The big day had finally come, all the months of training about to be put to the test, so how’d it go?
Set up my transition area all nice and orderly, just as I’d practiced, bike racked, pump taped to the seat post, energy gel taped nice and secure onto the bike frame, helmet over bars, sunnies in the vents, bike shoe straps open, trainers filled with talc, all kit strategically placed on the kids Lightening McQueen lucky towel, ready to rock and roll!
After slipping effortlessly (not pleasant viewing) into my wet suit/gimp outfit, I followed my fellow triathletes down to the mouth of the river Doon! It did take me a good 5mins to finally take the plunge into the murky brown 14 degree freezing cold water and seriously question my sanity! Before I could change my mind and climb back out – the foghorn sounded and we were off! A mass start – more of a mass brawl!! after eating a couple of right hooks and kicks in the chops! I managed to get a few sly digs in myself and after apologising to the lady whose goggles I’d bitch slapped around to the other side of her swim cap, things settled down a bit and I made it out in one piece! Well, one very disorientated knackered piece!
Racing (staggering) into T1, wet suit off, cycling shoes on, helmet on, sunnies on, grab the bike, try and get on it without face planting, so far so good or so I thought till I tried to change gear and couldn’t because I’d wrapped my race belt round the gears, how could I forget to put it on? School boy error! Too much of a risk to put it on, on the go, so stop, race belt on and shift it. Valuable seconds lost!
Once moving, it took me about 5mins to remember how to cycle, just in time to tackle the big massive hill climb on the way out of Doonfoot past the caravan park, all the hard work over the Eaglesham Moors looked to be paying off as I climbed, passing the occasional cyclist also struggling over the climb. 10mins on the bike, time for that energy gel I’d strategically taped to the bike – “taped” I thought someone had spot welded it to the frame! After wrestling with the bloody gel and tape for about 5mins I managed to rip it off just in time to steer away with one hand from the grass verge I was about to mount! Raging – I tore off the top of the gel and squeezed most of it all over my hand (a bit like popeye squeezing spinach out the tin) I managed to sook the remaining gel out the packet and licked the rest off my sticky hand! Getting back in the zone, I raced down and up the undulating bike course (seemed most of the course was UP), praying the gel would eventually kick in and provide some much needed energy – thought I’d felt a wee surge just as I was getting off the bike and into T2! Race nutrition about right, getting ready for the run!
After dismounting the bike again without face planting (result) I sprinted, when I say sprinted – more of a brisk jog&walk with two wooden legs! Bike racked, helmet off, sunnies off, bike shoes off and just about managed to get my trainers on without bending my legs of stone – PS big thanks to the inventor of elastic laces (can’t believe I’ve been tying laces for over 35 years like a sucker). Out of T2 like a bat out of hell – or a slug off a lettuce.
Not my favourite part of a triathlon, but a run’s a run eh? NOT!! Once my legs loosened from stone to rubber I was off chasing the pack, out by the lovely residential streets, off road up a very steep hill. Another hill – magic!! Some fellow competitors had decided to walk up the hill obviously conserving energy for the rest of the run! Not me, I breezed past them as fast as a three legged turtle, reaching the top, blowing out my backside, wondering what happened to the road? It had apparently transformed into a narrow strip of semi compacted gravel with loads of massive potholes just waiting to swallow my feet n realign my ankles! Soaring like a springbok over these potholes or shuffling between them like an OAP (depending on witness statements) I ran deeper into the off-road trail. Where’s the turning point? How much longer can I endure this punishment? All these questions speeding through my mind must have started my bottom lip trembling when a kind steward, sensing my pain, told me ‘just round this corner’ like music to my ears! Then I ate a reality sandwich – as I had only covered half the distance! Another 2.5k back along the dirt path, dodging potholes, competitors, jaggy nettles, making noises when breathing I’d never heard before! My only consolation, I was descending down the hill I’d climbed 10mins earlier! On the home stretch – a kindly female steward commented, Aye right – if your home is a stately mansion with a massive driveway! One final push, thankfully cheered on by the crowd of well wishers, friends and family! Don’t start crawling now ya big Jessie – Checked the clock – 1hr 32mins!
Ayr Open Water Triathlon – DONE!