It was chosen because it fitted into our calendar rather than anything else, but this event is no stranger to some Surfers, who all commented about how good it is, but the runway was always mentioned, oh and that wind. It started as a family affair before Jane realised that she had doubled booked herself and really preferred Rioja to Cl. So with the Dr volunteering the Woodbridge Surfers Tri team 2014 for Wattisham, was formed, Ian in the pool, myself up and down the runway and Shannon completing the line up with the run.
Because we had drafted-in a professional swimmer there were two unforeseen consequences, one seemed an annoyance at first, as the start times were taken from the reverse order of your expected swim time, which gave us quite a wait (as there was only one registration) but we thought was absolutely fine as they had guns. After we had sorted our strategies, planned our race, surveyed the transitions and hung up my bike, we found a nice spot for some lunch and sat and watched 250 of the 280 participants set off. However as we soaked up the relaxed atmosphere our start time loomed quite quickly and unfortunately the wind increased.
As we watched the variation in entrants pedal by, the second consequence of having a fast swimmer became more noticeable, Ian had put Shannon and I amongst real athletes. The fact that my car was worth less than half the bikes in T1 confirmed this. It was also clear that this event was attractive to all, £79 Halfords bikes, knobbly tires, dry chains and just the wrong size bike, for the first 50 or so until it gave way to Carbon and Aero bars.
It was for a family charity, it felt like a family event with a great atmosphere with only an underlying, well hidden competitiveness, until you got out there. The organisation however had been frustratingly ineffective and maybe too laid back in places, but somehow mostly it worked well and of course they had guns so everyone thought it was fine.
Ian with his complete lack of tattoos looked out of place as he hit the pool at 15.05 for his 5 minute sprint and his pace looked good. Maybe it was too fast, with his enthusiasm to get us off to a good start and no possibility of a warm up, slight leg cramp came in and dropped him to a more reasonable (but still fast) pace for the rest of swim. We quickly swapped over the chip, I sprinted to my bike and pushed off with a pace that I would never hold for the whole 20K. The first corner which was tight turned out to be the second corner which was not as tight as the real first corner, a quick rub of the kerb and off through the airbase I shot, homing in on and chasing down the only bike I could see. She soon overtook me again as I realised my early pace was not sustainable. 10 miles later I was still chasing her, having done 30+ MPH one way down the runway and 10mph the other way, twice. I know you should only race yourself, but I was not losing that place, it was mine. The runway was harsh and we neared the exit on the second lap, side by side, two whirring carbon bikes eased past us, giving me the inspiration to push hard for the last mile or so, through the pain knowing (unlike most of the others out there) my rest (and double cheese burger) was near. I had some difficulty stopping into T2, having got my knee down on the last corners and held my momentum too long, but was glad to see Shannon, so I could get rid of the lactic forming chip onto her. I guess it is youth but by the first corner she had retaken the two places I lost out on the runway, but could she sustain that pace for the whole 5K? Unlike the ride which was al tarmac, the run was all off road, on trails with some exposed areas, so it was not going to be easy but as Shannon came into sight she was looking strong for the finish and completed the run in her best 5k time to date (and enjoyed it!). The prize giving was not a complete surprise as there were no many teams entered, but nether less, we were all pleased with our performances and a win is a win! Another Surfers 1st place trophy.
It is only half an hour’s drive away and we only looked down the barrel of one automatic weapon once, so “Relay Team Triathlon” the easy way to enjoy a Tri. I expect more teams next year, the trophy could be yours, but you will have to beat us!
103rd out of 266.
Coutts/Hopkins/Hopkins. Team WOODBRIDGE Surfers
Swim & T1 06;17 (36th) Cycle & T2 41:11 (96th) Run 25:11 (144th)
1st place mixed relay team.