Rich Fuller Triple Brutal Ironman Blog Post
Triple Brutal Ironman
In short, this was a one off event created by Brutal Events. Thought to be so daft that it is only going to be attempted once.
Location: Llanberis, Snowdon, North Wales.
Swim: 7.1 Miles open water
Bike: 350 Miles and 30000ft ascent
Run: 75Miles and 10000ft ascent (including a sumit of Mt. Snowdon)
Cut-off time = 64hrs.
THIS IS A NON-STOP EVENT!
Brutal Team Tarn:
- Rich Fuller (Participant)
- Mark Butler (Cycle Support)
- Mark Palmer (Cycle and Run Support)
- Martyn Hellard (Team Boss! HQ, food, Technical and Run support)
- Kate Bleacher (Run Support)
Thursday 17th September
It was about 17.30 when my Family and I left the house for North Wales. We chose to stay at Brynteg caravan park, Llanrug which was situated along the Brutal Bike course. We arrived at 21.30 with the car packed to the rafters and roof box busting at the joins. One look at the car and I opted to wait until morning to unpack. Instead, I explored the caravan with my two boys Jac (9) and Wil (5) who were super excited. I wish I could have said the same! My nerves were now fraying at the edges.
Friday 18th September
I had a great sleep and woke to a nice cuppa Tea made for me by my Darling Wife, Sheena ;-). Once this was consumed I met Mark Butler in Llanberis and started to erect our HQ for the next 3 days! Wil hammered every peg into the ground (that kept him happy for the morning and prevented him destroying the tent). Nigel (Triple) was at the HQ as was Kurt (Double).
Friday night brought more nerves and led to a pretty restless sleep. I calculated 3 hrs of intermittent sleep. Ah well, whats a couple less hours sleep when the event promised a minimum of another two nights of exercise!
Saturday 19th September
All was going well up until 10 seconds before the start gun. I had met Mark Dodgson and hat a great chat about what was coming up and settled my nerves chatting with Nigel, Kurt and Mike Tate. So……Swimmers ready? YES I thought……Timing chips Secure…….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I had forgotten my chip. As I exited the water I could hear the start gun and the sound of 199 swimmers going for it. I sprinted the 800m to the tent and back, secured my timing chip and proceeded into the water (what a numpty). However, the crowds were fantastic and gave me a rapturous round of applause. Sheepishly I waved and piled into the water.
7.1 mile Swim (5hrs 15mins ish)
The swim was pretty uneventful and as Cold as cold can be. Every time I exited the water (every two laps or 1900m) I had to stretch my mouth with my fingers as the cold had reduced them to a tube like shape, brought on by the way I breath during the swim. Marty and Mark Butler were also there supplying me with Hot Skratch Labs Hyration mix, supplied by one of my sponsors http://www.silverfish-uk.com/ and Chia Bars and nutrition plan, which were supplied by the experts at http://www.cranccyclesport.com/ This hydration and Nutrition mix worked perfectly keeping me warm and not overfed.
Upon exiting the swim, my family had arrived along with Mark Palmer to help with the transition and warming up. Wil (5) challenged me to a race back to the tent which I duly took up and unfortunately lost!
15 mins later, once I had warmed up and eaten my peanut butter and jam sandwich prepared by Marty, I was off on the bike.
Bike 350 miles 30000ft (30hrs ish)
This started smoothly with the Bike feeling great. I was just so happy to be out of that lake, warming up and using different muscle groups. I chatted with a few lads on lap 1 and had my first brief encounter with Mark Yates, who was looking strong and happy on his steed!
On lap 2 my support riders were ready to go and Mark Butler started what was to be a long 2 days of hard work and physical exercise. At this point, the day was beautiful and there was sunshine on every side of the mountain (great stuff I thought). Palmer and Butler took it in turns riding laps and Marty was doing a sterling job of having food ready as soon as we arrived back at HQ. Each pit stop was timed at between 5-10 mins and Marty had this down to a T. My bike would be taken from me, re-stocked with Skratch Labs and nutrition bars/ Haribos, while my Real food would be ready to eat and dry clothes laid out should I require them. I must also mention that Mark Palmer would give my legs a rub after each lap (that man is a machine)!
