Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Mid Argyll triathlon

Regular readers (if there are any?) will know that the big day has been and gone and still no entry. This is due to a lingering sense of disappointment on my part with my performance on the day. Alas my cycling skills were not up to scratch and the nerves also got the better of me but I did compete, complete and survive to fight another day so onwards!

With four competing relatives in the house plus two assistant marshals my bother in law found himself deserted with his pint of beer on the sofa on Saturday night. The bikes were on the car, the transition boxes were packed (or were they?) and in the car, the food contributions hidden from the children and all athletes etc were tucked up in bed.Amazingly we managed to get off at the pre-arranged time of 9.15 despite Garret forgetting until 9.10 that goggles might just be a good idea and followed another bike laden car down to Lochgilphead passing Liz on the way doing last minute packing. Racking, unpacking and greeting other competitors and friends carried me along for a while and I was trying, really trying to keep my usual pre tri nerves at bay for the sake of Kate, on her first ever tri and Toby (Garret is immune by now). With Kate in Heat two, Liz and Hazel W in Heat four and Toby and Simone in Heat five we were kept busy popping from pool to transition area and the time until Heat six went relatively quickly although the nerves returned with full effect as soon as Toby entered the pool. I briefly considered an energy bar but the thought of eating was so repellent I decided not to...after all it is only a sprint tri...... Into the pool, a quick good luck to Garret in the next heat, a frightened glance exchanged with Hazel and we were off. Thrown slightly by the matching yellow cap next to me going off too soon I quickly settled down and after one overtake from the statutory fast guy started to feel a little bit more confident. Somewhere along the line the swimmer behind me and I played cat and mouse but that was okay with the last time coming two lengths before the end. Out of the pool a few seconds in front of Garret and onto transition. oooopps...not a good one, bits of grit needed to be removed from the soles of my feet and then shaky hands slowed my trainer putting on technique. I had helmet issues as I had decided to put my hair in  a French pleat to keep it out of the way and this made my helmet feel too tight, I am convinced that I had my helmet on backwards and that it would be my photo that would be up on the big screen at the tri dinner this year.. that finally sorted and I then fumbled unracking the bike and worried about the old bike dominoes game. Finally off and fearing I was last in my heat I tried to pick up the pace. The ride was good, not too hot but I could see no one else apart from a couple of  club guys from elsewhere who rapidly left me behind. Halfway round the cycle I started to question the training programme I had doggedly stuck to as even without a watch I realised that I was way too slow and way too lacking in energy. The energy bar would maybe have been a good idea to replace all that nervous energy sapped away. However onwards and there is Craig and the boys which picked me up as did the sight of Dinah on the Oban road. Then a miracle! I catch sight of two cyclists on whom I am gaining rapidly...great! I continue to gain and feel pleased up until the moment I numbers, no tri suits...not even shorts they are just a couple out for a pleasant Sunday ride...Grrrrrr!! so KEEP GOING!! Past the Cairbaan turn and then Emma comes past me and we go into a bizarre over-taking routine so scared are we of the drafting police as we each fail to maintain the dreaded 7m lead. With many a "sorry" and "please go ahead and over take" she takes the lead on the run into the pool. It is great to see Kate finished and happy, and then to see Liz smiling her way into an obviously great finish. Emma leads me out on the run too and the old brick hits my calves for the first 1/2k or so.  The band stops playing as I reach the canal but not I think in awe of my running prowess...the day is still not too hot and the run is okay for me although I seem not to be able to pick up the pace. People are coming thick and fast in the other direction as they head towards the end of their run but still no over takes from the previous heat...yet. I see Toby looking comfortable, Hazel W finally smiling again ,Garret managing a high five then Hazel M looking great and then I hear those dreaded foot steps behind me...yup here comes Stephen and I know that Peter, John, Tim and Matt will not be far behind. Stephen overtakes before the turn around and Peter, then John after it. Homeward stretch now, the day is definitely warmer now and there is just Matt to go. I overtake one guy on the way home and can still see Emma. Down from the canal with a brief hold up at the road....legs forced into starting again and here come Matt! Finally I can see (and hear) family and friends and head for the best moment of all. Those cheerleaders were the best!! Not my greatest times but lessons learnt (I hope) and great to take part with my family and friends. At least I was no worse than last year (or so I thought until I remembered that my chain came off last year!)...

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