The Vitruvian Man is the eight limbed fella exposing himself whilst doing what look to be star jumps at an OffThatCouchFitness circuit training. Nakedness gets frowned upon at Steve’s classes by the way but its ok I’m allowed back to them now. Its supposed to represent the findings of the worlds first documented Engineer a Roman called Vitruvius who wrote about the proportion (sizes) of the human body and how they are relative to each other eg
- a palm is the width of four fingers
- a foot is the width of four palms
- a cubit is the width of six palms
- a pace is four cubits
So what we are actually seeing here is the worlds first bike fit.
History lesson over we are now in the present day where the following Lincsquad racers looked to take on the 1900m swim 85km bike and 21km run.
Robbie “I,m the new Steve Clark” Whitaker
Steve “I used to be Steve Clark” Clark
Phil “I,m not sulking I,m reviewing my race performance…on my own…for a minute..” Binch
Dan “Gerrroooffff moi laaaaaaaand” Broughton
Lewis “I’ll cut my foot off and carry it just to beat Dave” Purcell
Lisa “Again? But I did the Steelman!” Purcell
Steven “Old speckled Hen is carb loading…n I’m well carbed up…hic” Dolby
Nicky “Does the free gillet come in pink?” Robinson
Rob “crash test dummy” Wood
Steve “TT champion” Grocock
Paul “Its not my dog” Ralph
David “Training is cheating” Hinch
Arriving at Rutland Water Camp Lincsquad could be easily spotted due to the large flags, tent village and team banner naming the above elite racers crafted by Georgie, Ellie & Annie attached to the fencing.
Cool work girls!
A steady stream of combatants were already making their way to the signing in tent to register and we did the same. Pretty good swag was on offer with a large box of Hi-Five energy products and the stylish gillet given the thumbs up. Transistion closed at 6pm and many riders were seen pushing their bikes back after being refused entry into transition. The rest of the evening was spent fettling bikes, building tents and eating pasta carbonara from the mobile entertainment complex that is Team Dobber. Outstanding work once again guys! With the pre race briefing at 0600hrs it was going to be an early start to get a good breakfast inside and settled before the race start. With that in mind one by one we bedded down for the night.
At 4am people were stirring. During the night people learned that the sound reducing properties of tent canvas was at best minimal as the respective animals of Team Ralphs and Team Dobbers sought to outdo each other in a snoring contest of IM proportions.
Bikes were racked and the briefing got underway at slightly later than planned 0615hrs. Just like other events based here there was great emphasis placed on adhering to the rules and this was destined to cause a few issues for some.
First into the water were the <said through gritted teeth> 18–29 year olds with Robbie, Clarky and Lewis. Danbro followed in the next wave and the 40-44 year old mid-life crisis brigade had time to watch our guys exit the water at the end of lap one before diving back in. The start was alongside the entry into the water for lap 2 and we saw a few swimmers warming up prior to their start and just swim across those starting their 2nd lap. Funny to us not so much for the guys racing!
By about 06:45hrs 224 “Fat n forty” guys floated chest deep in each others recently released “nervous energy”. Some were looking up the course focused on their preferred line, others were watching the previous wave swim past or adjusting their goggles. Not wanting a repeat of the Hyde Park “tooth incident” I started to tuck it (the tooth!) into my wetsuit sleeve just in time to hear “30 seconds” from the starter. What seemed like 10 seconds later the gun/whistle/fog horn went off and a lot of guys around me looked at each other then suddenly realised we were off!
The strong swimming Steve G and Phil B had made their way to the front of the pack. Rob had also positioned himself in the front rows not because he was a good swimmer (just writing it makes me smile….oh wait just checked the swim times…dammit!) but because as he puts it……”the closer I am to the start line the less I have to swim”. Settling into my rythym I saw Dobber to my right swimming his usual breast stroke style. No slower than most he had the advantage of excellent sighting for the turn bouys especially as further out into the lake the water actually began to swell.
It definitely was more like a sea swim. You felt your whole body moving up and down and at time the water would disappear from underneath you which if mistimed resulted in a mouthful of water. The usual crowding at the first turn meant I lost sight of Dobbers but as I took a sighting stroke I could see there were few guys around me. I took this as an opportunity to push harder and dug in increasing my stroke rate. The occasional sighting stroke still had the yellow bouy in sight so how come after about 5 mins I’m in shallow water and tugging at weeds? I look to the right and there a kayak about 2m away…hmmm they’re not usually this close I think and sight to the left. I don’t know how far I was off course but it took several looks to the left to spot any other swimmers. In fact there was very little of anything to see…no swim caps, arms splashing or anything. I was so far off course the timing mats on the run route were picking up my timing chip.
It’s a little known fact (one that I have just made up) that if the timing mats are placed far enough apart you can use them as a triangulation device and use your timing chip as a crude GPS. Using this data I have added the trace of my swim here.
