Race day arrives for beginner Ian Cook in part two of Tri-pod to Triathlon
My first triathlon
So the day came, 5 am I left Newport heading east towards Lydney just outside Chepstow. I was feeling ok, no nerves at all at that point. I didn't know how I was still awake, as I couldn’t sleep the night before. As I arrived it was just gone 6am, now bare in mind my wave time was 9 am. I am one of these people who likes to get there early, at least I can work things out, and check my bike again, and then again. As the car park started to fill up, there was a bit of bike envy going on, there I was riding on a bike that I bought cheap off eBay just to get me going.
Once registration opened, I got my chip and race number pack and swim cap, it was then a case of heading into transition to find my place and rack my bike and sort myself out. I had watched YouTube videos on how to set out your transition, so I kept it simple.
My time drew near to head poolside, ok the nerves started to creep in, but still felt ok. After the briefing it was a case of wait for the previous wave to complete their swim before we could enter the water. After what seemed like hours, it was time. OH, CRAP here goes. I jumped in and waited for my signal to start. As the swim started to get underway my pace was a bit quick, was it nerves? or not concentrating? Who knows but after 6/7 laps I started to find my rhythm, I was out of breath but It was manageable. The swim seemed to go on and on, but then the tap on the head signalling I had two lengths to go. I jumped out of the pool and headed to transition, that’s when the cold hit me, damn it was freezing.
I got to the bike I placed my helmet on as I was well aware from what others have said “don’t even touch your bike till your helmet is on and clipped up”. Well, my first ever transition was never going to be quick, four minutes later I headed out onto the road. I was surprised how quickly I dried off. As the bike route started taking shape at about 2 miles in there was a hill with a 10% gradient sign, as I started to climb it, I started to really struggle my legs just didn’t have the power to get me to the top so I had to walk my bike the rest of the way to the top. I started again, at this point my legs were burning and red in colour. It was certainly tough for me due to my lack of saddle time. As the ride went on the course was a little bit more forgiving until I came to the section that we turn back on the route. It was a steady climb up but my legs were burning, I tried to unclip my shoe but no, over I went. Embarrassing, to say the least, but luckily, I wasn’t hurt apart from pride and took a gel and got back on and somehow managed to get to the top (which was a tiny hill in fairness). The journey back I found a lot easier and did the 27km distance in 1 hour 20 minutes (which is shocking) but as I said I wasn’t there for a time. Seeing that dismount sign was a good thing, as I wanted the bike section to be over.
Now it was onto the run. The run at first was a strange as I felt my legs become like lead and it took me a while to get into a rhythm. I found at the start a minute of slow jog followed by a fast pace walk worked for me then my legs came back to life, well a bit! And I managed to get around ok. I certainly found the run easier than the bike. As the finish line approached I could see my mate and a fellow member of my club Jonathon willing me on. That finish line seemed to take forever to reach. Boy was I glad that I have done it.
The beer certainly tasted a lot better that afternoon. I am still new to all things Triathlon, but already I am finding myself getting engrossed into it. I look forward to running, cycling and going swimming.
6 months ago, I was someone turning into an overweight alcoholic and setting myself up for an early grave. Have I stopped going to the pub and going for a curry? No of course not. I still have my Sunday afternoon in the pub with my mates and shoot a few games of pool and I’ll still go out for one or two in the week. I just drink less and find myself training more. I now know where my weaknesses are, and with a little determination and help and support from fellow Triathletes and friends and family who knows God willing I can achieve. See you on the start line ;)
I would like to thank all the people who helped me get started to become a fellow NUTTER.
Amy Jenner, Beverley Lewis and members of Welsh Triathlon, members of Caerphilly Tri-ers, Bobby, Tim, Ross, Helen and of course my family.
Photo credit: Emma Drabble
Looking at doing your first triathlon like Ian? Take a look at our GOTRI page for upcoming events suitable for those who want to have a go at Triathlon