By Lisa Phipps
Wow what an eventful, fun and challenging weekend.
I'm currently training for my first Ironman in July with my husband, sister, brother in law and some friends. I saw the Rattler event advertised and the 100 miles cycle fitted in well with our training plan. Having done the Huntsman this year and in 2021 plus the Hilly Hundred in 2021, I knew that Challenging Events are always well organised and friendly. We decided that the 4 of us would enter and ride together.
What could be better than a 102 mile route planned out for us in the beautiful setting of the New Forest with two well stocked food stations! And we certainly made the most of the variation of food and drinks at these.
My husband and I also entered the swim at Ellingham Waterski Lake the next day, with 3 distances to choose from we opted for the middle distance; 2.5km. This was flexible on the day which made a 3rd lap very tempting and in hindsight we wish we had continued to swim the longer distance.
So the Saturday cycle day arrived and it was a beautiful blue sky and the sun was shining! I felt far more relaxed knowing it was a sportive ride rather than a race. The 4 of us set of on the route which is stunning this time of year, loads of purple flowers in the trees lining the roads, wild horses, foals, ponies, donkeys and cows to keep us company. Plus the other riders out on course who were friendly.
We took our time to refuel at the second stop at 68 miles and set off for our last bit of the cycle. Around half a mile from here an almighty bang stopped us in our tracks, I soon discovered that my tyre had burst as there was white liquid spilling out everywhere from my tyre. This couldn’t have happened at a better time or place as Kelly was passing so loaded me and my bike in her van, drove us back to the food station where much to my relief the mobile mechanic was still set up! Darren from Velo Care had it mended in good time and the 4 of us were back on the road in under 15 minutes.
I was so pleased and grateful to be able to finish the course. We made it back to a warm welcome from the rest of the team and handed an awesome medal as well as lots of finishers goodies! Then noticing that the 3 different medals; bike, swim and run all slotted together to make 1 medal, there was no question that we wanted that 3rd run medal. We booked into the run for the Sunday after the swim.
Sunday was another good day, the swim was early but gorgeous as the sun was rising, we choose the 5km run after and completed the trio of events to get all of the medals!
Will definitely be interested in entering all three again next year as it was a brilliant event. The great thing is that there are lots of different distances so you can pick and choose what you wish to do - a great event for anyone training for a triathlon!
Thank you again Challenging Events.