Race report from Ian Simon.
Jock & I travelled down to Ellerton Lake (venue for the Clevelend Steelman) a couple of weeks ago to take part in a rare event, an aquabike. Both of us had been suffering from restricted running due to injury, so it seemed a really good way to get some race intensity in, without exacerbating our injuries.
It was a very civilised 10am start at the lake. The race consisted of a 2-lap 1500m swim and ~23 mile bike that followed the bulk of the Steelman course.
Things went well from the start. A small field meant the swim start wasn’t the usual ‘washing machine’, and I set off at a comfortable pace. I gradually slipped through the gears. About two-thirds of the way round, I found myself in an un-precedented position – at the front! I started to panic, as I’d not bothered listening to the race brief on the assumption that I’d just follow the pack. Regular checks behind reassured me that everyone was following, so I continued on my second lap. I got to the final leg and put in a final effort to ensure the glory of being first out of the water.
Into transition, wetsuit off & helmet on. I grabbed my bike and headed out, with still no sign of anyone else emerging from the lake (it was a small field!). I’d seen a couple of strong bikers, so I was expecting to be the bunny rabbit at the grey-hounds. With that fear in my mind, I pushed the bike as hard as I could and hoped I could hang on for the hour. It was a lonely bike-leg, as the course was marked with direction arrows but no marshalls.
With a mile to go and still not having been passed, I risked sitting up and looking back. No-one was in sight, so I was able to relax a little and enjoy the last section into the finish for the overall win.
Both Jock & I enjoyed the race. The setting is excellent, with a warm, clear lake and relatively quiet bike route. Hopefully next year it will be a bit more established on the calendar and have a slightly bigger field.