So after all the build up, the training(ish), and the planning the weekend of the Outlaw was finally upon us. Lauren and I missed out on our friends surprise party, which we were gutted about, so that we could get packed on Friday night and get an early night ready for a prompt start on Saturday. What we had to pack was extensive! My race stuff looked something like this:
- Cap (Pick up at expo)
- Hayfever tablets
- Cycle Jersey
- Cycle Shorts
- Energy Gels
- Mule Bars
- Cycle Shoes
- Inner Tubes
- Joe Blow
- Number belt
- Race Number (Expo)
I think that was the lot. Either way I had everything I needed. Lauren dealt with the normal stuff you take for a weekend away and so we went to sleep Friday happy all was ready for the off.
Saturday we set off a little later than hoped but not by much, a quick stop at Sainsburys for some food for the journey and we were heading to Nottingham by 9am, 156 miles to go not far off the distance I would travel the next day of 140.6 miles. The journey up was ok, plenty of traffic on the M1 but no major delays and we arrived at the Watersports centre around 12.
We parked up and got out my bike and kit to get it all prepped and down to the start, as we did so other athletes were doing the same. Way to feel inadequate! There was thousands upon thousands of pounds worth of kit on show, shiny bikes, pointy helmets, and me and Lauren were labouring with my beat up old Specialized Allez trying to get the wheel back on. Lauren had been taking a keen interest in my prep though and had seen that people taped energy gels to their bike and so we had a good laugh getting those attached. Then with kit packed and bike in one piece we headed for the registration area.
Once there it all got a bit crazy, I was intending to swim 1.5km in the Speedo big swim to get me used to my wetsuit at half 3 but time just got away from us. I left Lauren looking after the bike as I went to register, she then came to find me and sent the bike in for a last minute look over from one of the mechanics they had there for the princely sum of £15! I now had my race bags/numbers etc but I had to get to the race briefing by 1 and so ran off leaving Lauren with the kit and the bike.
Lauren made friends whilst I listened to a fairly dull briefing that went on for an hour and essentially spoke about what I had read in the race information pack. I was out of there by two and Lauren and I then moved our kit from the bag we had bought into the various kit bags ready for the changing tents. We rushed down and got the bags stowed away and then the bike into transition.
It was now half 2 as we watched the Big Speedo 3km swim start. There was some poor soul at the back who was almost drowning from the get go and I'm not sure he would have finished. Lauren and I were now heading back to the car to get my wetsuit so I could change and do the swim in under an hours time, but as the wind picked up and the rain came down I decided to call off the planned swim and just go to the hotel and check in. The plan had been to do it to get confident in the open water and have some practise but I was shattered and conditions were far from ideal so I just felt it would have knocked my confidence.
The hotel was the Jury's Inn and it was perfect just two miles from the start and nice and roomy. Back in the room I got my tri-suit and wetsuit on whilst Lauren had a quick nap and we then both relaxed watching the tennis before meeting my parents for dinner in the hotel bar at 8pm. It was a very pleasant evening with my parents enjoying a bottle of red whilst I stuck to the diet cokes then it was off to bed by around half 10 ready for our half 3 wake up call.
Come back tomorrow for part 2 of 5 in the marathon Outlaw blog series.