It all started with an innocent conversation over lunch.
The sort of conversation when someone moves the talk away from work, and you start talking about what you do in your “spare time”. I happened to mention that I’ve done a couple of triathlons. Which with hindsight was a reasonably foolish thing to say to two Investment Managers from Threadneedle.
It turns out that Threadneedle sponsor the World Triathlon Series.
Fast forward a couple of months, and I’m in the Serpetine, the water is seriously cold (the race organisers insist it is 17 degrees, but it feels like a spare “1” has been thrown in there as some sort of investment manager rounding adjustment). I’m part of the first outing of the Dalriada Trustees & Spence and Partners Triathlon Squad – entered into the Sprint Triathlon held in Hyde Park. Held over the same course which the Elite athletes would tackle that afternoon which would be broadcast on the BBC.
I’m surrounded by people who didn’t seem to spend their formative years in the way that I did – lusting after KFC. And I’m looking like the Michelin Man in my wetsuit. I’ve got Vanessa Raw (for the majority of the population who don’t know her, she is a member of the British Olympic Triathlon Squad) stood behind me. With a smile which seems to indicate she is enjoying the fact that she isn’t in the water, she gives an air-horn a blast…
And we are off. And all of these lengths of training in the swimming pool are instantly rendered utterly useless as the water is so cold I struggle to relax and put my head in it.
After 300m of flailing around like a drowning dog, I start to find some kind of rythm. And after 750m it is all done. 15 minutes 52 seconds. Over to Spence and Partners’ very own Miguel Indurain, Mr Mike Spink.
Now, usually injuries to cyclists involve road rash and failing mechanicals. But our Mr Spink has style. He pulls his calf muscle exiting transition, i.e. BEFORE he has turned a pedal in anger. Despite this handicap, and the fact that the bike section involves five laps and Mike fears he is going to struggle to count to five, he returns in an extremely competitive 38 minutes 37 seconds for his 20k ride.
Passing the timing chip on to Marian. Marian is clearly on a mission. Despite the fact that I’ve stood there waiting to cheer her past, I miss her completely. She is gone in a flash. Mike starts applying ice to his calf and talking about the 115 mile bike ride he has entered the next day…
After 22 minutes, Marian returns. The determined look is still on her face, now with an added rosy glow from the combination of the sun and the exersion. What follows is slightly comical. We are meant to cross the finishing line together, Mike and I joining Marian for the last 50m of the run section. Marian is still on that mission (to be fair – she has run 5k in 22 minutes). She is charging. Mike on the other hand… he is doing his very best Ministry of Funny Walks hobble down the finishing straight, clutching an ice pack.
And she was charging! Marian’s time has been confirmed as being the fastest of all the female runners (excluding any professionals)!
It always helps on these sorts of occasions to have a target in mind. We aimed low – wanting to beat 5% of the field. As things turned out we finished 41st out of 66 entrants (some seriously quick semi-professionals, and a European Ironman champion included). A total time of 1h 18mins.
What have we learnt?
– The water is cold in the UK in May.
– Bike shoes are for bikes. Not for running.
– We appear to be a company with hidden sporting talent.
Roll on next year?