I've taken ages to actually get this written up - start of this year's racing season has seen both Phil and me be really busy - training, work, life - all the general stuff - but, I really wanted to post about this - first race of the season and a great adventure to the Lakes!
I'm the Membership Secretary of one of the local Tri Clubs but I am also the Social Sec (I have no idea how this happened in all honesty) so as a result, I ended up organising this latest instalment of the (now) bi-annual weekend trip to the Lake District, coinciding with Kendal Spring Sprint Triathlon - and my birthday!
It started as a mad idea a year ago. We stayed in Kendal for my birthday and on the day we came home, we happened upon a triathlon - how did we not know this was happening? We were only missing the bikes! Decision was made on the way home, that we would have a go next year, and kept an eye out for it opening for booking. This was then followed by a conversation with one of the lads in the club who was keen to give it a go, and from there it evolved.
Come the actual weekend - there were 12 of us booked in to YHA Ambleside and the weekend began in the pub (this is completely normal!) followed by a bit of cycling, a bit of running (Park Run at Fell Foot Park) a wee bit of swimming for the brave few and a lot of eating/drinking/chatting/socialising.
On race day, we had 11 club members from York, up in Kendal, to do a Sprint Triathlon. One of the club coaches had come up but not stayed with us, to race too. To have so many of the club at an event so far from home, all laughing, chatting and supporting was awesome! What was even better was that we were quite well spread out in terms of swim waves, which meant that everyone got some sideline support at some point.
I went off first, literally the wave before our swim coach, which had the advantage of her not being able to closely study my form and correct me later - there's something a bit unnerving about that in a race! The women's waves managed to avoid the wind but got rain instead. I was a bit worried about my swim as training after injury last year hadn't touched what I did last year but I shouldn't have as I swam well, even managing the overtake. Heading out the bike, it was cold and damp - it took me most of the rolling, hilly, pot-holed bike route to warm up but even then, in T2, cold feet meant it seemed to take me forever to put my trainers on. The run route severed as a reminder that York is nearly as flat as a pancake - with a long steep hill in the middle of a 5k run which was only improved by fact that we had a long decent back into Kendal! Having a cheer crowd there when I came in was awesome though and made such a change to normal.
All the women came in before the men went out, which meant we had a chance to give them the heads up about the course and the pot holes as well as cheer them on, although they unfortunately got the wind rather than the rain. Our coach was so animated - in and out of poolside - watching swim and supporting out in transition/out on the bike.
After the last member came in, we all meet up together for a team photo - and wait patiently to see if our coach had indeed won her age category as we suspected - not that we needed to wait long - and we were over the moon when she had! While we waited, we also found out that the race is held again in September - which clearly got me thinking about the next trip away...
Anyway, members being back in, it was time to gradually make our separate ways home, although a few of us did sneak off to the pub for tea as we were ravenous, before the drive back to York and delicious it was too.
Those that have been on the weekend always say that the last one was the best - they have all been good, but to actually be racing like this, did make it that bit more special. One thing these weekends away have taught me is to never underestimate the power of sport to bring people together to have fun, make friends and make memories.
Bring on the rematch in September.