Murrayman

Posted: May 17, 2022 in Cycling, Swimming, Time Trial
Tags: ,
Before it all went horribly wrong

Last year, I had to battle the wind on the bike. This year the weather forecast was for a much kinder day. The lake was going to be smooth and the only wind I was going to feel would be it rushing by as I went past. I was doing the Murrayman again and this year, I was hoping that it would be a lot better than the gale-fest that we had last year. I had been training hard on the static trainer and I’d been doing a lot more swimming.

 As always, I had opted to do the swim without a wet suit. Yet again, I found myself in a small minority. I know that the wetsuit gives me a bit of extra buoyancy in the water, but I prefer to swim without. I had swum in the lake the day before and the water temperature was acceptable. I like to think that no having a wetsuit gives me an advantage in the transition as well, but my transition times can sometimes be measured using a calendar, so it might not be so much of an advantage.

 I lined up of the swim start and prepared myself by walking slowly into the water. As usual I did not want to be in the melee. I preferred to be on the outside edge to avoid the thumping and kicking that goes on. Someone yelled go and we were off. The seal looking ones dived into the water and I walked behind them at much the same speed, slowly introducing my body to the water. Once it was all wet, I started to swim. Another wave was starting a minute behind us, and I knew that it would not be long before the faster ones overtook me. I was almost at the first buoy when that happened.

 Drafting is part of open water swimming, this is accepted. I just wish that more people would practice it. No one gains any advantage by swimming on top of someone else. When the person behind me did just that I was a little annoyed and decided to vent my frustration by kicking a little harder. The first time my heels hit their chest made them back off a little, but they were soon back, more trying to have a piggyback than drafting. I kicked a little harder and that had the desired effect of them backing off. It may have helped me move up the field a bit as well.

 I was quite pleased with my swim and watching people struggle to get out of wetsuits made me happier by knowing that I wouldn’t have to do it. I ran into transition and easily found my bike. It was just a matter of slipping some shoes on. That seemed to take far more time than was necessary and involved sitting on the grass and struggling. So much for a wetsuitless fast transition. A little while later and once my helmet was firmly attached, I ran out to the bike course to start the bike.

My plan was to get up to speed in the first couple of kilometres and then try and keep it steady from there. Like all plans, that went straight out the window. I didn’t feel the usual “I’ve just been swimming and got on a bike” feeling, so I just got up to speed and tried to stay there. The first lap was all about remembering the course. It followed the side of the lake and was relatively flat. Every now and again I would hear the whooshing noise of a disk wheel as someone fast came past. I hoped that they were in a different race, or that they were a slower swimmer. It was too early in the race to be lapped. I rode for a while with someone that I knew. I had coached her for swimming a while ago and she had recognised me. It took me a while to work out who she was, but I got there in the end. We chatted about race strategy until she pulled ahead and left me in her dust.

I knew something was wrong at the turnaround point in the middle of lap two. I felt the front wheel roll to the side. I was losing pressure from the front tyre. I carried on hoping that I was just imagining it. I wasn’t. They tyre was slowly deflating. I admitted defeat and got off to repair the problem. I had a little can of sealant and gas which should, in theory, inflate the tyre and fix the hole. In practice, it just exploded in my hand leaving sticky latex all over my gloves and tri suit but crucially not in the tyre. It had raised the pressure enough to get me back to transition slowly.

My race was done.

Just before the long and hard three hours of revolving

I have hankered after being involved with revolve 24 for several years but things like COVID had got in the way. Ideally, I wanted to do the 24-hour challenge, but I am training for a long swim. Training for two distance events would decimate my social life and could lead down a dark and lonely path. I thought that this year it was not to be. And then I was offered the opportunity to be in a team of two for the 6-hour version. Everything suddenly fell into place. 

 There are a few decisions that a team must make but the main one is how often to change over. This was easy for us. I had to be in town for the evening and my partner couldn’t be at the racetrack until after the start. It was obvious that I would have to do the first three hours and my teammate would have to do the last three. I was comfortable with this as my previous experience with this type of cycling told me that it was the stopping that slowed you down. 

Revolve 24 is held at The Bend racetrack at Tailem Bend. I arrived in good time and slipped through the sleek registration process. Once the paperwork was done, I unloaded the bike and prepared it for the race. This entailed fixing a sensor to the front forks. It should have been easy but on my first attempt I didn’t read the instructions and didn’t put the blue tack behind the sensor. My second attempt failed as I managed to tie wrap the front wheel to the fork. The people at the desk were getting very familiar with me as I kept going back for a new tie wrap. I managed to do it correctly on the third attempt. 