So there may have been what known in triathlon circles as “sighting problem”. In the normal world it is perhaps better known as “being rubbish”, “all talk” and more hurtfully “full of crap”.
Onto the bike leg where following the Steelman saga I had packed everything need to my super aerodynamic carbon fibre speed machine. The additional spares and bottle of water meant my bike now weighed as much as the Rutland Belle pleasure cruiser we’d just swam past and was as aerodynamic. Not too bad a transition I ran past the guys who stopped exactly on the line to fiddle with their gears (slight uphill start) and leapt onto the bike. I knew Robs bike had already gone….again! and there was a fair chance Dobbers was out of the water as well. No time to dwell on such things I had to concentrate on pushing on with the bike and…..”Hey is that a Profile aero drinks bottle just here by the speed bumps…they cost loads I’ll get that after the race….” Huh?…oh yeah concentrate, mind on the job so pushing on out of the entrance onto a slight uphill I go into the tuck position and…..”whoa theres someones Oakleys…must have fallen off as they went to put them on and……”. There you go…an insight into the mind of a triathlete…..or not.
The bike leg offers the good cyclists the chance to make amends for a poor swim and/or weak run leg. Fast downhills to catapult you up some longish steepish climbs that loom ahead of you as you speed towards them. Marshalling was great and most (all) junctions were manned with at least two helpers. The initial climb wasn’t too bad but the next one seemed to go on forever especially as the crest is around a corner so first time round it’s a case of keep changing up and spinning. I passed a few road type bikes and got passed by some TT bikes but on the whole didn’t feel too bad. At the second round a bout we go onto the A47. A wide flat smooth surfaced road and it its <click> <click> <click> into top and push as fast as possible. By this time its been over 20mins into the bike leg and its time to take on either a gel or something but the temptation to keep peddling overwhelms so the 20 mins stretches out to 30…35….. Eventually tho you have to eat and as soon as you sit up to do it someone goes past!
I remembered from the Dambuster there wasn’t any tight turns on the course but a couple of times riders sat up and braked on certain corners killing their speed for the next bit. Recceing the route does help.
Unlike the Steelman I actually could see others on the course to chase down but so far no one I recognised. A heavy police and marshal presence as promised at the race briefing was on show especially at the t junction onto the A606. Steve G mentioned how he was shadowed by a police rider and instructed to “slow down” prior to a village. Once into the village the motorcyclist held a steady 20mph and Steves desire to not get a DSQ overcame his instinct to pass!
Seeing several riders attending to punctures it was with great relief I completed the first lap and turned into the entrance at Whitwell just to see Rob exiting onto the road. A quick look at the watch would tell me how far behind I was. Peeling into the bike feed station area took riders past the Lincsquad Supporters VIP Grandstand Area. “The Very Special One” said afterwards some riders stopped next to them thinking they were the feed station. I already had all I needed so I blasted through and a glance at my watch said I was 3 mins behind Rob and the gap was potentially closeable.
More importantly the white framed Oakleys were still by the side of the road.
The traffic was considered unusually high due to the horse trials taking part down the road (I,m not sure if they were found guilty or not…ask Steve or Emily) and traffic had been diverted onto the route due to an accident on the A1. The next lap definately wasn’t as busy as the first although fewer riders meant fewer to chase. Still resisting the urge to go too fast and potentially mess up the run I span up the hills as easy as I could..perhaps too easy. By the time I got to Whitwell I was just happy enough to complete a full bike leg without problems. The majority of Lincsquad were now off the bike. Still on the bike course were Paul Ralph, Nicky Robinson and Lisa Purcell. Lisa admitted afterwards she looked up each time to the hills and almost called it a day by joining others who turned around and coasted back to base for whatever reason. Just as she had made her mind up to turn around Mr wooden leg himself Lewis rode up alongside her on his 2nd lap to give her the boost she needed. A bit of “Crazy woman” self talk later and Lisa conquered the hills and made it back to base with a cycle time of 3h 31m 00s. Nicky wasnt far behind taking seven and a half minutes out of Lisa bike time with a ride of 3hr 23m 35 seconds. A tough ride in tough conditions.
