The Barry Island Triathlon had been on my race calendar since December, and yup it was the first race I had booked and confirmed for 2018 – oh yes I choose my races wisely! One of the main reasons I chose this race was to ensure, regardless of my goals and aims in the sport, I remember to always “keep the fun” in triathlon so I never lose sight of why I started – for the love of the sport and competition. I knew a great group of friends would be racing and supporting, so nothing better than a mid-season sprint and a weekend in Barrybados to rock the FUN…
After a FAB afternoon catching up with the WhittleFit and CrapTri peeps, then eating all the carbs (aka too much garlic bread and chocolate!) with Emma, we all soon found ourselves lined up on the ramp down to the beach ready to go at 7.05 on Sunday morning.
BOOM – we were off! 250 of us started hurtling down the beach towards the sea. This good 200m sprint to the water was not the easiest due to the limited movement thanks to the nenoprened up joints, loose sand underfoot and bad eyesight due to the combination of not so great Eloise eyes and old foggy goggles – note to self; buy a new pair for the rest of the season! Anyways most importantly we were off and before I knew it paddling like a possessed penguin towards the first buoy. In true Eloise style, the first 100m or so of swimming was nothing extraordinary, aka lack of sprint! However, once everyone else had calmed down I started making my way towards the front of the field – note to self; still need to practice my sprint starts.
Anyways the slow burner tactic seemed to pay off again as I exited the water in joint second overall and ready to sprint back across the beach and up the cliff to locate my bike – talk about leg day!
Wetsuit off, number on, helmet on, bike AND GO!
Time to get pedalling and chase the boys. Well this was quickly halted as I got caught at the first red light on course – oh well may as well take a drink and check my shoes are on properly – then go go go again! This time we were definitely off and negotiating the turns and climbs of Barrybados before taking off towards the Cardiff airport (see what I did there!). At the turn around point I was still in third overall with the lead boys not too far away so thought I better just enjoy the ride home and open up the gap to second female. But what really made the returning leg the most fun was seeing the awesome “Mallorca Ladies” bossing it and all of us sending cheers as we saw each other – that’s what I call a team spirit and real racing.
Right time for T2.
Oh wait no, we have another climb to do – was not expecting that, oh well needs are musts I guess and good course planning Si, no rest for the wicked – note to self; always confirm the number of climbs on course!
Right now definitely time for T2, even though I will admit in my excitement of seeing everyone cheering I nearly completely forgot to undo my shoes and dismount – but well done Eloise saved it – just! Bike racked, helmet off, shoes, sunglasses, head band and run Girl, RUN!
Exiting T2 I knew I was still in third overall and had a few minutes on second female so I just wanted to really enjoy the run and “keep the fun” throughout. About a kilometre in Marc from Team Cranc came past me so I focused on keeping his Team Cranc colours in sight and just try not mess anything up (easier said than done!).
Finishing the first lap before looping back to the finish, the support was amazing, you couldn’t not smile. That’s when the commentator shouted “see you in 5 minutes at the finish Eloise!” Well it should have been five minutes but of course when there is me, there is a twist – this time an extra kilometre round the cliff to the next bay kind of twist! Long story short, both Marc and I were sent in the wrong direction, when we should have gone up, we were told to head down until we both hit a dead end and realised this was definitely not the course and time to head back round and up the hill! And Coach you were worried I wouldn’t get my middle distance training in… where there is a will there is way #toldya
I can remember thinking as I was FINALLY (not 5 at least 9 minutes later) heading back down the hill towards the finish was “Oh well done Eloise – you knew it was up, why did you go down, you’ve lost it after your little detour, just typical Eloise, typical!”
But to my amazement as I was running down the finishing shoot the commentator shouted here is our first female… WHAT WOW – seriously?!
And it was true, despite taking the scenic route I still ended being first female. This win was the icing on the cake after a hard week where I could barely get out of bed to train let alone race, then to share it with great friends who were also racing and supporting was just awesome – you guys all rock and bring on the next one together – Emma bring on the Finnish Fun!
A massive thanks to Si at All for Nothing Events, all the generous sponsors who donated the awesome goodies & prizes (Speedo, FRAMED, CEP and more!) and to all the volunteers who helped make it such a memorable event, I will certainly be back racing in Barry soon! Also a massive well done to everyone who raced and to all the supporters – this race really showed what Triathlon is all about and seeing everyone be the best they could be on Sunday, regardless of their starting place or goals, was truly inspiring.
Lastly, I want to comment on Sunday’s events – not only was it a day of fun and inspirational performances but also a day of tragic sadness and loss. My heart and thoughts are with the family and friends of the competitor who lost his life and to everyone who was affected. My friend Harri could not have put it better; “[Sunday] was a true show of humanity, the tragic death of a participant balanced by the incredible strength and determination of the lady that finished having already lost 13st in weight.”
On that note I leave you with this thought – never take anything for granted and remember to always keep the fun.
Lots of love,
P.S. As it was the official “Fun Train” outing, here are a few quotes from the awesome and inspiring “Mallorca Ladies:”