As usual I was in the back of the car. I could see out of the windows but they were all closed firmly. I had to sit in the back and sulk. I wasn’t even allowed on the seats.
Sarah had been out but had left me locked in the car and I had swapped glances with the others like me. Stuck in the back of the cars waiting for their owners to return. Not allowed out in the fresh air. It was hot and stuffy in the car.
I watched her walk past the car without a backwards glance. There were others like me, out with their owners enjoying the paths and the grass. But here I was. In the car. She even had an ice cream. Did I get one? Of course not.
I sulked for the whole drive back to the hotel room but perked up when we got there in the hope of going out with her for a breath of fresh air, to have a quick look around and a chance to explore. New smells, new sights ... but I was just taken straight to the bland hotel room and put in the corner.
*Huff* I was in WALES! And I hadn’t even been allowed out once. I had to look at the mountains through the car windows. I hadn’t had so much as a sniff of the sea air. No going on the beach, no exploring the paths, nothing.
We had an early start the next day and she faffed about, carrying bags around and sticking stickers on herself. I even got one. At least I’m getting SOME attention. And at least mine was mostly straight. She’d managed to stick her own to the chair, to her fingers and had even had to colour in the middle of the ‘3’ on her leg with a pen after she couldn’t get it off the chair. Nice look, Sarah. Nice look.
As Sarah shut the hotel room behind us, I spotted a few others with their owners. We were all being held tightly – no chance for a rest or a quick explore, we were being taken straight to the cars.
Then it was back in the car and we were driving to the start between the mountains. Why were we DRIVING again? We could be out in this, racing in between the gorgeous mountains, pink and purple with heather. The roads were winding and twisty and you could see white mist over the lake. It all looked very still and serene. No indication of the flurries of movement and excitement to come.
Sarah parked up in a field full of cars and I looked around. There were others like me everywhere! Some being carried, others moving gracefully next to their owners, some still waiting to be let out of the car. It was so exciting!!!
Sarah exchanged a few words with a friend who quite by chance had parked next to us. I looked out of my window and spotted the other in her friend’s car. We exchanged excited looks! Soon we’d be able to get out of the cars and get going!
We went together into the park. I was on my very best behaviour – I didn’t want to give Sarah any excuses not to take me out for the chase. I stayed quiet and moved smoothly next to her, letting her guide me to where we needed to be. She showed her number to the guard on the gate and he checked my number and we were both let through together.
Our matching numbers were on a post and we went up and I rested against the one next to our space. She was faffing about with bags and shoes and food but I kept calm. It would soon be my turn to explore these beautiful mountains with her.
The park (or ‘transition’ as she called it) was on a lake edge so we had a view across the people with their others and down across the length of the lake, bordered by mountains on either side. It was incredibly beautiful. But the lake was also stone grey and chill looking. Sarah would be swimming. I didn’t envy her that – the speed and beauty of the paths would be enough for me.
There were a few announcements over the tannoy telling number 489 that their Other has been moved. It hasn’t been lost or stolen but racked in the CORRECT place. A few giggles. Race number 489 kept quiet and didn’t own up. I hope they found their Other.
Sarah was quiet too. Quiet and nervous. She was in her wetsuit but soon it would be time for us to play and we would be flying across the hills. Drums played as she walked to the start. It made it very atmospheric and as though she was walking to her doom in the slate grey water. The drums of Bala calling her to take her place in its chill water.
She took a long time. A LONG time and then suddenly she was there. Gasping with the cold from the lake water and with a mark where she had been hit in the face by another swimmer. Quick wetsuit off, trainers on and we were off.
A lot of others like me were already gone – out on the roads, enjoying the chase and the flight and the cool fresh air. It was so beautiful out here. We’d driven these roads the day before but it all feels different in the car, the stale car air doesn’t compare to the wind flying past and being out among the Others and the mountains. All chasing and flowing in a pack, changing positions, sometimes surging ahead, other times letting others pass.
It was wonderful being out and part of the joy was that the whole route felt fast and quick. Others coming the opposite direction looked as though they were always climbing but it never felt that steep when we did it The way out to the turning point felt a long way despite the amazing views of the mountains and the lake glimpsed between the trees.
Despite the thrill of the chase and the freedom there were plenty of pairs walking. A man passed us and his Other was making a strange noise, which increased in volume until they stopped at the side of the road. What bad luck on such a beautiful day.
We overtook a girl with a sleek, quick looking Other which is always satisfying but we got to the turnaround point just behind someone who was very wobbly. We were turning to the right and I didn’t like to overtake her on the inside as but 3 Others who I’d previously overtaken weren’t so courteous and came up the inside. She apologised after I went past for her slowness, but there’s no shame in being careful. Sarah was dreading the way back as the cyclists coming the other direction had made it look so tough, but we flew up the hills and found them hardly enough to trouble us. The views across the mountains and the fun of the case and the race worked its magic.
The route was glorious and the weather perfect. There was a sneaky headwind on the way back that stopped me enjoying the down hills as much as I’d have liked to and meant I’d had to work to maintain the speed on them but the surroundings were beautiful. In fact I was too busy looking at the mountains that I ran over a massive piece of roadkill. Thump thump. I tried to ignore the fact that I had to go back in the car with this splattered on me later ...
Coming back towards the transition area, we were passing people who had dropped their Others off and were running and already coming up to the 3 mile mark. Wow ...! There really were some speedy pairs out today!
We slowed down coming towards the transition and Sarah bounded across the line on the road and managed to get her feet untangled from me and avoided a floor level dismount and we ran through to our spot. There was no space as the others were jammed up close and had taken over our spot! The cheek!
But we found some room and I had my well earned rest while Sarah went out for a run. Always rushing about. She was back in not long and I heard her muttering about PBs and pints of beer but I didn’t care. I’d had my ride. It was good. For those mountains and that chase through the roads I’d even forgive her for leaving me in that stuffy car while she recced the triathlon route.
Now just to get this roadkill off my tyres.