Santa Cruz-Tenerife- Standard Distance
Not the best starts just getting to this race, due to the beast from the east, causing mayhem. The plan was go to my mates house (Michael Birtwhistle) over in Bolton on Thursday evening, then off to Manchester airport early on Friday for the flight. 1st problem trying to get the bike box from Matthew Boon house (Very kindly donated by the club) on the Wednesday night, this was impassable, then I managed to collect it on Thursday evening, and that was a challenge through the snow. I Came back home loaded up bike, bags & everything else, all checked at least 10 times, then off over to Bolton, or so i thought, got to junction 22 which had been closed due to the weather and all surrounding roads which lead over to the dark side of the Pennines, so back home with a view to getting over early on Friday, assuming the motorway and surrounding roads would be clear. This turned out to be wrong, with road closures still in place, and time running out to get the Friday flight. The flight was missed so we decided to rebook other flight out on the Saturday. At last early Saturday access over to Bolton via, little bough and Rochdale, then straight to Manchester airport. The flight was delayed so 7.5 hours later we landed in Tenerife. The registration was in the middle of a shopping centre in Santa Cruz and we were pushing for time to get registered, so we hired a car, (the original plan was to get the bus) and travelled at break neck speed and luckily found the registration just as they were packing in, any way numbers obtained, all we had to do now was find our accommodation, which was a low budget apartment. We had to meet the owner at 8 pm, but it was getting on for 9pm by now, and because he wasn’t an resident there himself, he was saying if we aren’t at the apartment in the next 10mins he would be leaving, this set us in panic mode, franticly looking for this apartment in the back streets of Santa Cruz, which had no name above the doors, anyway after many phone calls and running up and down every street we found him, ( not happy ) To finish us off our flat was four floors up, so bike boxes, and the rest of our gear up the flights of steps, then we assembled the bikes ready for the am, some food at last we had done, this was about midnight by now, totally knackered.
The day of the race we walked to the course, had a quick reccie of the transition, and worked out the course for all three discipline’s, the sea swim was a mass start with approx. 400 entries, the bike was 3 loops along the coast and draft legal, and the run was two loops along the coast but in the opposite direction, so it was a flat and fast course. The race started at 2pm, so the temperature was getting up to 25deg by then, sun tan cream was a must and plenty of water, but we had been hydrating for about three day before to make sure we didn’t bloat with too much water prior to the race. I was looking around in transition as we were limbering up thinking geez everyone is so young and athletic looking and it made me think about a vow I took a long time ago if I come last in a race then I’m packing it in. The young ones were mainly Spanish, so the thankfully we had some more age groupers, Italians, Dutch, and English competitors. The swimming was fun, lots of arms & legs everywhere so I can’t site very well, and the buoys were small, so I stayed with a cluster of swimmers for as much as possible, I was doing my usual zig zagging everywhere and ended up doing 1800m for a 1500m swim, doh !!, then the long run to the bike, out on the bike, I quickie tooked in behind a small group to get in my stride, and pretty much stayed with this group, we all had turns in the front and it worked well. Mike was leading the big clusters, with the Spanish jabbering on, no
idea what they kept shouting but I gave it a great atmosphere going round. The run was hard in the heat but the two fuel stations were well organised and stacked with cold water, fruit, and energy drinks. The crowds were decent in numbers and gave you plenty of encouragement on the run, but I was glad to get over the line at the end. I got a new PB for me so a good start to the season, Mike Birtwhistle who is a Halifax lad won our age group in 2hrs 11mins, who will probably will the euros this august in Glasgow, just a shame he lives in Bolton and not a member of the CTC.
So this was a great experience, great weather, well organised with banging music after and a nice night out in the warm air with some deserved cold lager to finish off with, and didn’t let the beast from the east get the better of us.