Well after what felt like 3 very long months of training and trying to stay clear of injuries Stuart & I finally arrived at Belfort in France for the Long course age group champs and after 3 attempts to get the right GB suit, in a surprisingly pie loving XL, not me at all but it fits !!
Upon arrival the weather was cloudy, overcast and rainy, just what we needed averaging 12C ! The first day was spent registering, recce’ing the bike course and notorious 6 mile climb to summit of Ballon d’Alsace, then news came that the swim would be cancelled due to low temperature of the water ! we were all gutted, it’s what we trained for, so a duathlon which I have never done: a 6 mile run, 56 mike bike and 12 mile run. Then there was the opening ceremony and parade of nations, this gave me enormous pride of just being there with so many other countries round the world!
Friday was spent resting, and checking bike kit in etc. Friday night eve of race of course we had to have a relaxing beer or two, I blame Stu for this though it did not hinder, I don’t think !
Race day arrived 1st June, and was I nervous, breakfast 5am, as much as I could stomach ready for my big day, then down to race start; weather was cloudy, cool so ok with no rain though very dark rain clouds. Checked bike, put transition bags in then 8.30am the gun was off for me in my age group, Stu was next heat after. At the start I could not believe the pace that was being set, so I tried to stay with, 6min/mile pace, this was tough but me being me continued, next the bike: I felt ok though heavy legged from the first run but pressed on and the climb went ok for 6 of the longest miles I have ever done. I eventually finished the 56 miles, then the run: 2 x 10K laps; this was the hardest run I have ever done, my legs were in pieces and it was just about survival now, not time, as I had to finish. Well 2 laps later I finished and overwhelmed with emotion crossed the finish line, then straight to the food tent and the free beer on tap !
To my surprise I finished 5hrs25, Stu 5hrs28; my position was 41st, Stu’s 35th in our age groups which was top half in the world so more than happy with that.
A great experience which I savoured every minute.