The day before the race I visited the swim location as the organizers had arranged a social swim. The conditions were pretty brutal. It was wet, windy and there was allot of choppy waves. The organizers shortened the swim distance and asked everyone to just do a 100m swim in a slightly less blustery section.
The water wasn’t as cold as I had expected but it was a struggle in the wind. I did 200m and then got out. That was enough to give me a feel of what it would be like on race day.
Race morning arrived and the alarm went off horribly early (0230). I got up and I eat a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes getting my wetsuit on. I’d packed the car the night before so I there would be nothing to do in the morning other than drive to the start.
We arrived in Sheildaig around 0330. I racked my bike and picked up my dibber and GPS unit. Sheildaig is a long town so give yourself plenty of time to walk the length of it. There was allot of people about and I could feel the race atmosphere.
There was a bit of hanging about when I got to the swim start. A band played music and some fires were lit but I’d rather have just got in the sea and started swimming. I hate hanging about for races to start.
I entered the water towards the back of the field, deliberately trying to limit my time in the water before the swim start. The sea tempreture was 13C-ish. Normally I wouldn’t bother with vest, gloves and socks at that tempreture but I didn’t want to take any chance that I’d get cold so I wore them all.
I quickly got into my rhythm and focused on staying relaxed and breathing every couple of strokes and sighting every 30s or so. Up until the second island I saw the odd jelly fish and I wondered what the fuss was about. I then reached the second island.
I’ve never seen so many jellyfish. It was like swimming into a massive wall of jellyfish. They were everywhere. Every stroke would result in me punching a jellyfish out the way. This lasted until I came to shore.
I emerged and my brother helped me to transition 1. I checked my watch and saw it had taken less than my goal time of 70 minutes. So i was pleased with that.
I saw other competitors shaking from the cold, but I felt perfectly fine. The extra layers had made all the difference. With the help of my brother I started to change into my cycle gear. He gave me a drink of Pepsi as I got changed. It was a sugary hit!
At one point I started to put on my sun glasses. My brother said “you won’t need them” He was right….