Eastern region relay report – May 2017 by Simon Brown

Gentle drive to Bedford until the car in front decides to let me past because he doesn’t know where he’s going. Arrive to find most of Meridian Tri already there. Register, and then rack bike. Transition is very different for relays because all you put in transition is the bike. Cycling shoes and helmet can be put on in advance.

Once transition is sorted it’s pretty much time for wetsuits as there’s not much time after race briefing before they’re off. My team comprised Matt going first, me second and Gerry third. Matt did a very good swim and then passed the tag to me. I dashed to the lake side and in. Water not as clear as in April but also much warmer. I really struggled to sight properly and found that my wetsuit is just a bit too tight making breathing more awkward. Anyway, I finished, climbed out, found Gerry and passed the tag on – doing upa Velcro tag when you’re tired is a real pain.

Now relax for a bit, remove wetsuit, take photos, eat, drink. Team Elspeth (Elspeth, Trevor and Mark) is first out of the water and onto the bike. Then it’s team Stephen (Stephen, Alice and Leigh) and then Matt. Stephen is back first and explains that the hill about ¾ of the way around the lap is a bit like Barrington hill and you have to do it twice. Joy! Then Elspeth is back and handing onto Trevor, and then it’s my turn.

You have to jog for about 75m to get to the road and the mount line, then quickly settle into rhythm and off we go. Bike is easy for the first 2.5k with the wind behind, then you turn into the wind and up a gentle slope. Then left again and the wind is favourable again, and things are looking promising. Another left turn and you start going up. It’s not as bad as Barrington (I think), but it’s bad enough. Then zoom down the other side, sharp left at the bottom and speed along the flat to the start of lap 2. The only notable bit about lap 2 is that number 8 passed me near the start of the hill but I passed her back going up the hill safe in the knowledge that I would soon die and she would come storming past me again. She didn’t! I can actually go up hills faster than someone else! Finally there’s a red flag infront of me telling me to dismount so I jog the 75m back to transition and pass tag to Gerry. 

And collapse! I’ve now got about 1hr before I need to set off again, so drink, eat etc again. Then off to run transition to catch up with the others. Alice changes places with Stephen now so that she can leave earlier. Race director doesn’t mind. Mark has overtaken Leigh on the bike and comes in first. Rack bike in temporary transition, then with helmet on find Elspeth and pass the tag. Elspeth finishes her run and says that it’s HOT. I decide I need a wee before my run and don’t expect to get my trisuit back on so change into green shorts and my new MTC vest (delivered by Trevor). The vest is quite long so not much of the shorts is visible. Use number belt to hold it up a bit.

The run is hot, but I see Leigh and give him a wave. A big cheer from Elspeth at the start of the second lap, then Mark comes storming past me. I wave at Leigh again and finally hand tag over to Gerry.

And collapse. The finish line is handing out water so grab a bottle and rehydrate. Then get another from the lap start point. And then cheer everyone as they finish. Mark first, Leigh second and Gerry third.

Good fun, well organised and lots of cheery people and LOTS of MTC kit as well – makes it very easy to spot us.

I haven’t got the times but I was generally slowest, Matt did a super swim, and Gerry a very fast run.

Well done by everyone.

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