Seeking Comfort, running volcanoes and Britain’s best bacon butty

Nik Cook's Powerman prep continues with a 27km trail run up a volcano, sorting his 'gooch' issues and savouring the best bacon butty on the trails

It’s been a solid four weeks of training since my last post and finally, with some sun and dry roads, my TT bike has been liberated from the turbo.
 
Having concentrated on standard distance racing last year, it was obvious that, after one two hour ride, my riding position needed some tweaking for the hilly 150km bike course waiting for me at Powerman Zofingen www.powerman.ch/en.
 
The areas of concern were my ex-rugby player shoulders and that special betwixt and between area known to medical professionals as the perineum. My shoulder tension was easily relieved by swapping in a set of Syntace C3 aerobars. I’d tested these for the 220 aerobars grouptest and they suit me perfectly.
 
My gooch (non-medical term courtesy of Johnny Knoxville) was a trickier proposition. I’d tried numerous saddles but all, after a couple of hours locked in an aero position, caused burning pressure and pain in this square inch of undercarriage. My salvation came in the bizarre looking form of an ISM Adamo Time Trial saddle. I’ll admit to being fairy skeptical when I bolted the two pronged beast onto my bike but it was a revelation. The red hot poker pressure vanished and I don’t care how many “ladies saddle” jibes I get from riding mates, I’m a convert.
 
I’ve had a few key sessions. The first was a fantastic solo morning’s mountain biking at Coed Llandegla. I’ve got great natural trails on my doorstep in the Peak District but occasionally you just want some fast, mindless and jumpy fun at a trail centre. I polished off two laps of the black loop and one of the red for 56km of hard mountain biking in 3:21hrs. The trail pixies from One Planet Adventure www.oneplanetadventure.com have been extremely busy and the trails, as well as officially the best bacon butty in Britain, are well worth a visit.
 
Next, I had a work gig covering the Transvulcania Trail Race on the stunning island of La Palma in the Canaries. I couldn’t do the full monty 82km race I had to interview and hob nob with the elites at the finish but I managed to bag a place in the 27km race. This still managed to pack in 2,180m of ascent. With “work” to do afterwards and the HellRider race just a couple of weeks away, my plan was to run strong but steady and enjoy the run.
 
The gun went off at 06:30am, I ran up a steep ramp, lapped a lighthouse, crossed a road and then hit the trail. Immediately I realised I’d made a mistake as, hitting the steep loose surfaced narrow trail, runners ahead of me instantly became walkers. I spent the next few kilometers hurdling rocks, veering off the path, avoiding being impaled by trekking poles and politely requesting to “passo”. Eventually I found some running space and had a great run. Running well within myself I reached the finish in 3:03 and 17th out of 404.
 
I’m now having a taper before the HellRider www.hellrider.co.uk. This eight hours of non-stop alternating trail running and mountain biking laps is my big focus pre-Powerman and hopefully my performance will impress the folks at the BTF enough to give me a spot for the GB Team for Zofingen. I’ll be racing in Switzerland whatever but, wearing my GB Smurf Mankini as my wife calls it, will make my Powerman experience all the more special.
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