Had one of those out of the blue really fun days on Sunday. My partner in crime at work, Mr Adams (part time runner, utility cyclist extraordinaire, and full time joker) has a friend in the local triathlon club; introducing Matt ‘The Dolphin’ Fletcher. Fletch would normally do tris properly (i.e. all three disciplines!) but was slightly [...]
Had one of those out of the blue really fun days on Sunday. My partner in crime at work, Mr Adams (part time runner, utility cyclist extraordinaire, and full time joker) has a friend in the local triathlon club; introducing Matt ‘The Dolphin’ Fletcher. Fletch would normally do tris properly (i.e. all three disciplines!) but was slightly injured so he asked us if we fancied the team relay. The event was called the Castles Challenge and was organised by TRI (www.totalracingint.com). The setting and course promised to be fantastic; the swim was in the sea in front of Bamburgh castle, the cycle was up the coast to Alnwick and the run was around Alnwick castle – Harry Potter-tastic!
The weather took a turn for the worse on Saturday morning. I watched Fletch and 200 other lunatics run into the freezing North Sea for their mile swim and secretly congratulated myself on my wise choice of discipline. (It’s not often an endurance racer does that but, as a result of my surfing experience, I would never consider getting a toe wet in the UK in anything other than a full winter steamer + boots and gloves…)
Anyway, I huddled in the transition hut while The Dolphin did his thing… and flippin heck, I’d barely turned my back and he was running into transition, only about 8 minutes behind the leader! It had started raining, the wind was a howling Southerly, it was a flat 26 mile course…. so basically it couldn’t have been more opposite to my usual discipline! But the sight of all those aero helmet wearing, carbon fibre tt machine touting tri boys and girls released a chemical in my brain; you know the one that sometimes makes you pump up your mtb tyres up rock hard in the hope of bumping into a roadie…? (or is this just me?) So out of transition I put my head down, got into the best tuck I could, and buried myself. In fact, I don’t think I have ever buried myself so hard for an hour. The feeling of picking people off was addictive… and I was flying (well, considering the headwind). These are my home roads so I knew what was coming as the road turned off the coast and gradually climbed towards Alnwick. After an hour of threshold, there was still power in my legs and I flew into transition. In fact, one of the major motivations for nailing it was to hand over to Paul ‘Crazy Legs’ Adams with the words, ‘We’re right up the field; don’t blow it!’ And pin it he did! In fact, he held our 7th position overall and the win in the team event.
Now I know we did this as a relay, but as individuals we were all pleased with our efforts. And it reminded me how motivating doing a team event can be. I was especially pleased with my ride though, because short and fast aint really my thing and I was 6th fastest on the bike, only a minute behind some pro triatheletes. Most of all though we had a really good day in great company and a fantastic setting (top job by TRI on this inaugural event – I’ll definitely be back next year) and I gained an insight into a whole new culture…. it’s a lot more athletic and clean cut than the seedy world of endurance mountain biking. (I had a shave and a haircut in an attempt to blend in).
I don’t think I even said anything on the walk back to the car before Charlotte read my look…. and stated firmly, ‘Your not getting a time trial bike!’