Sunday, 18 April 2010

Galashiels Triathlon

Left for Galashiels in strong drizzle and with some gusting wind. Not the best conditions for a triathlon. By the time I reached Stow on the A7, the sun had broken through and it was a different picture, but a false one as I was to learn later.

The Borders tri series is a friendly, low key event. It is well organised and the scran afterwards is always good. This was to be my first tri for over three years and I was looking forward to it. The logistics for tri’s are that much more complicated than for running and to add to matters I had Harvey with me and he takes a bit of thinking about too. On the way to the event, I remembered what I had forgotten – my swimming goggles. It was just as well we were swimming at Gala pool, and I was able to buy a pair there. Once I had got my transition pitch ready, I hung around waiting for the briefing. This hasn’t changed much over the years, but it is useful to hear about the course. The announcer didn’t fill us in on hills etc, but I heard from a fellow competitor that there was a big one not long after you get on the bike and after that it is rolling.

So on to the swim, I was in heat 2 in the third lane with a black swimming hat. It turned out to be a good lane because only two of the other colours turned up which meant there wasn’t too much swapping positions at the end of the lane. I got a bonus because I miscounted and I was tapped on the head after what I thought was 26 lengths, but it turned out to be 28.

Straight outside, shoes and helmet on and off I went. By then it was raining properly and quite cold. I didn’t feel it at first, but I only had a tri suit on and when we got up the hill and exposed, it was cold. I managed this quite well; my main worries were that I wouldn’t be able to brake properly, because my hands had become numb or that my hands might slip off the handlebars, because everything was so wet.

I got up the first hill quite well and got into a good rhythm on the bike. I was in a group of about five who kept over taking each other and this is a good way to get through the kms. Then it felt bumpy under my back wheel – a sure fire sign of a flat tyre. I got off and found… yes it was a flat, but not fully flat, but it was going soft. I wouldn’t have been able to change the tyre because my hands were numb. After a few minutes I was off the bike again, trying to get the pump on the tyre with my numb hands – it worked and I got another couple of kms in before I had to get off again and pump. Fortunately, I was quite near the end of the ride and made it back to the transition area. I reckon I lost about 10 minutes because of this.

Off with the helmet and on with the running shoes and around the hilly, rooty course through the park woods. I was having trouble running on numb feet and seeing through steamed up and rain covered glasses and you had to be careful of the roots, ditches and rocks. Got around and the finishing time keepers shouted well done.

Not far behind me was a guy I know from past tri’s and we got chatting. Then it emerged that he had run around the course twice. I had forgotten it was two laps! A quick word with the time keepers and I was off around the loop again. It was much easier the second time!

So it was testing and a bit of a disaster, but I enjoyed the banter and meeting people I knew. The results will be out in a couple of days, and I’m looking forward to the next one in Selkirk. Oh yes, the scran was excellent.


  1. Well done for finishing! I'd have given up at the puncture stage, and if someone had told me to run another lap when I thought I'd finished, well...

  2. I must excel in adversity!