I found a corner in my assigned garage and got changed. I was under no pressure and that was how I liked it. Once I was kitted out in club colours, I went for a spin around the racetrack. I glided slowly round on the smooth tarmac taking the racing line and revelling in the complete absence of cars. It all seemed very smooth and flat. Once my acclimatization lap was done, I waited for the race briefing. Here we were told that there would be a le-mans style start. My teammate wasn’t there to hold the bike, so I asked a helper from another team 

The start was chaos, some ran across the track and others, like me, ambled across. I wasn’t about to run in cycling shoes. That could have ended my event there and then. I got onto my bike and sped to the front. My sole aim was to find a group and hand with it for as long as possible.  

Two groups formed, the first was too fast for me but the second was going at a pace I could manage. I slipped into the middle of the pack and tried to hold my ground. Every now and again I would find myself being shuffled to the front. That was not a place that I wanted to be. I was quite happy to be dragged around the track without being in the wind. In places I could freewheel. A couple of times the strategy didn’t work, and I found myself pulling the pack along. This was fine as long as I didn’t stay on too long. The hardest bit about being on the front is getting on the back of the bunch. Each time it got a little harder. 

At about an hour in it happened, I took a long pull on the front and then couldn’t regain the pack. I watched helplessly as the pack forged ahead. I knew that I was now on my own, even though I harboured the odd thought that given a little effort I could regain the pack. It was at about this point that I realised that I’d not touched my water and that it was a hot day. I needed to drink, or else things could get very sticky. 

I carried on alone going round and round the track. Having no one to shelter behind made a big difference. It also felt as is the wind had picked up a bit and was blowing me across the course. More worrying than that though, was the fact that the course seemed to have become hillier. There was one stretch labelled the KOM that I’d scoffed at on my acclimatisation lap that was taking a significant amount of effort to surmount each time. 

 Halfway through the second hour the fast pack came past. I caught the back of the pack and tried to stay there for as long as possible but that proved to be about half a lap. My legs just couldn’t keep up with the pace. This time I didn’t even have a turn on the front to blame. I gracelessly slipped off the back and dropped quickly into the solo circulating routine. 

 I needed a change of bottles at the two-hour mark. My body wanted a longer rest, but I knew stopping was the enemy. I glided down the pit lane, changed bottles, sucked down a gel that I should have taken with me and started out on the next lap. I felt that I’d done a decent job of the refill. 

My bottoms started hurting in the third hour. I had suspected that my saddle was a little too low, but I’d not got around to doing anything about it. I paid of it now. Every so often I had to stand in the peddles to relieve the pressure. It wasn’t elegant. The next problem was day dreaming. I lost concentration for a few seconds whilst trying to work out how many laps I’d done and found myself cycling over the grass at the side of the track. That pulled me back to real life quickly. A few laps later I did it again. This was a sign. I was getting tired. 

Halfway through the third hour I saw my teammate waving from the pits. Up until then I had been harbouring dark thoughts that they were not going to turn up and I would have to do the whole six hours. Once I saw then though the colour came back into my world. Calculating how many laps to go became my preoccupation. I wanted to finish as close to the three-hour mark as possible, but I also wanted to finish. In the end I was a minute or so over. 

I sat down in the garage, consumed a lot of sugary food and drink and was thankful it was over. My legs were stiff, my bottom hurt, my shoulders were sore. I’d enjoyed every moment. The icing on the cake was finding out much later that we came third and that there were more than three teams in our event. 

I’ve done the port Elliot swim a number of times and it never fails to disappoint. This year the conditions of a bumpy sea and a bit of a current promised to make it a memorable event.

The course had changed slightly this year with the addition of another buoy close to the start. This made the course more like an elongated kite rather than the acute angled triangle that it had been in the past. It was obvious that getting round the first buoy unscathed was going to be tricky.

There were two races today, I was in the two-loop version and the one loop version started two minutes after us. There were a lot of fast people in the one loop version. My second objective after getting round the first buoy without a fight was to get as far as possible around the loop before one of the fast swimmers came storming by. It turned out that “as far as possible” wasn’t that far at all. I bobbed up and down in their wake as one or two of the faster swimmers shot by at a pace that I could only dream about.

