I started a post about the Bomber, but after forgetting to drink fatboy coke after swimming in the Ancholme, the River sought it’s revenge for me warming up my wetsuit – you know what I mean!! Suffice to say that was honestly one of the toughest things I’ve done (Bomber – not warming up my wetsuit!) and that’s in amongst Tough Guy, Helloween on the Humber and Grafman!!
I wanted to say a huge thankyou to Andy Read for speaking to Christians parents for me – there was no way I was competing without ‘Brownys Boat’ and also to Kev Antwhistle for transport.
It was totally awesome to see so many Squadders doing their bit from organising to competing, truly a LINCSQUAD highlight, bring on Bomber 2014!
In total contrast, having missed a couple of events earlier in the year I decided at the last minute to have another crack at GRAFMAN. If you recall me and the cHINCHilla turned out for the inaugural event last year. Held at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire, just off the A1, a smaller sister of Rutland Water. Standard and middle distance events run by NiceTRI, a local family team.
Just little ol’ me this year – not quite recovered from Bomber Belly and subsequent rancid cold and chest infection. Felt dog rough on the Saturday and nearly, nearly didn’t go. Not sure if was me being stubborn or tight (£95 entry) but I headed down and set up CAMP Lurve, not quite as impressive as the LINCSQUAD starshade!
Although I was later than the advertised registration time, because the NiceTRI gang are on site, they sorted me out. I was a bit disappointed with the transition towel but that’s only because I’m a t-shirt hoarder.
Froze my doodahs off under canvas as it was much colder than forecast and when my alarm went off at 0430hrs to say I was reluctant to get out of my pit is an understatement. Actually, I scoffed my MOUNTAIN FUEL and got back in my scratcher.
It was still horrible when I re-emerged. I racked my bike but found that some competitors had racked the wrong side and gone. Luckily the guys either side of me were there and we made a command decision to stay ‘wrong sided’ so we would all be the same.
Race briefing confirmed our fears, not the 15.5′ previously tested but barely 13′. We were allowed to get in and warm up, brrrrrrrr. 0730hrs mass beach start into the washing machine of swimmers.
This year we had to climb out after the first lap purely to entertain the spectators with our ‘ministry of funny walks’. The second lap seemed to go much quicker but I was so cold I had claw hands for T1 and struggled to do anything, including unzipping my wetsuit.
For the first time I realised that I was going to have to layer up, but for the first time I’d not a put a top in transition. Arm warmers to the rescue. I towelled off my arms (words of advice from Emma Wright-Phillips) but still an impossible task with hands like a couple of dead squids. Sod anything else (like gloves and socks – what was I thinking?) I think my subconscious was screaming ‘get out of transition!’
I didn’t have any fingers for about 30miles and had to use my palm to change gear. I was soooo cold I honestly prayed for a puncture or one of my usual mishaps but it it didn’t happen….where are those loose bolts when you need them?
It’s a fantastic bike route, heading out and back to turn around points so you get a chance to see if you’re catching folks up. I started setting targets to chase and the miles just melted away. I still had no feet as I reached dismount which probably explains why I kicked my saddle and hit the deck…oh yeah now I have a mishap, inevitable really! But the crowds were ace, laughed at me and then cheered me on.
T2, better. Still no feet and out for 2 miles along the bridge and back – just starting to get sunny, when you don’t want it, no hat and no sunnys DOH! Pins and needles in the tootsies about 4miles and realisation that my trainers have been rubbing my numb feet in a way they never have before, probably while I was running like Phoebe out of ‘Friends’ (youtube, it’s funny honest).
And so the high fiving began. It helps take your mind off bleeding feet and suchlike, honest! Having slapped everyone last year (in the nicest possible way) I felt a strong urge to continue tradition, whilst having a little chuckle to myself cos I’d just wiped my nose after a powerful snot rocket – or worse (you may use your deductive powers!)
The rest of the course is out and back to the yacht club, deceptively undulating but such a relief when you turn around and head for home. Yes I did lie to the folks just heading out as I ran home who shouted, ‘How far to the turn around?’ ‘Not far!’ as there are no markers, which I prefer, but sometimes what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you.
Passed a couple of guys walking on the way in and suitably harangued them (got gobby Dobber stylee) and one even had the cheek to ‘dick’ me but thanked me for my verbal abuse/encouragement as he went past. Big cheers at the finish. Once again I’d not looked at my watch, no pressure, just do what you do, 5.40, 3 minutes faster than last year – well chuffed – would have been glad to get under 6 the way I’d been feeling.
Lots of fatboy cola (learned my lesson) and mutual backslapping – seemed a lot of folks were there on their own. Am thinking seeing as I’ve done the first two that I might have to make it an annual outing, so if anyone would like to join me next year??