ITU Leeds Standard Distance – 12th June 2016 by Katherine

The weekend began with the long drive to Leeds, with me reading the race info (and quite where everything had to go, and how many laps you had to run was still a mystery). We got the feeling that someone was following us up the A1(M), which turned out to be Simon. We spent the next 4 hours trudging around Leeds, collecting numbers, dropping various bikes, bags, and stuff in various car parks and fields around Leeds hoping we’d see them again at some point. Just before racking my bike in T1 was a particularly bad time to notice that there was a split in my rear tyre – just to add something to worry about. Alice’s comment of “Oh Blimey!” didn’t instill much confidence in my tyre holding up. Too late to do anything about it now! After a nice meal with the rest of the team back at the hotel, it was time for an early night. I was more keen to get to sleep than two small people!

4am came round far too quickly. Porridge at 5am. Yuck! And then the near impossible task of waking the two small people at 5am. Amazingly we were on our way to the bus stop (the other side of town) by 5.30am! A 30 minute walk later, we were on the bus. A 20 minute ride and then another 25 minute walk later, we spotted the rest of the Time Bandits getting ready for their wave at the start. A quick team photo, and they were off. And then the long queue for the toilet began!

F13422267_10157003741190471_7626723925216435428_oinally in the water, the gun goes and my goggles start leaking! I got an “are you alright, love?” from the canoeist as everyone sped off whilst I was faffing around with my goggles, so I just started swimming with one eye shut. Amazingly I caught up with some people in my wave! In the end, reasonably happy with my swim time of 35:30! 9 minutes later, after a bit of unpacking and re-packing the bag, I’m on the bike and heading up the hill.

(R: We just about managed to see Katherine start, having had another chorus of “I need a wee” from the kids as she was queuing to hear the race briefing. After witnessing her faffing with her goggles, we headed over to the park for a play. Then it was time to start the long walk back to the bus stop. We managed to see Katherine on the first section of the bike before we got to the bus, which was nice).

I quite enjoyed the bike course (must be the new bike!). Amazingly the tyre held out 🙂 I’ve never had such a high average speed (18.2mph) with a time of 1:15:44. Pleased with that.

(R: We got back into town, and stumbled over part of the re-arranged run route. A tall figure in a Meridian onesie emerged from the throng at the turn-around, so I shouted “Go on Simon!” for some encouragement. We stayed here for a little while to make sure I’d seen, and shouted encouragements to, as many Meridain people as I could. The kids’ mini cheddars had run out, so we had to move on. We found a cafe just round the corner. I managed to spot a few of you on the run course in a reflection in the glass door of the cafe. I didn’t shout encouragements at this point; you wouldn’t have heard, and the staff probably would have asked me to quieten down).

Through the gravel car park, re-arranging other people’s bikes so I can rack mine (T2: 3:32), and I’m on to the run .

(R: We’d moved positions at this point, having finished our panninis, and done another toilet stop. We saw Katherine a few times, and Leigh came over and high-fived us. I tried to arrange a meet-up point with Katherine when she was on her penultimate lap, but she didn’t feel like hanging round to chat. And then it was time for another toilet stop! I was frantically checking Katherine’s live race times to see if we’d make it to the finish before her.)

13433097_10157003742340471_4271014202670563640_oI didn’t mind the laps, as I had my 5 hair bands on my wrist to help me count. It was good to see Rhyan, Oliver and Hannah half way up a hill with the signs they’d made. The “see you at the finish” from Rhyan on my penultimate lap was slightly optimistic. I finished (2:52:51) and wandered around aimlessly trying to find them for 1/2 an hour with my free pint of lager. Eventually (by chance!) we bumped into each other and then the whole bag saga began.

(R: Katherine’s time came up on the website, and we were still in the toilets! Argh! Then we had the faff of trying to find somewhere to cross the course (again!) and find our way to the finish. We stumbled across Katherine somewhere round the back of the bag “collection” area).

It was absolute chaos around the bag tent. Rumour had it my bags hadn’t yet arrived, so 2 hours after I finished we headed back to the hotel (via T2 to collect my bike) to have a quick catch up with the others (who were having lunch by now). Quick shower and back out to see the elite women zooming by on the run, and then back to collect the bag. Only to be told that I had to go and collect it from T1 at the lake! There were lots of very very cross people. Forget the bags, we wanted to watch the elite men’s race first. It was great to see them.

Then a quick, no actually a long, drive to the lake since the roads were still shut, we found the bags along with lots more very cross people. By this time the kids had fallen asleep. Oliver woke up for his dinner at TGI Fridays. Hannah slept through hers (and pretty much until 7am Monday morning).

Enjoyed the race, but too much faff around it. Won’t be going back!


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