The big one … Squeaky bum time .. Shit this is real … It’s only a race …. The only polite terms I can post to describe today ….
Months even years of planning for Vichy 27.08.2016 ….
What could possibly go wrong …
Early nights planned for racers and support crews …..
Alarms set and a back up alarm and a back up alarm set …. just in case 🙂
Bags packed and left by the door for a quick exit … After all isn’t the night before a race only a longer transition ?
What could possibly go wrong ….
Transition bags … Check …
Wet suit and goggles … Check
Running shoes .. Check
Group decided to leave in a convoy … Check
Drive out car park 0500…
No problems . Military precision . Everyone looking after their own shit ….
Now, I can’t comment for the other rooms but me and my roomy (separate beds I remind you ) were confident alarms would go off on time and it was simply a case of grabbing bags and getting in the car…
Down to reception, admittedly a couple of minutes late , to see Pete pacing outside like a cat on a hot tin roof looking at his watch…… Gesturing in the same way as the now infamous supermarket scene…
Mr & Mrs Stef appeared with Pete now saying … We were supposed to driving out at 5 …… BUT…
Where the f#*k was Garry
Ou est Garry ? Have you seen Garry ?
Non , no et Non !
Maybe he’s left already and arranged an ATC welcome….. No
Maybe he’s waiting in the car … No
Maybe he’s having a pre race breakfast …. No
Maybe .. No he couldn’t have
Surely not …
On A race day ….
Months of planning … Surely not
Has Garry overlaid ?
Where the f#*k is Garry ?
No hang on …. WHERE THE F#*K IS GARRY !!!
Pete couldn’t wait any longer and left ….
Mr Stef braved it and went and knocked Garry up …. After all what are friends for …
Mrs Stef announced … Garry HAS overlaid…. OMG… Quick leg it …
Mark , myself and Mr & Mrs Stef swiftly left before a Tazmanian Devil whirlwind appeared …
But secretly confident that Garry wouldn’t be too far behind ….
Afterall sleeping is a transition and Garry is good in transition … Right ?
Arrived at Race Hq with 1700 IM and 2 car parks had been arranged
Parked up and walked to ATC gazebo HQ meeting point which I had forgotten to tell you had been set up as the Tri Village for St James Batcheller Day
All gathering like a school assembly so let’s do a register….
Sally . Check
Stef … Check
Where the f#*k was Garry
Still dark so could be anywhere ….
Even Captain Lee and Victoria had managed to arrive and they biked ALL the way from their local hotel ….
Then , like Lee and Emily on JB day, a sudden appearance form the Chairman…
Garry sat down… All part of the plan…. Nothing to worry about …. No dramas only solutions… #simples
One by one they left for the swim start all in light blue club kit ..
Support left for swim start and agreed to wait for them all to swim and literally get on their bikes at T1
Now you know you are at a race when you hear Guns n Roses Paradise City or AC/DC Highway to Hell but this time add in the 3 Musketeers as chief crowd whooper upperers and you have yourself an atmosphere at 0630 !!
No benefit to our intrepid IM as deep down they or at least Mark Thomas was still hoping they would change it to a wet suit swim as he carried a wet suit into transition . Little did he know the race had already started 🙂
All jumped in the water and we could witness their jumping skills clearly from the pontoon. All in the water safely ….. Or so we thought 🙁
The app or online tracker or the naked eye enabled us to check their progress throughout the swim and the odd individual announcement from a Musketeers as they left the water .
Found a brilliant viewing spot as the crowds thinned out for the Team and could clearly see our club mates arrive T1 grab bike and get to bike dismount.
It is fair to say that we ATC support crew weren’t the only ones making noise and I find it a stroke of genius for race organisers to put names on race numbers for that extra personal touch…
It was a European race and the shout was allez allez allez ( go go go ) not Ali Ali Ali – Emily 🙂
Athletes of all shapes and sizes and ages … Bikes of varying stature which called for a ‘ you don’t want to be leaving T1 last with a bike like that ‘ from course record holder Gladwell
Still one by one they came and went and an extra cheer when on their bike and off and away out of sight onward into the French countryside.
Until it came to Mark Thomas ….
Is it fair to single out Mark as the race progressed ?
Is it fair to single out a man who was railroaded into an ironman event for only his 5 triathlon…
Is it fair to single out a man who meticulously plans everything to the finest details and checks and double checks everything
Hell yes because we have all been there and the whole idea of my posts was to bring a smile and an alternative look at the weekend .
So we heard the Musketeers announce Mark Domas as now left the watter ( say aloud in French accent for maximum comedy effect)…
We saw MT approach his bike .. Cheers from the group
We saw MT standing next to his bike …. Cheers from the group
We saw MT still standing next to his bike and still standing ….
What was he doing…
Taking fluid , doing an M check or an ABC check…
He moved…checked .. Moved forward…. Cheers from the group
Stopped looking at his handle bars… Was something wrong ?
The fact MT had completed the non wet suit swim within the cut off time was a major achievement and deserved all worthy recognition …
Moving again … Ran past a referee … Who stopped him !
A Stef Hayes penalty box close by …. No…
Referee was talking to MT ….
Shit shit and shit….!
Ref leant down as if to look at his bike ….noooooooo !
MT had dropped something or something off his bike …
Disqualification for littering ….. Nooooo
MT had dropped a gel and the nice ref picked it up for him …. Phew 🙂
Ran to bike mount area….
Stopped again still looking at his handle bars..
That prompted me to run up along side hime and shout in my most positive encouraging tone … ‘ will you get on that f#*#*ing bike ‘
And he was gone….
Now what you competitors at all races don’t realise is the amount of self control needed when supporting…
Bladder control that is …
Standing next to water needing a wee and being able to hold it for hours is worth a mention so we all legged to ATC HQ and a much needs comfort break…
All out on the bike course and time to kill . Food and liquid on the agenda and a power nap…. As I have said it s tough being a supporter.
We could use the tracker to plot where people were on the bike course and info was upto date.
It was all quite exciting cos tracker follows all athletes so you can admire the pros for their times afterall it was a race !!!
Talking of admiration ….
I think I have mentionned everyone during the last 4 days except Peter Welsh for being in unrecognisable black colours along with half the entrants and Simon Quested for being in his own personal ‘can I break the club record’ space
A special admiration mention has to go out to Sally for having the cahoonas to carry on despite getting a whack in the neck at swim jump in start, aggravating a former injury , completing the swim, getting on her bike, not showing her support crew at T1 she was in discomfort but recognising it wasn’t safe to continue and being safe .
But more importantly coming to ATC HQ and letting us know she was safe and well and FINE…. and we all know what that stands for 🙂 #weloveyouSally
Day was getting on ( bit like this post) but we were now at a point where we could see our team exit T2 onto the run. The run was a 4 time loop with viewing points next to ATC HQ and we could calculate when everyone was due to pass for that much needed encouragement .
Everyone was counting the laps down until it was time to enter the stadium finish where we could witness our Ironmen finish with a splendid lap of glory deserving very single ounce of congratulations given by your adoring families , friends and team mates.
On which I will finish there …..