Late afternoon my good mate from work Gareth and Wife Clare Burnett, arrived at HQ with a set of bike lights for me. Thank the Lord for the Burnetts! Or so I thought. While others were happy to tell me how good I was looking, Gareth was all to happy to tell me how super awful I really looked and how nice the food was at his Hotel. Ha ha ha Cheers Ga!
Lap 6 came and I was feeling quite sick. This was due to a lack of sleep and was very annoying as my legs were feeling strong but my stomach was in turmoil and my eyes just wanted to shut. This was not helped by the smell of a Dead animal (I hope) on the ascent of Pen y Pass. I had to give myself a good talking to, I had been in situations like this many times before and knew/ hoped it would not last.
Lap 7 (04.00 ish) came and I was in all sorts of trouble. If you know me well then you know I can talk a glass eye to sleep, however, Markie Palmer was getting nothing out of me and I was starting to career into the middle of the road whilst dropping off for split seconds. I wanted to carry on and complete lap 8 as a milestone (Double Iron Distance) but Mark led me to the tent, sat me down in a chair and said chill out there for a second! He knew what would happen!!
25 mins of Sleep and I was raring to go.
When I woke I was greeted by Mark Palmer telling me to stand up quickly and to take off all my upper body clothing. Not one to argue I stripped down and stood there shivering like a wreck. Then.....Mark slapped a super hot wet towel on me and went about giving me a bed bath, Head and all. His commitment ended there and I was duly instructed to do my legs myself. When Mark left the living area of the tent I stripped to the Buff and had a good old wash (nether regions too) and then placed the towel back in the bowl. Unbeknown to Mark, the towel was now, how do we say, well and truly used lol. However, upon his return he proceeded to pick up the towel and give his face and head a good old clean. This brought a lot of laughter to the tent when Marty Hellard pointed out to Mark where that towel had been! Poor Palmer!
Cut-offs were tight and I knew I had to give it all on these last 5 laps (146miles aprox). These turned out to be some of my fastest laps, with only 5 – 10mins rest for food between each one.
I learnt that Nigel was doing well and was only a short time behind me. However I bumped into Kurt by Llanrug and he was doubled up with severe back pain. It looked like it was all over for him. He had given it his best shot and was extremely disappointed as he was feeling physically strong but this injury had him in all sorts of trouble. I wished him well and carried on with my 8th Lap. The weather started to turn and became very wet, windy and COOOOOLD! The True Llanberis weather was here and normality resumed!
The Finish of the Bike finally arrived and I was ecstatic! I could finally put my trainers on! Woooohooooooooooo! 15mins later, some enforced food from Marty and I was off.
RUN 75miles 10000ft
The weather continued to be wet, windy and cold but I just couldn’t wait to get running. My boys were there to see me off up the Mountain which was epic, but the news that we may not be able to get to the summit really put a downer on things. Anyway, off we went (Palmer and Kate out front). We made great time, bumping into James Page on the way up and Mark Yates on the way back down. Both in great spirits and happy to be off the bike.
¾ of the way up, the plug was pulled on the summit due to severe weather, so down we went. With the distance to be made up covering extra lake miles. Once the mountain section was complete I swapped trainers for the new HOKAS (or sofas) and all was well.
Before stopping for some real food I banged out a lap with Markie Palmer to see what he laps would be like. At the end of the lap I was approached by a marshal and informed that I only had 10 laps remaining? How could this be? There were 13 to complete! He said the website was incorrect and it was in fact only 11 laps. BOOOOOOOOOOOM! I hugged him and went to tell my team mates.
At this point I thought it would be OK to have 20mins rest and maybe a bit of shut eye as I had just gained 2 laps and therefore the cut-offs were looking a little less imposing.
Off I toddled with Kate for another lap and upon my return I was called, “NUMBER 75”? Yes, I said chirpily. “Sorry, but you were given incorrect information and there are in-fact 13 laps to complete so you still have 11 to do”. I was very tired, not much food inside me and the rain was smashing down on top of me. I’ll give you 3 guesses as to what I said! One clue, I didn’t hug him!
Anyway, that was that and another 11 laps had to be completed. I was all the more determined now to make up a bit of time.
In fairness, I felt as good as I could on the remaining laps, my team mates at HQ were just phenomenal, keeping me fed, watered and massaged. Marty was exceptional at making me eat my food and was always serving it on the dot. Mark Palmer had the lap times and support runners squared away nicely. All I had to do was run! This made life so much easier.