The long leg to the start of the second loop was against the waves. This made it interesting in a crashing into the water sort of way. I knew that I would have to do it again and wondered if it would be easier next time.

I felt that there was someone behind me as I started the second loop. I couldn’t see them, but I knew that they were there. The water behaves differently when there are people behind you. The feeling got stronger, not only were they behind me, they were drafting. It didn’t matter what I did they just stuck there. They made their move at the far end of the course near the buoy. As they drew level, I recognised the trunks. This person had history. I knew better than to try and keep my position. I let them past and hang on to their draft. Then I felt it was payback time. This person is happy to draft but doesn’t like people drafting him. I pulled up to his side and tapped his feet as if I was directly behind him. Predictably he kicked wildly to get rid of me, and in doing so slowed himself down. I waited a few seconds and did it again, only this time with a bit more force. He kicked wildly again and almost stopped in the water. This was my chance, I put on a spurt and put a big gap between us. He wouldn’t be drafting me again in this race.

I saw a couple of swimmers just ahead. I felt that I could catch them if I put in the effort. I aimed for the last buoy, put my lead down and pulled through the water like a mad man. Every time I looked up, they a little bit closer. I was almost level by the last buoy making it a race to the finish line. We all finished more or less together but technically they were in front of me.

As I walked up the beach I glanced behind. My drafting nemesis had only just finished. I allowed myself a little self-congratulatory smile.

The calm before the storm

This swim is based in familiar territory, the buoys are set out on the north side of the jetty that I regularly swim form and the finish straight is down the southern side of the jetty. I had no doubt that this local knowledge would be of no use to me whatsoever. Just to add to the difficulty of the swim I had arrived early and struggled against the current to the next jetty and been flushed back along the coast by the same current. I registered and then put in another kilometre or two just for good measure. I felt that I was reasonably warmed up as I stood on the beach waited to go back into the water.

Standing about with wet skin on a breezy day is not ideal. I quickly became cold, undoing all my warming up efforts. I was shivering as I got into the water and even a hard swim to the start didn’t warm me up. We had to wait at the start line for the starter to come across in a boat and by that time my teeth were chattering. I was thankful when the hooter went to signal the start. I could get moving and start the two laps pf the circular course.

I already knew about the current, having battled with it before the race, but a lot of others were caught out. I’d started behind the pack but by the time I’d got to the first buoy using the slow and steady approach, a lot of the others had fallen behind. All I had to do now was fight against the wind to get to the next corner of the course.

The plus side of swimming against both the wind and the tide in the first part of the course is that they are pushing me in the second part. All of a sudden everything seemed so much easier. The current took me to close to the jetty, where I said goodbye to the one lap swimmers and the wind blew me towards the shore on the fourth side of the square. It was almost a shame to turn the buoy and have to start struggling again. At least now there were less people around, so I didn’t have people bumping into me every second stroke.

The swim down the North side of the jetty was a delight. The wind pushed me to the finish, and I tried to swim as far into the beach as possible. I felt that today’s swimming had earnt me a very large meal at the pub across from the start.

I didn’t take any photos but I was given a tee-shirt and this was the design

Yet again my services as the safety briefing announcer had been called upon, this time for one of the largest swims in the state. This swim goes form one jetty to another instead of going round in circles. This meant I could leave out my comments about deep and shallow this time. I stood in front of the competitors as they all ignored the social distancing advice in preference to being in the shade. It was a hot day; I couldn’t really blame them. I was melting just standing there and talking into a microphone. Once I’d dispensed with my duties I went down to the beach and hid under the jetty.  It was so nice to be in the shade and in cooler water

The race started in waves, I stayed under the jetty as the first few waves set off. I could feel the tide changing. I knew that we were going to have the current against us for all the swim so It was going to be a long hard slog to the other end. I started as I always do with long slow strokes. The fast ones and optimistic ones splashed it out at the front. I’m happy for them to sort things out, I’ll catch the ones who have got the pacing wrong, and I’ll never see the fast ones again.

I swim up and down this beach regularly but I and never that far from the shore, this time however I’m in much deeper water and far enough away from the shore that I cannot make out the normal distance markers. This was a little disorienting. I hadn’t realised how much I’d come to rely on local knowledge to work out my pacing.

Somewhere in the middle of the race there was a squall of wind that ruffled the sea. It made the already hard going even harder. I felt my shoulders start to complain. Then to add the effect I gained a bit of chaffing under my armpit. I was starting to not enjoy the swim. To add insult to injury not shaving this morning added a couple of sore spots to the top of my arms where they rub against my chin. All in all I wasn’t having a good day in the water.

