Despite picking the worst day of weather for a while, the inaugural Fabian4 Dyffryn Conwy Mountain Triathlon was a huge success last Sunday (30th). A total of 76 competitors entered the grueling race, split into 31 solo and 15 teams of three. The race consisted of a kayak leg on the Conwy River followed by a 13kms fell run and a 19 kms mountain bike. The solo entrants did all three disciplines, whilst the teams required one member, including a female, to do each leg.
Eryri’s Ben Beachell finished 1st vet40, 5th individual in 3:49:44, Craig Jones finished 8th vet40 in 4:23:0 & Paul Jones 9th vet40 in 4:41:40, despite a swim and a walk in the middle of the kayak leg! Ashley Wager (runner) & Brian Robbins (biker) were joined by Pascale Eichenmuller to finish 3rd team, in a time of 3:47:48. Jenny Pinches (nee Williamson) finished the run in 1:34:10 to help her team finish in 4th position, with Louise Emery-Jones just 25 secs behind, helping her team to finish 7th, after their paddler had relinquished his attacking position to help Paul Jones get himself & his kayak to the bank! SPJ & Claire Dallimore were on the same team, Steve completing the run in 1:26:15, & Claire the bike leg in 1:07:46, making her the 3rd fastest female on that leg, having done a 60k endure race the day before! Judith Jones stepped in last minute, and did the run leg with her husband Steve hot on her shoulders, to help her team finish in 13th place, as did Adrian Williams, who was the stage winner on the run leg in a cracking time of 1:16:06.
The bad weather, especially the high winds, led the organisers to switch the kayak leg from the 13kms ascent of the Conwy River, from Conwy Castle to Dolgarrog, to a shortened 8km leg out and back from Dolgarrog Bridge. Although shorter in distance, the outgoing leg against the tide meant that the time taken was similar to that expected for the original route. Nonetheless the kayak was still described by many as ‘epic’, ‘grueling’ and ‘challenging’.
The run went from the transition at Dolgarrog Bridge to the Nant Conwy Rugby Club, via Cowlyd Dam and the Crafnant Valley. The athletes had to contend with driving rain and forecasted winds of 55mph at 500m, as well as some very muddy descents. Thankfully everyone got round with nothing worse than cramping muscles, sorted out by Jane, the onsite physio.
The bike leg was out and back from the rugby club, and incorporated parts of the Marin Trail in an 18kms loop around the Gwydir Forest. The route was a mixture of forest track and single track, and was testing enough, especially for the solo competitors, many of whom had been out for over 3 hours already. Although more sheltered in the trees, the rain meant running water, mud and slippery rocks to deal with, resulting in numerous punctures and one buckled wheel.
The eventual winner was Monmouth Tri’s Ian Smith, in a time of 3:22:16. The winning team, going by the glorious name of Captain Underpants and the Wilde Wedgies, also finished 4th overall in a time of 3:28:14. It consisted of Steve Jones from Colwyn Bay, Marc Reeves and Amanda Wilde.
Despite the weather there were grins all round and lots of requests to put the event on next year. The success was mainle due to the army of volunteer supporters who braved the rain to marshal, provide radio links and first aid. The organisers would again like to thank everyone who helped, many of whom were Eryri members, as well as the sponsors and supporters who provided everything from prizes to beer for the marshals. We were also very grateful for the loan of Eryri kit and the event clock.
The main objectives of the event were to encourage local athletes to compete, but also to raise funds for the Snowdonia Society to help in its aims to conserve and promote Snowdonia.
Full results are on the website www.map17events.org.uk