On our 4th morning on camp, we make room for the option of a longer more relaxed sea swim – either a lap of the official Ironman course, or an out and back around to the next bay of Playa Chica. After the fast furious sprinting in the aquathlon, everyone was pleased at being able to swim at a steadier pace and enjoy the lovely clear sea water.
The big effort for the day was on the bike, with the first of our “handicapped” competitions for camp points – the hill climb TT up Tabeyesco. As ever ,all groups intend to ride out at a “friendly” pace – though with the inevitable punctures on the “rubbish dump” route that we take ( it’s the shortest way, but as you can tell, not my favourite!) this often ends up being a bit of a chain-gang!
Myself and Emma are the first starters, giving ourselves a good had start over the campers to ensure that we’re at the top and in position to record their times. The rest of the group are set off in reverse order of their El Golfo TT at 30 second intervals ( handicaps are then calculated off the averages, later). From the very start it was clear that it was a “slow” day – with very unusual head winds blowing down the valley for the first 4km to the “bridge”. I have to be honest this was a little demotivating…but the least of my problems, as i could feel my chain jumping, on a stiff link. I dared not change gear, and resigned myself to a steady ride, simply to ensure that i got to the top ahead of the first of the campers. Unfortunately, Emma and I have always enjoyed out own little race up this climb – a long time camp tradition – and as she passed me I lost focus on my roles as time keeper and put my foot down to keep her from getting to far ahead – a few pedal strokes later my chain snapped. With Emma already up the road by then, I had to quickly pass my notepad and pencil to Mike, the first of the campers to reach me ( and after an impressively short amount of time – to the extent that I cant say for sure that I would have reached the top before him without the mechanical), and rely on him to get people’s finish times for us.
It was actually rather fun viewing the race from that vantage point, as one by one the athletes rode past – until I had the chain fixed and was able to drop into the race – my first time being amongst it for real! I’m not sure that Heather and Wayne really appreciated my loud shouts of encouragement from behind as I caught them up in their final kms – but it seemed to get the most out of them!
The times recorded confirm that this was indeed a slow year (adjustment of 3minutes 53) – none the less, Matt Davy still posted an impressive sub 30 minutes – the second time that he has, and only the 5th occasion out of the few hundred we’ve raced on camp to date to do so. Mike’s 31:23 makes him the 4th fastest person overall in the all time record – behind Matt Steven and myself – impressive too, given the “adjustment” for conditions.
After this hard work – the group enjoyed a lunch stop over the results, before splitting into “longer” and ‘ ore direct” ride options home – the majority choosing the direct route with Steven in order to make the most of their run wildcards and rest of the afternoon off.
Points standings at the end of today are therefore as below – with the swim and run race to come tomorrow.
NB – those who are not currently on track for “camp completion” are ranked below than those who are still in the game, regardless of the number of points earned on handicap]