I could feel my hat slipping off as I rounded the last buoy. There wasn’t much that I could do about it so I carried on. Suddenly it came off my head and hung by my neck, acting as a sea break. There still wasn’t much I could do about it. Then it came off. I didn’t want to litter so I turned back to scope the errant object out of the water and stuff it into my bathers. It felt like the final insult for what had been a slow and painful swim. I hoped I had done well but knew I’d not. The results confirmed it. I blame it on giving the safety briefing

A Lovely Day for a swim

I was sitting in the shade after registering, trying to stay cool and not think about the conditions, when one of the race organisers came up and asked me if I would like to do the safety briefing. It is a little hard to refuse when they are using flattery and pity as their methods of persuasion. I agreed and was handed a sheath of notes to memorise for later recital.

I stood in front of the assembled swimmers and went through the briefing. Today’s race was around a number of buoys and the long race was three laps. Instead of just saying clockwise I thought it would be more memorable to say, “if it is shallow head south, if it is deep, head north”. In retrospect and for reasons that will become obvious I should have said clockwise.

The three-lap race stated before the one lap race, so once the briefing was over and I’d got over the exhaustion of speaking in public I headed for the water. It was lovely and warm, even though some people insisted that it was cold enough of wetsuits. I bobbed about until the hooter went, watched the frenzy of front runners disappear up the course and then started my steady way against the wind. I’m quite happy pushing against some resistance in the water, but it was taking its toll on some of the others. I was passing people and that always lifts my spirits. I turned at the buoy, that looked orange through my darkened goggles, and pushed through some waves. Heading back to the start I had the wind behind me but the wind over tide created waves that did their best to push me off course. I need very little encouragement to go off courses so that wasn’t helpful.

My main aim of the first lap is to get round before anyone on the short race passes me. I thought I had done it by the time I reached the turn to shore only to have my hope dashed by being speedily passed on the outside just before turning into the second lap for another battle against the wind.

The tide was well on its way out by the time I started heading north for the second time. The quickest route between the buoys took us over a sand bar and there was an alarming lack of water covering it. My fingers were touching the sea grass. This is not ideal as I have no idea of which unfriendly animals are hiding in there. I wondered if there was going to be enough water to swim in on the next lap round.

Things have normally settled down by the third lap and I’d got used to the struggle against the wind when going south. At least there was plenty of water in the shallows. I managed to pass a few people on this leg, full in the knowledge that they will pass me when the wind is behind. I turned for the last part of the swim and the water had got very shallow where it should have been deep. I contemplated getting up and walking at one point but a fear of what lurked under the sea grass prevented that.

I rounded the final buoy and sprinted for the finish arch, knowing that I was going to face a ribbing about the depth of the water on the northwards leg. Such are the difficulties of doing the safety briefing.

A Sculpture of swimmers near the end of the race

Usually this race has two things going for it, firstly it is a point-to-point swim, so I get the feeling that I’m going somewhere and secondly, it is usually a handicap race so everyone finishes within a few minutes of each other. This year, however, it was deemed better to have everybody start at once so that we were safe from viruses. I wasn’t sure of the logic, but I wasn’t going to complain.

Unlike the last time I’d swum here, the conditions were perfect. It was warm and the sea was clear. There was some chat at the start of a swell coming up in the middle of the race, but I ignored that. I wanted to believe that despite the tide going against us, everything was going to be just right.

We lined up between the start buoys and waited to be chocked by diesel fumes as the starter was moved into position. The hooter sounded and we were off. It was the usual mass start frenzy with people everywhere. As usual I’d hung back a little so that the field could sort itself out. I wasn’t long before I was in a little pack of swimmers heading towards the far jetty. I couldn’t see any of the marker buoys, but I assumed that as everyone was going in the same direction, I couldn’t be far wrong.

I saw a familiar swimsuit next to me, just after I’d seen a crab swimming. I usually see crabs sitting on the bottom being aggressive, so it was quite a surprise to see one swimming. I knew that with a bit of effort I could get to the end faster than the owner of the swimsuit. I put a few hard strokes in and all of a sudden, I was in front. Now all I had to do was stay there.

