Up until a week I was unsure if I would compete in this iconic race again as I had pulled my left calf muscle at the Ardingly Standard Triathlon on 2/6/13. But as race day drew nearer, the injury had improved and as this would be my last visit to Wimbleball I made the decision to go ahead!!!
I drove there on Saturday and had an uneventful journey. On
arrival I went through the registration procedure, sorted my kit
out into the blue and red bags provided and racked my bike. The
weather during the day was a mixture of wind, rain and sun, which
then started me thinking, " hope it gets better by tomorrow, why
did I decide to come!!" I attended the race briefing at 16.00hrs
and then made my way to my digs about twenty minutes drive. It's a
lovely old farmhouse sat in a hillside which overlooks one of the
downhill sections of the bike course.
After the usual fitful nights sleep [no I wasn't having fits!!!] I had my normal bowl of porridge and drove to the race venue arriving about 05.00hrs. It was chilly, overcast and windy and I thought maybe the sun would come out later!!! I met up with Peter Court [from MSTC, always nice to know someone] who was also taking part. Well we completed our final preparations and it was time to get the old wet suit on!
At about 06.45 our wave, the second, [only ever been one wave before!! ] made our way down to the lake. The first wave had just started and we were asked to enter the water, no turning back now!!! Having walked through the mud and weeds I immersed myself into the water thinking this is like a warm bath, well I knew it wasn't but it helps mentally. The temperature was cold but I have swam in colder water!!! Done a few strokes to warm up and impress the opposition and then the gun went off, definitely no turning back now!!!
The swim went okay with the usual disruptions of others swimming into you, over you and under you!!! I eventually came out of the water [and no I wasn't last!!! ] and then there is the 400m run to T1 which includes a steep grassy bank immediately you get out of the water!!!
Collect blue bike bag and into the change tent where you have the option of taking off your own wet suit or having assistance. Being old, wet and cold I decided to do it myself!!! Luckily I had put extra kit in the blue bike bag, so I put on a short sleeve cycle top [ MSTC of course!! ] and then really struggled to put my arm warmers on as I was wet and cold!! Once they were on I stuffed a thin rain jacket into a back pocket and made my way to the bike rack. By now the wind had picked up even more and the rain was persistent!
Out of T1 and start the bike course which kicks off with 3 miles up hill!! As I have done this race twice before I knew what to expect in relation to the course but that doesn't make it any easier. It is very tough, made considerably worse with the wind and rain!! It's a two lap course involving approximately 3904ft of climbing! As the miles went by the rain and wind got worse eventually forcing me to stop and put on the rain jacket!! The descents were quite dangerous in the rain as some involved very sharp left hand turns at the bottom!! All part of the fun and another reason for doing this race yet AGAIN!!! I managed all the climbs without getting off the bike, passing many that thought walking was the best option and they were a lot younger than me!!! Just before the end of the bike section I had a very negative thought! I was very wet and very cold and said to myself " do you really want to run a half marathon now!!!"
Anyway I got into T2 racked my bike still with a few negative thoughts but then I was in the change tent with my red run bag and the next thing I know I am out on the run course!! What happened there!! Maybe it was a C.R.A.F.T. moment!! Well at least the rain had eased but it was still windy and by now the off road course was very muddy in places. The first of the three laps was hard, the second even harder and well the third was just bloody awful but I was determined to finish what I had started. Never say never!!! I eventually crossed the line to the roar of the crowd in a very disappointing 8hrs 2mins 56secs !! That was my slowest recorded time at Wimbleball but I still managed to come 3rd in my age group!!
Most importantly I finished, didn't have any injuries and after
all it is only a race!! I am trying hard to make myself feel
better!! I hope our three week annual holiday in Skiathos, which
starts this Wednesday, will help to ease the disappointment and
maybe I can figure out what went wrong!!! Sorry there are no split
times as at the time of writing this I couldn't seem to find them
on the website.[another C.R.A.F.T. moment!! ] Probably just as well
as that would really piss me off!!!!
I would like to thank Peter Court as he was waiting for me at the finish to cheer me through and I am sure he was as tired as me!! On a final note, good luck to anyone racing while I am away and I promise to practise my swimming!!!! Thanks everyone for your support on Facebook.
PS just found my split times!! Do you really want to see them, I think not!!! Oh well if you want a laugh;
age group 65-69 position 3rd overall 1140. At least
I wasn't last!!!!!!!