Chester Triathlon 2016 (Andrew)

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, or at least that’s what Albert Einstein said*. But Einstein wasn’t a triathlete. Doing the same thing again and again is known as training and doing the same thing in races is all about being consistent.

Because I’m consistent there are certain things I know.

Swim

I know that I will leave the water at the same time as Iain. It doesn’t matter the distance we race or where we race, we have a remarkable ability to always exit the water together. This time it was even easier as Iain had a thermal skull cap on which was easy to spot in the water. Once I saw him I just kept on his feet until we got to the end.

Bike

Training on a bike is all about consistency and aiming for Norseman. I want to be able to keep a steady speed and to feel strong from start to finish. I don’t want to “leave it all out on the course”, which is a curious phrase. If you leave it all out on the course then you should really use a toilet before you start…

So, I decided that my tactics were right last week, the only thing I got wrong was the length of the race. A sprint triathlon was too short for the tortoise to beat the hare. This time, the tortoise would win as the race was longer and, with 10 mile gentle descent back to Chester and with the wind behind there would be no way I wouldn’t be able to overtake him.

I was wrong. The story of the tortoise and the hare is not what you think. It’s not a tale of how consistency conquers all. It’s actually a tale of how consistency conquers all if, and only if, the hare takes a break in the middle of the race. Iain didn’t take a break. He started fast. He finished fast. He rode the middle bit fast. Fast beats slow. Always.

The tortoise and the hare is a stupid story.

Run

The run course involves three laps and, on each lap, I could see Iain at the same point each time, about five minutes ahead of me. It didn’t change thus, showing my consistency again, as I couldn’t run faster even if I’d tried.

Overall

I was pleased with a new personal best of 2 hours 48 minutes and also that I still felt strong at the end and could have kept running, which, with two months to go until Norseman, is a good sign.

*Although Einstein is often credited with this quote, it appears unlikely that he ever said it. Check out: Examinemint 

 

Chester Triathlon – 12th June 2016 (02:37:35) (Iain)

At university my mate worked for a comedy sketch group. The group comprised three guys and a girl. The girl couldn’t act, and she wasn’t funny, but she did have large breasts.

As talented as the guys were, she was the only one who became a success. She starred in Hollyoaks. The soap for people who like dramatic over the top storylines but only if it involves large breasted women and fit guys.

This weekend I was in Chester where Hollyoaks is set.  I didn’t spot any large breasted women but I did see a lot of fit guys….due to the Chester Triathalon.

We’d done the race a couple of years ago so this time I was hoping to improve my performance. I had a secret weapon – I’d ordered a new pair of shorts. There was only one problem. They were indecently short.

They not only made me look like a knob they also showed off my knob.

Unfortunately I had no alternative pair so the people of Chester were in for a treat…sorry…a sight! A very horrific sight.

Registration was next to the hotel so we got up early and headed over. The biggest decision was what swim cap to choose. Our wave had a choice of green/blue. We went for Celtic Green.

Swim (00:31:04) 

The swim was in the river Dee. The swim was enjoyable. It was 900m approximately up the river before turning and returning. My sighting was good so I didn’t feel I’d zig-zagged too badly.

At the end I thought the exit was in a different place to were it actually was so I swam past it and had to turn. Some idiot was following my feet so he made the same error. When I got out the water I turned round and discovered that idiot was Andrew.

He’d spotted me at the turning and had decided to have a tow to the finish.

Bike (01:13:21)

The bike ride was a nice loop out from the city into Wales and back. The road were excellent and it was virtually car free.

My aim was to average at least 20mph and stay ahead of Andrew! Luckily I got of transition just before him so I was able to bomb up the road. He made the same miscalculation as the week before and assumed his steady riding would eventually reel me in. It didn’t!

Run (00:48:15)

I felt much better on the run than I had recently. It was three loops of a riverside course with a water stop on each loop. It was enjoyable especially once I had worked out my brother wasn’t going to catch me.

At one point a guy asked what time I was aiming for. I said 48 minutes. He asked if it was okay to pace behind me. I said yes. Unfortunately he was so close that when a bollard suddenly appeared I was able to avoid it but he collided with it. Sorry!

Overall

I won the race and take a 4-2 lead in the Todd championship. I knocked 11 minutes of my PB so I was happy with that. I won’t wear the shorts again.

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Fear of a Blue Planet (Andrew)

“Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink…”

… because I can see a shopping trolley, a thin layer of green slime and an alkie having a piss behind a bin.

The River Clyde that splits Glasgow in half like a razor through a throat is not a river you swim in, not unless you have a radiation suit, a snorkel and bath of hydrochloric acid to scrub yourself clean. The River Dee splits Chester apart like a blue ribbon. It’s clean, genteel and demands that you dip more than your toes into it. It’s a proper river. Not like the Clyde, which, to Glaswegians, is less a river and more a naturally occurring accessory to murder.

Until three years ago I would never have thought of swimming in any river. I could barely swim in a swimming pool. But, after accepting Iain’s challenge to take part in Challenge Henley Middle Distance Triathlon and swim 1.9 miles in the River Thames, I knew I would have to learn to swim ‘proper’ as I only knew the breaststroke.

They say that before you walk you should learn to crawl, but, for swimming, before you crawl, you need to learn how to drown. Repeatedly. I spent three months just learning to breath out of the side of my mouth without swallowing half of the pool. It was slow going but I kept practicing and followed my coach’s instructions to the letter. Unfortunately, that letter was W for “wrong”, my couch was Iain and while he should have been teaching me my ABC’s he missed out the basics and had me working on a swim shape that made me look an epileptic squid. You’re meant to glide through the water. I sunk.

Lesson: don’t appoint a ‘coach’ who only learnt to swim the week before you.

By July, I’d started to feel more comfortable swimming and had entered the Deva Triathlon in Chester which involved a 1.5km swim in the River Dee. I was nervous. It was my first time swimming in a river and I wasn’t sure what would happen. Would I be able to swim in a straight line? What if someone kicked me in the face during the mass start? And, most importantly, would the water be as warm as a bath or as cold as a shower when the hot water switches off (which everyone knows is the coldest feeling in the world)?

I shouldn’t have worried. I started at the back, so avoided the fight for the front. I swam in a straight line, which was brilliant, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t always the right line…. and the water was warm. Well, warmish. Well, not cold. Well, okay, it was cold, but I soon adjusted.

The Deva Triathlon was the first time that I thought I would actually complete Challenge Henley. I’d survived the swim. The bike race was fantastic, with a trip to Wales, smooth roads, and largely open and traffic free roads, and the run was a very pleasant three laps round the river, a park and a suspension bridge.

In one go, it became one of my favorite races – and I’m looking forward to returning this Sunday for another go. This time, I know how to swim (not like Iain taught me), I know more about racing and I’m out for revenge. I lost to Iain last weekend at the Stirling Sprint Triathlon and this is my chance to even the score.

This Sunday, it’s Todd v Todd.