7oaks tri took no less than 9 teams to Southwater on Sunday: 27 members in all - a great turnout for this event.
Whilst two of the teams: a mens team led by Neil Harris and a ladies team led by Sally Mortleman, were selected on the basis of hopefully achieving strong overall positions, seven of the teams were competing for the greater glory of the inaugural 7oaks Chairman's Southwater Handicap Cup. The teams had been carefully put together from those that had agreed to participate using a sophisticated measurement system (guesswork) on the basis that they would all finish in approximately the same time. However as the following report recounts many members choose to make my life difficult by performing better than expected.
With a mass start in the water the race got underway. Charlie blasted off and was out of the swim first for his team (with a carefully thought through name of '7oaks'). However once out on the bike the lead quickly changed hands - Glenn, finding that even after all his ironman training he did in fact have some fast twitch muscles and put his GOEy team in front. Meanwhile the club's hopes for a podium finish by the ladies was dashed as the unlucky Penny punctured but on the positive side she found a nice chap to help her with the repair.
The second leg was now underway and Peter taking over from Claire, snatched 3 places to swim 3s a crowd into first place. This was not to last long. Josh competing for the mysteriously named Leaves Shoots and Eats gained two places in the water and then a further 2 during the bike to put his team 40 seconds ahead and he then extended the lead to 2:30 during the run. With one leg to go was it all over we asked? Not so if Greg had anything to do with it: swimming fast Greg pulled 7oaks back into the slimmest of leads. However he was always in the sights of the evergreen Mike. By the end of the bike Mike had put Eats in front and, given his running pedigree, no one was going to catch him in the final stages of the race. So victory for Alan Crewe, Josh Searby and Mike Turner who with a blend of youth and experience made a mockery of my handicapping efforts. Next year they will be nobbled! There were many other notable performances. in particular on a day when the course record was smashed Neil recorded the fourth fastest individual time. Finally the team medal for bravery goes to Boys Dont Tri with Debbie and Shaun turning out for their team despite injury and Andy competing in his first try.
I hope all those who competed enjoyed the event, got to meet new as well as familiar faces and will all be back again next year.
Club results (here)