt even lunch time. I broke the news to the family that we wwould now walk up Snowdon, along the Llanberis path for some more recon. With everyone buzzing from the thrill of the climb they accepted the challenge. Great.
We started up the Llanberis path with the sun shining, still a little cold, but bright and clear. There was no sight of the summit of Snowdon due to cloud cover. We pushed on making good speed, as we climbed vision and snow got worse. The path had completely gone covered in places with feet of snow, vision was down to a couple of metres, and it was exceptionally cold. There was a drop off to the left of a few hundred feet. Eventually at 800 metres we were forced to stop and turn back. Wendy and the boys were quite disappointed as it was totally the right decision. You have to respect the mountain.
On the way down we heard cries for help. after a short time we managed to direct a man and his son who has walked off the path and were completely lost. Yes it was completely the right decision to turn back. We raced down and got back to our car. We were up and down to 800 metres in just over 2 1/2 hours. I was pleased with what we had done so to celebrate we went to the famous "Petes Eats" in Llanberis. The food and service was great. Looking at the hundreds of photos on the walls was really interesting. Definatly worth a visit if up that way.
We returned home on the Saturday and I had alot to think about. The Double Brutal at the forefront of my mind. Mental note for when I get home.........Get a grip and put some miles in, so that is what I am doing......................................