To the delight of my girlfriend Sunday came around and I was up nice and early for my first proper race of the season. An early bowl of cereal and off I went to pick up Iain.
Unlike years before my first race of the season wasn’t to be on my own. For the first time ever I was to be guiding Iain on the Tandem for the cycle and then on the run. SO come 6:30 I arrived at Iain’s and with the tandem just about fitting into the car we were off. I won’t lie, the weather wasn’t not the greatest. With the fog gradually getting worse the further away from Norwich we traveled my nerves weren’t settling.
We arrived at Stradbroke with everything there in flying form as usual. Active Outdoor Sports know how to put on an event and this didn’t disappoint. Iain quickly registered and off to transition we went. Georgie, one of the head marshals there, kindly asked where abouts in transition would it be most useful to place the tandem. After a little debate we decide to try and stay out of everyones way and place it right next to bike out in a corner where no one could trip over it.
Tandem, shoes, helmet sorted in transition it was now time to weight. With the fog easing and my nerves calming the time ticked by nice and quickly. 09:09 was Iain’s swim time, after his 160m pool swim he’d rush out into transition where he would find me with the tandem and off we’d go. So as to plan I left at the poolside and ventured out into to transition. Although the fog had cleared the temperature had was still COLD!!! Trying to stay warm in transition I resorted to squats (not advisable in a ti-suit) and a bit of dancing, to the amusement of the marshals.
Iain comes rushing out of the pool into transition and we are off. Helmets on, shoes on, tandem off the rack and we waddle out over the mount line. “Right foot in?”…’click’ …”In” and off we go. Round the first left hand turn, up the road round another left hander and into a rhythm. This was only my 3rd ride on a tandem and the first in a race, so I had warned Iain that we probably weren’t going to be too quick. Well the first down hill section in to a right hand turn really proved to me how much thinking I was going to have to give this. Flying down the slight hill I realised double the weight, nearly the same drag, and the same 25mm tyres as everyone else bikes was going to make for quick descending. Around that corner and I started to feel at home a little more on it.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Simon, the race director, for spray painting the pot holes with orange paint. I will make sure to take out shares in the paint company next year before this race, because he used A LOT of paint. There were holes everywhere. Big, gapping ditches in the middle of the road. Dodging and weaving these whilst being slung round corners, we slowly started real others in but this wasn’t the aim of the ride, or the race. To make it round safely and enjoy ourselves was the aim and we defiantly did that.
Into transition with our helmets off and running shoes on we headed out on to the run. As it was a small race around a lot of single track fields we weren’t tethered at the wrist. This helped me as Iain is a much stronger runner than me at the moment. Getting cheered on by our sponsors Tri Harder helped! Although I tried my best to ‘guide’ Iain around the course I was more just shouting making directions and little bits of information from behind him most of the time.
Crossing the line I definitely felt spent while Iain claimed his legs had only just warmed up. In a time of 48:40 we placed 7th overall. A massive congratulations to Tom Huband who dominated the field with an out standing bike split of 26:00 for 17km on a course that is HARD WORK! It was brilliant to see so many friendly and failure faces. A massive THANK YOU to the race organisers and our sponsors: Chestnut Nursery, Tri -Harder, Ride Harder, Schwalbe Tyres, Xtenex Laces and Sport Link
Would I do it again????? In a heart beat. Guiding Iain was some of the best fun I have had in a race for years!