Luxembourg Ironnman 70.3 – 19 June 2016
(Cat and Chris – both World Championship qualifiers – pictured)
by Sean Hurst
(support crew working too hard to stop for a photo)
A Weekend in the Life of Support Crew
Turned up at chez Cat in the hire car with my bike, gear etc already loaded. Had a cup of tea and cheese sandwich then went out to load Cat’s bike, gear etc only to find that the car had gone! After a small panic attack and a chat with the local butcher we realised that the car had been towed away by the police. An Uber van trip to the car pound at Pantin plus a donation of €179 to the police retirement fund resulted in us getting the car back. Finally we got on our way about 2hrs later than scheduled.
Arrive at hotel – may there was something weird in the air when our hotel room number was the same as Cat’s dossard – 737 !
Registration was a simple process but when the storm arrived all hell broke loose with half of the Ironman infrastructure trying to break free from its moorings. We met up with Julio to hand over my dossard etc as planned, made sure that he responded to the name ‘Sean’ and that he looked like somebody in the 50-54 Age Group which wasn’t easy.
A quick trip to the merchandising tent saw me exit with an official Support Crew t-shirt and a pair of tea-towels!
We watched the Iron Kids race before dinner although I’m not sure a bunch of ten-year olds appreciated being told that ‘nobody remembers who came second…’. Although the encouragement did get one of the kids to start running again after he’d gone into walk mode.
With ruthless German efficiency our minibus took us all down to the start line at 8.30, not 8h31… and, deep down somewhere, the hotel driver, I think, did have a sense of humour. I left Cat, Julio, Chris, Luis and David to do their stuff and go and race then went out on a 95km ride myself (note to self – next time don’t leave two big hill climbs to the last 20km)
Apparently Chris eats 5 slices of white bread for breakfast before a race but this year it look like he decided to wash it down with non-alcoholic beer. Lemon flavoured…
As I wasn’t in my usual training area I decided to use a Strava route downloaded on to my Garmin. I cycled up the Mosel Valley doing the ‘wine route’ and came back down the Saar valley. However I discovered the limitations of this plan when I found some of the roads had literally been removed making the second half of my ride more akin to guesswork and the ride turned into very hilly cyclo tourism.
After finding my way back to the hotel I quickly showered and got myself down to the finishing line. I just missed Chris and Luis but saw Cat, David and “Sean” on the course.
After some team photos including Chris with his new, less-aggressive bike (inc basket) for 2017 we headed back to our respective hotels then reconvened at 8pm for the awards and the roll-down ceremony. A bit boring to watch the awards but the fun and end excitement started at the roll-down ceremony with about 40 places up for grabs for the 70.3 Worlds Championship in Wolloollomoollonga-ville or somewhere similar sounding in Australia. Basically, if you’re not there or you do not respond to your name when it’s called out the place in each category ‘rolls-down’ to the next person.
To cut a long story short, after some superb performances, both Cat and Chris qualified but, unfortunately, Chris couldn’t take his place. We were gutted for Luis when he missed out going to Oz by just one place – he’ll now have to win a place for Kona at Ironman Maastricht in July!! A piece of cake.
A top dinner feasting on Argentinian steak, Champagne and Malbec then all home to bed.
A relatively quiet morning but I did the dutiful bit and helped clean Cat’s bike then, after packing the car, which was thankfully still in the hotel car park, we we’re on our way back to Paris. We stopped off on the way back to visit the WW1 war memorial at Verdun which was very poignant. Verdun for the French is the equivalent of the Somme/Ypres for the British and the number of people killed there is simply incomprehensible but a good reminder of how lucky we are just 100 yrs on and that we should never complain that our legs hurt on the bike and run etc. Life is good.