I passed the pink buoy and started looking for the yellow turning buoy at the end of the course. I thought I saw it and headed for the bright yellow object. The next time I looked the yellow thing had moved. It took me a while to work out that I was actually sighting a yellow swim cap rather than the buoy. I just kept heading for the jetty and made sure that I had a few swimmers nearby. I was almost on top of the buoy before I saw it, it blended in with the jetty. Once I had spotted it though I did wonder how I’d missed it.

Once round the buoy there was a short swim to the beach. I knew from experience that there was a sandbar, so it paid to stay in the water as long as possible. The water would appear to get shallow before gaining a little bit of depth, getting up too early would lead to a long walk to the shore. Once I was sure I couldn’t swim any further I got up to see the owner of the swimsuit that I’d passed walking under the arch. I’d not seen it pass me, so I had no idea how that happened.

The only way to celebrate a successful swim was with fish and chips by the sea, so that is exactly what I did.

What a fine bunch of people to go swimming with
It looks a bit rough out there

The weather for the first open water swim of the season is always a lottery and this year was no different. The wind had got up over night and was predicted to be at its strongest at the moment that race was due to start. There was a lot of discussion on the beach about wind speed and wave height. Most of it was voiced as concern for other weaker swimmers, A lot of it, I felt was projecting inner fears of lumpy water. I looked at it and thought that it would be a fun swim in a challenging swell but I’m used to swimming in these conditions so my view of the world could be through a different set of spectacles. Ten minutes before the start the officials deemed the conditions to be safe. The event was on.

I walked down to the sea and just carried on. There seemed little point dithering in the shallows when there were some fun waves to play in. I made my way to the start and bobbed about in the swell waiting for the others to join me. It was all very pleasant just bobbing up and down in warm water. A few around me complained of the cold but they were lacking the covering of body fat that I possess. After being chocked by the fumes from the boat that went to pick up the starter, the hooter went off and we started. Lots of people headed into the waves. Usually in these sorts of things the pack thins out quickly as the hares disappear off  the front. This time the waves held us all together . I was surrounded by bodies and failing limbs, some of which wanted to hit me. It made the first part of the swim interesting but not in a pleasant way. As we rounded the first buoy the waves released us and let the pack spread out. I took a wider line to avoid the traffic and because I really cannot swim straight.

Rounding the next buoy meant the waves were now pushing us in land. This would have been good if I had sighted the yellow buoy. The yellow tent on the beach looked very similar to the buoy from where I was. It took a lot of strokes to realise my mistake. I then had to alter my course to be where I should be. It didn’t really matter as my chances of winning were no existent anyway.

The second circuit of the buoys shouldn’t have been as frantic as the first. The only hiccup being that my prerace preparation had not included going to the loo. All the way round I felt the urge come and go, each time with increasing intensity. I don’t know if it made me swim faster but it did increase the urgency to complete the course. The finish couldn’t come soon enough. Strangely, the moment I stood up the need went away.

Butterfly Success

Posted: January 13, 2022 in Swimming
Tags: , , ,
The Site of my Success

I had been practicing hard and I felt that today was the day. All I had to remember was to touch the wall with both hands, keep my feet together, make sure my arms left the water and to make sure that my head went into the water before my arms. Butterfly is a complicated stroke to master and I felt with all this to remember, I was still a novice. I’d signed up for the one hundred butterfly and I was going to give it my best shot.

The one hundred butterfly was near the end of the program. I had a couple of events before that. I always do the four hundred meters freestyle and today wasn’t going to be an exception. I didn’t feel that the swim went too well. I was hoping for a faster time. Part of the problems was not having anyone in the lane next to me. I had no one to race. It makes a big difference when I can slip past someone in the final lengths. I feel that I have achieved something. That frisson of excitement was not there today. I did a reasonable time just not one I was happy with. I went back to my seat on the mound to think about my next event.

I knew that I could do fifty meters of butterfly. I’d done it in training and I’d completed a few events. I’m slow but that doesn’t matter when your aim is just to get to the end. I lined up with two others. On my left was Tony. He is the state age group record holder for fifty meters butterfly. He is a lot older than me and the record is quite slow. On the left was Penny, a fellow marshal. She swims a lot of butterfly but has recently been injured. I felt that I had a chance of coming first.

