Well injury and accidents have stopped me from completing my first own middle distance triathlon this year. However I have been to Cotswold Middle distance twice this year, first time in June after getting a septic cacti scratch whilst in USA plus lack of training so I marshalled which was a great experience and putting back into tri when you’re not in it. Then today I was under doctors orders to stay off my bike for 6 weeks and on some great drugs due to a torn tendon in my wrist, but at least thanks to 2 friends I managed to complete one of the 3 disciplines- the swim.
During registration on Saturday Vic & I huddled in tents and under the burger van canopy as the sky was as black as coal and thunder & lightening crashed and rumbled around us as the rain hammered down. The run course was like join- the-dots of puddles, the lake water rising all the time and submerging the lakeshore trees.
Then just as quick as the down pour came the skies cleared back to blue and we went to pitch the tent just 5 minutes walk from race transition. Off to the pub for northern lasses carbon-loading – fish & chips with mushy peas, half a pint of lager but no crisps as the Fleece in Cirencester was too posh for crisps ! There was a distinct split in customers that night, those wearing running shoes or Crocs and Garmin watches and those all dressed up for a night on the town.
Alarms set for 4am – yes on a Sunday !! Gave us 6.5 hours sleep, luxury compared to RUN24.
Now I didn’t know but 4am is very dark, head torches required for coffee, porridge and bananas. Short walk to transition with our kit following a trail of bobbing lights and clicking of chain rings.
5am and still very dark, the lake calm and glassy, the air still and all very quiet. All triathletes assembled by the lake for the briefing and daylight suddenly arrived. I had taken my clear goggles which half way round I wished I had tinted as the rising sun was blinding.
The 6:10am swim start was the usual scrum, tugging, pulling, punching, ducking and a dislocated shoulder. I was swimming alongside Billy the Fish for 3 turns until I got boxed in & ducked again. The low sun made sighting difficult but I swam with the pack and happy with my sighting. Had a quick chat to Chris on the pontoon ! Pulled myself along the bottom as I got too close to the island. Then the sun was blinding, thanks to the loud mouthed shouting marshal flapping his fluorescent jacket and screaming at us to go to him – otherwise no chance of seeing the swim exit with starburst in our eyes from the sun.
36 minutes swim – Not my best, sorry girls, wrist ached. Quick run along the grass and handed the chip baton over to Karen who blitzed the bike on 3 hours with no dramas. Claire & I waiting in transition and she was back 30 mins quicker than she expected. Clare was off and flying, the run was best described as a trail run, muddy & potholes ankle deep filled with water. But a half marathon PB for Clare 1:39. As a team relay we came in at 5:18 which were placed 4th.
The marshals & fellow competitors were fantastic, such a great atmosphere. Vic also had a brilliant race coming in ten minutes under 6 hours. The TriZoo suits attracted a lot of attention and spurred us all on.
It was a great 24 hours in the Cotswold Water Park, camping racing, eating, socialising and above all fun 🙂 Thanks a lot to Vic, Karen & Clare.