After the fun of the mornings Découverte, the boys plus charlotte hit the queue for the dossards – which always seems worse than it actually is. It was a little chilly so everyone remained in their warm clothes going into transition, which posed a problem as the organisers wanted to tattoo your number on arms and legs, so some last minute undressing-while-carrying-bag-and-holding-bike was required.
Once in transition nobody really seemed over-enthusiastic, with the possible exception of Dave who had already been caught doping on the train, and was subsequently as high as a kite. It was perhaps the news of the sub 14° water which was causing the animosity, sebby no likey when its cold, so he was busy lying out his thermal underwear for after the swim.
Because it was a little chilly, wetsuits went straight on, and for once at Enghien the team were not the last to reach the waters edge; but it was there we stopped. In fact it was there that most stopped, there appeared to be a collective yet unspoken will to not jump into the water too soon, everyone edged closer but few entered.
There were a lot of ‘gros mots’ but eventually the shore dwellers reached critical mass and started plopping into the chilly water, Dave stood hesitant at the edge of the pontoon, so nick pushed him, and felt good about it until he realised that he would have to jump in of his own accord !
The start didn’t take too long, but those 5 mins treading the cold water really took your breath away, and as always at Enghien the subsequent first 500m of the swim turns into a battlefield, with nobody performing well. Even the pink capped ladies who were supposed to be getting special treatment (because they are ladies) were getting weighed down by the forces created when 550 people get into and round 1.5km in as little time as is possible.
For the team Dickie was out first having fought off the competition, followed by nick, seb, adrian, charlotte, james, dave and eventually paul. No dramas and a quick T1 for all, and now everyone had warmed up, it was time to get moving on the bike. Which was exactly what Adrian did flying by Seb on the bike and putting in a best time for the team by several minutes – doping allegations have of course been made.
For dave though, his earlier doping had clearly worn off, as the bike is his Achilles heel, and this is not the course to have this problem, as there is a nasty little climb in the middle which has to be done 3 times. Hats off to the organisers though, there were police and helpers everywhere, taking all sorts of flack from disgruntled motorists, but they ignored them well (vivre la France) and did an excellent job.
There were even plenty of helpers on hand to point out the bumps and holes on the route, in some areas fairly dangerous, nick was doing well, but then lost his water bottle and had to go back and get it. However the ride saw him gain 30secs on Dickie, so less than a minute between them. As usual Paul B was making up ground on the bike, and James was looking good, then disaster struck…..
Coming off the bike at the transition, James’ shoe still on the pedal got jammed between the floor and the bike, causing the bike to jump up (as its soo light) and land on his back, sending him sprawling with the bike ontop and giving him some lovely road rashes, a lesser man would have given up straight away, but not James, he got up, racked his bike – and hit the run !
The run at Enghien is especially fun, as it is essentially 4 x 2.5km back and forth so you see everyone on the route several times whether they are ahead or behind you, and it was at the first turn that Dickie and Nick realised how close they were. “I’m coming to get you” Nick shouted to Dickie “No you’re bloody not” he thought and put the pedal down, there would be no catching him !!
The story of the run was undoubtably between Adrian and Seb, Adrian had got ahead of Seb on the ride and was looking good on the run, maintaining about 100m in front of Seb for almost the whole run…almost. With about 2 kms to go Adrian started to feel it, and it is here that the experience and strength of the Mighty Mouse shows, as he calmly caught up Adrian then eased past, unrelentingly, dogged and unstoppable to claim 3rd place, Adrian 4th a few minutes later.
Paul had managed to catch Charlotte on the bike and they started the run together, as is his usual tactic he was hunting down places on the run, after his bike mishap James was not running at his best, frankly he should not have been running at all, but he was putting in a good effort, the problem was that Betts was chasing him down and making good time, not quite catching him though, eventually finishing just 33 secs behind – in fact on the final 500m we all thought he might just make it !
In her marathon the week before charlotte had had some knee pains, but happily in the triathlon they were non-existent and she cruised in happily smiling a couple minutes after Paul, but feeling good. Now, where was Dave ?
There he was, his swim was tough, his bike had almost killed him, but now time for the run – his forté – at that stage of the game there were a lot of tired bodies around, but Dave powered round the run, overtaking many – almost in the same time as Adrian, he finished well as usual having felt a lot of pain, and absolutely loved it !
We got James patched up, then all headed up the hill to a well earned beer (thankyou Adrian) once again another fun team outing – lets just hope the next ones are a little warmer !!!