As is expected with me I had a couple of beers the night before the race, why break the habit of a lifetime? Saturday morning started at 5.45am because I wanted to get solid food inside me as early as possible as I get awful cramp if I’ve eaten anything too close to exercising.
I had to change the tyre on the wife’s bike before we left, she was borrowing our brother-in-law’s bike. That complete we packed 2 bikes, plus all our gear into our 1995 fiat Cinquecento and headed off to Hever.
Registration was a fairly simple affair, body marked and timing chip received. We headed over to transition. My first ever transition! We racked our bikes and set about working out what we should put where, in the end I decided that on the floor in the vicinity of the bike would probably do. Wetsuits on and over to the swim start.
The race briefing was utterly surreal, we walked out onto the edge of the lake to be greeted by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, after the race director’s information we were then wished good luck by Anne Boleyn and we go in the water. It wasn’t too bad in the water, I was expecting it to be much colder, we swam over to the start and waited for the cannon to go off. A few seconds later and BANG! we were off. I’ll just pause there for a moment to recount what went through my mind at that second.
“oi.. oi…Matthew, you know when they say you should never try something new at a race, well, did you ever consider that they might mean, oh, I don’t know, Open Water Swimming?”
“Nah, it’ll be alright, what’s the worst that could happen”
“Oh yeah, utter terrifying panic”
So my triathlon career started swimming on my back having my wife drag me round the swim course. Interspersed with me turning onto my front trying to crawl, but my face was having other ideas refused to go in the water. Managed to breast stroke the last little bit. Out of the water and I smacked my shin on the side of the lake.
Transition was, in comparison a breeze. Wesuit off, top and bike shoes on. Off we go
Time for Swim +T1 18:17:00
They had promised us a “cheeky” hill, so I was expecting the worst, it turned out not to be too bad. We weren’t getting passed too much and were catching a few people, so we were pretty happy. Then Catheryne’s chain fell off. that wasn’t too bad, cost about a minute or so. I am much better at descending, and Catheryne much better ascending than me so I was hammering it downhill for her to catch me on the ascents. This was fine until around the 15k mark, when I turned around and couldn’t see her. I dawdled for a bit, then assumed she was just behind somewhere and carried on. Came into T2 to find Bella, Marc and the children pointing me in the right direction as the Marshalls weren’t too bothered. Hung about for a bit in T2 hoping Catheryne would turn up, but she didn’t so I got out on the run.
Bike +T2 56:56:10
Saw Mum and Dad and Claire and Baz on the way out, and then saw Pen and Rog shortly after. The first thing the organisers did was put a stupid hill in the way, then it was just a case of continuing round the lake and getting to the finish line. I was quite fresh coming off the bike and I probably could have given it more on the run, but I’m not very good at pacing yet. The last k was a bit tough, just wanted to get to the finish. Turned the last corner and saw the whole family all waiting there for me which was absolutely brilliant.
A long way under the 2 hours I had set myself as a target, so I was very happy.
As I collected my medal and went to talk to the family, I enquired as to my dear wife’s whereabouts and instantly wished I hadn’t. Turns out, that tyre I changed. Went flat at 15k. Conveniently by a marshall point, and the marshalls suggestion was? Run the rest, so she did! 5k out plus the run itself = 1 angry wife! There were cries of sabotage all over the place! Personally. I agree, although not for everyone elses reasons. Mine are thus.. Catheryne sabotaged her own bike in order to take away my glory at having completed my fist tri. By sabotaging her own bike and “courageously” running the last 5k of the bike, her race was better than mine.
An amzing day, so happy I have completed a tri, gave me a massive hunger to do more, just a shame it’s the end of the season, but I’m so glad we did one before next year though. Going to complete another couple of sprints at the start of next year and an oly in mid may before Wimbleball. Eeeeeek!