IN WHICH WE HAVE SOME RAIN DELAYS WHICH INADVERTENTLY TRANSLATE INTO A TAPER FOR A TRIATHLON THAT WASN’T…
The weather last week was poxy. Poxy is an all-encompassing Irish word which is generally applied to the elements, not least because, in fairness, the weather here is often poxy. But as with all great slang, it is a multi-tasking word, and can be found liberally sprinkled over many an Irish conversation.
“The weather is only bleedin’ poxy, so it is…”
Did you see the game last night? Jaysus, United were poxy…”
And so on.
All of that rain meant even walking the dog became something of a challenge. Greyhounds are a little sniffy about bad weather, and would rather pee on your kitchen floor than get their paws wet and dirty outside. Getting out for a run was a similar challenge. In my defence, I don’t generally pee on the kitchen floor, though…
During the week, a planned visit to some old friends down the country on Sunday turned into a triathlon. It wasn’t the purpose of the visit at all, but when our friend mentioned she was doing a training session with her club, and would I like to join in, it seemed churlish to refuse!
The Wexford Triathlon Club were supposed to have hosted their flagship event yesterday – The Pikeman Challenge – but COVID put the hammer on that one. Shame, as the weather was perfect for the event, and indeed, I even took a little too much sun on my bald noggin once I had finished running and removed my running hat.
The race/training session was kicking off at 10am. So, with a two-hour drive ahead of use, it meant an early enough start. Without the pressure of an actual race with registration, licences, numbers and chip timing, you just had to remember to pack the basics, such as your runners and your bike.
We made good time down the coast to Wexford and found the meeting point near the car park in Rosslare Strand in plenty of time. The local café and bakery seemed to be the centre of attention, with a small queue snaking away onto the pavement. More COVID restrictions. But all good-natured, and home-baked scones that were worth the wait.
We met our friends and went about the business of racking bikes and setting out one’s stall for the day. As it was a more relaxed event, you could choose to do a sprint or a standard distance, or just select from the buffet… our friend, for example, just did the short swim and run. I did the normal sprint distance, but as I found out later, the swim was clocked in at about 900-920 metres by those with fancy watches, and the bike was around 24k. I suspect the run was about the only part that was close to the required 5k distance.
But it was all good. The swim went okay, though I have not been doing any serious swimming at all this Summer, and it took me quite a while to get my breathing under control, and as for sighting… forget it. The swim was an out-and-back, parallel to the shore between two buoys course, and as we reached the first buoy, you realised there was quite a tow in the water, which would explain why a few swimmers afterwards found the outward leg a little demanding. Going back was easier, naturally, and towards the end, I settled into something approaching a rhythm… though that may somewhat cast aspersions on the meaning of the word. If my swim stroke was a heart beat, we were erratic to the point of atrial fibrillation…
I also like to smear a little Vaseline around my eyes before I put on my goggles, but I had forgotten to bring it with me from the car. Needless to say, the goggles started leaking. Enough to annoy you and sting the eyes; not enough to make you stop and fix them. Another reminder that I really need to get out and swim more…
Anyway, I staggered out of the calm waters of the Irish Sea and changed for the bike. By the time I reached the turn point down near Rosslare Port, I knew we would be doing more than the required 20k. Back to the transition area and onto the run course. Luckily there were enough bods out there to point out the correct route. The sun was out in force at this stage, and the sweat was pouring out.
Back to base, and a great training session came to an end. The lovely folk at Wexford Tri Club had laid on a BBQ and some serious treats. Lovely day, lovely people.
We finished the day in style back at our friends’ house with freshly-cooked chilli prawns and brown bread for starters, followed by sea bass cooked on the BBQ with homegrown potatoes and fresh salad; again, most of that from their garden. Simple. Delicious.
Hopefully, we can return next year, in a year that may be free of COVID, and do the Pikeman in style.
Thank you, Rosslare. Thank you Wexford Tri Club.
And thank you Fudge and Lotzy x