Sunday, 4th November, 2012, dawned bright and breezy, which was a mixed blessing. My wife would be swimming 60 lengths (1500 metres) in the local pool, and was largely unaffected by the weather.
|Trusty steed near summit of Sapper Hill. Note aerodynamic drop handlebars.|
|Early leader completing cycling leg.|
The good news for me was I had trained for several weeks in such weather, and I have to say, I had not seen another cyclist on the road during that time. I assume many were training indoors, or just naturally superfit, but the wind here is challenging, and on the day, many of us struggled to keep the bike upright, never mind make progress.
|Changing to running shoes.|
After watching the early starters set a hot pace, we were soon warming up and getting briefed on the handover protocol between team-members. With nerves jangling and adrenalin flowing, the crowd were soon cheering on their swimming favourites. Not being a great swimmer, (I'm more a sinker than a floater), I could only watch in admiration at the rhythmic, efficient strokes eating into the 1500 metres.
Some swimmers used a variety of strokes, and I noticed one lady changing to backstroke every other length. - it worked for her!
Some of the swimmers would be representing the Falklands at the Small Island Games next year in Bermuda, and it showed in their speed. (The event was a fund-raiser to send a team). The fastest completed the distance in under 30 minutes. Annie broke her "PB" (Personal Best), and took fewer minutes than her age, which not many other swimmers could claim, but still left me with a bit of a deficit to make up on the other cyclists.
|Ready for the running.....|
|Coming back from the airport - 8 miles uphill, straight into a 30mph gale.|
It's thought about 80% of a cyclist's effort goes into overcoming wind resistance. Hence all the aerodynamic helmets and positions used at the top levels of the sport. It does make a difference. And even with my trusty old steed, I could use the lower section of the handlebars, and keep my head right down, plodding along and "reeling in" some of the others during the next 8 miles.
The last mile was steeply downhill to the changeover point, but the previous 2 miles were a long, hard slog up Sapper Hill. Several people paused here to admire the view(!), but my cycling position meant I could only see about 4 feet of road on front of me. This almost caused a collision, when I passed another cyclist standing beside his bike and regaining his strength for the final push (literally) to the end of the tarmac.
|Emeka pausing for a photo en route! He could have been even quicker!|
The route was sharp uphill for half-a-mile, then mostly flat, with a long downhill section in the middle.
|Stylish at the finish|
Not wishing to seize up, Annie and I got changed into warmer clothes, then drove the route to find and support Emeka. He seemed to be well ahead of his schedule, as we had trouble finding him. Only later did he explain that his training run times included 10 minutes of exercises! So, he, too, set a "PB", and finished in style in front of the small, but enthusiastic, crowd.
|No longer Triathlon virgins!|
We'd taken just under 3 hours, and finished 9th out of 13 teams. The winning individual man took just under 2 hours- incredible! And the winning woman, 2:38. Some bikes broke, and some muscles pulled, but I think everyone felt a great sense of achievement. We certainly did.
|Contestant "32C" - I'm not wearing that on my front!|
Then it was on to the Narrows Bar for the prize-giving, catching up with those that had left us behind earlier, and hearing tales of competitors stopping to help others in trouble. The juniors, particularly, had a very competitive event, which bodes well for the future health of the Falklands.
All too soon, the adrenalin wore off, and we headed home for an early night. Tired muscles communicated to us that we perhaps should not do this every week. But, it was time to dream of what might have been....if we'd only done a bit more training,.... or if I hadn't had that bottle of wine the night before....zzzzzzzzzzzz.