Staffs Bike Recce

What did I do last weekend? I went up to Staffordshire and rode the IM 70.3 bike route! I thought going up there (as I've never been) and see where I'll be swimming, try the bike route and get a general feel for the area.

I wanted to know exactly how close the hotel is to the start of the race, if there are any restaurants close by as I'll need dinner, if the hotel will be open for breakfast at 6am and so much more. If you're doing a race away from home and you're able to check these things out, I really would. If not, definitely call the hotel and see if you can iron out any of these questions well before time.
So Staffordshire, well it's a long drive from home! Leaving home on Saturday afternoon in the gorgeous sunshine, we arrived in Staffordshire to torrential rain and thunder. Wonderful.

The hotel we stayed in (and for race day) is around a 20 min drive from Lichfield which is the nearest "big town". So we after a quick unpack, we drove there for dinner. There were loads of Indian and Chinese places but these aren't the kind of foods I want pre race. I went for a simple Italian and then got back for an early night.

I wanted to simulate race day as much as possible so I took the breakfast I am planning on having on race day. It was disgusting. I bought a tub of porridge that you can mix with water and I took a little pot of chia seeds and sugar. It was totally inedible, it was so grim. I took a back up of croissants and Nutella as it's plenty of calories and had that instead. It went down far better and tasted amazing!

In the beautiful sunshine, I met Stafforshire Tri Club, who kindly organised the ride, at a local pub and we rode together to the start of the Bike Course around 18km away. Once there I got a chance to see where I'd be swimming (it looked cold!) and for the first time, meet a few other people doing the race.

The bike course starts with a climb. It's pretty undulating with a few steep little bits and then around 70km, when you're/I'm on my last legs, it just goes up. Wahh why?! WHY. Thankfully it's not a long climb nor is it too steep but after riding for so long, it felt like forever. After that it was only around 20km (an hour's ride for me) to the bike finish at the Shugborough Estate.

Overall it was good to ride the route and see where the climbs are, where the sharp turns are and where the water/aid stations will be. I feel much more confident now knowing I've done it once. I got to practice my bike nutrition and I managed to drink loads whilst cycling too which felt really good. I think it was a success but I just need to build on this now going into the final 5 weeks to really solidify all the training and more importantly, self belief!

A huge thank you to the absolutely lovely people at Staffs Tri Club for organising and for all their tips and helpful comments. You were all so kind and welcoming, so thank you!

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