While most others were still wrapped up in their duvets sleeping off the effects of the night before, on New Year’s Day I was up early and on my way to Edinburgh to support Steve in his first event of the year. Clearly fuelled by his participation in the Relay Wild Triathlon back in August, he had signed up for the NYD Triathlon organised by Edinburgh Triathletes, an event which boasts huge numbers of triathlon first-timers every year. Although tempted to join him, I had decided that this was not the right thing for me to do at this stage as I thought it would be too much for me to train for three disciplines whilst returning to running post-injury at the tail end of the year, so on this occasion spectator duties fell to me. I knew I would be watching with interest though as a triathlon is something I would like to try in the future.
We set off around 9am so we could be at the Royal Commonwealth Pool to register at 10am. The weather was not ideal with strong winds and rain so I was wrapped up in lots of layers and had waterproofs with me (I was even wearing my wellies!). At this point I was quite glad not to be competing as the conditions were going to be “character-building” to say the least but Steve was taking it in his stride as ever! The place was a bustling hive of activity when we arrived and I waited with Steve’s bike and kit while he registered then helped him get set up in transition, after which there was quite a lot of waiting around as the event itself did not start until 12:15 (and Steve was scheduled to start about an hour later). Time for a coffee and a few photos of the pool:
There were around 400 competitors and with Steve’s later start time we were able to sit in the gallery together for the race briefing and to watch the first of the swimmers set off. I was immediately struck by the range of swimming styles/abilities and realised that my currently inconsistent front crawl would probably have been ok for this particular event. About 20 minutes before he was due to start, Steve headed off to warm up then take his position in the line. He looked a bit nervous at this point (probably something to do with the fact that he can only do the “pensioner-style breaststroke” right now) but he soon settled once he got in the water and took his time. He had been advised to just get through the swim, take it easy on the bike then smash it on the run and this was very much the tactic he was sticking to.
After his 8 lengths of the pool, Steve headed off to transition and I headed outside to find a spot to watch him. The bike section was 3 laps around Arthur’s Seat (12 miles) then it was 1 further lap for the 5K run. I found a position towards the end of the lap and amused myself with my weather app and cheering on other competitors as I knew it would take around 15-20 minutes to cycle each lap.
It was hard to get action shots given the conditions, but I did manage a nice photo of Steve on his last bike lap:
And another as he set off on the run:
When he was in transition between the bike and the run, I moved position slightly so I could see him set off then headed down to get as close as I could to the finish. Although I had initially been glad not to be competing in that weather, spectating turned out to be pretty tough too as I was standing still and despite all my layers was still getting cold. I was quite jealous of those taking part as I was desperate to be moving, even if it was into a headwind!
Fortunately, Steve’s race plan was working out well and he had a really good run so I didn’t have too long to wait. Sadly I couldn’t get beyond the finish line for a photo of his trademark finish pose so had to settle for one of him running towards the finish:
Since I was cold and Steve was likely to get cold very quickly, we took a quick photo of him with his medal then gathered all of his things from transition so he could take them back to the car before heading off for a shower.
I had a chance to warm up while he got changed, then had a nice hot cup of tea and piece of caramel shortbread (it had been a VERY long time since our breakfast) before the day was wrapped up with the prize giving and spot prizes (no luck I’m afraid).
There was just one thing I had to do before we left and that was to have my photo taken with yet another “new pal”:
I found it really interesting watching the triathlon and it definitely inspired me to keep working on my swimming and have a go myself. Despite the tough conditions, Steve really enjoyed the event and you can read his report on it here.
Have you taken part in a triathlon or is it something you would like to do?
When were you last on spectator duties?