On the balcony, I removed the bike from its case. Put the wheels and pedals back on and re-fixed the handle bars. All looked good.
On Wednesday there was an invitation to be walked around the transition area. Here I met a few other athletes and a swim was arranged for Thursday morning. At 10 am Thursday we swam the rough course that had been described to us and then arranged to meet at 3pm for a recognisance of the bike course. It felt like it was going to be quite fast. A slog out of town up rolling hills that generally went up. Then back down to the coast in another place. Turn around, up to the top of the hill and then a fast ride back to the start.
Friday was a rest day. Then Saturday at 10am it was time to rack the bikes. At 2pm we were all ready, in our wetsuits and stood on the beach. A big crowd was watching and a PA system with music and an announcer telling the crowd we were about to swim 7.6km, ride 360km and then run 84km. Since my arrival on Tuesday the wind had steadily increased. It was now at 35mph with gusts of 40mph. The bay was sheltered but the waves had picked up a little in the wind. It still looked ok to swim in, but a bombshell was dropped. There were under currents and it wasn’t going to be safe to swim.
The race was postponed until 4pm and was going to start with a ½ marathon instead of a swim. I think I wasn’t the only one who felt disappointed, but safety must come first.
The run started off as planned, walk up the hills run down them. 32 laps required and I was running at around 21 minutes a lap. On one of my walks a fellow athlete tried to get me to run with him, but I was determined to stick to my plan as running to much would make it harder later. It got harder later anyway. The first ½ marathon went well. Then it descended into more and more walking and a pain in my right leg which made it almost impossible to run. As there was aid stations on the run I had told Maria to go and have a sleep. Twice I went off the course to our room to try and sort out some blisters on my left foot. I was barley walking now. After the 1st marathon was completed Maria came back to support me. I gave in to my no pain killers rule and took an Ibuprofen. With this and Maria now back helping I was able to pick up the pace and with a determined grit I power walked/ marched until the end. Not stopping at aid stations and Maria feeding me by running along side me at the crew station.
This was a fantastic experience. The camaraderie of the athletes and organisers is empowering and really helps drive you to the finish. There were 38 starters, and I feel proud to say, on a first attempt at this distance, I was one of the 15 finishers. I also have to thank Maria for crewing for me and staying up all night with a cold to keep me in order , fed and safe. This is the first of many doubles I am sure and I can’t wait to get back on my bike and out there again!