The fear of jellyfish brought forward the camp swim race, I was lucky, I got to be the buoy, so it was just 20 minutes of aquafit whilst I tried to stay warm! There are some awesome swimmers on the camp and having them charging towards you at full pelt made the jellyfish look less scary!
The sea had a bit more chop on it that usual making it harder going than normal. Campers have to do a half hour swim each day to complete the camp. Choppy sea and jellyfish fear had managed to give Ted the willies! He wasn’t keen to swim straight out to sea for the last leg of the race (last year a camper swam too far, missing the row of buoys and had to ask a fishing boat for directions!). This would have meant an incomplete camp.
However I fancied a swim to warm up and wanted some company so poor Ted got dragged back into the sea to escort me! Thanks Ted 🙂
The ride for the day was towards the north of the island to do the Tabeyesco hill climb. Its 10km and lands you on top of a volcano.
After our little extra jaunt up it earlier in the week, spirits were running high and Steven had said that if anyone could beat him they’d win the shirt off his back! I ought to add that Steven is an awesome athlete. In reality I haven’t got a chance of beating him, however in my head is a different matter and I’ll sick my lungs up trying! He must have been secretly worried, I’ve never seen him use a gel before!
Steven has worked out the start order so that everyone is on their toes. Tim and Roger are ahead of me and fairly keen not to get ‘chicked’ again on this climb. The climb wiggles its way upwares with a sucession of hair pins allowing you to have your ‘bunny’ in sight most of the time. This also means the wind plays a big part in a strategy of climbing. One second you’re flying and the next you’re into an invisible wall of wind.
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – GO!
We’re off, Roger is in my sights within seconds, every time he leaves the saddle I gain on him. I’ve taught myself to stay seated and spin over the years and at times like this it really pays off. Heading inland from the sea and the temperature rises, hot air on lungs already starting to burn. Legs taking strain from days already in the saddle. Roger is closer, I’m reeling him in, have I gone to hard? Just in the distance the flash of Tim’s Blue catching in the sunshine. I pause for a second before plowing past Roger, I hope it’s not to early as he’ll be on my tail. BANG into the wall of wind, the others in sight too, slowly I pick them off before the fast turn back into the tailwaind. Whoosh! Tim is in the tailwind. I look back and see Roger not far back. C’mon pedal legs!
Past the top turn and into the white walled hairpins at the top, hot wind is trying to force me backwards, behind me Roger has a second wind, in front Tim knows I’m chasing, Roger screams ‘don’t let the power off, CATCH HIM!’ Five minutes left to climb, Tim is holding steady, pain is surging through my legs, I shift forward, down on the drops, perched on the tip of the saddle (OW!) for maximum power, I pass the others, Tim still just in sight as we curl round the top bend, STAMP, SPRINT, out the saddle and drop the bomb……BOOM!
Feel a bit sick now!
Roger gives me a big sweaty hug, Tim recons I have 70 seconds on him. What fun!
Steven’s shirt is safe. I came 3rd overall. Happy 🙂