After a brilliant first day of the Super League we were excited to see what Sunday would offer. However, we woke to rain, rain and some more rain. It was not looking like it was going to let up and we debated what we should do. Youngest was now battling a bit of a cold but she was still insisting that she wanted to go and watch the women’s race. Therefore, after we dispatched Oldest at her birthday party, we wrapped up in waterproofs and wellies and headed down to the marina.
As you would expect, it was quieter. The weather really was awful but this didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd. This time we positioned ourselves near the fan zone so we could watch the swim on the big screen before they came round on the road.
Today was the Eliminator. 3 stages of swim-bike-run. So more of a traditional format but the twist being that each stage sees the field getting progressively smaller as people get eliminated for being too slow.
As the first stage kicked off the swim looked brutal with the athletes desperate to secure a lead, they were swimming over each other. However, in the lead was the British pair, Jodie Stimpson and Sophie Caldwell, who, coming from the UK, were probably quite prepared for the wet conditions. The first stage and the wet conditions claimed a few victims, with athletes coming off their bikes as they took the slippery corners too fast or misjudged them. These women are tough though and they weren’t going to let smacking onto the tarmac or into a barrier stop them. They were soon up again and back on their bikes with the addition of bloody bruises on the faces and legs. Youngest was fascinated by this and wanted to know why they didn’t stop to get a plaster. It sparked an interesting conversation about how when you are determined to do something you have to keep going, no matter how difficult.
The Final Stage
At the end of the first stage Stimpson and Caldwell were leading the way. However, by the end of Stage 2 things were quickly changing. In between stages several athletes let air out of their tyres to try and get more grip on the slippery roads. During Stage 2 we saw that Stimpson and Caldwell were still leading but Zaferes, Spirig, Cook and Kristen were all on their heels. The race was now between these 6 women who were all fighting it out. There was no clear leader and it could have gone either way. I was still rooting for Spirig and she was still in with a chance.
It all changed during the third stage when Zaferes pushed forward leaving the British women behind. She was then followed by Spirig who was doing an admirable job of keeping up. As they passed us on the final lap Cook was quite a way behind and looking like she might not even scrape a third place. However, triathlon is not just about fitness, it is also about playing the tactical game. She must have played a good game because by the time she crossed the finish line she was second behind Zaferes. I don’t know how she did it. Spirig came in a very respectable third.
The Men’s Race
As the rain continued to pour down and Youngest was still battling her cold we decided to retreat home and watch the men’s race from the warmth of our living-room. Oldest, having been picked up from the birthday party, was extremely excited to cheer Jonny Brownlee on in the Eliminator. Squashed onto the sofa we watched the race. It was now absolutely pouring down with rain and, therefore, the course was even more treacherous. Watching from home was still terrifically exciting and we found ourselves holding our breath as we watched them race.
Jersey Held It’s Breath
Unlike the women’s, it felt this race was more tightly fought and there was no clear leader. The course meant that everything was unpredictable and anybody could claim victory. Athletes came off their bikes and were then losing precious time trying to get their chain back on and get themselves back in the race. This course was proving unforgiving and it could claim anyone when they least expected it! However, as the athletes hit the final stage the field started to open up. Brownlee was in the lead, to then find on the next corner that Blummenfelt had overtaken him. It was neck and neck. At home we bit our nails and shouted Brownlee on. In third was Matt Hauser who was snapping at their heels. However, Blummenfelt was playing a good game again and he had plenty of reserves left in the tank. As he entered the last leg and came down into the marina he surged forward leaving Brownlee in his wake. Brownlee now had no chance of winning, he just needed to ensure that he held onto second place. I marvelled at Blummenfelt who despite the fact he was pushing himself looked like he was no pain. He could have just been out for his Sunday jog! So good was his lead that he even slowed down to high-five people as he crossed the finish line. Quickly followed by him vomiting as he body finally realised how much it had just been pushed. Brownlee was a confident second and Murray third.
An Amazing Event
The Super League Triathlon was an amazing event that inspired and entertained not only Jersey but the whole world. I have bitten my nails down to the quick and held my breath as I watched some of the best athletes in the world compete. It’s not every day you can say that you have had the pleasure of watching world class athletes compete right in front of you. As for the girls, they were in complete awe of the athletes and in particular the female athletes who they saw as being strong and determined. It was a great event for the girls to see some strong female role models and I am sure that they have taken lots away from this weekend.
Super League Triathlon Jersey you really were super. Thanks for coming to Jersey.