Several GTC members took part in the Eyemouth sprint and novice triathlons at the weekend.
Billy’s ‘surprising’ race
Billy Cameron, who competes in the male vets class, reveals that he entered the race by accident.
He says: “It was even more of an accident than my usual haphazard way of planning events. Having double-booked myself earlier in the year for both Kelso and Ayr, the friendly people at Borders Sport and Leisure (who organise the events) didn’t have a mechanism for refunding the entry fee for Kelso but were happy to offer a transfer to the Eyemouth Sprint instead.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time but having shredded my legs at the Buttermere triathlon the weekend before, I almost couldn’t be bothered turning up for the race. In the end,curiosity overcome my inertia because I had never set foot in Eyemouth before.”
Billy arrived the night before in the Borders town and was surprised by how quiet it was. He is wondering if it might be exactly the kind of place that is crying out to have GTC members visit en masse for an end of season hoolie! Apparently, there is a conveniently situated holiday park if anyone wants to try that next year.
Billy was staying in a B&B. He says: “On checking into the B&B, negotiations went well. It was agreed that I would get my own breakfast in the morning, while doing my best not to wake anyone up. I should then lock the door on my way out and post the keys back through the letterbox. I will give top marks on Tripadvisor to the owners for assertive communication.”
Eyemouth’s morning glory?
First impressions on the Sunday morning proved better and the decent weather created a town that is, as Billy so eloquently states, “a bit of a cross between North Berwick and Royston Vasey”.
He picks up the story: “I missed the briefing as I was away buying a coffee, which given my history of navigational issues during races was maybe not the best idea, but I got away with it this time due to the abundance of marshalls.
“There was also an extended opportunity for pointless blether with other competitors since the timing guy seemed to want quite a gap between heats.
“During this time I particularly noted the conversation I had with the guy who beat me by about a minute at Peebles. He was kind enough to remind me he had beaten me by about a minute at Peebles.
“And I had a chat with a young bloke, who was in my swim heat, who had apparently done 2nd/3rd fast bike/run times in his previous event and not placed due to his poor swim. I mentally labelled him ‘Duathlon Boy’.”
Billy’s goal for the race season this year has been to improve his swimming. He says: “Largely thanks to Coach Begg, I had reached the point of being consistently faster over 750m than when I had stopped swimming a couple of years earlier.
“So, it was something of an irritation to find myself being passed after four lengths and lapped before the end of the swim. By the time I came out of the pool and checked my watch, I was positively livid that for some reason I had been swimming at a much slower pace than I had covered 1600 metres at the previous week’s race.
“Apparently anger can be a motivator though because I managed to rattle through T1 in 26 seconds and overtake a couple of people on my bike before I had even done up my shoes.”
Bike course, then run, then … what?!
Billy found he was steadily picking off people ahead of him over the first third of the bike course until Duathlon Boy went past him like a missile, showing no signs of being catchable.
He says: “I would actually recommend this race based on the bike route alone, although it turns out that it normally takes a different, less hilly, route when there are no roadworks.”
T2 was slower than T1 due to Billy’s numb feet but the next part is usually Billy’s favourite section of a triathlon.
He says: “I look forward to the run in a triathlon and it was a pleasant, one-lap route with enough variety including flat, hills, people and dogs to keep it interesting.
“However, about halfway round, I did the worst thing you can do during a race, short of a full-blown ‘Johnny Brownlee, and I started wondering why I was doing the race at all.
“This feeling was just turning into a full-blown existential crisis when I caught sight of a runner about 400m ahead and the primitive brain took over again.
“Having caught the ‘target’ with less than 1km to go and feeling pretty good, it seemed like I was all set to take a few breaths and then go full gas to open up a gap.
“But, for whatever reason, when I noticed him gasping for air, I didn’t really feel like going past. I distinctly remember slagging off Sean Webster for saying he sometimes allows people to win in a sprint, but here I was, consciously deciding to help pace and verbally encourage the guy over the last part of the run, before letting him cross the line first.
“It probably cost me about five seconds but it felt pretty good. He was most likely mortally offended but he was fortunately too polite to say so if he was.”
Billy adds: “In case anyone is interested, I ended up 11th, on the back of a poor swim, decent bike and average run. The guy who beat me by about a minute at Peebles beat me by about a minute.
“I’ve also decided, based on this experience that – although I would wholeheartedly recommend them – I have done enough sprints in Scotland for the foreseeable future. Alpe d’Huez Short Course anyone?”
Craig wins Eyemouth Novice triathlon
GTC newcomer Craig Ross was delighted to triumph at his first triathlon, the Eyemouth Novice race. Another club member Anna Taylor was first female, while Erin Lang completed the triathlon, too.
Although very new to triathlon, Craig’s victory has given him the inspiration and motivation to do more races.
He said: “While I have always liked the idea of doing a triathlon, ever since my childhood in New Zealand when I saw the awesome efforts of the Coast to Coast athletes, I never thought I’d manage a race myself due to my seriously awful swimming. I also never imagined I’d take up cycling.”
However, after being told to ease off on his favourite sport, running, due to injury, Craig was looking for something to fill its place and came across Glasgow Green Cycle Club last August.
He also went along to the Peebles Novice Triathlon this year to support and cheer on his wife Louise.
Craig said: “At Peebles I saw all the various shapes, sizes and fitness levels of people taking part and I thought that surely I could learn to swim well enough to do a triathlon, too.”
After a couple of conversations on Sunday cycle club rides with our president Sean and also Gregor Crawford, Craig decided to try the club swim sessions.
Craig said: “I don’t yet love swimming, but it’s slowly improving.”
He entered Eyemouth Novice Tri with Louise and some of her work colleagues.
Craig said: “Despite an ambition to complete the swim doing the crawl, I opted for the less tiring – and faster for me – option of breaststroke. I was delighted not to be lapped, despite an optimistic swim estimate of nine minutes.
“After that things went pretty well, although the run felt much more sluggish than expected. I still managed around six minutes per mile pace.
“I haven’t won anything for many years, so I was chuffed with my wee trophy.”
Craig, who is a team leader of an NHS community rehabilitation service, has two young daughters with Louise. He said: “It’s not easy finding the time to train but I am I am hooked on triathlon now and one of my aims for 2017 is to complete an open water sprint triathlon.”