If you want a fast Olympic distance Tri this is the one! Warm sea, flat roads, draft legal, flat run but a tad warm by mid day! No hills!! YES!!
Me,Nick Brooks (age grouper 50 – 55) and Neil Eddy (elite) of MBH together with Ben Hoadley (age grouper 40 ? 45) and baggage handler/photographer Anthony Stevenson departed Penzance on Thursday 13th Oct at 7pm our aim to get a pint at The Airport Tavern before 10 30am. Achieved. We stayed at a nice B & B (inc 5 days parking) only 5 mins from Bristol Airport.
Friday 14th Oct.- Departed Bristol at 6.55am, arrived Barcelona Girona 1hr 45mins later. Coach transfer to city centre Coach station followed by taxi to our Hotel located 500m from registration and race start/finish and beach?..perfect! It was hot, 29c! First things first off we went to the beach, had a swim to cool down, followed by light refreshments at the beach bar. A walk across the prom brought us to Port Olympic for pizza. Back to hotel for Bike reconstruction followed by race registration and event expo. Once registered you have to present your Race pack to the event T shirt staff to claim your T shirt. Got the T but 2 hours later I realised that my Race pack was no longer with me. No problem I would retrieve it Saturday afternoon after watching the rugby world cup.
Saturday 15th Oct.- Up early for a ride to check out our bikes and loosen the legs, followed by full English breaky?..we had to get our pre race nutrition right,,,,,,,and then a cab down-town to one of those fantastic Spanish bars,,,,Yep an Irish Sports bar for the Wales v France. Having downed 2 cappo?s and consoled the only Welshman in the place we headed for Bens bike hire shop on foot armed with street map and guess work. 2 miles later Ben took charge of his steed?..a hybrid bike with thinish well pumped tires with one of those seats that looks like the top of a well padded bar stool that was soon to cause Ben?s botty some discomfort post race!! Ben cycled back to Base camp and our supportive Sherpa, Anthony, flagged down a cab for the tiring Elite amongst us! Sandwiches down the beach followed with another swim?..in the 3ft surf. Surf in the Med? Sure was?.and this disappointingly caused the race officials to alter the swim course and reduce the swim to approx. 1300m. With the sea temp at 20c it was ideal for the odd transparent jelly fish here and there. One took a liking to Neil while he was body surfing.
Back to Registration to find my Race pack No 2036 …… but no joy. Panic!! The standard reply to my umpteen enquiries was?.no number no race!! Panic!! Spoke with Spanish Race Director and I was not the only idiot who had lost his Race pack and was invited with another bloke to meet her at 8pm and if there was any ?no shows? their place?s would be transferred to the Numptys!! Thank goodness JAIME BOULAHLIP No. 2029 didn?t show! I was able to eat my pasta pre race dinner extremely relieved!!
Sunday 16th Oct – It was still dark when we walked over to bike racking at 6.30 with the other 3500 Olympic distance competitors. Anthony, photographer for the day, chose to lie – in after his lengthy walk the evening before! Having wandered into town for a Birthday beer, he got well and truly lost in the middle of Barcelona where not even the Taxi?s ventured !! Good job it was a clear night as he remembered where Saturn was located the night before when we walked home and used nature to guide him as he didn?t like to take the map out of his pocket to advertise he was an easy picking for a mugger! A taxi was found and a Birthday beer taken??..at our hotel! Anyhow?..
Ben and I picked up Anthony and the camera back at the hotel (we went back for a light breaky at 7 30 , still dark). We all watched the Elite swim at 8 10 just as the sun was rising, and then Ben and I prepared for our starts, me at 9 40, Ben at 9 50. ( 500 in each swim heat, beach start ). The swim was great and didn?t require reducing. The bike was fast on smooth, pot-hole free tarmac. Draft legal is great and certainly helps to save the legs for the run. The finish had the blue carpet leading to the finish and is lined with hundreds of people cheering you in. Far better than London Tri finish!
Race complete, bikes and kit recovered, scrubbed up and back to the beach for a relaxing swim and sunshine beers before extended celebrations into the early hours down town in La Rambles!
Monday 17th Oct. – A well deserved lay-in followed by GBH of the breaky bar was a good start to the day. Site seeing today on the city bus, a great way to see the city and establish where Anthony got lost! Our travel sickness waned after some Spanish cuisine that was seriously lacking on Friday and Saturday??. We came across a Starbucks and KFC , that did the trick!! 5 hours later we tried the special meal for 4 at the nearby Chinese restaurant! We did drink Spanish beer by the way!!
Tuesday 18th Oct – Another early start. Taxi at 6.30 to meet the 7am coach to airport (80k away) for our flight at 10 15 that arrived Bristol 11am
A fantastic weekend was had by all……..who’s coming next year?
Results:- (1786 male competitors)
Neil Eddy 1hr 52.36 (14th)
Nick Brooks 2hr 19.42 (274th)
Ben Hoadley 2hr 24 33 (494th)
For some unknown reason the results do not break down into age groups!