The ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi isn’t just for the elites and health freaks. It’s for the younger, outdated, skinny, big-boned, and even a sports activities journalist who up till just lately considered couch-surfing a correct swimming self-discipline.
On Saturday, stated journalist rocked up at Yas Marina with a newly acquired tri-suit, goggles extra suited to scuba diving, an absence of sleep and the hopes and goals of his pricey mum.
Read on to search out out if he let his mom down.
It’s not begin. I arrive late, dishevelled and disoriented. A very good Samaritan by the identify of Ben Cranwell, whose identify I subsequent see multiple, multiple locations above mine on the results listing, guides me by way of the transition course of and immediately I’m herded down in direction of the marina with a abdomen that’s been infiltrated by butterflies.
Some folks loosen their arms. Others leap up and down. I determine to lean on the rail in try and look unflustered and funky. With the solar beating down, the latter doesn’t final for lengthy.
Four persons are launched into the water at a time and there’s lots slipping and flopping before the ramp disappears and also you’re away.
Two issues instantly crop up. My goggles steam up and objects, human or in any other case, develop into a blur. Secondly – it’s actually, actually chilly. But the momentary panic subsides and I’m really swimming, or doing one thing that carefully resembles it.
The subsequent 750 metres, save for what I’d prefer to think about have been a number of pleasant prods of help from different rivals, go easily sufficient though the steaming is a matter. I zig and zag with out a lot imaginative and prescient before I land ashore with all of the grace of a beached fish.
My body briefly forgets it has legs as I hobble to the place my bike is parked. Thankfully, feeling is restored in time for the pedals and after a fast swig of electrolytes I’m doing OK.
That is till I’m going the mistaken manner on the first flip (somebody shouted proper – that’s my story and I’m sticking with it). Direction, if not dignity, restored, I begin zooming round Yas Marina circuit like a foot-powered Mercedes.
There’s quickly one other snag. My laces catch a nook in my pedal and stop just before my circulation is totally reduce off from my foot. All the whereas others are whizzing previous me and I realise just how irritating pit stops in Formula One should be.
Back on the proverbial horse, I’m provided some pleasant recommendation (‘you’re within the mistaken gear … no, use the precise not the left’) and not-so-friendly (‘what you’re doing is harmful’ – I used to be just rounding a nook, trustworthy) before the circuit fans out and I’m now pounding the encompassing roads.
Still totally confused by how gears work, in addition to nursing an more and more painful bottom, I get to a mutual, unstated understanding racing alongside one other competitor before he betrays me and flies off into the space, too.
Finally, I’m again the place I began.
What’s sunburnt, bushy and wobblier than jelly? My legs at this level. My calves really feel like they’re clamped in a vice and there’s just no gas left on this explicit tank. I mentally flay myself for attempting to cram 12 weeks of coaching into three all through my half-stagger, half-run, which might not look misplaced on the set of The Walking Dead.
Nothing will work. No cartons of water. Not even moist sponges. But as I get to the second refuelling station, and see the sooner athletes coming again down the opposite manner, I vow to myself that I gained’t stop again. At least till the third refuelling station.
The heat’s actually attending to me now and I’m not the one one, with multiple others having lengthy used up their final thimbleful of power. Finally I can see the bike station and this 5km/5000km run is coming to a blessed finish.
An organiser tells me the end is just forward so I summon energy from someplace and breeze previous a number of of the opposite backmarkers. Unfortunately this turned out to be a little bit white lie and there are a pair extra corners to go. One extra teeny-tiny stroll for good luck and I cross the end line with a dip for good measure.
It didn’t make a lot distinction – finishing in about 1hr50minutes, I’m not threatening anyone – however what? I loved that. Roll on subsequent year.