It was a weary start to the day as we drove to the lake without much chat, contemplating the relay format aquathlon ahead. Andy decided not to even get out of bed for it :o(. Three teams of two would race a total of 4x 300m swim laps, followed by 4 x 1.5km run laps at the lake. In the early morning sun, this was a much more appealing prospect than it would have been a few days ago, the water looked crystal clear and had warmed up considerably.
With a man down, Jo and Steven had to cover Andy’s splits between them. Despite the reluctance and pre race excuses a minute before race start, once the games had begun it was full-on sprinting from everyone with real enthusiasm! After a reasonably close first swim lap in which Jo just pipped Paul and Mark (II) to the end and tagged Steven……resulting in an ever increasing gap over the Age-Group field, setting a new Aventignan Aquathlon record – which no -one remembered to actually time…About 45 minutes dead, we think. Definitely a successful addition to the camp schedule as it had everyone buzzing on the drive back to breakfast, and re-invigorated for the day’s ride.
Just a short ride today -funny how our definitions are changing – I’m not sure that we could have described a 3.5hr ride, which includes a time trial up a mountain as a “short” ride at the beginning of the week! Today we went into Spain in order to climb the Portilhon from that direction and descend into Luchon for a relaxed lunch stop. With no van support today, Steven had to ride up first off and although self-timing for the KOM comp, did not have the motivation that setting off on handicap would have provided him. This shows in the results – his ride time would have had him cross the line 4 seconds ahead of Paul had he started on handicap…but for sure that would have made for very different levels of effort in the final few hundred meters had Paul been able to see him coming up from behind!
Once again the finish order had a big effect on the points, and today, having held off all chasers to cross the line first, Andy now takes the lead, whilst the Curse of the Jersey afflicting Mark (II) who dropped his chain and was last over the top….
Having made the descent into town, we took the opportunity to either spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying meal in the sunshine in one of Bagneres-de-Luchon’s cafes or to get back to base and catch up on laundry, bike maintenance and resting ahead of real big day in which we will (fingers crossed that the snow has been cleared) ride over the Tourmalet. Thank God I was able to talk Steven out of THAT being the day’s KOM!!