Nick, Val, Ariel, DavidSeb, Thomas, James, Richard,

Kristin, Charlotte,  Clea, Caroline, Cat, Kathryn, Blythe

Jamie, Adrian, Sean, Rabi, Paul, 

We arranged to meet outside the piscine at around 10am, and for what seems like the first time – eveyone was on time !!

First things first – who has forgotten what – most common was the safety pins – no surprises there.

Girls to the right to change, boys to the left and for the spectators……….not really clear……..just take your shoes off and make your way up

11am: Wave 4 was the first to see team members in action – the teams big guns were out – Val and Charlotte with Jamie, Thomas, James, Richard in between. For a moment during the swim it looked as Rich (tired from illness and baby duties) was going to pull off something miraculous as he was neck and neck with Val for the first 50m, but then he started to slow and no amount of cheering from his clan (Grand-mummy and daddy Yarsley, Kristine and girls + baby Anouk) was going to get him moving any quicker. So it was Val and Charlotte who slipped out of the water first, making it look all a little too easy.

However it was this point which led to the undo-ing for Val – this was his first triathlon without his long locks which won him last years award, and one would be forgiven for assuming that he would be quicker in transition, sadly this was not the case, as he took extra time to gently daub himself with his fresh towel, and I believe I even saw the talc make an appearance.

Having said that he smashed through the bike and was out on his own in first place for the run, which posed no problem. Charlotte came in 2mins after him only 15 seconds ahead of the charging Jamie, who as usual was well behind after the swim but was overtaking everyone on the run like stampeding bull headbutting people in front of him out of the way. Thomas crossed the line a minute later, clearly fatigued from his game of Rugby and moving house the day before, and a minute later came James, who had beaten Jamie out of the water but was overtaken on the cycle – he clearly needs a new bike !! Finally a minute later came Rich, who having actually had a pretty good swim, just didn’t have the energy to keep going at top pace, but I guess this year we will have to give him a break.

11:30 was wave 5, Nick and Seb side by side in lane 1, then Dave who made us all wait while he broke his goggles. Other side of the pool saw the much awaited head to head of the debutantes, Blythe, Kathryn and Clea all together with huge smiles which could in no way mask the collective fear of the upcoming swim. Nick and Seb were together at the 50m, with Dave just slightly behind, Clea was looking strong, Blythe and Kathryn were fighting a battle of wills as to who would start to breast stroke first. Nobody ‘won’ that battle.

Nick was first out of the water, finishing 25m ahead of Seb, but from last years experience knew Seb would catch him on the bike, so had to go all out, the long hair tucked away with a swift hat change and a lightning transition saw him get 500m ahead by the time Seb started pedaling, the girls were clearly loving the swim, splashing around having fun.

The bike was grueling, one of the other competitor’s pedals fell off, Nick was first off the bike for the team, now over 1km ahead of Seb who perhaps had trained too hard in South America, but Nick had pushed hard on the bike and was feeling it – was he going to get overtaken on the run again like last year ? The answer was no, finishing 8 second ahead of Vals time (yes that long transition cost him) in 27ins 46 sec. Dave was a couple minutes later, followed by Seb who was only 6 seconds behind him.

If it was possible for someone to burst, Clea would have, as she crossed the line first of the girls, and clearly couldn’t have given any more, Kathryn was looking good as she crossed the line but glad it was over, then finally Blythe came up the hill and crossed the line to everyone cheers, although she didn’t look any near exhausted enough !!

During all this Ariel had innocently turned up (running) just to watch, but 10mins later due to peer pressure and registration trickery, found himself on the starting line with the 12pm Wave 5 line-up – Rabi, Adrian, Sean, Paul, Cat, Caroline, and Kristin. Paul and Adrian had been there since the crack of dawn to ensure they fully understood what was going on. Kristin turned up 3 minutes before the start without a clue. But amongst the Vets, the water is the great equaliser.

Ariel, who is becoming known as the teams energizer bunny was out of the water almost before he got in with the teams best swim time, then came Kristin who is also somewhat of a natural, but third out of the water for the team was Rabi, who had put in a superb show with the best swim time of all his age group, and beating many of the seniors too, but lack of practice on the bike let him down and both Adrian and Sean zoomed past demonstrating their Mamil (Middle Aged Men in Lyra) status. Although behind from the swim Paul G made up time on the bike, but the previous weeks skiing were clearly telling, and finally Cat who swears she can’t swim didn’t do that badly.

It was neck and neck between Paul and Caroline when they left for the run, with Cat just slightly behind, but this is Caroline’s specialty, and Paul had already given more than he had so there was no contest, and as the hill began to take its toll, Cat managed to slip past Paul and beat him by 20 secs. At the head of the pack Kristin had overtaken Ariel in the ride as he cramped up, but he got her back on the run finishing third fastest for the team; Kristin surprised everyone by finishing 22secs faster than Charlotte and earning herself a place in the final 6 ladies. Having gotten his nose ahead with a strong ride, Adrian finished it off with a strong run finishing just 4 seconds behind Jamies total time, and Sean ran just 1 second slower but was 40 seconds slower overall, and finally Rabi, who started so strongly but couldn’t keep it up on the run crossed the line 1min 40secs after – all really close though – the Vet category is going to be VERY interesting this year !

As the ExpaTRIés team waves were before the main competitor waves, there was a brief moment where we dominated the leader boards, which mean in theory we could get called back for the finals. This especially excited Jamie who must particularly like putting on used wet, cold, Tri-suits. No-one else did, including Kristin who was the only one to get called back for the finals, she managed to forget her Tri-suit twice, and true to form barely made it in time, but the organisers were very kind and waited for her, and she competed well in a very tough final maintaining her 6th position.

Everyone else made a bee-line back to the pub, where green guiness and beer was served in honour of Paddys day, and everyone helped themselves to some guilt-free burgers, steaks and chips after having put in a magnificent performance.

A great day was had by all, newbies become confirmed triathletes, unknowns became those to watch out for, and our reputation as a great club grows within the Paris Triathlon community – especially for all those unfortunates that got hurled off the path by a stampeding Jamie, well done to everyone, V Proud ;-)