Up in Hathersage this morning for the 'hilly' triathlon. I get an unexpected warm up as I wheel my bike to the transition area and realise I've forgotten to put my number on it and have to do a quick jog to the car and back.
Apparently, there are 70 people doing their first triathlon today and most of them seem to be in my swim lane, breaststroking. So it seems that I've underplayed my swim time again. It's a bit bizarre that anyone would pick the Hathersage 'Hilly' as their first event but then again, I suppose, why not? Budding psychos the lot of them.
Due to the amount of floaters, I have to do a lot of overtaking but thankfully the lanes are nice and wide. So, it isn't much of a problem and I don't struggle with my breathing as much as last week. I do have a problem with the marshal who is supposed to be counting my lengths. It seems an age until he tells me I only have two to go and even then, he shouts it, as if as an afterthought, rather than show me the board as he's supposed to. The solution I suppose is to learn to count my own lengths. I suppose his counting must have been ok because my swim time was a minute and a half quicker than last year.
The bike is really good and I tussle with a fellow competitor as we head down the steep downhill into Grindleford. Here there is a right turn and the race rules state that you must stop and put your foot down. The marshals shout at my rival to stop but he doesn't and they announce that they'll penalise him. When I check the results later, he's actually been disqualified. This is perhaps a tad harsh; a stiff time penalty might have done the job.
His not stopping gets him a gap ahead of me but I catch and pass him once we start the big hill climb that takes us up parallel to Froggatt Edge. I also power pass loads of others and I'm feeling really pleased with myself.
At the top of the hill, with most of the climbing over, I look forward to the fast descent back into Hathersage. Then the wind hits me, its blowing a gale at the top. Descending is not the picnic I expected with the wind trying to blow me back up the hill.
Eventually as I lose height, the wind drops a little but disaster strikes as my rival comes back past me, as does another chap. I'm doing 42mph as we approach the 30mph limit, in a strong crosswind and I don't really want to go any faster.
Back in the centre of Hathersage, I'm a little confused as to where to go and the traffic is horrendous. I see two marshals, one either side of the road, both with their hands by their sides, so I go straight on. One of them shouts after me, I should have gone left. I have to turn around and go back but due to the traffic, it's a while before I can do so.
Into transition and they direct me to the correct bike rack this year, they tried to mislead me last year. My bike time is three minutes slower than last year but according to my bike computer, my average speed was up, so I would have been quicker, had I not got lost.
I grimace at my supporters, L and a vocal Doggo, as I head off for a nice trot along the river. My support crew regrettably doesn't include my father this year, as he's at home recovering from his operation. Soon the 'nice' trot is over and I'm clambering up those blessed hills, they're still evil but thankfully not as slippery as last year. One girl who I pass is close to tears and convinced that we've all gone the wrong way. No, sorry love, it's supposed to be this grim.
I finish 96th of 220. Not bad but two minutes slower than last year, although getting lost on the bike clearly didn't help. My run was also slower, not sure why.
L vows to never skimp on the puddings again because she didn't make me one last night. I will need to do a spreadsheet and cross-reference all my results with which puddings she made, to work out which one works best.
I fetch Mini Doggo from the car. He's travelled up with us in his soft cage, which he hated at first but I think he's getting used to it. We chill on the grass and have a coffee. Chill isn't quite the right word because Doggo is only interested in the game of football a group of kids are having close by. He keeps trying to tow me across the grass towards them.
Then unfortunately, there's no time for the customary hot bath and warm down at home, because Mini Doggo has a heavy tour of socialising to get through. First, we meet Daughter in the middle of Derby then we visit L's parents, the kids' father, my parents and my brother. As he gets to the last bit of socialising Mini Doggo just flakes out, totally exhausted but not before he's had chance to fall into the pond at my parents place. He isn't at all fazed by the experience. It doesn't look as though he's going to be as water-phobic as dog number one.
Finally back home, L does the gym while I watch the cycling and crack open one of the bottles of Batemans 'Dark Lord' that have been lurking in our cupboard for ages. I didn't really like it before but it's now a whole year out of date and is starting to actually taste pretty decent. I have a second one just to check. Yep, pretty good now. I'm really getting into this past the sell by date beer, gone off beer is seriously underrated.
Rather than cook we hit the takeaways, curry for us, pizza for the kids. We even manage to slot in a late watershed busting warm down.