Challenge Weymouth 2015. ETU European Long Distance Championship
The Met Office has given up trying to forecast the weather in Weymouth. It’s got it’s own micro climate”, the volunteer showing me round transition shook his head sagely. Friday had seen gale force winds and big waves. On Saturday people were sunbathing on the beach. Race day? Who knew. This would be my fourth outing in the GB Trisuit that chafes in places other suits can’t even think of and it would turn out to be…….interesting.
You know you have those days when everything goes perfectly. Well this wasn’t one of those days.
The alarm went for breakfast at 5.00am. Drizzle. At least the sea was pretty calm for the swim start. 700m towards France, 500m across and 700m back. Lap 1 wasn’t too bad. Lap 2 the waves were getting quite big and there were some unnervingly large Jellies hanging about 4ft below the surface. Somehow I managed to make 4.2km of that, but got it done in 1:33 and into transition passing my fabulous support crew. My wife, three children and two of their partners had come along to cheer. Stepping off the course really wasn’t an option.
Into T1. Bike kit on. Bike kit off. We will draw a discrete veil over the next 10 minutes and pick up the story going out for the bike. The website describes the course as “rolling”. It is downright hilly. Slightly more elevation than IM UK. Nearly as much as Wimbleball. 20km into Lap 1 my front derailleur jammed in my big chain ring. 5 minutes of wrestling got it free, but for the next 170km I only had the small ring. It wasn't too bad. I only lost a little on the longer shallow descents. Lap 2 of the bike and the wind got stronger. It took me 20 minutes longer. Disappointing 6:54 bike split.
Onto the run. 4 1/2 times up and down the sea front in winds which started out strong and ended up a full on gale with horizontal heavy rain. The support crew were looking a bit bedraggled by the final lap, rotating the people on the outside like penguins for warmth, but they stuck it out for me and I’m very grateful. Came down the finishing chute after a pleasing 4:38 marathon for 13:26 overall. That’s quite a bit slower than last year, but I reckon in performance terms actually an improvement.
If you haven’t gone long yet, you really should consider it. There’s nothing like crossing that finish knowing you’ve given absolutely everything. You know who you are!