As we jump out of the car to refuel Salim and bring him his energy bars, we realise how harsh the conditions are out there. The rain combined with high winds gives us an immediate chill.
ââWe jump back in the car and realise that its not going to be easy.The road starts to climb and from time to time Salim is pushed to the edge of the road by the gusts. A few centimetres more and his race would be over and we would be heading for the nearest First Aid point.
He is slowing down and so is everybody else.
ââ There is no way he is going to make the Blue shirt cut off point. Unbeknown to us the Blue Mountain pass had been closed. The weather too dangerous and the visibility reduced to very little.
Salim is hurting, we feel for him. “Myriam pass me some crisps!”
He catches up with Arnaud – a serious triathlete who must of done most of the major events around the world.
From time to time it stops raining but generally, the conditions worsen. The road keeps climbing, the hours pass – 9 hours on the bike!- and we wonder whether they will even finish.
ââSecond transition Bike to Run; they are tired.
They need to make the next 18 km through mud, rivers and rocky terrain before 18:00. That’s 2 hours flat!
The support team goes for a coffee, we must leave our athletes by themselves for this section of the run. There is no communition with them. We worry that at this stage they will DNF by not making the cut off. We head towards the meeting point and wait in the cold rain.
The minutes pass…17:30, 35, 40, 45…Salim appears without Arnaud!