Two massive weekends!
Sunday 14th September, I did my first tri! I enjoyed it, was pleased with my time and yes, I am going to do another. So Tri’s start early – I am used to road races starting at 10 or 11am. Tri’s start at 8am or earlier. Thank goodness it was local, just 15 minutes away. Even so, I was up just before 6 to get my porridge before arriving at the site in St Neots at 7am.
The Anglian Water Triathlon run by Nice Tri was meant to be at Grafham Water, but due to a problem with water levels it was moved to St Neots. A river rather than a lake swim. A fellow club member and Ironman, was already there and helped me set my gear up and calmed my nerves.
The river was cold! 15C – my sister regularly swims in a quarry in Bristol and seemed to think that was a fine temperature. I dont do cold so was glad of the wetsuit. Time to get the wet suit on. Slapping body lotion on to make sure I could get it off again seemed the priority. I wriggled and heaved and got it on, listened to the briefing and then got in the river for a ‘warm up’.
Then without warning the hooter sounded and we were off! I was taken my surprise, there didnt seem to be a particular start line and I wasnt where I wanted to be. Anyway I set off and worked my way up the field – thinking I was being strangled by the tri suit I had borrowed and the wetsuit – a severe talking to was required to get me settled and continue swimming. I continued to pass people so that was good. Finished the swim and out the ramp, into transition and slid out of the wetsuit – not that elegantly!
Off on the bike and 25km of undulating terrain and I was back. Nearly fell over when I got off the bike, my legs were shaped like an S and my knees didnt seem to want to work. Jelly legs they call it, boneless legs more like. Tottering into transition and racked the bike. I dont have bike shoes so it was straight off to the run. Still tottering I was passed by another club member, now I knew he would finish in about 1.30 so I was happy I wasnt too far adrift of my target time. Two laps later I had finished.
Swim 750m, Bike 25.5km, Run 4.51km
Pos Overall Swim T1 Bike T2 Run
93 1:46:30 14:44 2:25 59:36 42.0 29:03
Without drawing breath, I turned my attention to Round Norfolk Relay. This is a relay event where 17 runners run around the borders of the county of Norfolk in England. 197 miles in 28hours (or less). To aim to get all the teams finishing at roughly the same time, the start time is staggered, with the slowest teams starting at 5.30am and the fastest at 12noon.
The logistics of getting 17 runners, plus cycle support during the day, and a car with an orange flashing light following the runner at night into position across the county, where from the base in Kings Lynn to the furthest points takes 1.5 hours to drive was a nightmare. We didnt have the luxury of extra support volunteers so all the runners had to take turns in cycling, driving and generally getting no sleep at all.
We arrived on Friday evening and pitched our tents, the bike had a flat tyre so we had to get that pumped up. 5am and ready on the start line with our first runner ready to start off on roads and then on the beach for a 16 mile run to Hunstanton. The bike was ready, the car was loaded with snacks and water and 5.30 we were off. It mostly went smoothly, with all the runners arriving at the right place at the right time. Our target was to get back at 10am on the Sunday morning – the cut off time. We had a mixture of strong fast runners and slower runners. We knew we weren’t going to win any prizes – the club that won, Cambridge and Coleridge, had runners who were all going to run at about 6 min/miles. We had people who could run at that speed and others who were going to do 11min/miles, for us it was doing it, the experience that mattered.
It was exhausting, I got to bed at midnight on Friday and was up at 4.30 to help get ready for the morning and then did drive support round to Wells next the Sea, then took my runners and cycle support back to Kings Lynn. We set off again at 1pm with 2 runners (and myself) and a fresh cyclist to get to Mundesley for 3pm to take up the support. We cheered our runner in (we were second at that point!) and then started the car support. At the next transition, I was the runner, whilst someone else drove my car. I took back over at the next transition. Halfway through it was getting dark and we put the bike back on the car, the cyclist collapsed into the car and we followed our runner through to the transition. There we handed on to another support vehicle and we drove back to base arriving (via McDonalds) at 10.30pm. Up again at 3.30 to get in position for the last 3 legs, where I was cycle support.
Great weekend, tinged by sadness as a member of City of Norwich Athletic Club collapsed and died at the end of Stage 4. Huge sympathy to his family.