Mark Harman shows the value of 8 seconds in Gosfield and some rather unsporting behaviour from the second place competitors.
The club relays only began in 2009 put on by Born2Tri after the idea was proposed by Tri England. It was a success, attracting 88 teams. With some excellent performances and a bit of home advantage Born2Tri took the open male and open female awards.
Twelve months on and we returned to Gosfield Lake for the 2010 edition. This time Born2Tri was just supporting the organisation and we were able to enter eight teams in an effort to defend the titles. We had some strong teams who had been training on the course but as the entries flowed in it was clear many other clubs we seeking to show they were the best in the region.
The race day dawned (I did see it as I was putting up the signs!) sunny and warm, perfect racing conditions. Born2Tri had claimed their team gathering point in the venue the previous day, our nearest neighbours were Human Performance from Essex University, they certainly looked the part the ITU GBR marked kit suggesting they had some fast racers. Not that our whippets were intimidated as they prepared quietly in the back of Glyn’s van.
The first surprise of the day was an announcement that wet suits were banned due to the high water temperature. This caused some concern, the water was warm but the brown grubby soup that is Gosfield Lake was able to get at more of your body. This year 120 teams made the start so the swim to the first buoy was rough to say the least. As the first swimmers left the water there was no sign of the Born2Tri racers, in fact by the time the three swims were over our top teams were three minutes down on the leaders, it was looking bleak for a repeat of 2009. All our racers completed the swim well, including our open water race virgins and took to the roads.
The bike section was still warm, but clouds and a strong breeze had arrived making the course more testing, particularly the hilly section from Sible Hedingham to Beazley End. Roadworks at Sible Hedingham also forced an unwelcome dismount to add to the challenge. The transition area featured some of the most desirable bikes you can find; this was certainly a very serious competition at the front. The bike section was fast and furious as the Born2Tri teams fought to pull back the time lost in the swim. All our racers did well, using their local knowledge and training to set great times over the testing route.
Once the racers hit the run course the cloud which brought the breeze had gone leaving 30 degree full sun to bathe the exposed run. The organisers had added an additional test by not providing any water on the route. The race at the front was getting closer with every leg, the male vet team Born2win (Mark E, Stuart H and Roy) had hit the front, but the male open team Born2shine (Ali, Steve N and Glyn) was closing in just inches at a time. As Glyn took to the final leg he was about 20 seconds down, I had a grandstand position out on the course as first Oliver Milk of Human Performance passed me followed shortly afterwards by Glyn running well. By the time they reached the final metres into the venue, more than three hours after the start Born2shine had caught and passed Human Performance to take the race, just eight seconds separated them at the line.
The event was a huge success and I am sure it will be back next year, probably with more of the Born2Tri touch to make it even better. I am sure there are some of the top teams out there even now planning how to take the title from us.
Of course the event was not yet over, with plenty of quality racing still to come. The women’s team Born2shop (Melissa and the two Wendys) finished an excellent fourth place and Born2kickass (Matt, Stuart M and Mark B) made it into the top ten to complete the tremendous results. The remainder of the Born2Tri teams were dotted through the top half of the field, a fantastic day for the club.
It was another proud moment for the club, so soon after the Norwich triumph as our racers collected their well deserved awards. Even the miserable faces and unsporting booing from the second place Human Performance team was not going to take that away. The strength of Born2Tri is the sporting way we race, supporting the racers whatever their speed or fitness, never let us become like Human Performance.
Congratulations to everyone who raced and supported the event, including those who gave their time to run the fun run the previous day. Born2Tri continues to grow and thrive, well done to you all.