At the start of the year the word ‘Triathlon’ conjured images of serious, Lycra clad athletes and was not particularly appealing. However, a few months ago I came across the ‘Portsmouth RNLI Tri Adventure Race’. Replacing the swimming with kayaking sounded much more fun and achievable so my partner and I signed up!
We increased our running and cycling distances and with a few kayak training sessions under our belt from Rob, the event organiser, we were as ready as we were going to be for the event!
On the morning of the race the conditions were perfect with a bit of cloud and a light breeze to keep the heat at bay. We cycled the short distance from home to the Lifeboat station at Eastney point to set up and receive our race packs with a map of the course and the check points for clues. A 2 mile kayak, 6km foreshore run and a 25km cycle stood between us and a post race BBQ!
After a pep talk from Rob we donned our buoyancy aids, grabbed a 2 man kayak and headed down towards the water. It was quite a spectacle seeing 51 kayaks line up along the beach and then enter the sea! The whistle blew and we were off in a mad splash to get out ahead with the flooding tide helping us along the way.
We made a good start and as we reached halfway there were seals sunbathing to our right and swans to our left. We could just about see the slipway ahead and kept powering on just ahead of the group. After a hard turn around the final channel marker we made the last few strokes to reach the slip first and heaved our kayak out of the water before donning socks and trainers to start the 6km foreshore run back towards the lifeboat station.
The run was where we would find the first of our clue checkpoints so we kept a look out for where they might be.
We dashed along the gravel tracks and muddy shoreline with familiar faces from the kayak training sessions Rob put on, and some new faces who belonged to running and triathlon clubs, as well as a couple of families with kids! It was great to see such a variety of people taking part!
We transitioned to the 25km cycle and had two options as to which way to head first. Deciding to head north out of the city with the beautiful harbour on our right we had lots more checkpoints to find! As we reached the half way mark of the cycle we nearly missed the turnaround point, so we quickly corrected and headed back along the top of the harbour, past the nature reserve with the thought of a BBQ and beer at the end to spur us on. Just the stretch along the side of the island and the seafront to go! As we met fellow participants on the last leg we all encouraged each other on before crossing the finish line, picking up a goodie bag and medal as we did so. What an achievement!! Finally we enjoyed a fantastic BBQ and a cold beverage on the beach whilst trying to complete the challenge points we’d picked up en route to win a prize!
An absolutely fantastic event, so much fun and really well organised!