Elliot came steaming into the finish line, assured that he had earned his team the lead they needed to win. As Ben, the last competitor of ICE Team 2, dived into the sea it seemed that their victory would be assured. But anything can happen in triathlon…
Lois’s suggestion of entering a team in to the local triathlon was met with choking horror; no-one appreciated the suggestion of being awake at 5.30am to get wet, cold and exhausted. Within hours the idea of racing trikes in a new event became more appealing, and with competitive rivalry from the World HPV Championships still hanging over us, we soon had six ICE employees signed up to the Gyllyngvase Relay Triathlon.
The event was organised by a local club, Gyllyngvase Surf Life Saving Club, who had invited us to take part on our trikes. The course would start with a 250m sea swim, followed by a 5km cycle around Pendennis headland and finish with a 1km run along the seafront. Each competitor would go the full course before tagging their team-mate. The two teams of four were made up by honorary ICEies Ben Leonard and Rebecca Edgerly.
ICE Team 1: Lois Leonard, Andy Tebbutt, Matt Evans and Paul Edgerley
ICE Team 2: Rebecca Edgerley, Ben Dickinson, Elliot Hodges, Ben Leonard
The big morning arrived, and despite storm predictions the sea lay eerily still with dense fog rolling onto the beach. Dismissing their nerves, the teams wheeled their trikes into the transition area and laid out their kit. A quick glance at the ‘conventional’ transition area, laced with carbon framed bikes and athletes donning their compression clothing, told us that we were punching a little high for our first triathlon; this would be a race between ourselves.
First onto the start line were Rebecca, Lois and 16 other competitors. For Lois, a well-practiced sea swimmer, this was the ‘no worries’ section of the event and she came out of the sea in 4th place; by the end of her tri Team 1 were well ahead.
Andy was in the sea next for Team 1, and had finished as Ben D was heading into the water. With a World HPV Champion hot on his heels, Andy put everything into his trike ride and run, and despite a nasty fall managed to keep Team 1 at the front.
Matt was in next for Team 1, but Elliot was determined to catch him and make up the time for Team 2. After an impressive swim Elliot raced away on his trike determined to catch Matt on the ascent around Pendennis Castle. He almost closed the gap but lost it again on the downhill. The flat was where Elliot could make the difference, and he did, bringing in Team 2 a comfortable lead at the end of the third stage.
The final stage was a battle between Ben L and Paul. Ben had a 50m lead on the swim, which he managed to retain and was the first of the two to leave the transition. The race would be determined on this leg – Ben is a fast runner but an inexperienced trike rider – he could allow Paul to catch him, but no more than that.
For the spectators on the beach the excitement was nearly unbearable. Watching as Ben and Paul left transition, no-one could guess who would win. The two riders sped off and everyone watched the headland looking for the first glimpse of a trike; would it be the white Vortex, or Black Sprint-X? The answer came minutes later as the two trikes descended neck-and-neck, heading for the 1km flat sprint along the seafront. Paul arrived in transition first and fumbled to get out of his SPD’s and into his trainers. Ben was moments behind him and having opted for foot-straps was on the tarmac in seconds. The men looped out of sight around the gardens and onto the seafront for the final leg. Surely this would be the runner’s race?
A tense few minutes and then shout rang out – Paul had retained his lead! Ben was only 25m behind, but couldn’t close the gap. With a final charge Paul raced onto the beach and through the finish – Team 1 wins! Not to be outdone, Ben put on a sprint and leant into the line. It wasn't a photo finish, but a great end to an exciting first triathlon. Congratulations to everyone!
Many thanks to the team at Gyllyngvase S.L.S.C for allowing us to join the triathlon and giving us an extra-large transition area for our trikes.
Thank you also to Nathan Jarvis, our marshal, Dan Pearce for the photographs, and Ben Leonard and Rebecca Edgerley for making up the numbers for ICE Team 2.