This is the first time I have entered this race. Neil Giles said it was a good one. SatNav said it was a 2 hour drive from home and as my start time was 8.10am I could drive up if I had an early alarm start.
Breakfast was 4.15am, I arrived at 6.20am and drove the bike loop for a reconnaissance. It looked good, a bit flat for me, I like hills these days. The first wave was age 18 to 39, and I had a good vantage point to observe them on their 750m circuit. I was in the 50-54 age group, J, tattooed on my left calf, just like Dambuster. Starting far right was the best swim line.
The lake water was warm and I got a great start, and seemed to be in the lead group, sighting, I could not see many ahead of me. T1 went well I emerged on the bike in the lead group, how exiting. Before the group broke up I counted 5 Jays, and 2 were behind me which meant I was 4th. How very exciting. A Jay overtook me and disappeared up the road. 5th. A Jay faded, 4th. Into T2, and out on the run. I could see a guy about my age, about 60m ahead. I was very very slowly catching him. My eyesight goes a bit blurry on the bike and it wasn't until about 30m that I could see his calf tattoo. It was a Jay! OMG I could be 3rd if I could overtake him. It took me for ever to catch him, about 2km. "Come on Jay" I said as I overtook him.
No idea why I said that. Mmmm he sat on my left shoulder, taking my pace. Oh dear. I could see another guy about our age about 50m ahead. I was making no progress, Jay overtook me...we chased him down together taking each other's pace. It was Kay! That's no bloody good. Jay was now suffering, I think he was hacked off it a Kay. As I overtook Kay, he wasn't bothered by me, he let me go. I had about 1km to go, no oldies ahead, and I could no longer hear Kay and Jay behind me.
I settled into my Jedi running. Blurred vision check, shoulders hurting check, chest on fire check, stomach burning check, legs in agony check, calfs in screaming agony check. I was in great shape. Was I really 3rd? Pat pat pat pat pat pat I heard from behind. Oh dear. Pat was coming up fast. As Pat came past, Pat had grey hair, bad news, Pat looked about 50, I made him come around to my left as we swept around a long right turn. Pat was wearing GB blue. Oh dear. This could be very bad news.
I could see the finish inflateable arch about 200m away. Pat had better not be a bloody Jay. I could now see his left calf until he was 2 -3m ahead of me. Pat Bloody well was a Jay. PatJay was now pulling away.....but then I held him. 100m to go. Come on Martin come on. 50m to go, come on come on, this could be for 3rd. COME ON, GO, GO, GO. I could not pull him back. Finish. If I am 4th I am going to cry all the way home I think.
Shattered I go over to PatJay to say hello, his wife was there. "Bad luck Andy, I think you were 4th" she says. PatJay and I have a chat, "I think I am going to cry all the way home" he says. "Don't" says his wife. Jay The 3rd, was 58 secs ahead of us it turns out, and JaySwim1st, was a fish, miles ahead in the swim. So I was 5th.
If you had said I would have come 5th in the Nationals a year ago, I would have laughed so much, I would have had a hernia. You have got to do this race next year, there were only 25 in my age category, so a great chance for a medal. Wouldn't it be cool if you had been there and won one. A MSTC member with a National Championship medal, that would be super cool.
Martin, 7th July 2014