The last lap arrived and I was told by Kurt that I was in 3rd place with 2nd only 10mins in front. ONLY 10 mins I said. That’s like a lifetime to make up, especially as it was James Page in front who was going well and has the mental fortitude of a Rhino. I was also told that 3rd was pretty much secure. I later learnt that Mark Dodgson had unfortunately succumbed to a bad bout of sickness, which had really plighted his race. This is a real shame as he was smashing the time. Himself and TC (Winner) could have had an awesome race to the finish. So……..the last lap was enjoyed, with selfies being taken at every opportunity with Mark Palmer and myself chatting the lap away. As it went, we did one of our fastest laps 55mins ish, which I put down to adrenaline and the thought of a finish line with my family and friends there to share it with me.
FINISH LINE! 3rd Place 58hrs 31mins
Back L/R Kate Bleacher – Mark Palmer – Rich Fuller – Marty Hellard – Mark Butler – JF – WF – Sheena
Distances covered by Support:
- Mark Butler – 180 Miles Bike and 10.2miles Run
- Mark Palmer – 150 Miles Bike and 26miles Run plus Snowdon
- Marty Hellard – Sleepless for 48 hrs and 5.1 miles Run
- Kate Bleacher – 35miles run Plus Snowdon
- Sheena Fuller – 450 Miles in the car – 3 visits to dry cleaners – Entertained 2 kids – packed all my kit to go – packed away tent and kit to come home – put up with me for 4 months while training, Chief Blogger, plus lots more!
- Gareth & Claire Burnett - 350miles by car to bring me a set of Bike lights!
A special thanks has to go to the Support Crew above. They really were awesome. It takes a huge amount of effort and commitment to deliver support like they did and I will be eternally grateful to them all.
A big thank you to Kurt Jones for putting up with me for 16weeks of training and getting cold and wet with me on more than one occasion.
Also, Mike Tait, James Davies and Karl Harry were all great in their support and advice during the race. Cheers Lads it was very much appreciated.
Oh, one last thing. A Huge thank you goes out to Justin Hounsell who was dressed as a minion for most of the last day, supplying fun, laughs and a welcomed pit stop at the top of a very leg sapping hill. Cheers Buddy!
Pete's Eats Tuesday 22nd 6 of the 9 Finsihers Smashing a Breakfast!
It was great to see Nigel in the morning in my caravan. He'd completed the Triple in the early hours of the morning and had displayed an awesome amount of determination and a fight in finishing this truly BRUTAL Race.
Cranc Cyclesport www.cranccyclesport.com
The staff at Cranc Cyclesport really were integral in my success at The Triple Brutal 2015.
Andy and the guys at Cranc fitted me to my bike using the most up to date Retul technology. I can honestly say, after 350 miles and more than a full day in the saddle, I did not encounter any physical problems contributed by the bike. No back pain, no shoulder pain, no numb hands and most of all no numb feet. My overall power, speed and efficiency were also improved. I can’t recommend a fit enough.
Andy also serviced my bike and provided me with a second to none race pack full of everything I could possibly require in the event of a mechanical failure. The cycle kit provided, which is also sold at Cranc was superb. Along with a smear of Bum Butter (chamoix cream) the kit provided proved invaluable.
Last but not least, Andy created a nutrition plan for the whole event. This was created in conjunction with the physical education department at Trinity College Carmarthen.
Silverfish UK http://www.silverfish-uk.com
A huge thanks to Thomas Dibley at Silver-fish UK provided me with Hydration Mix from Skratch Labs UK and Nutrition Books writted by: Dr. Allen Lim.
Both of these products proved to be invaluable to my success as Skratch Labs worked a treat in staving off the dreaded cramp and gut rot, whilst the staple food created from the recipe book was awesome.
Giftware Wales www.giftwarewales.co.uk
Thanks for supplying the T-Shirts and hoodies for the Support crew and my family. The design, quality and print work was awesome. Thanks Neil.
A massive thank you goes out to all those who sponsored me for this event. It really is very much appreciated. I have almost raised £1000 for Cancer research UK and MIND Mental Health Charity.
The link is still open to sponsor if anybody wishes to do so.