In July I entered the Cymmer Tri. Cymmer Tri is an off road triathlon near Afan Argoed, my favorite mountain biking destination.
Cymmer Tri is a 600 meter pool swim, 20.8k mountain bike, and 6k run. The novice distance (which I did last year) is half that.
Triathlon is awesome because it is entirely faff.
Faff is a very British word that is described as:
"To dither, futz, waste time, be ineffectual, "I spent the day faffing about in my room". Mainly found in Scotland and the north of England, but also popular in South Wales"
How much faff is Triathlon? First there is the epic packing of the car:
The key to boy-packing is that even though you have a whole car to pack you should always make your girlfriend sit on all her things in the front seat
Then you get to the race and you set up your "transition" which takes ages and involves putting baby powder in your shoes and race numbers on your shirt
It also involved strapping candy bars to your bicycle with tape and nom-ing jelly babies (if you're the Brewer half)
As always, I am the sensible one with a tri-bag, which is a little snack bag on the front of my bike which I normally fill with jelly-babies and fig rolls (or jelly beans and Fig Newtowns for my American readers [my dad])
The bag is awesome because when you desperately need snacks they are right there for snacking! I also like eating bite-sized pieces of things so couldn't be messing around with unwrapping a candy-bar on a ride. I even pre-cut my fig-rolls into fig-bites.
Then you have your transition basket. All cool people have transition baskets, to carry around all the transition things to and from transition.
And then you do a triathlon! I had seeded myself a bit too high in the swim which was annoying because most of the people started the swim before me (they start the swimmers slowest to fastest) and by the time I got in I felt like I was behind.
Actually my swim position was 30th out of 50; I was 40th in the pool so I had ranked myself 10 places too high. Whoops.
My transition took me 1 minute and then I went out on the Bike - I was right behind Brewer half for a while but then he steamed up the mountain and I was left grinding away. It was an annoying climb. I made up some time on the descent but was still 42nd overall for the bike.
And finally, the run. Running is the worst. I was very tired, and I really thought I was last. I was almost positive I was last. I finished the run in what I thought was last, 33 minutes and in 45th place.
Overall I was 44 out of 50. But if you include everyone who did not finish, and those who did not start, I was 44 out of THE ENTIRE WORLD so that's pretty awesome!
After triathlon the faff starts again - you do everything in reverse, pack it all down, load the car, and head back home with you triathlon basket and a medal.
It's a good sport!