Drove down Saturday, racked then drove back – 7 hours of horrible driving and almost missed the registration cut off. Back home by 19.00 and had to be up at 01:30 to make sure I was there bright and early to find a parking spot.
After about 3 ½ hours’ sleep I was in the car and excited.
I’ve never done a sea swim and it was cold, cold, cold outside the water. The beep sounded and my wave of 5 was off. I had expected a slower swim than the lake so seeded myself 32 – 30 minutes. Waves were rough and choppy. Waves coming from one direction and wind the other made for some salty drinks. The buoy was towards the early morning sun and was really, really difficult to see even from the crest of the wave. The swim is my favourite part of the race and I just wanted this one to end. Once on the return to shore it was much easier to sight and avoid mouthfuls of seawater. I came out in 34.18 which is about 5 minutes slower than usual but was in 20th place out of 266 for my age group which wasn’t too bad.
Ran the 400m to transition and was out in a reasonably quick time considering I had to stash socks at my bike as I’d forgotten to put socks in my bike bag. I was a little wobbly trying to put them on standing on one leg trying not to get transition gravel on my feet. The bike was very frustrating early on as my visor was TOTALLY misted up and we were riding in to the sun. After 15k I stopped and asked a spectator for a tissue, wiped my visor and was about to get back on when I saw the marshal walking over. It was at that point that I remembered the rule of no outside assistance from anyone. I waited for him to get to me and asked if I was penalised and he said, “What for?”. Whether he didn’t know the rule or was just being kind as I’d already wasted 3 to 4 minutes I will never know. Elated to still be in the race, my whole outlook began to change and I absolutely loved the rest of the ride even though some of the smaller roads were horrible. The downhill sections were incredible – 68kph on some of them!. I was so happy until I heard an increasing rattling from my stem. It was annoying me more and more until, going down a 2k hill at more than 55kph I remembered that I hadn’t tightened it since I came back from Iceland. I went cold and rigid with fear. As soon as I bottomed the hill I started to finger tighten it as best I could and did that prior to each hill for the rest of the race figuring that if it had lasted 65k then it should last the race. I was damned if I was going to lose my definite sub 3 hour time. Bupa would sort me out if it went pear shaped. I finished in 2:54:50 which I was very happy with considering I had stopped earlier in the race. 71st out of 266 on the bike.
I had such a good time on that ride and I’ll never forget it. It was just so much fun after the first 20k.
Seeing all the other Viceroys and supporters made the day for me