An Explosive Swim

Unfortunately last nights training session didn’t go too well. I decided to join the Ystwyth CC Chain Gang, so turned up at Rhydepennau at the prescribed time, met up without about 30 other cyclists and then we split into 4 groups and started off around the Borth loop.


For a start it was quite a fast pace and I wasn’t sure how long I’d stick with them for, but it didn’t last long anyway. As we came into Borth a BMW convertible driver decided to take exception to us being on the road and veered over to our side of the road tooting his horn and shouting, despite the fact that we had right of way. The guys at the front of the chain had to take evasive action crashing into each other and everyone else piled into them at 25 mph creating a huge heap of mangled bikes and bodies. Somehow I managed to stay upright and didn’t crash but everyone else did. The BMW driver drove off leaving us where we were whilst someone else decided to take advantage of the situation claiming that someones bike had scratched his car as they fell off.

By the time everyone was up and injuries were checked, the next group of cyclists had caught us up, and the Police were called to the scene to sort things out. A couple of bikes and bodies were fairly badly damaged so I decided to head home (not very far from here) to get a first aid kit and return in the car to give those that needed it a lift home. The Police eventually turned up and things were sorted out meaning that the aggressive guy with the ‘scratched’ car was sent on his way and we were taken care of by the Police. At least the guys with broken bikes also had an incident number from the Police which they could use for insurance claims to fix their bikes. I then drove around Ceredigion giving people and bikes lifts home. Not much of a training session really!


I thought for a while that the same was going to be true of my swim this morning. I’d been up since 5:30am on what looked like a glorious day for an open water swim. Chilly at first with the weather station in the back garden reading 2.3ºC but not a cloud in the sky and very little wind either. I’d planned to meet Nia at 9am for a swim and she turned up on time with the family so we all headed across to the beach. There was certainly a chill in the air and we knew the water wouldn’t have warmed up much yet so there was a little bit of trepidation as we headed over for what was the first open water swim of the year for both of us. However, as we approached the beach we were told by a coastguard that we couldn’t go on it as the Navy Bomb Disposal Team were there exploding a bomb!

This isn’t actually that unusual here as unexploded World War II ordnance washes up or is uncovered on the beach quite often. The Bomb Disposal team are regularly seen around here and I quite often hear the explosions too. This was the first time I’d been prevented from going on the beach though. We could see military personel with helmets on milling around on the dunes and were told that it would be all over and done with within 10 minutes so we decided to wait it out. It actually took a bit longer than that as we sat in the sunshine getting quite cold. Eventually there was a big BANG and a cloud of sand and debris from behind the dunes. The bomb disposal team then had to check it was all safe before we were finally allowed onto the beach.

Nia and I were feeling a little chilly by now but we were soon in the calm waters and swimming off towards Borth. It was fairly chilly on my unprotected face, hands and feet, but I’ve been in much colder and other than my chin it wasn’t actually too bad. My hands were a little cold and beginning to go numb after half an hour though so we got out and headed back for a cup of tea.


This section actually has nothing to do with a ‘wallop’ of any kind, but after a Crash and a Bang what else could I call it?

Next up for the day for me was a brick session – A bike ride followed by a run. The cycle involved riding a couple of times around the Borth Loop in a fixed gear. It wasn’t flat out and using a fixed gear always makes things a little slower as I’m never in the right gear for the climbs so have to grind up them and then have to over-spin on the descents. The fact that I managed an average speed of 21.2mph was therefore pretty good. Mind you, I do still have my race tyres on so I should change them soon before I get too used to them.

Off the bike and ‘wallop’, straight into a run around the Bird Hide Loop. This course heads along the road into Borth, crosses the Golf Course and the railway line then heads back to Ynyslas along the grassy banks of the Leri, onto the sands of the estuary and then back home. I was supposed to do the first 20 minutes hard and then ease off for the rest of it. I therefore started out fast and by the time I got to the Leri was well up on my PB. I still had almost 10 minutes of hard running to go though and now it was into the wind and along a grassy, muddy, uneven trail. I slowed a fair bit but was still going strong. My mile splits for the run looked like this:

  • Mile 1: 6:17
  • Mile 2: 6:16
  • Mile 3: 6:42
  • Mile 4: 6:47
  • Final 0.7 miles: 6:11 pace.

You can see how much the wind and terrain slowed me down for miles 3 and 4, but I was still feeling strong and probably on for a PB around this course. My previous PB was 32:31 way back in November 2010. On that date I took a slight detour onto the beach so it wasn’t exactly the same route but my average pace was 6:47 mins/mile. Today’s time was 29:59 with an average pace of 6:28 mins/mile so a considerable improvement, especially seeing as it was a run off the bike. ‘Wallop’ a new PB for the Bird Hide Loop!

All in all a good morning of training, followed by lunch, a quick bee inspection and then an afternoon of gardening for me whilst Anna had a snooze in the conservatory and cooked our dinner.

2 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    All that pain and hassle thanks to one person’s selfish actions, and he gets to drive off scot-free. Grrr.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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