Fowey Tri 2008 – the good, the bad and the ugly

Now if I said Fowey Tri to you, what would you think? Allowed only once a year swim the 600m across the river? The off road section of the run? the fantastic finish on town quay? NO OF COURSE IT AINT it’s that bloody great hill up from Polruan, straight out of the swim, no run up, narrow road and it goes on and on – So with this in mind four brave MBH (or those who had managed to get a place) ventured to Fowey early on Sunday morning for this years annual triathlon – We all had our excuses ready, me, just back from a boozy weekend in London and still hurty knee probs, Nige, just come off night shift, so was more used to going to bed at 6 not driving to Fowey, Gus, just returned from 2 weeks relaxing and drinking in Spain and Don, still tired from last weeks St Agnes and all the gym sessions he’s been putting in. The weather had cleared nicely, and there was this strange glowing object in the sky not seen for a while, debris was everywhere though as the previous days weather had blown and rained a lot of leaves and twigs over the course – the organisor even warned of knee deep mud and a fallen tree on the run route – for those who have done this event before, you know the bit that takes you down the river bed, narrow lane? Fowey Tri reputed to be the Cornish Ironman – so onto the race………………..

The swim is great, although I was a bit concerned as the colour of the water was a bit ‘brown’ and the continuing arrival of septic tank lorries emptying manually into the sewers right next to the swim start didn’t fill me with excitement for jumping in the water – apparently SWW had problems with the pump underneath the quay!! Around the grey bouy and through the moored boats to the slip at Polruan – pretty uneventful, managed not to head butt a canoe so all in all a good swim for me 7th overall – a little over 10 minutes, winner was a young girl of 15 who swims for GB in about 9 minutes and then into transition…………..

I was debating with Gus before the off about wearing socks this year so I had placed them by my bike shoes ready to make a decision when I entered transition – Fowey Tri is not BTA sanctioned so I presume all the normal rules and regs don’t apply as right in front my eyes was a woman completely naked changing out of her swimsuit into cycling shorts – and I mean naked and she wasn’t shy! I think I now know what a Brazillian is! I put my socks on – took me about 10 minutes! just as she pulled her cycling shorts up I was ready! Looking up the hill it was carnage – being in the last wave of the swim enabled me to have a good look coming from behind – (ooohh errr missus) Answer me this – – why don’t people practice hills, if you can’t ride hills very well, why clip in? There were people falling off, pushing up in cycling shoes, slipping all over the place – well it doesn’t get any easier – so why oh why do people pick this as their first triathlon and then never return saying it’s too hard a sport? The bike was windy! marshalls were excellent and slowed or stopped the traffic when they could, roads got a bit busy on the way into Lostwithiel but all in all OK – 10th overall for me – Nige had a blinder – 2nd fastest bike split and Gus not to far behind with 3rd fastest.

Onto the run………that first hill is a killer! always is (my 5th Fowey Tri) always will be – it really zaps your leg speed and energy – you have to just try and get into some sort of a rhythm, use those elbows and do the best you can! Keep climbing and then it’s a steep down hill – terrified to slip on the debris of mud and branches left from the previous days storms – now some ‘nice’ person decided that it would be a good idea to turn one of the run arrows the wrong way – so instead of heading up another hill, Don, Gus and a few of the other first starters turned right and into a farm, and a few hundred yards in, realising the error turned back onto the correct route – but precious time lost………….the run then continues onto the ‘off road’ section – this year complimented by 2 feet of mud and newly fallen tree to bend knees and back to get under! not ot mention the 3 foot crevice gouged out by the rain – and then onto that lovely grass field – it’s not only bloody steep up but also has a nice camber to the left, and my hurty knee was telling me ‘I’m getting too old for this’ – I was determined not to walk and only just made it to the top as I ran out of energy (so I didn’t walk!!) – lots of people did walk however – more hill training required for them in the winter!

From then on in it’s all down hill, but by this time I was shattered and although I thought my leg speed was good I reckon it was diabolical – into the town – down the high street and into the finish – lots of support and again the marshals were excellent in keeping the crowds out of the way – a little over 2.03 for me, 3 mins slower than last year but no where near my 4th in 2006 with 1.56! Nige we reckon did about 1.55, Gus 2.03 and Don 2.09 – At the time of writing run splits or overall positions and time were not available but Nige picked up 3rd overall and an excellent 1st vets prize – the winner was Matt Lewis in about 1.46 – how would we fair in the team prize?!? We had won this 4 years on the trot but their seemed to be a lot of teams in this year, BAD (Bristol & district) POT (Packet of Three) Torbay Tri, amongst others – but the award went to…………….Camel Valley – I’ll say that again Camel Valley!! Little did we know that Matt Lewis now races for them! this gave them a 9 minute advantage straight away (first 3 finishers times added to give a total) – we did however finish 2nd – so a little surprised but then we will have to try a bit harder next year (and there’s Wadebridge and Bodmin)

A point to the organisors – why only awards for 1st place? They call out 2nd and 3rd – the athletes go up, get a round of applause and just stand there like lemons only to be told there’s nothing for them! Also the wearing of ipods today on both the bike and the run was a widespread – I nearly got taken out a couple of times on the bike as athletes were too busy listening to music when they should have been concentrating – and finally, as a BTA and UKA coach – the youngest finisher today was 12 years old!! some where along the lines this cannot be right – although highly commendable and a hell of a feat for a 12 year old, the parents should be called to task and told of the risks – why do you think the governing bodies don’t allow children of this age to compete at such distances? WORK IT OUT – now what’s that childline number? (RANT OVER)

Well Done guys – great result – get those entries in for Wadebridge or Bodmin!!!


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