Cotswold Classic – Gemma Roberts

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Earlier this year I decided to take on the challenge of a middle distance triathlon and because so many people gave positive feedback about this event, I chose the Cotswolds Classic Middle Distance Triathlon. At this point, my training was focussed on my marathon in May but when I signed up I told myself that I would then re-focus in the June. Unfortunately, I lost all motivation until the end of July. This definitely did not leave me with enough time to train properly and I have learnt over the last couple of weeks the importance of preparation. Ultimately, this resulted in a crisis of confidence on the Saturday evening whilst trying to force feed myself a sufficient amount of pasta for the event the following day. It also didn’t help that our camping stove broke just after finishing the pasta but before heating the sauce. Leading to an already stressed out Gemma near enough losing it because this meant she could not have the intended breakfast nutrition of porridge and it was obviously a sign that it was not going to go well – dramatic, I know. Luckily Richard dashed to the nearest Tesco to pick up an alternative and reassuring me that everything would be fine. I am surprised he didn’t drive back North just to escape.
Event day started with a 4:30am alarm. In a bleary eyed state I had breakfast and got ready. Normally, I would have liked to watch the sun rise but this morning I was triple checking I had everything. We made our way over to the start and I entered transition to rack my bike and set up. I triple and double checked I had laid out everything I would need and then made my way to the start line. I then had the battle of getting the wet suit on, which is a workout in itself. All ready and no way of escaping. A quick chat to Mark, it was nice to see a friendly and familiar face, who was also wearing the club colours. Then it was time, a quick briefing and into the water. The wait for klaxon was excruciating but as soon as it sounded it was a battle. I unfortunately ended up in the middle of it and was kicked in the face on several occasions and I quickly learnt that people were not looking where they were going. I was pleased with my swim considering but as we reached the finish of the swim I was relieved.


Onto the bike, which I am not notorious for. It wasn’t long before the fancy bikes sped past me. However, it was a pleasant route with only one hill, resulting in a happy Gemma. I managed to be relatively consistent with my laps and averaged just over 15mph which I was very happy with. Then the dreaded run, at Salford my legs had felt like concrete blocks and I feared that it would happen again. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad after a couple of miles. The main problem with the run was that it was extremely hot and out of the shade it was difficult to keep up momentum. By the time I reached the feed station, I desperately needed water. It was also nice to be able to actually have something that wasn’t in gel form and required some form of chewing. I gradually made my way through the laps, I saw Mark and we briefly passed on encouragement, again lovely to see a familiar face. It was on the last lap I met a woman called Andrea. She was on her second lap and strongly suggesting she was going to sell her wetsuit and bike as soon as she got home. We ran the last bit of the lap together and as I moved towards the finish she shouted you should be proud. I remember shouting something back, perhaps something like good luck and well done to you too but that bit was a bit of a blur because it all felt a bit unreal. I had actually completed the event and within my goal time of 7 hours. I think the finisher photo might show my face with mixed emotions; surprise and elation.
I am still in shock that yesterday happened but I am over the moon it did. This club gave me the confidence and drive to undertake such a challenge and if I had been just individually training I don’t think I would have signed up. Thank you for all of your support and just being a constant reminder that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. One of the most amazing things about being a member of this club is that you are an individual out on the course but behind is a whole club willing you to do well, and having that thought really does help you through the highs and lows of an event. So I wonder what the next challenge will be…………….