Alright, I will admit it, I have been waiting all year to be able to use this title! But I am finally there, with less than a week until the biggest race of my life: The Avenger Triathlon. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you on the sign below and for those of you who prefer the metric system this will be a 1.9 km swim, followed by 90 km bike and then 21 km half-marathon!
I am still not exactly sure how I ended up entering this event. Part of me wants to see just how far I can go. Tired as I was when I crossed the line in my first Olympic distance race, I thought I had some more left in the tank, and ever since have been pushing my limits. Technically this is called a ‘middle distance’ race, which makes it sound a bit lightweight, but in my mind that is like saying that Santiago is in the middle of Chile – it is still a bloody long way from one end to the other! Whilst I have covered the elements of this race individually enough times – a long practice swim in the lake last week for example, the Birmingham half marathon in October, and perhaps less excitingly my 100 km stationary bike in the gym in April – combining them all back to back with no breaks for the first time could lead to anything!
Perhaps it could be the location? I have been thinking of racing this distance for a while now, but it can be difficult to find the right event, and given that this is taking place at Ragley Hall, just a 20 minute drive from my house, it stood out to me. And after scoping the place out the venue it does look perfect: The lake tucked away in a corner, surrounded on one side by a wood and the other with a grassy slope which I assume leads up to transition; the bike leg covers a quiet but picturesque part of Warwickshire, hopefully also reasonably flat and car-free; and the run is around the spectacular grounds, where my wife and sister will be cheering me on from the sidelines whilst having a massive picnic.
Another reason could be to raise funds for charity. After 4 or 5 years of doing ever longer races – swims, sprint & Olympic triathlons, half-marathons – I was running out of new things do to persuade people to part with their cash. In case you somehow missed it, I am raising money this year for a Bowel Cancer charity. Although there is no formal target it will all go to a really good cause, and if you have been considering sponsoring me for anything ever, this is the one!
Those are all good reasons, but who am I kidding really. I am doing this as it is called the Avenger and I am far too geeky to miss out on the chance to actually be Iron Man myself! It may well be that this is me in the picture below (with thanks to Esquire magazine) perhaps more likely with the guys behind about to lap me on the run leg. The main thing for me will be finishing, but how will I do – we will see on Sunday!