By the time we reached my sisters house on Wednesday evening it was 8pm. After some quick hellos, unpacking and bike building Cobus and I headed out for a quick hour spin. I love the long summer days in Scotland; at the end of June it barely gets dark at night time. 9:45pm and riding our bikes along the beautiful East Lothian countryside; it was awesome!
We spent Thursday morning recce-ing the bike route. My sister (who was also racing) raced last year so drove the route with us. Starting at Preston Pans on the East coast and ending at Holyrood Park it was a scenic, technical route along some beautiful country roads before finishing up around Arthur’s Seat. No major long climbs but some sneaky short climbs hidden around corners. The road conditions were mostly good and any potholes were clearly marked. It was definitely not going to be an easy and fast bike leg.
It was fun to swim at the 50m commonwealth pool in the afternoon followed by a short run on the run route.
We had a quick swim in the sea on Friday morning. The water was about 14c but didn’t feel too bad. It definitely helped having a neoprene swim cap under my usual silicone swim cap. And we didn’t see any jelly fish! I had a quick run before lunch at Steampunk in North Berwick (A must if you like coffee!)
Registration was at Holyrood Park at T2/finish line. It was quick and easy. We bought parking tickets for race day so we could park in the parking area 1km from the finish. There would be no cars allowed in to Holyrood Park on race day. The expo was very good but we tried to restrict our spending…! Race briefing (one of the 3) was held in one of the marquees and was fairly quick and the same as usual.
We had a short ride and run first thing on Saturday morning as part of our final race prep before heading to racking which was open from 10am til 4pm. The split transitions was quite simple to work out logistically for us – probably not so for the organisers. But they seemed to manage it all very well. We headed into the City first to T2 at Holyrood to hang our red run bags and then to Preston Pans to T1 to rack our bikes and hang up our blue bike bags. There would be no access to either bags on race morning – which actually made race morning much more simple.
There were a couple of IronKid runs; one at Preston Pans at 11am. My nephew and niece enjoyed their 1km and 500m runs….triathletes in the making!
Race Day – Everything is so much easier when it’s light at 4am. We parked in the athlete parking near Holyrood and jumped on the shuttle bus to Preston Pans. The 30 minute drive went quickly and I was feeling very relaxed, but excitement to get racing was building inside me.
Nutrition on bikes, tyres pumped, land based warm up done, we headed to the start chute with less than 30 minutes til GO time. In SA the start chutes start filling up about an hour before the start of the race. In Edinburgh no one else had moved into the chutes yet! I was keen not to get stuck at the back but I didn’t want to be at the front either!
The sea was very flat, a complete contrast to the hectic conditions which they had in 2017. The water was said to be 14.5c. And I think it mostly was. It seemed to take forever to get to the turn around buoys. A bit of a current and apparently longer than 1.9km didn’t help my need-to-improve swimming. My time was a bit disappointing but I cleared it from my head quickly. My hands and feet were frozen – I was glad I had decided to swim with my trisuit sleeves on and zipped up as I doubt I would have managed to zip it up. I would deal with the under arm chafing later! It was a short run up to T1 over the stones on the beach and along the grass.
I loved the bike course. Beautiful scenery, twists & turns and great supporters. Athletes were well spread out (helped by the fact that there were only about 1000 athletes), so there was no getting irritated by people illegal drafting. There was a slight head wind heading towards the city centre and the sun was shining brightly – a rarity in Scotland lol! I felt great on the bike and for once think I got my nutrition right. The climb around Arthur’s Seat at the end was harsh but fun! I was very happy to have ridden on a TT bike as there were plenty of flat sections, but a lot of people had opted for road bikes.
I hadn’t realised that Cobus was only just ahead of me. I sat down next to him in T2… Frodeno style 😉 “See you shortly” I said as he left…
The run was a tough hilly 3 loop course. It was beginning get warm, by Scottish standards. I stupidly threw away my anti cramp tablets by mistake – I backed myself that I wouldn’t need them anyway….?! It was amazing running through the ‘Rave Tunnel’. A tunnel I never knew existed despite spending many years in Edinburgh. It was refreshingly cold, water was dripping and music was pumping! The atmosphere gave me goosebumps! I felt I was slowing but then realised at the turn around at the other end of the tunnel that it had been a slight incline and I then flew back down the tunnel. A nasty sharp climb took us back onto the road and then back down “to start the next loop. Cobus was still ahead of me but I was slowly gaining on him and I passed him a couple of kms into the second loop. It was great to see my sister on the course too, who had a great race.
I had no idea where or who my competitors were; I just did the best I could. My legs were getting heavier on the climbs but I loved the downhills. After climbing up from the tunnel for the third and final time it was mostly downhill to home. With just over 1km to the finish I smiled to myself and appreciated the surroundings. It was amazing to be racing in Scotland, to be happy and healthy and surrounded by family.
I was delighted with 2nd in my age cat (40-44) and I took my slot for 70.3 World Champs 2019 in Nice.
A big thanks to everyone who help me achieve what I do!: Cobus, Dave (Coach – Wingman), Werner (Bio), Liandi (Physio/Pilates), Lizette (Sports masseuse), Chris Muller (Chiro)