The draw to Satrouville was the Brownlee brothers but the competition was Challenge Vichy. In the end there was only the 3 of us veterans, Paul Betts, Sean Hurst and myself. The start in the water was 8.30am so it was an early start for some of us to get across town in time. With a little bit of experience behind me, I knew shovelling down porridge, bananas and honey in the middle of the night just had to be done. Still it was only a sprint.
If it wasn’t that warm early on, it wasn’t an issue because the T2 change over wasn’t in the same place as T1 and I had to leave T1 to run up, leave stuff at T2 and run back to T1. Then get back in the T1 area only to have to do it again barefoot. Confused? I still am.
The clock was ticking and it wasn’t long before we all started towards the ramp down towards the water of the Seine. Slowly we began to realise there was a current and whilst we waited in the surprisingly warm water it became quite clear that you had to swim just to keep still. Paul was getting worried about the cut off time already. That first buoy took forever to reach with the usual argy-bargy and even getting round the corner was tough because if you let off for a moment the current pushed you under the buoy. Thankfully the swim back was super speedy and out the water on to the bike.
Just as I got my gear together I remember seeing Sean not far behind. As usual my gel just fell off the bike (must use tape next time) but the ride was fairly harmless. The hill wasn’t too dramatic and because you had to do laps there was always the possibility of drafting a bit behind some of the serious chaps. A few tight corners where the killjoys kept applying breaks (why?) but I’m no fan of lapping as it gets monotonous. Shame Paul never got the chance to take me on the bike like he usually does as the water proved too much.
Quick change of shoes (in the right place) with my new quick tie elastic laces and the legs quickly let me know that I hadn’t done enough jogging during the family holiday. Pretty difficult as we spent the time paddling canoes around a lake but that’s another story. Sean and I did a massive high-5 as we passed each other on the run before the final sprint through the crowds and a big sigh of relief.
Unfortunately they’d separated the elite triathletes from the rest of us so I can’t say I raced against an Olympic champion but I did stick around to watch. All the swimmers were superb but it didn’t seem to make a lot of difference. Tricky mind to pick out the famous brothers. The cycles quickly started to gather in clumps as the pelotons formed. Without wanting to over simplify this fantastic event, the race only started in the run. Who had it left in their legs to out run everyone else to the end? I may be a veteran but I couldn’t resist a high-5 with Alistair as he ran towards the line holding hands with his brother. Never a doubt they’d be first over the line.