I got as far as the bottom of Rossett Gill on the run before retiring from the race - I would not have made the next cut off at Angle Tarn and it would have been unsafe to continue any higher on the mountain with the cramp I was suffering.
Arriving at transition in the dark on Saturday morning I was excited and although my training had gone well and I felt strong I knew it was going to be me versus the cut-offs. My Son Richard Taylor was here to support and it was great to have him cheer me on as we set off for the swim. With only a bouy at the turnaround point sighting was a challenge and given the small field I was soon swimming on my own which added to the adventure - it really felt like a wild swim. I was out the water in about 90 minutes - 10 mins slower than I had hoped but felt good. 
In transition I changed into my bike kit and whilst changing got some early signs of cramp but was soon out on the bike and feeling good on the first climb of the day...the struggle...straight out of Ambleside. It was already a beautiful day and clear it was going to be very hot. The ride along Ullswater was stunning and I made good progress to Keswick where Richard (he had cycled over from Ambleside) and my training buddy Jane Scott (In Keswick for Lakesman) were ready and waiting to cheer me on. 
The next big climb was Honister Pass and although feeling strong I started getting painful cramp in my quads but I was able to keep going and was pleased for the water station at the top. During the descent into Buttermere I got a puncture - tube change went well and I was soon back on my way and onto Newlands. Again I suffered with a bit of cramp but was managing to cycle through it and it came and went periodically. 
It was awesome to see Richard and Jane again at Braithwaite where after a quick hug I set off up Whinlatter to the aid station where I spent a bit of time getting fluid inside me and trying to eat. Already getting food down me had become difficult and everyone seem to be having the same issue in the heat. I was soon back on the bike, completed the rest of the climb and enjoying the fast descent. The scenery on the next section passed Lowes Water and onto Ennerdale bridge was stunning. Although I think of this as a flat section there's actually a lot of climbing and I was having to carefully manage my cramping. Eating also continued to be a challenge and I was having to force myself to eat. The long steady climb into the wind on Cold fell felt a lot tougher than my earlier recce so I was pleased to reach the fast descent to Calder Bridge and then onto Gosforth and Santon Bridge where it was fantastic to see my local friends Allison and Fin who had come out to support. 
Onto Eskdale green and the 3rd and final drink station where I was much in need of fluid with Hardknott and Wrynose ahead. Having climbed both these a couple of times in training I knew I would not manage to ride the steep sections today with the cramp and fatigue now in my legs so I started to prepare mentally to walk them which most people by this time were doing. I walked the steep section of Hardknott and managed to ride part of the easier middle section. Then the steep technical descent and on to Wrynose where again I walked the steep section. 
The final section down to Coniston and back to Ambleside was a physical and mental challenge as my energy levels were getting low, still managing my cramp, and the prospect of missing the cut off. I was welcomed back into T2 by my friend Siobhan Brennan and it was fantastic that she was allowed into transition to help me get sorted for the run. Changed into my running kit, and having drunk a Mountain Fuel recovery drink I set off on the run. I made it to the Langdale cut off with 1 min to spare thanks to my son Richard who came and found me and ran that last 10 minutes with me. 
After forcing some food down me I set off on the mountain section but cramped on the first short steep section behind stickle barn and was unable to move for a couple of minutes. After packing away my drop back at the aid station Richard soon caught me up and kept me company as we headed up the Cumbrian way to Rossett Gill where I retired from the race and we turned around and walked back down to Langdale. I would not have made the next cut off and it would have been irresponsible to continue higher on the mountain with the cramp I was suffering. 
It was an amazing race in a place that I love, I had a great day, gave it my all and am proud of what I achieved on the training journey and race day. The camaraderie with fellow athletes was fantastic as was the support at various points along the course.
Thanks Mark and team for putting on such a brilliant event. I've unfinished business with TriathlonX and hope to be back in 2018 for another attempt.