I’ve been doing triathlons so long that my early race results were written in Latin, my body has become a collection of fatty deposits and scar tissue, and what I want at finish lines these days is a comfy chair and a colossal urn of tea.
You’d think therefore that, when it comes to triathlons, I’d have seen it all and done it all. But this is not so. Because, this month, I competed in my first aquathlon – the English National Aquathlon Championships, hosted by BRAT at West Midlands Water Park.
An aquathlon is a swim/run event that sits alongside duathlons as a sort of hybrid version triathlon. It’s related to the sport in much the same way that Dustbin Bieber is related to Led Zeppelin – they both sort of do something similar, but one has a lot more gravitas than the other.
Now I don’t want you to feel guilty, but I only entered this race for your continued entertainment. After all, there’s only so many knob gags you can dish out before it all starts sounding familiar.
So, to keep things fresh, time for something new. I’ve tried a duathlon before (which I entered under the pseudonym of ‘Captain Pornoshorts’ in honour of an infamous pair of lunchbox-revealing tri-shorts I used to wear), leaving only aquathlon left to do.
Actually, I’ve bent the truth more than a Zimbabwean election result there.
The real reason I had a go is that I thought I might do well. I’ve led out the water in a couple of races this year, although the fact that I haven’t gone on to win a single sodding one suggests I’m more Jan Sibberson than Craig McCormack. Like Jan, maybe I should market my own range of wetsuits, though instead of Sailfish they could be called ‘Sh*tcyclist’.
I’ve also been running very well and added a second British title to my 2013 roll of dishonour, that of National Masters 10,000m track champion, with a performance that had even Mo Farah worried – worried that his sport was being undermined by some shuffling twit who crossed the line sounding like an asthma clinic.
So in my mind the calculation went: new age-group + no cycling + swimming well + running well = medal. Right? Er, wrong. What I hadn’t considered is that this fast and furious event would attract athletes who specialise in short races as opposed to some gangling Iron-fart who’s turned up on a whim.
… meet sprinting piranhas
I soon realised things may not go my way when the other athletes seemed bemused by my cacky old trainers, looking as though the owner couldn’t be bothered to swap the lock laces with some better ones. Ahem.
Things got worse at the swim start, which was set off by my old mate Duncan Hough of BRAT, who spent five minutes bellowing at certain swimmers who were slowly edging forward before the klaxon. And instead of heading for the front, I got pummelled and left for dead by a shoal of sprinting piranhas.
I emerged from the water one place in front of Neill Crump from Worcester Tri, which was exactly what happened at the Avenger Triathlon. Neill pointed out that this was becoming a habit before donning his trainers and disappearing up the road while I farted about putting socks on.
Yes, that’s right, I put socks on. I know you’re all rolling your eyes and thinking ‘tart’, but the skin on my feet is currently smoother than an otter in a car wash and I wish to keep it exactly that way.
Fewer T2 tribulations
I spent the entire speedy 5k behind fellow 45-year-old Sean Wells, inching closer to him with every stride. However, Sean wasn’t about to let some lanky tosser come past and stayed ahead down the finishing straight.
For my part, I finished in 32:50mins for 38th place overall and seventh in my age… blah blah blah who cares, I didn’t win.
So like an ageing sex tourist, I got well and truly shafted, and finished feeling deeply disappointed. The aquathlon was an interesting experience and I was home in no time, which made me temporarily popular with Mrs B.
But on the downside, there’s no cycling and a disappointing lack of opportunities to faff with your kit in transition. There’s only so long you can stare at your trainers before you start to look like a simpleton.
So I’ve now tried aquathlon, duathlon and every triathlon distance. In fact, the only thing left to try is a double-Iron distance – but don’t get your hopes up, I’m not that keen to entertain you.