2:35:27 3rd Mixed Pair, 7th overall team
~ 3.2k swim, 12.5k run
I’m chuffed to bits and Rachel is still in shock that we made the podium. So far in Otillo races we managed 4th in our first and then have always come 6th. They give big proper chunky gold, silver and bronze medals for the podium – traditional and how I feel it should be. It’s been a long time since I’ve really wanted to receive a medal.
We were pretty much the same time as we’ve always been a mere 16s slower than last year but it was a way better performance given how tough the swim conditions were.
The weather on arrival on Friday was by far the worst weather we’d seen on Scilly. In fact the three flights after ours were delayed due to flooding on the runway in St Marys. By Saturday morning normal service was resumed with the sun out though a little colder which is a good thing when running in wetsuit.
Rachel and I lined up near the front again but attempted to be very careful with our early pacing. Up the hill we went through the first KM in 6 mins which we know is probably still a little quick for us when not towing. Halfway through this run when the numbers had thinned down we stuck the two rope on an moved up a placed before the first swim. Swimming is our relative strength in these races and with nearly 2k of swimming in the last 5.5k of the race we know that generally we will move through the field. So entering the first swim in 34th overall (include solo) and 8th mixed pair was the furthest down the field we were.
Last year Rachel had dropped her goggles as we ran on the beach to this swim. This time we were very careful indeed. Bizarrely the solo guy in front of us dropped something. When we looked we saw sunglasses on the sand and wondered if we were mistaken but when we shouted to him they were his !! Wowzer – carrying sunglasses and switching between them and goggles every transition !. This swim has a boy to turn left round so I’d planned to go right and wide to give Rachel a nice swim given how bad last year was but when I looked everyone seemed to be way right so I was able to go left getting not only a clear swim but also took the shortest line.
From here the early runs follow the coast with a little detour inland to get past the airport. The swims were initially quite sheltered generally going in to bays. We were in amongst a lot of mixed teams but we found that we tended to lose one or two each swim so were clearly moving up the field. As we moved round the island the wind felt a lot strong and the swims were getting progressively rougher.
About halfway round we swim to an island. The past twice we’ve done this I’ve managed to go wrong on there and we’ve had to cut cross country. This time I was careful and we nailed it. Back on the main island it’s a short run to the next swim. We were with a couple of mixed pairs so I worked extra hard on that swim to gap them. The exit was on quite slippy rocks which Rachel can struggle with. I could see the other teams making back all the time we’d gained and I got a little irate! (Sorry Rachel). There’s this fight going on inside – my logical side is screaming she’s doing her absolute best but some how I’m getting angry with her. It made it funny (in hindsight) that Marc was there supporting and witnessed the full on, one sided ‘marital’ ! I think Rachels got me sussed and just ignores it – 10 minutes later I felt rather guilty.
Yet more beautiful costal running before an easy swim entry (finally) but this swim was tough. The past two years this has been a lovely swim but it was really quite choppy. As we exited Hilary told us we were in 4th. I couldn’t quite believe this as I estimated Andy and Lotte would be at least 10 minutes ahead and the team they just beat in Hvar were racing. Could there really only be 1 team in that 10 minute gap?
I concluded that I’d be gutted if there was and we didn’t push. So we started to run hard and as we approached the final and longest swim we could see the mixed couple ahead getting in. This swim goes round a little headland and you could see how rough this swim was. The swim out was straight in to the waves and it was very hard work. With 200-300 metre we passed the mixed team. The further out we got the worse the swell was. There was a sighting buoy which you didn’t have to go round. I was trying to calculated when to turn. The sooner you turned the better as the you’d be with the waves but if you turned too early you ran the risk of being pushed in to the rocks. We turned and I soon noticed a rock that was only about a foot under the water at the low point of the swell. Luckily we were shore side of it so when the a wave crashed over it it just knocked us about abit. We’d rounded it and now had the waves with us. It still as tricky as we knew there was a red buoy and a green buoy we had to go through but I could not see them. We stopped once couldn’t see them or the flag. Continued on memory from the previous year before stopped again as I just wasn’t seeing them as I sighted. Rachel spotted the flag but still no buoys. Then within about 10m of it I saw the green buoy. Round it and headed home. The 600m run home was good fun as we could see we were miles ahead of the mixed team. We ended up 5 minutes ahead of them. In fact, we nailed that swim, we had the fastest time for a mixed team and I believe we were the second fastest of everyone for that swim.
Another thoroughly enjoyable sprint race here. Made even better by some challenging conditions and really rounded off by being able to stand on the podium with Rachel together with Andy and Lotte who had raced toe to toe throughout only missing out on first by 49s.
We’ll definitely be back next year.