Open water Tourettes

Having upset the residents of Nuneaton and incurred the wrath of his teammates with his shiny new Focus bike in his last blog, our Wiggle comp winner, Martyn Brunt, is back with another offering from the age-grouper world.

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I’m beginning to think I suffer from a rare new medical condition – “open water Tourettes.” The symptoms appear to be the sudden and violent urge to say the f-word repeatedly, whenever I dive into a lake for a training swim.

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This may have something to do with the coldness of the water and there’s no denying I suffered a particularly bad case of OWT a couple of weeks ago when the British summer finally arrived with a 10 degree drop in temperature and two solid days of rain. Despite the confident declaration of the swim-marshals that the water temperature was “14 and rising”, on entering the lake I still exploded into a barrage of swear words that made Gordon Ramsay sound like Noddy.

This was particularly unfortunate because:

There was a group of cub scouts watching and I don’t think Akela was very pleased that his troop witnessed a blue-faced man shooting out of the water like a Polaris missile while shouting “f***” at the top of his voice

I was modelling my new Aquasphere Racer Wetsuit courtesy of Wiggle and having spent 10 minutes on the side posing for Britain in it, my subsequent big-girl’s-blouse performance damaged my credibility somewhat

It’s also worth mentioning that when I say “dive into a lake”, I’m stretching the definition of the word “dive” a bit. The reality is that, like most of the Saturday swimmers at my local lake, I pick my way into the water like I was tip-toeing across a minefield, before standing waist deep in the water for five minutes trying to summon up the courage to pitch forward into the icy wastes. I usually try and do this while staring off into the middle distance with hands on hips and jaw sticking out, trying to look tough and gritty just in case any girls from the Playboy mansion should happen to be passing.

Anyway a quick word on the Aquasphere wetsuit – it’s very, very good indeed. I was a bit unsure when the good folks at Wiggle told me I needed a large size because my previous wetsuit was an XL. However, despite expecting the circulation to my brain to be cut off and my voice to go two octaves higher, it fits like a glove. I road-tested it by wearing it around the house for a couple of hours and freaked the neighbours out by waving to them from the conservatory. From the outside I must have looked like a giant black-rubber Garfield stuck to the window.

I’ve used the wetsuit a couple of times now and it’s already become an essential piece of kit for me – which is just as well because in two weeks time I’ll be wearing it at Ironman Austria. I’ve reached that stage now where the training is done, the taper is starting and I’ve begun faffing about with my kit. Like most triathletes I quite enjoy a good faff, and this will culminate in some Olympic-standard faffing on the day before the race as I line up all my kit, pack it into different bags, un-pack it again, check it and re-pack it, scour the room for anything left over, and then probably repeat the whole process. This is entirely separate from fiddling with my bike, which will also take up most of my waking hours as I suddenly start taking an interest in tyres, brake blocks, cables and levers which have so far worked perfectly well without my intervention.

A final word on the subject of bikes, and specifically my lovely Focus Izalco Chrono that Wiggle have loaned me. I rode it in a 10 mile TT last week and took 30 seconds of my PB in one go, stunning the bike club I belong to with a 23.12 and 3rd place. Naturally this is all down to the bike and the attitude of my club-mates has progressed from envy to hate. I hope to build on this growing animosity by posting a 22 sometime soon.

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In next week’s exciting episode: Dog drank my energy drink – and beat me in a time trial. How whippet teams up with domestic cat to beat Brunt and training partner Phil Richmond in two-up.