This a re-print of my article in the East Anglian Veteran Cycling Association newsletter.
"Ok so this is not an articleabout cycling per se. Its about another sport that involves cycling. You guessedit: Triathlon. If you know my history I jumped from the triathlon ship tocycling in 1984 with my first time-trial being a 100 on that dreadfully hardcourse based around Ardleigh/Great Bromley/ Weely. Most sensible newcomersstart with a 10. If you know me I am far from sensible!
So I though it about time I had another go at triathlon and performedpretty good in my first two seasons back in the sport. This year I qualified torepresent GB Age Group team at the European Championships in Geneva and theWorld Championships in Chicago.
Geneva was extremely hot at 40degrees and I faded badly in the run after a fairly rapid bike section tofinish 11th in my age group.
Chicago became my target for theseason and I geared my training around this with 2km swims; 10km runs and 3bike sessions each week. Arriving in Chicago we stayed in a very nice hotel onWest Adam Street. The address would appear to be unremarkable until walking tothe lakeshore one day we spotted a small sign which read "This is thebeginning of Route 66". A road that traverses 8 states between Chicago andLos Angeles for almost 2000 miles, as the song goes.
It is usual, unfortunately, tohave to take one's bike to the transition compound the day before a major eventin order to "rack" it in one's allotted, numbered, position. I hatethis side of the sport because it gives the unscrupulous a chance to tamperwith your bike or even steal from it. I heard of at least 2 thefts of Garmincomputers that went "missing" from transition during the week ofracing.
We had a fairly major storm onthe eve of my race and so bike racking was postponed until race day. What arelief! The downside was that the bad weather caused very rough water in LakeMichigan which brought up a lot of weed.The water temperature plunged from 20 degrees to 16 degrees overnight. Sowetsuits were gladly worn. I had a poor swim and was 8 minutes down on my usualtime for the 1500 metres. Swimming through weed is not my ideal and the heavyswell caused slow progress. Fortunately my wife was able to yell at me from thelakeside, giving me the encouragement to keep going. Getting out of the waterwas a great relief and I was soon running into transition and my trusty Orbea.The recent storm had caused the ground under my bare feet to be quitetreacherous. Because my bike shoes are fixed to the pedals beforehand I had tobe extra careful running with the bike to the mounting line. The 40km bikesection was something beyond all expectation. As we were not allowed to surveythe course beforehand the only thing that I was aware of was that most of itwas in tunnels underneath the city.
The lighting was poor but a clearlens on the helmet ensured good vision. It was warm and windless down under. Soit was fast. There were many crashes. Less able riders could not cope with thespeed and constant twists and turns of the course. The no-drafting rule wasdisregarded by most. Although motorcycle marshals were out in force, I did notsee anyone penalised. With the huge number of riders on the course at the sametime, passing and being passed became difficult.
With my bike section time of justover the hour for such a difficult course I was in a happy state when I startedthe 10km run. This was a fairly boring 3 times up and down the same road. Butit was flat so no hills to climb, which was a blessing as the temperature wasup in the 30's. There were a great deal of British fans out on the course and,as they can see "GBR" and your name on your tri-suit, they yell outindividual encouragement every time that you pass them. This was greatlyappreciated. I was 25th in my age-group. A well earned rest and much liquidrefreshment followed. Two more enjoyable weeks of holiday were spent travelling across 7 states before a flighthome from Boston."