One ManOne RoadOne Lake

Paul Dewar takes on the ULTIMATE Tri Challenge

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Sooo, Outlaw... A long distance tri, and by that I mean iron distance, 2.4 miles swim, 112 miles on the bike and a wee marathon to finish, and yes it is a full marathon, all 26.2 miles of it. It’s a daunting prospect when stood on the start line, or rather behind a line of canoes in the lake at the water sport centre in Nottingham. The previous few days had been spent sorting my kit out for the day, endlessly checking the weather forecast hoping for an improvement in the wet weather that was forecast and cleaning and oiling the bike ready for action. My mind is constantly thinking about the race at this point, it just takes over everything. I am thinking about the times that I want to do, the times I think I might achieve if all goes well and then just about finishing. Have I got everything I need, where did I put my running watch, I’ll be lost without it? 112 miles on the bike, ouch, that’s not going to be pleasant in the rain, best take a jacket, but which one? How many socks shall I take, has the weather forecast got any better yet? A marathon to run, do I need another jacket for the run, gloves? No, it’s the summer after all, even if I’m wet I’ll be warm enough, wont I? More questions than answers, how’s the weather looking now, lovely at the moment, 140.6 miles under my own steam. Before I know it, it’s 6am on Sunday morning, the hooter has gone, I’ve had my good luck kiss from Trudi, I can do no more, time to get on with it. There is a flurry of body parts thrashing around in the water in every direction I look in, and despite my best laid plans to avoid the melee, I seem to have found myself right in the middle of it. I get a hit on the side of the head, dis-lodging my goggles and letting the water in. I try to stop to clear the water and settle the goggles back on as someone swims into the back of me, dunking me under for a brief moment. Once sorted I set off again, trying to compose myself, I need to settle down and find my rhythm. Open water mass starts are scary things, I’ve done a few but they just don’t get any easier, I’m having negative thoughts already, I’m struggling to find my space, getting knocked around, bumping into other guys, who are probably suffering like me. I get a kick in the chin, nothing too bad but I need to stop momentarily, I re-focus and drift off to the right, it’s a longer way to go but I find clear water and at last get going at my pace. Panic over, I let the training kick in and sight the next buoy, I know from the race briefing that red buoys can be taken on either…
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