2017 Events: Progress Report 1

I thought I ought to post a wee update about my progress with the fundraising events of 2017 so far. Despite my trepidation, these have been almost enjoyable although I think the unexpectedly nice weather we have had in May has helped enormously.

Everything began with the Bishopbriggs Triathlon on the 7th of May. Paul and I were both doing our first ever sprint distance event, and Jamie and Holly were taking part in their Tristar category events too. This was our club event, so we were there early to help set up the course, which was fine since I’d been up since dawn due to acute pre-race nerves. But the weather was glorious, the event a huge success and buoyed on by the support of our fellow club members, not only did we manage to finish, but we did so a good deal faster than expected. As always (I would hate to disappoint) I put together a wee montage of the day’s events which shows all the kids from the club competing (they really are an inspiration) followed by their somewhat slower parents.


Interestingly, there was another participant there taking part in his first ever triathlon (he just dived straight into a sprint distance race – no novice for him!) and he wrote a very entertaining blog about it which you can read here:

The following weekend we, and what felt like half the club, headed off to the Isle of Bute for the Bute Triathlon. Last year, the Bute novice triathlon was my first ever triathlon and I was absolutely petrified but loved it. This year, I was signed up for the sprint distance event (with Paul) and the children were all taking part in the novice relay event (there was no separate junior event), but for safety reasons (this was not a closed road race), the relay teams each needed an adult to do the bike section, and therefore I needed to pull out of the sprint event and become the bike leg for Team Glen. The rest of Team Glen were not 100% pleased to have mum instead of dad for their middle section, especially when it transpired that all of the other teams (we had about 10 Glasgow Tri Club youth relay teams taking part) had a very fast dad cycling for them (that’s not entirely true – there were two other teams with lady cyclists – fellow mums – both of whom however cycle significantly more than me).

As it transpired they were right to worry. It quite quickly became apparent that what was (I thought) a friendly, lets-all-have-a-wee-trip-to-Bute race, was actually a very competitive, we’ve-never-all-raced-against-each-other, family-versus-family fight to the death. The swimmers set off in the pool, and while I went to wait at the designated handover spot in my socks, with my helmet and shoes in transition, I was a little startled to see the men all amble over, helmets and cycle shoes all already on. As the children emerged in quick succession out the pool to hand over the timing chip, we all ran off to get our bikes, and by the time I had managed to get my shoes and helmet on, onto my bike and clipped into the pedals (yes clipped in – after a year I have finally managed to cycle clipped in, although it took me about 100m to actually attach myself to the bike) the rest of the cyclists were small specks in the distance. What followed was the most frantic half hour cycle of my life, mostly uphill (or so it seemed), some of it stuck in a high gear during which I reached apparently a top speed of 52km/hr (frightening), but despite all of that, I returned sweaty and slightly ashamed, way behind the rest of the field, to hand over the timing chip to my daughter who nonetheless ran her entire leg with a huge smile, having forgiven me for terrible slowness. Once again, a wee music montage of our efforts was produced. The children are already planning next year’s event – Holly is more than happy to go with me again (she’s really there for the social aspect and the photos). Jamie has politely asked if he can go with dad.


And finally, last weekend was the Etape Caledonia, the 81 mile cycle around lovely (mountainous) Perthshire with a climb up Shiehallion half way through. Last year I did this for the first time with my dad Ken (a much better cyclist than me) and I fell off my bike half way up Shiehallion due to extreme slowness. I then had to push up the last hill as my legs gave way but we were delighted to get back before being picked up by the sweeper bus which had been our fear on the day.

This time, despite not doing a great deal more cycling, I think I am altogether much fitter than I was last year. It seems that all the training over the past 12 months has actually paid off. This seems an obvious thing to say, but there are many times when it feels like you are not getting anywhere despite putting the hours in. Indeed one of the swimming coaches at the club (completely great, a super coach) was watching me at a session recently and commented that my technique had hugely improved, with very little to change, but despite that he just couldn’t work out why I was so slow. (I feel the same. About all the things I take part in – it is a constant surprise/frustration to me that despite the effort invested, I always seem to come very close to last (if not actually last) in most events). Anyway, once again I had been anxious about this event. Dad couldn’t make it this year so I would have no one to draft behind for 6 hours and the weather forecast was significantly less promising. But it turned out just fine in the end. I cycled the whole way round with my sister Catriona, the cycle felt stronger, I managed up all the hills (mountains) without stopping and took 45 minutes of last year’s time which I was delighted about. The picture above was taken just towards the top of Shiehallion when my legs were shaking like jelly, my heart was about to beat out of my chest, but I was brimming with joy at having made it to the top (not quite enough joy to muster a smile but it was there inside).

So if you’ve managed to get to the end of that and think you could find it in your heart (or wallet) to make a wee donation to a great cause, it would be much appreciated. Over the next 3 weekends I’ve got Strathclyde open water triathlon, Stirling triathlon and the Lochore open water triathlon – I’ll post another wee update after those.

Hilary x


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