National Club Relay Championships

National Club Relay Championships

Nottingham – Saturday 24th August 2012

12 intrepid members (plus 6 children and one babysitter!!!) of West Country Tri ventured up to Nottingham for the Relays this year making up 3 (supposedly!) equal ability mixed teams for this unique relay challenge.

Travelling up on Friday and setting up camp proved much easier than last year but all our concerns were focused on the awful weather forecast as Julian’s iphone thingy was hotwired to the met office showing non-stop rain! Friday evening was quiet  on the alcohol front until Jason and Vicky arrived to down  a quick couple bottles of wine and half a dozen cans of cider. Just the usual warm up for the race!!

 Saturday morning came only to realise that Julian’s iphone thingy had in fact been hotwired to Michael Fish because it couldn’t have been more wrong. 20 degrees, light winds and clear skies meant for perfect racing conditions. The usual frantic getting everyone to the start on time went seamlessly and the 8.45 start saw Ceeli, Jack and Martin prepare for the washing machine like mass start.

 With 200 competitors crammed into an area no bigger than your average hot tub, the start is always frantic, to put it mildly. With that said, all 3 WCT members found a bit of clear water and all came out relatively unscathed and just 13 seconds apart with Ceeli 5 secs ahead of Martin with Jack a further 8 secs back.  The closeness of the teams continued throughout the swim and the lead constantly changing hands. The entertaining handover of bands also went like clockwork, even though Jason’s inability to identify Liz and was just calling anyone in an Orca wetsuit Liz didn’t hinder their change-over.

 Just 46 secs  separated the 3 teams after the swim section with Ceeli and her team of Julian at 2 Charlotte at 3 and Matt taking the anchor role, just 33 secs ahead of Jack, Lee, Liz and Jason. A further 13 secs back was Martin, Vicky, Tabby doing her 1stopen water race and Olympics inspired James. So on to the bike where 3 x 5k laps had to be completed before the handover. Ceeli quickly tucked into a pack of 6 riders which meant however hard Martin tried to close the gap, it proved to impossible. They came into transition just 3 secs apart with Jack now 4 minutes adrift. A great bike effort from Vicky kept her in touch with Julian while Lee managed to read the paper on his bike and lost a further 3 mins on the others. On the 3rd leg, Liz clawed some time back over Charlotte and Tabby while Charlotte extended her teams lead over  Tabby to over 4 minutes. On the final bike leg, Matt produced the fastest split of the club to increase his teams lead which meant they held a 5 minute lead over Martin’s team who were a further 4 mins ahead of Jack and his team.

 And so onto the run with each person having to complete 1 x 5k lap of the lake. Martin and Vicky reduced the lead to just 40 secs over the leaders with Jacks team now some 9 minutes behind. After sabotaging our team with Charlotte knocking Tabby off her bike the week before, Tab limped around the run, and with Charlotte having a superb run leg extended the lead back to 7 minutes, and with Liz also running well, pulling her tea within 3 minutes of second place. And so on to the final leg with Matt in an unassailable lead bringing his team home in 3 hours 41 mins and 37th overall. With Jason on the last leg, he set off on the chase to catch  James who was not so fresh from his Olympic lay-off! With less than 200m to go Jason passed a flagging James to take 2nd place by just 10 secs in 71st place overall, and our 3rd team taking 73rd place.

 What a fantastic race it was with all three teams making the podium!! Thanks to Ceeli for sorting the teams and looking forward to next year already. Well done all.