Derby City Triathlon - Hayley McCafferty-David
Derby City Triathlon - Hayley McCafferty-David Race Report;
You know you’re a triathlete (read ‘mad’) when, at 4.30am on a Sunday morning, instead of nursing the beginnings of a hangover, you’re nursing a bowl of porridge, staring at a pile of lycra wondering if a) you’ve forgotten something, b) if by donning said lycra you will look just like Chrissie Wellington, and c) will the race photos be available for airbrushing before publication to Facebook in approximately 24 hours’ time.
Today’s race, the Huub City of Derby triathlon, would offer me two new experiences since my baptism into the world of Triathlon (said baptism happening in the petrol laced and god knows what else infested waters of the Albert Dock at the 2014 London Triathlon). Firstly, it’s so small I might actually stand a chance of coming top ten (hoping 15 of the signed up 25 females had decided to nurse hangovers instead of race). And secondly, I would be going it alone sans the, thus far, habitual support team of my Mum and Dad in the ‘Love Wagon’ (so named by my sister who also abuses the parental bond by dragging said support team around the country for races – hers lasting anywhere from one day to one week though – I’m definitely the less demanding child!). And so it was that I headed out with Gabby (my trusty steed) and my race bag to join a small group of equally passionate (read mad again) individuals at the Moorways Sports Centre by the Rolls Royce (posho tri) factory in Derby.
I should have known all would not be straight forward upon being handed my race bag at registration. On close inspection my bag included not just any finishers t-shirt, but a fitted, eco friendly, well printed Huub design triathlon t-shirt that I could actually wear to more places than just the gym! Hmm, something must go wrong!
I racked my bike a full two hours prior to my start time and knowing that there is only so much towel shuffling that one can do, I decided to eat a banana and walk through the transitions as Blair had advised me to do in the pre race day email he’d sent (he in the hope of me running a smooth race, me in the hope of getting away from the woman who knew everyone and looked sure to steal my banana from me at any moment!).
By the time my race briefing came around swimhat clad men were already running from the pool down the wet and slippery grass to transition … a very good opportunity to see exactly which way around the black and yellow tape we were meant to be going (I couldn’t work it out during my walk through).
After one final squeeze of her tyres I turned my back on Gabby and headed up to the swimming pool with 40 minutes still to go before my start time. I lied earlier, as this race actually offered me a third new experience – a pool swim! The four races that to date make up my triathlon career have all had an open water swim. As a result I was actually in a flurry of panic. For a start, I would actually have to kick as I wouldn’t be able to rely on my fat rubber seal skin to make me float my way through the water. As if this wasn’t bad enough, at only 5’2’’ inches I was seriously panicking that I wouldn’t be able to get out of the pool at the end, and that either I’d have to ask a race official for a hand, cross someone else’s lane to use the ladder, or flop out onto the pool side on my stomach like a beached whale. Upon arrival at the pool I was, to my elation, confronted by a reasonably low sided pool. Panic over!
I sat poolside watching waves come and go, with the spectators dwindling with each pool exit. The minutes passed until there were only eight of us stood waiting to race, and only two waves remaining. Upon being called up I was handed a very classy black Huub hat (almost as thick as my wetsuit – could this be the floatation device I was looking for?). Allocated lane 2 (minus ladder – thank God for low sides) I dropped in and fell into a mode of almost forgetting I was racing. I pushed off after the count of three and started my 6 lengths. It was very nice to have a lane to myself without 20 people kicking me in the face.
Following a half elegant exit from the pool I ran (tut tut pool side) through the fire exit and down the slippery grass for my turn to have onlookers watch to see if I fell – I didn’t! Gabby was ready and raring and off I swooped with surprising force behind my legs to run to the mounting point. The bike route was main road and roundabouts with a lot of guess work as to the direction, but Gabby being the legend she is knew where she was going and my legs pushed on. Overtaking people whom I had watched swim in earlier waves gave me the confidence to go faster, but with Blair constantly in my head telling me to keep my pace consistent.
Upon arrival back at transition I was met with ‘good bike’, which, although I’m sure was just friendly encouragement, I decided to take to mean I had looked just like Non Stanford and people were suitably impressed!
The run was a mixture of cross country (2 metres of woodland), some grass and the running track. Having analysed my briefing pack I knew I was to run two laps of the course. However, when running past the first run marshall I thought I’d double check this, to which I was met with ‘I think it might just be one’. Hmm…. Marshalls three and four were of the same ilk, but I decided to take a judgement call and do the two I had read about.
Finishing the run as a final lap of the track reminded me of school sports day, except with a nice HUBB presence at the end throwing water bottles and energy drinks at finishers.
On getting my results I decided to loiter with intent, and after some stretching (which I clearly made look harder than I needed to as a first aider asked if I was OK) I went back to the results tent and asked if rankings were yet known. It was here that it all unfolded. In a hushed voice I was told that there had been a problem with the run laps due to marshalls giving wrong information (ah-ha!) and some people didn’t do the correct amount of laps. Not being one of the angry mob baying for blood I decided to stuff a pre planned peacon and maple pastry in my mouth and make a silent departure.
The following couple of days came and went and results weren’t forthcoming. Then the excel sheet we’d all been waiting for arrived, and to my absolute delight I was ranked as 5th (ten of the 25 women had hangovers!).
Thinking this was the closure of my City of Derby Tri journey I got back into training and carried on as normal. Then, as a complete surprise, almost two weeks after the race an email appeared in my inbox entitled ‘City of Derby Triathlon – Prizes’. To my complete and utter bewilderment, Huub had managed to analyse the results with the varying amounts of run laps, and had found that of the women in the Super Sprint who completed the full two laps, I had come second!!!! And only blinking gone and won a prize for it!!
So the lesson to learn from this race? Enter small races where you stand a chance of winning something!