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HES HYWEL , HES STILL HARD , HE EATS NUTS AND HES BACK

HES HYWEL , HES STILL HARD , HE EATS NUTS AND HES BACK

The self styled "Hurtbox" is back , Hywel Davies is a 7 time world champion in cross training , a man who bends iron bars on his head , he's a world class triathlete , a top time trialist , the world indoor rowing champion , marathon treadmill record holder.

See him here, then read his comeback blog... He has been with planet x for years , he went AWOL last year and last we heard was eating a lot of nuts , he's gone on a weird veggie diet , drop some kg , and HE'S STILL HARD AND HES BACK!!

Full Boar middle distance at Market Bosworth. An accurate 1.9km swim, an 83km bike and a 20km run (1 short of a proper half marathon but quite a hill thrown in.)

This is my first proper triathlon in over 2 years. After the Euros in 2011, I did this race with a bad back and finished it with a win. (cant find the results anywhere for comparison though) Then raced at the Vitruvian with a DNF after 1 lap of the run, tried the Olympic distance at Bosworth in 2012 but DNF and then did Alpe D'Huez triathlon in July 2012 as a "do what it takes to finish" race. So no serious racing or good finish to speak of.

During that time a few things have changed:

1) Diet; no longer carbo loading, no longer using gels or energy drink, just nuts and seeds in the morning and water through the race. Having not raced over 3 hours, it could be messy.

2) Running technique; no longer a heel striker and run in very lightweight shoes. How would I run off the bike? I have not tried it yet

3) The back problem. I have ridden my TT bike (Planet X Exocet) 3 times this year. A 13.6 mile Hilly time trial the furthest. In Alpe D'Huez, it was agony trying to run as the back had seized up and could not run tall.

4) Swimming; I have improved in the pool and should be able to swim quicker in Open Water, but having not put a wetsuit on for a year, I panic in open water at the best of times so with no practice, a big crowd of people in murky water freaks me out. I hate the invasion of space and just want to punch people and say "its a big lake, find your own space"

Race morning: Chia seeds, yoghurt, black coffee and cashew nuts.

Swim: Wetsuit still fits, a few strokes in the water and soon look like the creature from the black lagoon with all the weeds in the face (not to be mistaken for the blue lagoon where the weeds look like they collected elsewhere). Off the gun, there was one tactic. Find open space and swim quick...And there it stayed for 1400m of it. Yes, ME!!! leading a swim. People on my feet and following my lead. Never thought I would lead a triathlon swim but there it was until I swam into a bouy headfirst, got covered in reeds and lost the lead. I exited in 26 mins. About 3 mins faster than I've ever swam before there.

Bike: It was windy, lots of resurfaced roads (chippings, not tarmac) and....cant think of any more excuses but it was not great. Looking at previous ride data I was around 1 min per lap down on previous rides but faster on some stretches, slower on others. Not overly pleased with lapping at 33 mins compared to 31 in the Olympic distance but this was still 2 mins per lap faster than the rest of the field. With little bike training, it was to be expected.

Run: This is where it got a bit twitchy. Thinking about the back as I left T2 but it was absolutely fine. Used the Garmin 310 to get an idea of pace and running easy. 3.35-3.40 for the first few kms was actually very pleasant and only the long drag to the turn slowed the pace to 3.50s. First 5k in low 18s, the return leg below 18 and a 36 min 10 with plenty to spare. Forefoot running was fine, the back was fine and no hint of lack of nutrition.

I eased down a little, not needing to race but a comfortable 1.13 for 20km. I kept throwing in a few 3.30s just to see if I could. It was enough to win by about 15 mins with a lot more in the tank, which was nice.

A few thoughts that came in were about how the pace could hold for a marathon? Honestly, pretty sure I could do another 10k at that pace and possibly more. I would have to seriously think about a nutritional approach though as I know that 42km without any fuel would be a hell of a lot harder. There is also the small matter of another 90km on the bike to consider.

Going into the winter though with a focus on IMUK next year, I am happy that the marathon form will be there, the running changes are all good and hopefully I'll keep improving on the swim. I've got a lot of bike work to do....or more likely rowing and turbo work to do if I'm going to get any bike form back and hopefully improve on it.

9 September 2013