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One Big Weekend with EUTri
BY Emma Higgs
The weekend of the 26th March promised to be a massive weekend both for EUTri and for me. Not only would I be running our annual club triathlon, I would also be running inStirling Sprint Duathlon. And so the tale begins...
For me the fun really began on Friday when I went down to pick up the van for transporting the race day gear. Within the first 2 minutes I’d already managed to stall twice, possibly something to do with attempting to pull away in 3rd gear. I knew straight away the van and me would not get along. However after a shaky ride to Portobello we arrived to pick up the racks and we were soon on our way out to Tranent. We dutifully unloaded the 18 racks, checked out transition and I suddenly realised that the triathlon I’d spent months organising was really only a few hours away. Back at home, a worried Tesco’s delivery man rang the door bell, afraid I had accidently ordered 50 bananas as my kitchen filled with more and more food.
After a disturbed night’s sleep, in which I woke every hour worried about the time, I was back in the dreaded van attempting to assume the persona of Race Coordinator. Before I knew it competitors were arriving, the timing people were setting up and swarms of high vis-ed marshals hovered, keen to get out on the course and start cheering. After a run through the rules with the competitors, the first heat of swimmers hit the water and the race was underway. I spent the next 4 hours frantically running around, my phone constantly ringing as I tried to ensure everyone was happy. I’m glad to say over the day we only had a few minor hiccups, with some interesting dismounting (or lack of) in transition and a wrong turn or two in the run, but overall the day was great and even the sun came out to support us.
I began a sigh of relief as I drove the van home, but held back when I remembered I had entered the Stirling duathlon the next day! It was perhaps this fear about the next day, or the weary relief that Tranent was over, that contributed to the van and me having a very close encounter with a parking hut when I got back into Edinburgh. Mortifying! After a quick break I went down to meet the other duathletes to load the bikes for the next day. I can’t say the story of my “almost van crash” gave the bike owners much confidence that they would actually still have a bike when they got to Stirling, however they were reluctantly loaded. When I got home I felt like I’d done about 10 triathlons. I’m sure Ironman’s are tough but try organising a triathlon!
I fell into bed and was woken 6hours later with a slight feeling of dread about the rest of the day. Back in the almost dented van, I scooped up Kate and Heather and we were off on our van-road-trip-duathlon-adventure-day. Soon the others arrived in the minibus and we were ready to go. Angus E, Kate and Kirsty would be supporting, and Will, James, Angus K, Finley, Kieren, Heather and me competing.
We headed down to transition to scout out the course. Heather and I would be doing the sprint, a 2-lap 5km run, a 1-lap 20km bike and another 2-lap run. The guys, the championship race, a 4-lap run, 2-lap bike and a final 2-lap run. Before I had time to really think, we were off and soon met the hill that will now be referred to simply as ‘The Beast’. The first 2 laps felt alright, helping to release a bit of the Tranent tension left in my legs and soon I was speeding through transition and out on the bike. The straightforward bike route gives you just enough time to appreciate the incredible surroundings, and as you loop round to start back towards home, the Wallace Monument sits high in the distance beckoning you back. Unfortunately it was a race of many firsts, and during the final part of the bike I punctured for my first time ever. I struggled back, finishing the bike and tried to mentally prepare to meet ‘The Beast’ twice more. First time up, I must admit, was more of a power walk than a run but by the final lap I felt a little more in my stride and pushed on to come to the end of my first duathlon. Heather, not far behind, came across the line strongly to complete not only her first duathlon but also her first ever multi-sport event. The guys all had strong finishes, with some intra-club competition throughout, and we all finished to the cheers of our dedicated EUTri supporters!!
A huge thanks to everyone who helped out and supported me over the weekend. Your help has been appreciated not only by me, but also the Tranent competitors. (See below)