Amanda Clements joins the Quadrathlete honour roll at the recent Dearne Valley Quad event. Heres her story…
Manvers Quadrathlon 11/06/2017 write up
So quite a while ago I entered my first Quadrathlon, the Manvers Quad, fully intending to get some kayak training in before the event. I then forgot all about it until the day before the Bomber when we took our rickety old kayak down to the Ancholme. There, after anxiously squeezing myself into the cockpit, I managed a steady paddle of about 500m. I forgot about Manvers again until the night before the event when I printed off the instructions. After realizing the whole family would need to be on the road by 6.30 am I decided it was going to be too much hassle and I’d quite like a lie instead. The event had only cost a grand total of £22 for myself and Charlotte so it didn’t matter really. I set my alarm for 5am though “just in case”.
The morning of Sunday 11th arrived and I was awake before my alarm, it was a bright and sunny so I woke a sleepy Mark and said “Come on were off to Manvers after all”
As I’d done zilch preparation the night before we hurriedly packed all the kit and were on the road by 6.40. I read the event instructions on the way in the car (no way to prepare for an event I know)
Once we arrived the Manvers team were extremely helpful and sorted myself and Charlotte out with a kayak each before we registered then set up in transition.
Ewan, Henry and Charlotte raced at 8.30 in the first ever Quadkidz event in the 9-12 age group which consisted of a 100m swim, 2k bike, 400m kayak and 2k run. It was fantastic watching the kids and Ewan put in a strong, determined performance to win a first place medal with Henry in second. Charlotte’s heart wasn’t in it on the day however and after umming and arghing all morning, pulled out after the swim.
Then it was the seniors and we posed for a photo in the water before setting off on the 2 lap, 800m swim course. I struggled for space at the start but soon got into my stride and thoroughly enjoyed the lake which was warm and weed free.
It was then onto the mountain bike for the 15km out and back ride which was mostly on a pretty towpath style path surrounded by shrubs, woodland and sometimes next to a river. I quickly regretted not bringing my cyclocross bike which would have been perfect for a speedy ride. As it was I was on my chunky mountain bike with my seat far too low (yes I know I should have checked it before I set off) and discovering that ON running trainers are useless for pedalling in. The path was narrow in places with quite a few pedestrians about but all the competitors were friendly, shouting encouragement to each other and giving way when necessary.
After the turn around point it was a pleasant downhill ride back to transition before heading to the kayaks for a 4k paddle (5 laps of 800m) I was dreading this leg due to my complete lack of preparation and inexperience in a kayak, and the high winds blowing across the pond stirring up choppy conditions. As I struggled across the first 200m my arms immediately started to ache and I convinced myself I couldn’t manage the full distance. At the first corner a kayak marshall pointed out my paddle was the wrong way round, and the 3rd quarter of the lap was a ‘mare, the wind constantly trying to blow the kayak off course and into the middle of the lake. At the start of my second lap I was overtaken by Pete and Sallie who told me she was just starting and her 4th lap. They both paddled off leaving me bobbing along in their wake. Andrew, Wayne, Jean Ashley and other various speedy race boats all came sailing past at regular intervals as I bobbed slowly along in my little blue boat, joking with other competitors that the kayak was going to take me a long time. On the bright side however the ache in my arms had gone, the sun was shining, I felt happy and I realised if I just kept bobbing I could make the distance.
After what seemed like an eternity I finished the kayak and set off on the run. It was at this point I discovered the real beauty of doing a Quadrathlon over a triathlon – yes my arms were now shaking like an octopuses tentacles but oh boy did my legs feel fresh! So much so that for once I enjoyed the run which started on the same pleasant path as the bike before branching off to do a circumference of the lake, finishing with a nice welcome downhill into the finish line where I was met with cheers and a hug from the chap handing out finishers medals.
So how do I feel about this event now? I can honestly say I loved it. I’ve gone from being unenthusiastic and almost staying in bed to saying it will be on my list of to do races next year. Even Mark said he is going to sort out his dislike of open water swimming and have a go. The atmosphere was friendly and informal, the venue lovely and the distances made it a pleasant race without being too much of an ordeal. And of course we got to watch the kids. Anyone looking for a first quad I’d certainly recommend this one. I even got a smile and hug from Pete C at the end so it must have been a good day!