Ely Monster Middle – 22nd August 2016 by Team Probert

Team Probert do Ely Monster Middle

I don’t think I’ve checked the weather forecast in the lead up to a race so much before, but it wasn’t looking good. The main decision was: do I race with my deep rim wheels, or steal Rhyan’s shallow rim wheels (but they wouldn’t look so good 🙂 )? It was certainly blowing a gale when I registered on the Saturday afternoon, and the river didn’t look particularly inviting.

3.15am came around far too soon, and we were wondering why on earth we were doing this. Porridge barely eaten and kids dragged out of bed by 4am, we were on our way. It was a great relief to see the wind had died down a bit, but we could have done without the rain as my mechanic set the bike up. It was a wet and bleary-eyed walk along the river to transition, which was well organised. Handily there was a park next to transition so Oliver and Hannah could play while I sorted my stuff.

Transition closed at 6.15am, which gave us time for the 1km walk to the swim start point downstream. It seemed an awfully long way. Oliver and Hannah did their best to distract me by point out all the cow pats along the way.

14054519_10157304333085471_1988233205780146454_oRace briefing done and a quick jump into the water and we were off. It was a pleasant 18 degrees and thankfully the current didn’t feel that strong. But annoyingly again my goggled leaked, so I had to stop a couple of times to sort them out. Despite what I’d been told the day before, I wasn’t in the fast wave, as it was done by entry order, so I had some company other than swans. It was a nice calm swim until the next wave caught up and the river got a bit choppier, but it wasn’t too far until the turn-around point and the exit. I was pleased to see that I was out in 45:37.

(R: With Katherine in the water, it was time for us to walk all the way back. Oliver and Hannah wanted to feed the ducks and swans “to distract them from eating mummy”, so we stopped about half way along the swim to do that. We saw Katherine come past, and made our way closer to transition. Katherine was looking good coming out of the swim, so we jogged over to the bike exit to see her out as well).

13996118_10157304333115471_6063080561659656534_oOnto the bike (with my own wheels) and the route started heading up the A10. The tail wind along here was a nice but I knew the average speed of 18.1mph at 7 miles was soon to drop. It’s a very flat course along open fen roads, and with the wind there were some hard bits with head winds and side winds. However the last 5 miles or so of each lap had a very welcome tail wind. There was a sneaky up and down a short, sharp hill right at the end, but 92.8km done in 3:19:10. Happy with that.

(R: Once Katherine was out on the bike, it was time for the obligatory bacon sarnies and hot chocolates, and then a brief play in the park next to transition. Hever Castle Half Ironman is good for spectating, as you can see them come past at the half way. Not so in Ely, unless you drive out onto the course. Walking all the way back to the car park didn’t really seem like a good idea to me, so we spent some time playing in parks, watching some Olympic distance competitors come in on the bike and then walking into town. Having done that for a while, it felt like it was time for some lunch, only to see that it was just gone 10am. Oh well. We managed to make it down to near the start to see Katherine starting up the final short hill, and then jogged over to transition to see her coming in on the bike and going out on the run).

Now to test the leg: stupidly I carried Oliver out of the car on Friday evening and twinged it. So annoying since training had gone so well. I had visions of it being as bad as Hever (first attempt). Anyway, it turned out to be ok and it was nice to be overtaking a few more people. There were three hills on each of the four laps, but it was a pleasant run around the city and through the Cathedral grounds. I saw my support crew (mostly on the climbing frame) on each lap as well as Jane and Louisa (not on the climbing frame!). Thanks for coming over to support 🙂

(R: At least with the four lap run course there were plenty of opportunities for us to see her come past us. We positioned ourselves in another park by the finishing shute. More playing, and an ice cream, and a few rounds of “Go mummy!”. It was nice to catch up with Jane and Louisa, too).

13962861_10157304333380471_154919948761363910_oNot long after I started the run my gel fell out my pocket – it was pointed out and I picked it up and squeezed it into my number belt only to realise a bit later it had gone again. Not to worry – the next lap round I found it again. By lap three I was convinced I’d gone the wrong way as there was no way it was going to be 13 miles. A quick chat with a fellow runner reassured me that I was on track and the run did only end up being 12.2 miles. It was nice to see Oliver and Hannah waiting for me at the finish shute to finish with me. I was pleasantly surprised to see my finish time was 5:56:09! (3rd in AG – apparently I’ve won some shoes!).

Anna – thanks for recommending this event, though at 3:15am I wasn’t convinced!

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