I made the dive last as long as I could, I’m told this is a winning tactic. I feel that the longer I can go in the water the less butterfly have to do. I surfaced near the middle of the pool and started the stroke. Head down, arms over, feet welded together. I hit the end of the pool with both hands and turned. Usually at this point I see the fast people finishing. Not today. My competitors were behind me. I pushed off the wall and tried to make the push off last as long as possible. It was then back to head in arms in and feet welded together. I got to the finish and looked round. I was first back, that make me happy. I’d beaten a state record holder, I tried not to think about the age difference between us.

My butterfly could also be described as platypus

My main event was the second to last. I line up with the usual suspects and looked to the end of the pool. I knew I could do the first fifty, I’d proved that much. The problem was the last two laps. I wouldn’t have the advantage of the dive and the “irregularities” of my stroke would come home to roost. I’d been puffing like a train at the end of my last event. I wasn’t sure I was going to make the distance

The first two laps went as I expected. I was tempted to hold the side at the end of the second length and take a breather. I didn’t but I was very tempted. Starting the third lap was hard but I kept my feet together and concentrated on kicking. My thighs were only mildly burning. I tuned of the final lap and felt my feet come apart. I quickly got them back into sync and hopped the stroke judges hadn’t noticed. I painfully made my way down the pool. Every stroke felt harder that the last and I could feel my stroke breaking down into a two armed doggie paddle. I felt my feet slip apart again. I though my dreams of completing one hundred butterfly were over. I still made sure to hit the end with both hands just in case the stroke judges were blind.

It turned out that the stroke judges chose not to notice my minor incursions into faulty stroke land and didn’t disqualify me. I’d done it! I’d completed one hundred fly. I was so happy I agreed to swim fly in the medley relay.

An artists impression of my swimming

I Won!

Posted: January 6, 2022 in Running, Swimming
Tags: , , ,
Nonchalance of a winner

I’d completed an Aqua bike a month ago and had done quite well, finishing third overall. The first in age group doesn’t count when I’m the only one in the age group. I’d entered this one to see if a little bit of training had made any difference. In the meantime the organisers had made a few changes. They had shortened the swim course by one hundred meters and taken a lap from the bike course. I wasn’t overly concerned about the changes. It just made it a little harder to compare my performance.

The day started early with me responding to the flight or fight response by making myself lighter. I would love to know what it is like to not get nervous before a race. All I know is that I started waffling to anyone nearby and must take regular visits to the toilet.

The race briefing comprehensively covered all the variations of triathlon that were taking place today but failed to mention anything about the revised start times for the Aqua bike. It wasn’t until I was in the water that I found I was starting with the older long course triathletes. This made the start interesting. The wet suit clad ones leapt into the water whereas I took my usual wading start approach. I kept walking until I couldn’t keep up with the swimmers and then joined them. The water wasn’t cold, but it was very cloudy. Recent storms have washed a lot of muck into the lake and it had only been declared fit for swimming a day or so ago. I made a mental note to keep my mouth shut as much as possible, there could still be nasties lurking in the water. My mouth shut plan was foiled by the need to breath and the thump of an arm in my side. I took in some of the saline water and then swallowed. I felt instant regret as I felt the brackish water head for my stomach. I just hoped that I wouldn’t be ill.

I took a wide line round the buoys. Last time I’d cut it fine and fought my way round. I wasn’t in the mood for that sort of swimming today. I took the final turn and headed across the lake to transition. I’d had a conversation about when to stop swimming before the race and the consensus seemed to be when your hand touched the bottom. I thought I would try that out. I was quite pleased that I passed a few people who had got up early and were attempting to run in deep water.

The transition was aided by me not wearing a wetsuit and hampered by my tight cycling shoes. I had to sit down to put them on. Once shod and wearing my helmet I grabbed by bike and headed out to the road. I had a very simple plan for the ride. To try and go faster on each lap. In practice, this meant changing up a gear on the start of each lap and trying to maintain my cadence. I was still passed by powerful cyclists on fancy bikes. I had no way of telling which particular event I they were in, they may have been my rivals or they may have been in another race. I just put my head down, got my arms on the tri bars and pushed, hoping that whomever I was racing was behind me.

As I crossed the finish line, I heard my name being called over the public address, it was accompanied by the words “winner” and “Aqua-bike”. The marshal at the end of the chute congratulated me on the win. I was speechless. I don’t win these things, I take part. Winning is for someone else. I went over to the club area to indulge in a post-race doughnut or two. I club mate asked me how I’d done. “I won”, I said in a slightly disbelieving way, “won? Your age group?”, “No, the Aqua-bike”. I didn’t believe the answer either.

A Very Happy Person