A weekend of mixed emotions, 23 June 2013

At last I’ve had my first “successful” triathlon experience of the year, where I was racing from the gun to the finish line, rather than being knocked off my bike or trying to work out what the strange rattling noise coming from the vague direction of the bottom bracket might be.

I competed in the Boskman race run by the very lovely people at http://www.racenewforest.co.uk/ whose events I can’t recommend highly enough.  Everything was exceptionally well organised and the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed.

And they do awesome t-shirts!

And they make awesome t-shirts!

The Boskman itself is a sadly underrated race.  It’s an ideal iron distance preparation race, comprising a 2.6k swim, 120k bike and half marathon.  The longer-than-half-iron swim and bike make the race a more accurate simulation of the iron distance than a half iron race.  Keeping the run to an (albeit challenging, off-road and hilly) half marathon, however, limits the damage and prevents recovery time from becoming too much of an issue.

Being able to acquire coffee before a race makes me very happy...

Being able to acquire coffee before a race makes me very happy…

It's a glamorous sport we do

It’s a glamorous sport we do

Just before the swim start

Just before the swim start

The swim was 2 clockwise laps; I managed to draft for some of it and was delighted when I came out of the water in around 41 minutes [NB in the online results, “swim” times are really “swim + T1”].  I wobbled out onto my bike in second place…

…and stayed there, despite having the fastest bike split of the day.  Frustratingly I didn’t quite have the game to catch the leader, but I was disproportionately pleased with my 3:59:28 split, having spent the last few km battling into an ever-increasing head wind to try and sneak under 4 hours.

Starting the run in second place, the only way I was going to go was down, and so it was as I was caught around the half way point.  The girl passing me looked utterly bewildered by my “well done, she’s about ten minutes ahead, go and catch her!” – I was so resigned to the fact I was going to lose time on the run that I saw no harm in a bit of encouragement.  Not a policy I normally operate, admittedly!

Yes, I've forgotten to take my cycling gloves off in T2. Again.

Yes, I’ve forgotten to take my cycling gloves off in T2. Again.

I crossed the line in 6:47, a time that would have won in every previous year the race has been run…. This year it was good enough for 3rd, which meant that as well as my finisher medal I was given a rather snazzy trophy and prize money in the form of bike shop vouchers!  [I used it to buy inner tubes.  Oh.  So.  Glamorous.  But still, prize money woo!]

Boskman trophy

Back home it was lovely to see Ed, who had been intending to race Ironman Nice that weekend, but was prevented from travelling by yet another work crisis.  My anger at his employer for stopping him from doing the race he’d been so looking forward to vaporised as I started reading reports of a death during the race in Nice, all the more so as the details started coming in.

The reports stated that a 30-year-old British man had crashed on the bike course and hadn’t survived.  Had Ed travelled to the race, I would have been going completely nuts around now, as that description fitted him exactly.

The media seemed to think so too, and I can only describe their behaviour as appalling.  As Ed showed up on the start list and not the finish list, and as the identity of the man hadn’t been released, journalists started to call him – he remarked on the disappointment he heard in their voices when they found out he was alive.

The ones he didn’t call back were even camped outside his family’s house in pursuit of a story, having not been able to find out our address as we’d only recently moved.

All the media nonsense was upsetting enough with Ed sitting next to me alive and well.  For us, all it led to was some extra brake checks, and holding each other a little tighter at night for a few days.

I can’t begin to imagine the effect it had on the family of the poor guy who actually died out there in the race – my heart goes out to them.

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