It was that time of year again and time for Saltdean’s Premier Shortest Day Triathlon. As with the previous two iterations, it was being run in conjunction with “OZman” – the Melbourne equivalent longest day triathlon.
The day dawned cold and still, the temperature on the Barnes’ drive reading minus 2.5. Numbers were slightly down on last year owing to a clash with K2 and some back issues but the turnout was fair considering the icy conditions. For the uninitiated, the format is a sea swim, two widths of the “winter beach” followed by a hilly and usually muddy off road bike then a 5k run along the sea front. To finish, there is an “intellectual challenge” which affects the overall time, so it pays to stay sharp. This year, six swimmers plunged into the chilly water- attire varying from the full “serious winter surf dude” sported by Jon, to the basic of gloves, hat, boots and budgies chosen by Pete and Ness (although not in budgies). In the event, it was all over very quickly – extremely quickly for Stu who having not realised it might be a tad cold, hadn’t considered covering hands & feet – he beat most by around a width.
Winter Grit has lots of house rules designed to make the occasion more fun, one being that for relay teams, in order to tag the cyclist, the swimmer must be wearing no less than they would wear for the remainder of the race. This made T1 slightly more frantic than usual with a total disregard to the no nudity rule.
The bike was brutal with the first serious hill coming a few hundred metres from T1 and then was up & down with a bit of thawing mud thrown in. The only casualty was Al with a puncture who rode in true pro racer style with a deflated rear tyre all the way until the tyre and inner tube parted company, the latter embedding itself in the inner workings of the wheel. He bravely carried the ailing bike back to T2.
The run was straight forward with Alison & Anna both making good showings and the scene was then set for the intellectual challenge. The intellectual aspect was played down in favour of fun. The task was to hook a pair of trousers on to Donald Trump whilst blindfolded to the tune of “Donald where’s yer troosers” by Andy Stewart. The distance how far off the mark people were then contributed to a time deduction. The morning was enjoyed by all and the event was rounded off with a visit to the Saltdean Tavern.