After all the training, that we should have been doing. All the gadgets, that I had purchased, to distract us from the pain of doing the training, that we should have been doing. It all came down to Me, Mrs B and our friend Kirsty, versus 118 other novice triathletes. The date was the 13th September - fortunately a Sunday rather than a Friday. It's not that I'm superstitious or anything but you never know and I find it's best not to dance a tango with fate. As I type this I find myself crossing my fingers, while reciting the Tibetan book of the dead backwards with a lucky rabbit's foot tucked behind my left ear (which is probably why McG is eyeing me strangely from the other side of the room. Just as well he has the hunting instincts of a lump of mouldy old cheese). Glad I'm not superstitious....
I got my bike to my allocated spot in the transition area. Not a huge space for each athlete, so you can imagine how impressed I was with the bloke next to me who had spread his gear out like the cat which manages to take up 3/4 of a king sized bed. I think there is a secret physics formula out there which, using equations, means the smaller the cat the more space it has to take up. With the bloke showing no inclination to move, even after I asked politely, I was forced to make my point by walking all over his stuff as I attempted to setup my bike, eventually he got the message and begrudgingly moved.
For some reason they split the men and women into two separate groups, then combined the results at the end. So Mrs B and Kirsty went off around 15 minutes before me. I think it's only fair to inform you that conditions deteriorated dramatically in those 15 minutes, with the water getting much thicker and even the air getting heavier.......
I liked the big sign posted strategically around the lake that they herded us into for the first phase. The sign reassuringly said "Don't swim in the Lake" in large 'Don't mess with lettering'. Looking at my swim time is seems that I took the signs to heart and subconsciously appear to have floated around slowly......... Kirsty cheated and used youth and the fact that she was the swimming captain of her old school team to post the 6th fastest time of the 118 entries.
be able to see me floating at
the back. Moving more like a
shellfish than a dolphin
I guess you could call it a success. I posted a transition time close to 5 minutes. Sounds OK until you realise the best times were sub 1 minute and I was one of the slowest of the day. It all looked good as I dragged myself from the cold clutches of the ice ridden waters (I'm sure it was so cold that the Icebergs were huddling together at the bottom, in an attempt to keep warm). The wetsuit came off relatively easily, I had remembered to have my shorts on underneath (so no early disqualification for being naked in transition). It was only when I attempted to put on my running top that things went wrong. I managed to get the shirt tangled up in my heart monitor belt. At the point where I was beginning to look like a trussed up turkey I had to swallow my pride, as well as risking disqualification (you are not allowed any assistance, another one of the many opportunities to earn an early exit), and ask some one to unhook me. Oh the shame....
least I got my moneys worth out of
transition. If I had stayed much
longer then they were going to
charge me rent
The bike ride
Still a little discombobulated I set out on the 10K bike ride, just as Mrs B zoomed passed starting her second lap. It took me half the circuit to reel her back in. One thing we noted was that the only bikes that got passed us were the racing bike variety which are a fair bit quicker than the Mountain bikes we were on (yes I know yet another excuse).
Went better than the first transition as it involved no scenes of actual Poultry bondage. Less entertaining for the crowd and certainly less embarrassing for me. I'm frightened to check on YouTube in case I was secretly filmed and am now a minor if very avoidable celebrity -
The most hits this week "The Bondage Poultry dancer"
- just out of interest does anyone know how much it costs for a good plastic surgeon?
I managed to reel in a rather lardy gentleman but it took me ages to work my way around him, it felt like it doubled my run distance.
Kirsty managed a fantastic 40th - Not bad for the girl that said she had done no training, forgot to tell us that she was a swimming captain and abused her position of youth....
I came in 71st - pretty rubbish for someone who had purchased his own weight in gadgets in an attempt to post a decent time - Perhaps I should have used the money to bribe the stewards to let me take some short cuts.
Mrs B came in 91st. Not bad considering she thought she was going to come last - although she let it slip afterwards that she was actually disappointed not to have finished in the top half. Don't laugh, you have to admire her optimism..........
A big thank you to my sister for putting us all up overnight (3 of us that is, the other 115 Had made their own arrangements) and for coming to support us, along with my nephew Alex and Mrs B's parents. Also to the people who rather generously sponsored us for the HSBC charity to rebuild a school in India. My sister came up with a cunning plan, since she has spent the summer in flip flops, she decided as it was turning a little colder to plunge her feet into boots. She soon developed a massive blister and the resultant limp made it look like she had competed in, rather than just supported, a triathlon
It was a fun day and I might be tempted to do it next year, after all I have a crap time to beat and some bad poultry memories to exorcise....
more than just relief on Mrs Bs face
Other news - it's been an exciting week for one part of the BlackLOG house at least, with the release of the digitally re-mastered Beatles albums. I've been a huge fan since around 1977, which was actually 7 years after their demise as a recording group. Their music helped me get through the death of my father in 1982 and has been with me ever since, sometimes lost under the deluge of other music that I have purchased over the years (I'm one of those people who, if someone lends me music and I like it, will go out and purchase it. A true collector - what's that noise? It's sort of a buzzing noise like a cross between a cat purr and a dog growl..... Oh, it's Mrs B grinding her teeth in the background).
I can honestly say that while I like a lot of music, there has never been a group, or singer, who comes close to the Beatles. Yes Elvis had a great voice and did some fantastic songs but vast swathes of his work are embarrassing and of poor standard. Despite some dodgy co-writing credits (Colonel Parker brokered agreements with song writers that Elvis would cover their song if they gave him a credit on the song) he didn't write his own stuff. Where the Beatles beat everyone hands down is the quality of the body of their entire work and the progress that they made from album to album. I guess the Beatles were lucky in that they broke up before the quality of their work started to suffer. How many groups can show the progression from the simplicity of:
"Love, Love me do,
you know I love you"
"Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me"
Yes there are a handful of duffers, Revolution 9 off the white album being the most obvious (but even that seems to have had its influence on some groups, though not ones I like). Personally I can't abide Yellow Submarine but it is universally loved and adored and is certainly a good indoctrination into the Beatles for the younger listener.
Typically for me - I had ordered the new albums to be delivered at work and then ended up working out of the office so had to wait for another three agonising days. While I have listened to the albums a thousand times before, I was looking forward to listening to them with new ears. I've decided to listen to each of the albums in order comparing the old tracks and the remastered versions. OK it sounds a bit lame but thanks to the joys of Ipod very easy to do. I can report that the tracks on the first album Please Please Me sounds much fuller and wider, which is not bad for an album thrown together in 12 hours. I'll let you know how I get on with the other albums over the coming weeks.
Some of my favourite Beatles quotes
When John Lennon was asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world he jokingly replied, "He's not even the best drummer in The Beatles!" This was shortly after Ringo had walked out, during the making of the White Album and Paul had taken briefly taken over on drums.
Question: Does all the adulation from teenage girls affect you?
John: When I feel my head start to swell, I look at Ringo and know perfectly well we're not supermen.
Question:Were you worried about the over sized roughnecks who tried to infiltrate the airport crowd on your arrival?
Ringo:That was us!
Question:There's a "stamp out the Beatles movement" underway in Detroit. What are you going to do about it?
Paul:We`re going to start a campaign to stamp out Detroit.
Question:Sorry to interrupt you while you are eating, but what do you think you will be doing in five years time, when all this is over?