With short notice myself, Mark Head and Mick Richardson decided to join in the Cleveland Triathlon friendly event. No timing chips etc, but im the first to admit I was racing regardless, I set a target to beat Mick Rich in any event this year! Given he was returning from injury this was my chance haha. The journey took me back 25 years, when I would often travel to play rugby with the tea split in 2 estate cars. 3 bikes n 3 men it was indeed cramped!
On arrival everything was pretty normal for any triathlon: people complaining about the cold, others worrying that the swim is longer and everyone donning lube and neoprene on the edge of the tailgate. The Lavenders were all in attendance Paul, Mick and Sean and met us in the carpark to discuss which way to get lost this time.
Now im not the most organised person but I even surprised myself as I watched the race start, without even a toe in the water. No acclimatisation, no getting goggles on – I made a run n dive for it. Luck for me the water was fine, no shock to the system. It was starting 60 places from pole! At the turn buoy I saw Mick Rich! I was out the water and on the bike desperate to make up time and headed into the wind, knowing. After passing a few people I was out on my own – hoping I was going the right way. At around 10k the wind hit my back and I was hammering under the Jubilee bunting from village to village. Just before the last turn I was informed “LEFT” by another competitor and I swang wide to get back on track.
Out on the run, I enjoyed running behind the pace car and through the caravan park, however this was the “Lost point” Lucky for me Micky Lavender was on his second lap and he got me back on the right track. “Faster” he instructed in a spit of dust. I had a good feeling about this, he looked good and looked first. Pot holes, stiles, nettles and puddles made this another country affair. My second lap was quicker and the Lavenders and Mark cheered me to the line. Id finished 8th so couldn’t wait to see how they had done, after Micky’s unlucky flat tire at Keswick – I hope this made up for it a bit. He came 1st! followed by his dad Paul then Mark Head in 3rd and brother Sean in 4th. Indeed Mick Rich finished and took it well that id beat him – and immediately planned his comeback!!
A big thanks to Cleveland Tri for getting all this at a cost of £3.50 each!! there was just enough time for Mark Head to run another 2 miles to find the straw that came off his aero bottle before heading back up home.