Sunday, 13 July 2008

A New Arrival

We head off to the Erewash Triathlon this morning, a leisurely start because my start time isn't until 10am. Doggo and I go in the car, L cycles, which is a bit of a bolt from the blue. Mind you, the quiet early morning roads will suit her. I just hope she doesn't get mixed up in the race because the early starters will be out on the course from 8am.

In the registration queue, I get in a debate with a couple of chaps about punctures. Neither of them seem to suffer them and therefore don't carry a spare tube. I recount my tale of woe from Caythorpe. One of them says he'll look out for me and more specifically my tyre changing skills whilst he's on the bike course. When we get to the front of the queue we discover we have consecutive numbers and are therefore on the same swim start. So it will be easier for him to keep his eye on me than he thought.

My number one supporter, L, arrives and we fetch my number two supporter, Doggo, out of the car. My phone rings, number three supporter, my Father, has arrived.

At the swim start, I get talking to someone else about punctures. They've had even worse luck than I have. Last year she ran over a nail as she was wheeling her bike out of transition, ripping the tyre. So even having a spare tube was of no use. At least she's back for another attempt.

Blimey, I'm being social to someone at the start, how odd. Am I unfocused? Come to think of it, I'm not nervous, at all. In fact, I'm even looking forward to it. I must be ill.

The enjoyment aspect lasts until the end of my second length because on my third I catch up a slower swimmer and have to go around them, which involves a touch of 'sprint' swimming. During which I lose my breathing, start gasping for air and my breathing every third stroke disappears completely. I flounder and near drown for the next ten lengths or so before I finally get it back together for the last two. During my floundering phase, probably whilst I was trying to attract the attention of the lifeguard, someone blasts past me. I mentally try to work out their number so that I can get my revenge later, once I get out this wet stuff. If they are the next swimmer after me it'll be my number plus six, if the one after, my number plus twelve.

I finally escape from the water and run down to transition, which they have moved further away this year, to the back of the pool, but it just feels great to out of the dreaded water. I run past a couple of people who are walking. Walking? I ask you.

I think my transition is good and the bike is actually even better. I immediately blast past a couple of folks who are barely moving on their mountain bikes but then I have problems reeling in a chap on a straight handled bike that he's equipped with tri-bars, so he must be some kind of half-psycho and his number is in the same batch as me, so he must have out swam me. Thankfully, four miles in when the road starts to go uphill, he appears to falter and I catch him. Gotcha and bye bye.

We have to contend with a batch of loose chippings on one of the roads, that the council kindly laid last week, as they tend to when they know there's an event on. I see a couple of workmen sat in a van and I'm sure I can see them laughing.

Despite their efforts at sabotage, I get a good pace on and no one passes me at all which is good. It makes such a difference this year to be able to change down on my chain ring whereas last year I could only change up. So, last year, I had to start in low gear in preparation for the one hill. This year I could start in a high gear, get a good pace on then change down for the hill.

I arrive back in transition feeling I've put in a quicker bike than last year. Another good change over and on to the run, which they call two laps but that's misleading because the second lap, although similar to the first, is shorter. Again, I pass loads and no overtakes me. I even enjoy it. Bizarre eh?

I reach the finish and collapse. My time is a minute and a half faster than last year. I'm currently 5th but most of the top competitors are still to finish, so we sit and have a coffee while I wait for my name to slide down the results. In the end, I'm 35th, which is a lot lower than last year, but in a much bigger field.

We head home to collect Daughter, who has insisted on joining us, when we head up to visit the pup. We get to his farm and meet him along with his Mum and Dad. We watch as his Dad jumps a fence. Could there be an agility dog somewhere in his genes? The pup himself seems a real lively little tyke, not at all timid and I'm struggling to think of any reason not to have him, other than the fact that he's a real lively little tyke and not at all timid. Unfortunately I need that sort of 'spirit' if I'm to progress with the agility.

L's being really unhelpful, having suddenly become almost mute. Although I can see she's bursting to say something helpful, such as 'ahhh isn't he so cute', that sort of constructive comment. She had said that she was determined not to melt and blubber how beautiful he was etc etc, this had to be a cold-hearted decision... that I had to make. I could ask Doggo what he thought but I'm sure he'd say that 'no, under no circumstances are we going to have a pet', so he stays in the car.

Therefore, we brought the little man home. Daughter sat him on her knee wrapped in a towel, tickled his worried little face and he vomited on her. At first, she wasn't sure why we'd given her a towel, now she knows why.

With a new arrival in the household, we stay in to celebrate with a bottle of wine. Whether this is to celebrate qualifying for Crufts, a good triathlon position or a new pup I'm not sure. Let's say all three. Cheers. It's been a mad few days.

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