For the first time, we decided to organise some teams to go to the national club relays that are held in Nottingham every year. Over 2000 triathletes congregate at the National Water Sports Centre and compete over two days – and it’s awesome!
Despite some setbacks before we even left (Lou’s stitched up toe, Gus’s broken bike, Luke’s dodgy knee and James M's family commitments), we managed to get 13 Windrushers, one supporter (thanks Craig!), bikes, tents, windrush kit galore and just a few jelly babies to the campsite on Friday night. Lee had chosen us a great spot, miles from the toilet block but close to the team who decided to dress up as tigers, and only minutes from the race start.
The relays operate differently to a normal triathlon. Person 1 completes a 500m swim and then finds person 2 in a huge group of wetsuit clad triathletes all yelling various names, and passes the baton (wristband) on. Person 2 then completes the swim and hands the baton to person 3 and so forth. The bike (15km) and run (5km) work in the same way, so you get a rest between each section. The marshals all wore t-shirts stating ‘organising chaos’ which summed it up nicely!
On Saturday morning, we had entered two mixed teams. Both (very cleverly!) elected for the guys to start in the mass swim start, whilst the girls waited until the water was quieter. There was a huge mix of ability on show – from elites like Lucy Hall (2012 Olympian) and David Bishop, to the aforementioned tiger outfit triathletes, some Oompa-Loompas, full-on morph suits and bad wigs. The format meant people of any ability could take part. Our winning mixed team (of James Raffle, Anna McKay, Lee Randle and Laura Addis) had some super-fast legs, whilst our second mixed team (of Charles Pool, Claire Beck, Frank Fonton and Sarah Reynolds) came in 25 minutes behind but happy!
On Saturday afternoon our girls (Susan McDonald, Helen Tracy, Donne Nel and Teresa Redmond) raced, battling through a torrential thunderstorm on the bike (which the organisers later said had almost forced them to stop the race) and then hot sun as soon as the rain stopped! They were proud to pick up the wooden spoon prize, with Teresa doing well to finish having been ill most of the day.
Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, and time for the boys to race. The team comprised one original member (David Aikin) and three ‘stand-ins’ – all of whom had raced the day before – James, Lee and Charles. It was a morning of injuries. James had aggravated a foot injury the day before, so Lee agreed to do his run – two runs for Lee. David then tore something on the way into the swim and despite making it around the lake, the paramedics told him to stop. So, James took David’s bike leg and Charles took his run leg. This was a real team effort and everyone was understandably exhausted at the end!
In amongst the racing were sunshine, beers, rainbows, wine, a jazz band, fry-ups, spooning (boys!), massages (all above board) and a lot of laughs. Next year is already being planned. Be there!
Brilliant write up Sarah, was much fun :)
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Excellent report Sarah!
Such a fantastic event...