Anne Fish, Grayhame Fish, Deborah Lloyd, Phil Hurr, Darren Woodward
Representing Great Britain in the European Age Group Championships – something a bit different, the Middle Distance Aquabike. So basically a Half Ironman without the run.
The event was part of the two week Europe Triathlon Multisport Championships in Bilbao, Spain. Duathlons, Triathlons, Aquathlon, Aquabike, Cross Triathlon.
There were six members of Tri-Anglia qualified for various events over the two week period but only Anne and myself made it, sickness, plane cancellations etc took their toll.
Because the swim was in the river running through Bilbao and tidal, the start was late to catch high tide so the Middle Distance triathletes set off at 15:00 hrs and the Aquabike set of after the last triathlete, aimed at 15:20 hrs. It was intended to have a speedy rolling start with youngest males through to oldest males, youngest ladies through to oldest ladies. That repeated with the Aquabike.
The bike leg was 81 Kms with 886 metres climbing the bulk of which was in the first 28 Kms. The organisers had set three cut off times on the bike 17:50 at 36 Km, 19:05 at 60 Km and 20:06 at 81 Km.
Anne was the oldest lady competing in the Aqualbike and the only lady in F70-74 (the day after her 74th birthday) she was set off last (apart from a few ‘open category young ladies) at 15:26 hrs.
Anne did the swim in 47 mins, T1 in 11 mins (the organisers had made it an unnecessarily complex transition). She was stopped at the first cut off / feed station at 36 Kms being 4 mins over the cut off time. There was another GB lady and an Italian gent stopped at the same time. The official who took her chip said a van would be along to pick her and the bike up. Anne and the others waited two and a half hours and no van came to pick her up. To cut a long story short one of the volunteers phoned the Police and in due course a Police van picked her up and took her to the finish.
I (Grayhame) competed as well, having been finished some time (19:35 hrs) and Anne didn’t appear before the finish line cut off 20:06 hrs, I checked that her green ‘Street Bag was still at the finish, it was and her bike wasn’t there. None of the officials there were able to tell me where she was despite a lot of frantic messages being sent. She turned up at 8:45pm wearing a foil Space blanket, much to my relief.
I came third and won the Bronze medal but only four finishers in my age group.
The support and messages of disappointment from other members of the GB Team were wonderful and British Triathlon have said they have taken the Local Organising Committee to task over this fiasco. Anne just needed to finish for the Gold medal and qualification for next year.