Its 03:00 pitch black and raining and I am trying to eat porridge... Have I gone mad or am I in a nightmare? No Claire talked me into doing Swashbuckler half IM with a start time 05:15 in all my years I have never checked the start time of a race when booking. That has changed now.
04:00 racking bikes.
Its pitch black and still raining, there's no flood lights and we don't have a torch so we leave the bikes in transition and go back to the car for a power nap. 04:30 Dawn back to transition (still raining) and set up, things are better now.
05;15 (apparently it has to be this early to get the slack water)
A deep water start with a very nice wide start and the water is lovely. Unfortunately no slack water but the current is not too strong. Two loops up and down stream, people were moaning after about the strength of the current but I did not notice it , I was about a minute slower than expected but I did find some feet to draft off so that helped, apparently the current got stronger the more time that went on. Feel sorry for the Ladies then as they started 5-10 mins behind the men.
Out of the water in a little over 30mins and a 400m uphill slog to T2. Biked out all going well. The bike route is great, although there was a mighty head wind, flat and fast with the obstacles of deer, cows and horses to keep you alert. Uneventful ride except being distracted by the foals playing and having to slalom my way through a herd of cows which was fun.
2hrs 28mins as the bike was only 50 miles but that's my day done this was only ever going to be a aquabike for me. There is a great sense of relief when you know you don't have to go out on the run.
I change and realise it's only 08:30 and on to join Kay and Tim in supporting Claire and a friend of mine from the midlands who I talked into doing this race.
Overall I really liked this race stunning surroundings and what can be a quick course so don't let the start time put you off.
I thought that on reflection ....as it didn't continue to rain and that there were some bright skies later on that its good to still be friends.... which is asking a lot when it was a 3 'clock start to the day, a power nap of ten minutes in the car after a quick drop off of bike in the wet dark un lit transition. The race itself went well'ish I made lots of silly mistakes that included getting lost as we racked up in the dark and then i ran the wrong way out of T2 and had to run down the hill and back up. I did a pb of 37 minutes - but it was a battle of being very tired after the sprint the week before and an Olympic with two week training camp at club la Santa... anyway its all done and dusted and now i only have to panic about the IM in 6 weeks.
Photos are in the photo section