Dripping in Dixie, damp in Gloucester

Helen decided that Mallorca wasn't warm enough for her first half Ironman as she explains:

'Agreeing to race with an old friend who lives in the US seemed like a great idea at the time until I got off the plane in Charlotte, South Carolina and the humidity hit me like a wall! I had a week to acclimatise, but it didn't happen! Each Bike and Run we did in training left me in buckets of sweat and for the first time in my life I listened to what I was told about nutrition at the race otherwise, I’d probably end up using my health insurance!

Horrific thunderstorms, 35 degrees and 85% humidity greeted us as we arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina. We’d booked an amazing apartment through Airbnb about 5 minutes from the end of transition, thankfully with air conditioning!

The city itself was fantastic, plenty of restaurants and bars and Iron Man banners EVERYWHERE

T1 was 30 minutes drive away at Jordan Lake, so we dropped our bikes off on the Saturday and dipped our toes in the 27 degree lake!

Sunday am started a 3.40am, it was already 25 degrees and the Humidity was ridiculous. After dropping everything off in T1, we got the athletes coach to T2 and the lake. Unfortunately we were surrounded by very loud Americans! Not ideal at 5am on race day but hey ho it's their country after all!

My wave started at 7.44, My first non wet suit race, I borrowed a skin suit to try to make me go quicker! Loved the swim, it was a long 2150m according to a couple of Garmins so I was a little disappointed by my time but so was everyone else!

The bike route was stunning, rolling hills in the countryside, lined by trees and ranches. I was in heaven to be honest. Plenty of feed stations, closed roads and police on every crossroad and intersection. 56 miles sped by, without me really noticing the heat… I arrived at T2 in the city centre and then it hit me!

The temperature gauge on the PNC building was 35 degrees and the humidity was off the scale. I limped through the run, a lumpy 2 laps with dead turns in it, in which there was very disappointingly large amount of walking. There were aid stations at every mile, I put ice in a zip lock bag in the back of my Tri suit (pre warned!) at every aid station and it had melted by the next one. It was pretty ridiculous. The only saving grace was 90% of the other athletes were walking too and complaining about the heat which made me feel slightly better, all accept for my annoying friend who skipped past me on his last lap high-fiving me, in a stupid run time of 1h 33m… he has since been de-friended.

A tough first 70.3 but I really loved it and we topped off the day with a night out that involved an alarming amount of Gin - Americans can really drink!!!!!!!! The first of many I feel but if I ever decide to enter a race in 85% humidity.. please, please, please can someone stop me!'

Much closer to home, we had a great turnout from TTC at the Gloucester Sprint Triathlon thanks to Keith's excellent work with our local friends and rivals. It's just a pity he couldn't organise the weather. Although the day started murky but dry, intermittent thunderstorms were the order of the day leading to some slippery conditions on the bike route.

And it was all going so well..........

It wasn't enough to deter us though with Nick Slim dominating the event as he seems to have done for the past few years leading everyone home in 1:07:56. Ed finished an excellent 2nd (1:10:40). Tom Radley crept into the top ten (1:16:40) followed by Stuart Bonham (1:19:15). They were followed home by Mark Whyman (1:20:18), Brian McCarthy (1:20:34), Cristian (1:22:47), Alec (1:26:06), Wayne (1:26:40), Duncan (1:30:17), Keith, who survived a face plant on the bike dismount which somehow earned him a prize! (1:34:13) and Terry (1:41:59).

In the womens' race Amber didn't let the minor detail of university studies get in her way as she was the first TTC woman home in 1:30:59 followed by Elaine Clarke who capped off a hard week's training in Malaga by finishing in 1:34:36. Jo Chandler having threatened to hide in a bus shelter if it started thundering finished in 1:39:09. Nicole finished in 1:44:57 having lopped over a minute off her swim time from our last aquathlon. Jackie Abeerdeen rounded off a fine team performance with a 1:52:45.

It was great to see so many club members out together despite the weather not being at its best but I don't hink we will complain too much after Helen's experience!

The photos from the Gloucester Tri were provided for free by Charles Whitton photography. There's loads more of us on his website: www.charleswhittoneventphotography.com

Helen Milner -

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