The 5pm start was a treat – a lie in, plenty time to eat and get ready, or so I thought. In fact I had prepared everything anyway and spent most of the day twiddling my thumbs with nervous energy. Our “Eco hut” that provided our accommodation was impressive, 4 bunks and a table for Mya to sleep under, in the beautiful Budle Bay Campsite.
On arrival the setting was impressive. The fortified Bamburgh Castle guarded the transition area from the sea with the world famous view of Lindisfarne, Holy island just beyond the dunes. Whilst this depicted a Northumberland postcard to many, it was also a picture of pain to the athletes. The run to transition was to be a ‘through the dunes, uphill soft sand challenge’ once favored by 1960’s football coaches.
2006 world and 5 times British champion Tim Don arrived, great to see a top athlete being also a top bloke – just chatting on to everyone, getting pics and raising the atmosphere to 10. Joanne took many pics paparazzi style as she took a bit of a shine to the man we had watched on TV.
“The 3 Musketriers” – Charlie, Emma T and Emma L were ready to start their first triathlon as a relay team and anxiety steadily built as the crowd started to pull on the rubber, and make the journey to the beach start. I could see by Dave’s unusual enthusiasm, that he had prepared well for the swim and was keen to put training into action. After a short warm up with the Jellyfish, we were ready at the line in the sand.
From the off I felt like the whole swim was taking place in 1 pool lane, a few kicks and elbows connected and I could see Leigh getting the same. Although it was a 750m swim – it felt hard all the way, is that good? I asked.
As predicted the run up the dunes was hard, my legs moved like they were in a bad dream but the feeling looked mutual. I could feel the burn very early out on the bike, not due to cadence or speed – must have been the sand. It soon subsided and I rolled up and down the course. A Durham city triathlete set a good pace for me to chase almost all the way. I was out about 7k and Tim came flying past the other way with a huge lead on everyone else. On the way back I had to undertake 2 cars, 2 emotions – “fear” and “cant wait to check my top speed”
The run was back over the dunes, by this time the kids playing with buckets were skipping quicker than I was moving. I’d been picked off a bit on the bike but as soon as we hit the hard sand I made some places back. This was the only run that I wished was longer, out and back on the beach was amazing. Once back over the dunes again and the rest was over quick.
Dave and the 3 Musketriers came in afterwards, all with smiles – Well done! But a big shout has to go to Leigh “pro” Procter who chased me all the way putting in his best performance. Its great when there’s that close rivalry – no doubt i’ll be chasing him down in the future!
The race was over and the free beer flowed, both myself and Dave had spotted the starting air horn in the bar and dared Mya to press it. I knew she wouldn’t do it but just as I poured the pints “EETOOT” everyone turned to the 11 year old menace – fortunately laughing along!
After the drinking Dave and Emma decided to partake in the fourth discipline of the day. Emma succeeded in the most repeats of “What’s this drink? where do you get it?” Emma it was REKORDERLIG from MORRISONS! And Dave decided to base jump in the middle of the night from his bunk, using his face as a parachute! Ouch!
A great weekend with great friends!