This was the 2nd race in the East Midlands Sprint Tri series – but as Chris was taking part in the Emergency Services Tri wave, he had a start time of around 1.30pm – much more civilised than the 7 am starts of the main series waves!
We set off around 9am – still pretty early… but having never done this Tri before, we weren’t sure how much Faff there would be. Drive over was easy, and despite it being the weekend of the Outlaw Half, and loads of people setting up for that, it was easy to get on site. There was then a very convoluted drive to the parking area (field with very long grass). Heard they had had to close one of the parking areas due to flooding so that could explain the roundabout route. Tip#1– take cash for parking – was £5 per car – pricey, but we were caught up in the Outlaw. The pass was for the whole weekend – handy when we were only there for 1 day!
As I alluded to in my first post, the weather was beginning to turn – it had been a glorious day in Lincoln when we set up, and I almost left my waterproof at home. Thank crunchie I didn’t. So Tip#2 – ALWAYS pack a waterproof! The wind had picked by the time we parked up – promoting changing of wheels, and pumping of tyres, and messing about with other bike parts I won’t even pretend to be able to identify. All in very windy conditions. We did our good samaritan bit lending the pump to a chap next to us who was having tyre problems.
We then gathered up all the Tri paraphernalia, and headed towards registration. I’d like to point out Tip#3 at this stage. At first it may seem a tip for competitors, but I promise you, it will make you life as a supporter much easier – so, Tip #3 – invest in a proper transition bag. I got Chris the Blue Twenty one – and we both think its great. It has space for all his kit – making packing for a Tri easier – and reducing the risk of forgetting something important. It is also much easier on race day – so I am now no longer weighed down by bags whilst Chris juggles with a bike and box.
We got to registration, and as I took my customary spot loitering outside, holding the bike, I spied a Prosecco van! Awesome, I thought. Its my birthday tomorrow, I think I’m definitely allowed to partake in some fizz later. This leads me to Nottingham Tip #4 – bring your own fizz – the prosecco van was not open…. and it was miles away from the good spectating spot en route.
It chucked it down as I was waiting – there was a lot of registration Faff, which I will let Chris bore you with.
Eventually we headed to transition. There was a lot of waiting around here, as we had to wait for the final folk from the wave before to clear their stuff before Chris could set up. As usual, transition set up, and ‘visualisation’ took an age…… but I got chatting to some v friendly folk, so the time passed relatively quickly. I also got a top tip from a marshal about the best spectating spot. So Tip#5 – at Holme Pierpoint, a top spot for seeing your competitor is to the left of swim entry, as you’re facing the lake. There’s a little grass hill, and you get a great view of the swim, and then you get to see them on their run and cycle quite a few times.
The weather was wet and windy by now – so I was very pleased that I not only had a waterproof jacket on – but also something waterproof to sit on – thats top tip #6. I had my packed lunch – geeky I know – but often the best spectating spots are not near the start/finish, so you’re not near any of the food stalls etc. Besides, if you get as hangry as me, you always make sure you have your own grub!
After I saw Chris start his run, I then walked to the finish area – about 200m from the finish, so I could shout an encouraging “sprint” at Chris. He loves that.
The finish was Faff-tastic. They channel the athletes oneway, through a building, and made it near impossible for us to find each other after the race – at one point I could see him, but couldn’t get to him! Eventually, as you’ve probably guessed, we were reunited, and headed back to the car in a bid to beat the massive black cloud headed our way. We got to the car just as the heavens opened, and also thankfully, we’d just seen the last runners go through, so at least they didn’t get soaked!
Finished the day with a truck load of food and Gin in Nottingham for my birthday. Well earned all round.