Sometimes I wonder if fate plays a bigger part in our lives than we give credit for. Some years ago now, I did Wenesledale triathlon. It’s one of my favourite races and sits close to my birthday. I had a few friends coming up for a weekend in the Dales. Two friends had bought me some Wonder Woman pants and dared me to wear them over my trisuit.
It’s here that I met Jo Carritt for the first time. It’s probably the worst conditions I’ve ever tried to do a triathlon in. Torrential rain lashed down, whilst winds battered the already flooded lake we were due to swim in. Transition was 3′ under water and waves were lapping across the road. Wenesledale is a brutal race with a succession of 25% climbs and a 12mile fell run to round it off! A marshall shouted ‘you’re second lady!’ as I dropped down a rock and pebble strewn road. I had a girl in my sights and we drew battle with each other dancing back and forth along the road, squealing into the bike to run transition. Fields were waist deep in water as we set off up the fell. Poor girl didn’t know that running isn’t my greatest strength and pelted off out of sight, which to be fair wasn’t that far in the thick fog! It was August!
We came in 1st and 2nd respectively and I think we both still hold the course records for our favoured disciplines.
That girl was Jo.
We didn’t meet again until the sign on queue for Lanzarote Ironman the following year. Jo turned round and exclaimed ‘oh god! I hope you’ve not bought those sodding Wonder Woman pants, they’ve haunted me!’ We’ve kept in touch properly since then.
When I first met Ali she was still living in London. I was training for another Ironman and needed people to train with when I was down there. Jo’s talents had been spotted by this point and she was now racing as a pro. I knew she was in London so asked about training buddies. Jo hooked me up with her old club Tri London and although she was out racing in New Zealand assured me that they were friendly and to look out for her sister. ‘like me only taller’ she said.
Sure enough they were the friendliest club you could meet. Jo and Steven coach many of them and achieve some fantastic results, including many visits to the world champs in Kona, channel swims and ultra runs.
Last year they ran their first Ironman training camp in Lanzarote. A ride guide had been unable to attend and Jo mailed to see if I could step in. It had been Ali’s first Yorkshire winter and she was needing some sunshine. I felt bad if I had a week out here without her so mailed Jo back asking if she wanted a physio along too?
It’s customary to have a massage therapist on camps but less so a physio as well. Lucky athletes!
It’s all good. You may wonder why I’ve given Jo such an introduction? Well, we have some adventures planned over the next year or so. You’ll just have to keep reading to find out more!