Off the bike and a smooth T2 where I actually sprinted over the timing mat just to shave a few seconds off the T2 time. My legs felt great and just as I thought perhaps I could actually do this running thing I turned the corner of the lake n hit that bloody hill! It was like I’d suddenly been asked to run through mud! Even through the gate it still gradually climbed and my situation was nt helped by seeing Robbie Whitaker running towards me seemingly without effort. Not far behind was Steve Clark and I wanted to shout the gap but I needed the oxygen. Next up the path was Steve G pounding the pavement into brutal submission. The lanky form of Phil Binch soon came into view and with no more Lincsquad outfits looking to be in the distance I took the opertunity for a relief stop against a tree. Everything back in place and I’d just started to put one foot in front of the other to begin running and Dan “Incognito” Bro was there. The lack of team colours meant he was off the radar. “Don’t start running just cos you’ve seen me!” he said as he passed. I laughed…..and then wondered how much time I’d lose chasing after him throwing sheep dung…
The lack of suitable ammo meant I had to keep running. Next up was Rob…oh joy….he was on the end of his first lap and despite looking knackered…not nearly knackered enough for my liking. Disappointingly he also appeared to be unbloodied despite the fact I saw his water bottle on a roadside verge on the bike route. Of course my first thought was he’d crashed…again.
More and more runners came past and it was a while before I saw Dobbers who had a good swim and bike leg. In fact Steve was already over the dam on the return leg of lap 1 and I hadnt even reached the dam. Again I checked my watch to use as a reference for the gap when I eventually reached that point but quickly forgot what time I saw. Reaching the dam I stopped for water. This time The Very Special One had decided to walk all the way round to the furthest point of the course.
So this is whats going to happen everytime I stop? Someone I know would see me slacking off?
In the distance I could see the top of the church which was the turn point. It seemed a lot further then the indicated 2.5km and it wasn’t until I turned the corner near the café overlooking the water that I found out the church I was looking at wasn’t the turn point! One quarter through the run and knowing the route I upped my pace. The out and back format of the long lap gave another opportunity to see the guys starting their second laps. Except for Robbie and Steve C who had now finished. Robbie with a total time of 4hrs 7min 41 seconds and Steve 4hrs 10min 37 seconds. Steves better swim being cancelled out by a storming 2hr 10min cycle leg by Robbie compared to Steves 2hr 16min and then Robbie also putting in a slightly better run than Steve.
Meanwhile the middle aged, lame and lazy continued on their run. Rob now had Dan Bro in his sights and set out to pass him not realising Dan had actually set off ten minutes before him. Also the battle between myself and Steve D was taking shape. Due to the twists, turns and elevations of the run course its difficult to spot people and at a distance all trisuits look the same. Lewis continued on his personal quest for satisfaction…something about a challenge….duel…I forget. Paul Ralph continued on his opening lap and I saw Phil B for the final time as we both crossed the dam. My pace had picked up as the next time I saw Rob was on the dam as he neared the end of his 2nd lap whereas previously we had passed in the trees prior to the dam.
Most have commented on how blustery the conditions were crossing the dam but for me the worst part was the grassy area before the dam. The uneven ground and rabbit holes had me stumbling a few times but each time I passed there it meant the finish was getting closer. With no indication of pacing I was relying on noting the time I started the run and a guesstimate that a 2hr run would get me under 5hrs 30.
Crossing the dam there was still no sign of Dobbers and it wasn’t until I got to the café just before the turn I saw him in the distance. After what seemed like an age we both rounded the turn point at 15km together and Steve grabbed at the jaffa cakes on offer. A few words of encouragement to each other we started our 5km run for home. By this time Lisa was well into her first lap and we passed each other over the dam with the traditional high five. Further along the course Nicky was also on the run with her distinctive pink cap highlighting her amongst the trees.Once across the dam the music and tannoy get louder and every so often you can hear the “Youuuuuuuuu arrrrrrrrrre a Vitruviaaaaaannnnnnnnn”. A glance at the watch showed I was within 5hrs 30 and the last flat footed increase in speed down the hill near the boats was cancelled out by the climb up onto the grass. At this point the two guys around me decided to speed up with one making a proper break for it. The other guy gave up almost immediately and I paced “Usain Bolt” until we got to the bike dismount line then kicked. Unable to straighten my number in time I missed my shout out but kept pushing, crossing the line at least ahead of the two guys on the road but perhaps not on overall time.
Finishers tee shirts and medals were handed out and as many bags of chipsticks eaten as possible whilst a nice lady removed my timing chip as I dripped sweat, chipsticks and snot onto her back. Race volunteers ya gotta love ‘em.
Finishing strongly less than 4minutes later Steve came home to get his Steven Dolby youuuuuuu arrrrre a Vitruvian….” followed by Paul Ralph just as the Red Arrows (who were doing a flypast as part of their colleagues funeral that day) flew over. A nice long soak in the cooling waters that 4 and a half hours earlier had been full of thrashing arms and legs was followed by a burger that probably also contained thrashing arms and legs…hopefully not human.
The Lincsquad massive gathered at the finishing chute to welcome home our girls to well deserved applause not just from us but everyone in the area. Nicky even getting a finishing chute high five from everyone just like the pros.
With the Steelman at the beginning of the year and Vitruvian near the end we have two middle distance races that involve the Lincsquad camping experience. You have to do at least one….ask Lisa and Nicky. They both swore never again after the Steelman.