Steve W returned to the multisport scene this Sunday (29th March) with a very early-season sprint triathlon based on South Hunsley Sports Centre in East Yorkshire. The distances of 400m swim, 24K bike and 5K run favoured Steve's traditionally strong biking leg, with windy conditions helping out further by making the hilly bike section a very tough affair.
Adding to the mix were single figure temperatures and, at about half-race distance, an opening of the heavens leading to hypothermia-inducing conditions. It's worth bearing in mind that most competitors in pool sprints come straight out of a heated pool wearing only a one-piece trisuit and speedily throw on no more than helmet and shoes in Transition 1 before heading out onto the bike section. Suffice to say no gloves, socks or over-jacket in conditions like Sunday's have competitors 'managing' al sorts of numb extremity issues.
The cold was so bad that, having completed the bike leg, Steve could not feel his fingers at all and could not undo his helmet in Transition 2. Sparing him the indignity of a 5K run in a full aero-helmet, a kindly race referee took a pragmatic view of 'outside assistance' and came to the rescue. Even the flat-out 5K run effort did not do much to raise competitors' core temperatures and it's fair to say intensely grim faces were the order of the day.
In spite of it all, and thanks in part to a high rate of attrition, Steve took an age group win and finished 2nd overall.