I was going to write a whole long post about this day but with one thing and another I never got round to it…. so here’s a quick summary and some pictures.
1) Hot. From the moment Jilli and I arrived at the event venue at 7.30am it was ridiculously hot (shorts + t-shirt and still sweating hot) and it just got hotter.
2) Nerves. When you’re doing a race, you’re really nervous at the start. Then that gun goes, a few seconds of thrashing, and you settle down. When you’re watching, you are super nervous for your athlete at the start. You’re then nervous waiting for them to come out the swim. You cheer. You’re then nervous waiting to see them on the first lap of the bike. You cheer. Then incredibly nervous waiting for them to come into T2 (what if they fell off? Got a puncture? Crashed?) Then… you get the picture. I have never checked my watch more in one day! Especially as it was a hard bike course so the times were a bit longer than normal. Jilli almost killed me as we were waiting for mum to come out of T2 – I didn’t have my glasses on and so every shortish person I saw with a bike I was saying “is that mum? is that mum? that one must be mum!”
3) Plans. Will not go to plan, if you are a spectator. We had planned to run 5k up the cycle course to cheer on from a beautiful spot up one of the hills. We were dressed in our running kit and I had two watches on – one to track our run and the other tracking mum’s times. We started walking along the route of the cycle, at first the edges of the narrow road were absolutely lined with people and we were in the ditch getting past them, then even when the spectators thinned out, there were so many cyclists in the road, constantly streaming past, and no pavement so we quickly realised our idea probably wasn’t the safest and picked another spot to cheer from.
3) Cheering. We cheered and cheered and cheered. Every GB athlete. Sometimes they were coming so thick and fast all we could say was “GO GB!” Mixing it up by trying to shout people’s names. Shouting “LOOKING STRONG GB!!!” The run was fantastic as we saw some people three times due to us moving around the course – once coming out of transition, once on the first lap and finally coming in towards the finish. I felt like I knew some of the athletes! We cheered on the different nationalities and I can report the Germans were the friendliest in response. We shouted “HOP HOP HOP” which seems to be what the Austrians shouted. We tried some Spanish and failed miserably in remembering ‘tres bien’ until the French athlete was a long way away from us. We clapped and we cheered and we yelled encouragement and we absolutely loved it.
4) The course. Difficult! A brutal cycle with six relentless hills, a run in the heat of the sun with a particularly nasty steep out-and-back. A huge transition area (most peoples T1 times were over 3 minutes …. mum’s was almost 6!)
5) The finish. Wonderful.
6) The after-party. In a ski restaurant up the mountain with absolutely stunning views, where we ate with mum’s friends from her tri-club, had some wine and watched the sunset.