Bronze for Cath at Kitzbuhel - ETU Triathlon European Champs
OK, here goes - never done a write up before but I had to for this one in order to thank Jon Hollidge for putting up with me last weekend (when he already had rather a lot on his plate as team mechanic in Kitzbuhel.)
I managed Tonbridge tri a while back and decided that this was going to be the year of speedy transitions as I’ve never really thought about quick transitions and always wondered how (and why) on earth some people manage to put their shoes on whilst cycling.
East Grinstead, the next weekend didn’t really go according to plan when I couldn’t decide whether to put a top on because it was cold, ummed and ahhed about it for ages and then ran off with my bike but minus my race number. Having returned to get my race number, I decided that my quick transitions needed a bit of tweaking. I resolved to do the elastic band shoe thingy having watched people around me do it but thought they were all mad! I had one week to perfect this before the British champs at Dorney Lake.
It took a few days for the new shoes with the loopy bit on the back to arrive, then off to Sainsburys for my elastic bands - by now it was Friday - only a few hours to perfect my transition technique. As I passed my neighbour for the tenth time (out mowing his grass) with bare feet on shoes, toes half in and half out and elastic bands stretching a lot but not actually breaking, he asked me what on earth I was doing. Tried to explain but I think he just thought I was a bit odd. Another couple of goes and I finally managed to get the stupid things to snap and my foot in the new shoe. Ready for tomorrow then - what could go wrong??
I arrived at Dorney Lake with my brand new shoes and goggles that were still in the packet (probably should have tried those out before the race). The elastic band transition started off quite well. I got my foot in and they snapped - hurrah. I pedalled away, very pleased with myself only to discover a car in front of me on the road - what the bloomin heck is he doing there. I was going to shake my fist at him but he always managed to stay a bit in front of me. It took me a whole lap to realize I was at the front! A speedy girl came past me towards the end of the bike ride. When she started unclipping her shoes, I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to be taking my feet out too with my new speedy transition technique. I went into a bit of a mad panic and copied her. Then I realised I didn’t have clue where to turn off to get back into transition - oops, probably should have checked that out. Not to worry, she’ll know where she’s going, I’ll follow her - nope. She completely missed the transition area and I went sailing past for some considerable distance before I eventually completed my new speedy transition by removing feet from shoes which were left clipped on the bike and then running back to try and attempt to find the transition area whilst losing one of my brand new shoes when it fell off.
Roll on to Ashford tri when I somehow managed to get my toes caught on the top of both of my shoes without actually get my foot in. The elastic bands snapped too early and I ended up nearly taking some poor bloke out as I wobbled around with my shoes dangling under my pedals.
Off to Kitzbuhel then for the European champs. Hadn’t actually managed to get much transition practice in, but it couldn’t get much worse. I delivered my bike to Jon, who put it together for me. I then cycled back to my hotel. The next day I cycled back into town to register. Jon very kindly let me leave my bike with him as I had forgotten to bring a lock. I then cycled back to my hotel, ready to rack the bike in the evening. On the way back I wondered what the bumping in the back wheel was - thought it was just the road - no, it was definitely my bike. Jon was taking some time out to watch the men’s elite and I was going into a mad panic. He waited for me at the team hotel and wasn’t too cross when he removed the inner tube and informed me that I hadn’t put it in properly when I changed my tyre - oops. Back to transition, back wheel sorted, bike racked and ready to race the next day. I was up bright and early to sort my stuff out (actually with fifteen minutes to go before transition closed), I put the elastic bands on the shoes ready for my new transition only to discover that my front tyre was flat as a pancake. I had remembered my pump but not a spare inner tube - hmm. Help, I looked around and there was angel Jon waiting outside transition “I’ve got a puncture and I haven’t got an inner tube,” I wailed. “Lucky I have then” said a very resigned looking Jon. Thanks to Jon and Rob for sorting out my puncture in super quick time. Now all I had to do was try to beat Bridgette McMahon, the ex Olympic gold medallist. I didn’t manage that but I bagged a bronze and was very happy with my times. Oh, and the transitions went like clockwork! Thank you Jon from the club’s most scatty triathlete!