London III: Come on, Aussie, come on

Friday:Well, I aint never done a race quite like that. In the damp of the evening, I’m still not sure what to make of it. There wasn’t really time during the race to savour the moment. The pace was frenetic, and it took all my power just to keep up.

Yes, it was great. Seeing the Aussie flags waving. Having complete strangers (and not just fellow Aussies) see me in my suit and supportively yell out my name. Watching the other competitors rise to the occasion, racing proudly, giving everything. And seeing others who struggled or had bad luck, but still went on and gave it their best. The supporters who braved the weather and cheered everyone on, not just those of their nation or relation. The good-spirited volunteers, dispensing drinks and urging you on.

The Aussie cheer squad deserves an extra special mention.

Just brilliant. There aren’t really words to describe it.

And yet…and yet it was not all positives. The bike course was troublesome. I kept thinking of Austin Powers and the Russian bombshell Ivana Humpalot. It was bumpy, and it was really wet. Two hairpin turns. Athletes crashed. I was glad to get through it unscathed.

The transition area was churned into a muddy cow paddock. Heading downhill was a bit like a slip-and-slide. Everything got dirty, but the showers were warm.

I have come to conclude that there appears to be two groups of racers: grimacers and grinners. The grimacers have trained really hard, invested time and money, and are determined to do well. I respect that, and I wish you all the best (but perhaps not when you cut dangerously in front of me at those sharp turns). Nah, even with that, I wish you all the best. Go as fast as you can.

The grinners are just out there having a ball. Like this doofus:

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Playing in the mud, running in the rain, having fun. Well done to everyone and a big thank you for the support.

Some stray pre-race thoughts:
– The undergound in the morning resembles a steamed-up sardine can. Pointy bike helmets become dangerous weapons in such situations.
– Those like me (a total goose, that is) who don’t read the instruction manual carefully end up arriving at the race way too late to do the final bike set-up, and have to beg to be let in while loudly admitting to being a total goose, but are allowed in and get a friendly volunteer like Paul to stand guard as you get the bike ready. Thanks, Paul.
– It gets pretty hot when you stand in the swim line-up for 20 minutes in a wetsuit.

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