We came, we got muddy, we got medals!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A different type of racing for some of our athletes racing last weekend. Still a triathlon but with a bit more mud.
What’s X-Terra, Pam? An off road triathlon said she, and so it was that we turned up at a field on the Vachery estate (no, nor me) near Cranleigh last Saturday and pitched tents in the increasingly heavy rain. Squelched over to the race village marquee to register, and then race briefing introducing a very impressive line up of professionals and assorted world champions. This might be quite serious. Revised thoughts about a few assorted people racing round a muddy field. Retired to Pam’s luxury tent to contemplate a large bottle of cider then back to the marquee for an excellent dinner accompanied by tasty local beer from the convenient beer tent and a film show (Ocean’s 11). Back to the tents to attempt sleep hindered by 1) Gatwick airport 2)rain 3)young couple in next door tent proving to be endurance athletes.
Next day dry and warm and after providing us with an excellent breakfast off we went. Swim in lovely clean lake with water lilies, Pam near the front, me near the back as usual. Short scamper to transition and out on the bike (mountain bikes only). Extremely tough technical twisty up and downey course made even more difficult by ankle deep slippery mud. Some pushing and carrying needed, frequent unclogging of wheels, poor language, and occasional help from marshals pulling bike up worst bits. Almost sense of humour failure by the end. Back into transition and out on the run. Sense of humour restored by excellent cross-country course with bogs, logs, ditches etc and then to the finish and some cake. Excellent.
Rather pleasingly we both podiumed (is that a word?) with Pam winning her age group (hooray), and me coming third in my group (mainly by finishing).
Overall we had a great time. The event was very slickly organized, all food on site with endless hot drinks and cake (and beer), brilliant marshals and waymarking, awesome professionals, some interesting people from all over Europe (it was the European Championships) and the original Pirate. Highly recommended and would do it again (less mud next time please!)

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