B&B attempt 1 soon email us saying that they've changed owners and the new folks are allergic to dogs. B&B attempt 2 seem great so Shelly calls them, the dog is fine and won't even cost any extra but what's that?...................... We're not married, so we're not welcome! Welcome to the 18th Century. Then by chance we find that the local Travelodge take dogs so the problem is solved, an expensive solution but it's solved all the same and it won't cost us if I end up staying at home resting my back and we have to cancel.
So on the Friday pre-race I take my Tri bike out for a quick 10mile spin, then take my road bike for the same 10 miles to see how my improving back reacts to them both. All seems well so I email off my last minute entry and it's game on. Saturday morning Rosie woke me up at stupid o'clock so I took her for a small run and then took the Tri bike out for another 10mile spin just to be sure it was ok to use. After that we casually packed the car up and headed down to Penzance, stopping off for Shelly to see our Tri Club's latest member who had been born just 5 days earlier.
After registering, meeting up with clubmates and plenty of friends (old and new) we headed off for some food and a half decent night's sleep.
Race morning dawned looking every bit as nice as the weather forecast had promised. I sorted my transition area out and joked with the lads around me that they wouldn't know I was there as my bike would probably be gone from it's place for both of their transitions (due to my nice and steady bike plan).
Wetsuit on and I half heartedly listened to the swim course description. Swim 650m out to a pencil thin bouy that I could hardly see, 600m across to an equally invisible bouy and then swim back in. Easy peasy. I'll just swim slightly off to the right of everybody and keep my eyes on those around me. Even with my pretty prescription goggles my sighting is useless and I've honed my skill after many 'blind as a bat' years.
The race started and everybody charged into the water which was f-f-f-freezing (ignore anyone who tells you otherwise). I'm always useless for the first 2-300m but once I'd get my ice-cream face under control I start chugging my way through the field. Just before the first bouy I caught one of my clubmates (Alan), this was a good think as he's been swimming well lately. I thought I'd swim with him for a while, but then he just seemed to go backwards so I carried on. Just before the 2nd bouy I caught my squad swim partner Phill and he disappeared behind me just as quickly, heck I must be flying. Then we turned back towards the beach and all I could see was the blazing sun, I couldn't see a thing and had no idea where the hell I was going, I couldn't see anybody ahead of me either surely I wasn't leading. To cut a long story short (and a few hundred meters of zigzagging) I finally stumbled onto the beach after lots of wasted time swimming breaststroke, backstroke and treading water just trying to get somewhere near the exit. Two local fish type swimmers had blasted to an early lead and I was in 3rd place with the rest of the field a lot closer to me then they should have been. Ah well. Onto the bike and I felt like a real fatty, I'd swallowed a load of water during the swim and just the thought of eating or drinking made me feel ill. The plan on the bike was to go steady, so that's what I did, except for that it didn't feel steady and I'm not sure I'd have been much quicker if that hadn't been the plan. Alan came flying past me on the way out to Lands End but he was only doing the swim/bike before handing the run reins over to his other half Lotty for the run, no problem I'll stick to the plan. Phill came past me with his Tribars hanging off before the hill at St Just, ahhh he's not supposed to catch me on the first lap, especially with his bike falling apart. Then I seemed to get to the point where people stopped blasting past me and disappearing and started working their way past me and pulling away real slow. I was happy now because it meant I'd found my rightful place and it wasn't as far back as I'd feared. I spent the rest of lap one and most of lap two getting overtaken on the hills and then easily running people down again on the descents, there are more uphills than down though so I appeared to still be losing ground but worryingly there was still no sign of 3rd clubmate Tim who I'd expected to come flying past by now. The rest of the bike was much the same as I struggled on the hills, cruised the descents, kept the pace steady, occasionally saw Phill not too far in the distance and still didn't get caught by Tim.
Into T2 for surely the longest transition as I lay down and fully stretched my back out before fannying about putting socks and stuff on, then I stopped just outside of T2 for Shelly to sunblock me. Did it work? Nah! Hurt like hell when it hit the wetsuit burn though.
There was a cunning plan for the run. I would run until I felt the first twinges of my ever annoying cramp and the moment I felt anything I'd walk for a minute, see how long I'd run for and aim to repeat for the length of the run. Easy eh . So off I went and almost spot on 5mins I felt a little twinge, I stopped and walked a minute and then ran for 5 more. Job done! Amazingly I caught and passed my clubmates plus several other folks and that little run/walk plan got me the 13th fastest run split of the day at an average 7:17 per mile without a single 'proper' bout of cramp. Bonus!
Could I have been quicker? Of course, but that wasn't the plan for the day, I could have swam, biked and ran quicker but then I might have blown up and learnt nothing, instead I may just have (hopefully) stumbled on a way to fix my damned Ironman run splits. Fingers crossed. Phill had an awesome race and were it not for his wonky Tri bars I might be telling you he beat me.......... or I might be telling you I ran faster just to make sure I beat him who knows. Alan ripped up the bike course. Could he have run off that bike though? Who knows. Guess we'll find out at Wimbleball (IMUK 70.3). Hopefully he'll nail it. Tim...... Hmmmm Tim....... Lets face it, Tim had a disaster. Heck I've had enough of them and I really felt for him. He rode past me as I was heading out on the run and told me there was no way he was running, I couldn't believe it when I saw him coming the other way and with it being 3 laps he had 3 chances to call it a day but he didn't and for all the cr@p we give him he gets full marks for getting there on such a ronking hot day. Well Done lads. Top Job. Right, sleep time now. I've had enough of this sucking up. I beat all my clubmates and that's what matters. Laters.