First race of the season and a great turn out with 17 Expatriés taking on the challenge and Ari and Suzie there as team cheer leaders. The sun was out, which meant people were eager to get in the pool for a change to cool off, even if the view from the end of the pool looked a little daunting…
11.30am: Wave 6 was the first to see team members in action – it was Cat v the boys, with her and Sean showing the newbies how it was done.
Sean, Owen, Ed, Bertrand, Adrian and Cat
Sean the pro even had his heart rate monitor on and looked pretty relaxed before the start.
Sean started off strong and for the first length was up with the leaders. Owen too was out at the front. He was known to be a strong swimmer, but his lack of attending any training sessions in the last 8 months meant he began to tire and was spent by the end of the 300m.
Cat did the ladies proud and was by no means last out of the water, (leaving Bertrand and Adrian to follow). It was then on to the bike for sheer determination to keep those legs spinning and bash out the 7km. This is what Sean had been looking forward to and even seemed to be able to have the energy to hold a chat with his Benevole… meanwhile the newbies realised that shoes with laces and putting T-shirts on whilst wet all adds to T1 time, although perhaps secretly relieved that is gave them a necessary breather before getting on the bike!
Group shot including 2nd team wave: Ed, Owen, Nick, Roberto, Sarah, Mark, Adrian, Keith, Paul, Ross, Bertrand and Sean
12.30pm Wave 7 – Expatriés second wave, which saw our Vet men go head to head: Mark, Roberto, Keith, Adrian and Paul. Could their experience win over youth and Ross’ second ever triathlon?
The prize in this wave has to go to Sarah, who earlier in the week had pulled her Achilles, yet was still determined to come and participate in the swim and bike, which made for some confused helpers when she didn’t jump off the bike and start running… Fantastic effort, now rest up well.
Once out of the water and the obligatory 10 seconds of drying off, it was on to the bikes. After Ross had stopped looking around, it was heads down for all and it was Mark who smashed out the 7km the fastest to be the first of our Expatriés to head out for the run. All looked suitably tired and a little relieved once crossing the finish line…
1pm Wave 8 was the last of the Expatriés gang – Nick with the girls; Kathryn, Louise and Penny. Having been there to support from the start, nerves had been building among the girls for two hours now…
It was no question that Nick would be out ahead from the start, but who was going to take it for the girls? Louise showed her strength in the water and was comfortably out within 5mins 45, with Kathryn only just ahead of Penny needing to do a lot of work on the bike to catch Louise.
The gang started strong on the bike, with it now becoming a true race for Kathryn to catch up with Louise. It was soon evident that giving it everything and smashing it once on the bike, (as had been advised to us all by Nick at the start of the day) was taking its toll on all of them.
Kathryn permanently had her mouth in ‘fish out of water gasping for air’ position and Nick definitely led the way in showing what ‘giving it everything’ looks like.
Louise had just managed to keep her lead and was out the door 10 seconds ahead of Kathryn. It was here that Kathryn had to dig deep and ignore the burn in the legs on the hills. After the first lap of the park, she finally managed to close the gap and overtake her; Louise having given it everything she had got before the hills took their toll.
It was a fantastic effort put in by everyone, with everyone giving it everything they had as they crossed the finish line. No longer debutantes from last year, Cat and Kathryn both managed to beat their times from last year and had both momentarily featured on the leader board.
It looks like it could be a very interesting year ahead for the women; with three finishing only seconds apart: Kathryn at 33.36, Cat at 33.51 and Louise at 33.58.
Congratulations go to Sean, with the Expatriés winning time of 28.16, who also qualified for the final, but gracefully bowed out of doing it again. A big thank-you also to Ari and Suzie for being there to cheer us all on.
A great day was had by all, with newbies now confirmed triathletes and previously unknowns becoming those to watch out for as the season unfolds. It’s always good to get the first race of the season under your tri-belt, and this year we get the opportunity to have another go and beat our times at the Paris Super Sprint in April. It’s all to play for!
Ladies in stripes – Suzie and Kathryn after the race