The rising sun broke through low clouds over Baughers Bay beach to reveal a record fifty six competitors limbering up for this years 4th TSC Triathlon.
At the command of chief umpire Richard White the swimmers, solo competitors and team members alike, tore off into the still waters of Road Town harbour heading for the first mark of the 750 metre swim course. Much milling of arms and thrashing of legs ensued, as swimmers battled for prime position at the first marker. To the delight and cheers of the crowd Catheryn Hempel surged ahead of the pack setting an early lead for Maples Girls As the race progressed former winner Antony ‘the Chorpedo’ Spencer forged to the front with mystery competitor Terry Donnavon right on his toes.
By the final swim marker Catherine Hempel maintained her lead in the team event by a whisker with, Ground Force, Maples Boyd and Team Harneys I and II all in hot pursuit. In the ladies solo competition Hannah Piggott, Judy Haycraft and Kay Reddy were matching each other stroke for stroke. Digging deep Terry Donnavon powered through the final 50 metres blasting past the Chorpedo to win the swim leg by a split second. Hannah Piggot edged into the lead in the ladies section with a terrific swim whilst pre-race favourite Rachel Johnson glided ominously into fourth spot. Catheryn Hempel of Maples Ladies held off a fast finishing Ground Force to take the honours in the team swim segment.
The swim/bike transition at a triathlon oft resembles mayhem on a particularly disorganised day and this year’s event was no exception as soggy salty eyed swimmers groped around the beach searching for brightly dressed cycle team mates to tag. Solo competitors slipped off their goggles, donned helmets, struggled dry shirts over dripping bodies, fastened shoes, and re-focused for the 20 kilometre bicycle ride ahead.
First onto the road was the Chorpedo relying upon all his previous experience to perform a slick transition and edge ahead of Terry “Mystery Man’ Donnavon. Not far behind in the men’s solo, Ray “the Machine” Wearmouth mounted his carbon fibre racer, set his jaw firm, stiffened the sinews, and rocketed after the leaders. In the immensely competitive ladies solo competition Judy Haycraft executed a precision transition to take the lead on the bike with Rachel Johnson moving smoothly into second place and a charging Sally Blackmore rapidly closing in on both of them in third. The team competition was anybody’s race, but in Tim Clipstone, Harneys I held the ace, the experienced cyclist drawing on all his powers to move Harneys from fifth to first in a devastating piece of peddling. Mind you, back in the men’s solo another Harneys athlete was making an even bigger move, the Machine was simply flying as he scorched past Mystery Man and closed in on a fast fading Chorpedo.
The race was turning into an epic. At the final transition from bike to run Judy Haycraft held a one minute lead in the ladies solo over Rachel Johnson and Sally Blackmore, the fading Chorpedo held a mere 8 second advantage over the Machine, and Team Harneys and Ground Force 1 were separated by a blink of an eyelid. The terrific spectators were excited and enthralled in equal measure, and so to the run, it was anybody’s race. After a challenging swim and bike no triathlete feels like a run, but run triathletes must, and in the final leg Rachel Johnson showed gazelle like ability gliding to the front to win the ladies with Judy Haycraft in a fine second and Sally Blackmore a fighting third. In the men’s event the Chorpedo held on grimly for first, the Machine after a two year sabbatical from the sport placed an impressive second and Ian Mann marked a fine debut with a terriffic third. In the the team event Team Harneys I stormed to first, with Ground Force a close second and team Maples Boyds a splendid third.
Congratulations to all those who take part and finished, with a special mention to Nicole Charles who showed immense determination in the swim so that she could complete her first triathlon. The next race is the X-TRI on 31 May 2008. The course is in the spectacular Smugglers Cove location and is being re-designed this year to encourage first time solo participation. For more information contact [email protected]; [email protected] or [email protected].