Saturday, 18 June 2011

20 weeks to go - it's a bit of a mare

Well, it's 20 weeks to Ironman Florida. Amazingly Brett Sutton, Cliff English etc aren't crawling over each other to coach me (the don't know what they're missing) so I'll be bimbling along as normal this year. As always I'm now pondering the possibility of taking my diet/training etc etc etc more seriously, if this past week is anything to go by though it's not going to happen.
I've been 'very' lazy and the weather has been 'VERY' lousy which of course does nothing to help my training when I'm so easily swayed out of it.
As I can't really talk about my training because there hasn't been much going on I may as well ramble about todays club event

Today was the North Devon Tri Beach Aquathlon. It was going to be my first Open Water swim of the year. Not a major happening, just a bit of fun with few competitors and free entry into the Gold Coast Ocean Festival for anybody that finishes. A prize in itself that's worth more than the race entry fee.
I dragged my wetsuit out of the wardrobe, dusted it off and grabbed all the other required goodies and headed off to set the race up with Shelly. As we approached Croyde it became obvious that the sea was not pretty and of course the weather was bloody awful too. Not ideal conditions for a day on the beach, almost guaranteeing the local folks would likely stay in bed rather than come down on the day and register.
The first person we saw at the race site said "You won't be swimming in that!" and it went downhill from there. Setting up the race is always a hassle, trying to pitch gazebo's and set up registration in the middle of the beach with the wind and rain battering you is crazy though, especially if you're not sure what is going to happen. The RNLI are the authority on the Festival Sea Events so we chased down their main man and hassled him for direction. "You're not swimming" came the reply. "We're cancelling the SLS events and if Surf Life Savers aren't going in then pool loving Triathletes are asking for trouble".
It was a tough call and not one that anybody wanted to make. We've never had to cancel a swim before and of course there were a few people who weren't happy but the decision was out of our hands and it had been made.
We knew some people had travelled for this event (probably for the Festival really) and we didn't want to just cancel or postpone to the Sunday as the SLS event had done so we decided the only thing we could do was make it a run race. I grabbed a load of signs, some handy posts, a roll of pretty take and headed out into the weather with my club buddy Sally and my trusty Garmin hoping to measure out something around 8-10k. An hour later we were back having arranged a 4 lap off road course of sand dunes, beach, road 'and floods' that measured 5.2miles. It would have to do as it was only 10mins to race briefing now and Shelly was getting flustered by the odd ranting idiot who thought that because they swam well in surf the whole field should have to risk it. Some people just need to STFU and understand the safety implications.
I'd decided earlier that I wouldn't be racing, there were just too many changes to the event to leave Shelly dealing with it all so I grabbed the most annoying tannoy in the world (you needed to be there) and headed off to attempt a race briefing amongst a few hardy souls who didn't really know what was going on. Everybody was great though and finally we managed to set the small group off along the beach.
I'm sure it was a disappointment to most, you enter an Aquathlon and you want to swim and run. For the majority it was the right decision though and even though the surf had (typically) calmed a lot by the time the race started there was still plenty of surf out to worry anybody who wasn't overly confident in their ability. I'm just glad we managed to put something on, unlike the SLS event which just got scrapped for the day. Their competitors must be truly gutted.
Hopefully those that raced will now be enjoying the Festival and will try the event again next year when it WILL be gorgous and sunny - honest

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