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ITERA2014

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Caernarfon Castle: 53.144299, -4.278488

The Prologue

Cardiff Bay Trail

The Prologue is tonight, it’s a 5k run around the Cardiff Bay Trail, a descent of the rapids at the National White Water Centre, and a 5k run back to the start. It’s clearly a bit of fun to get us all in the mood and as a showcase for the event. It also has a more serious implication; the time each team takes to complete the course is used in some fiendishly complex calculation to make a “penalty stop-time” on the first day of the race proper.

After some awful parking and a bit of a panic we’re at the start line ready to go. I hate the mass start thing, I get all-claustrophobic and tighten up, it makes for a slow start and we’re near the back (read that as last but 1) by the time we get to the kayak stage.

The white water doesn’t look so scary from the bank and it seems like most teams are actually having fun. The real difficulty is the state of the kayaks themselves. They’re inflatable things and some clearly are in need of more air. We get our turn, and do quite well; no one goes swimming after all but its surprisingly tiring, especially with no backrests for the front paddler. By the time Jill and I made it back to the jetty I couldn’t sit up straight.

Then it’s just a steady run back to the finish.

After stopping at a small supermarket to grab some food we’re back at the University Campus, studying maps and final kit checks, and helping our Spanish/ Catalan friends with translations and explanations. Another busy day tomorrow, we’re off on another journey.

Sunday morning is spent packing, again after the Prologue, studying maps and thinking. We discuss issues and options with our Spanish colleagues and swap odd bits of advice and kit for a promise to load our team bags onto the bus for Caernarfon later that morning.

While most competitors get on the bus provided by the organisers, we’re travelling back up north to Anglesey in Heather’s car as she lives not far from Monday’s start. This does give us chance to talk amongst ourselves, do a last bit of shopping and relax a little, stopping for lunch on the way.

Alarm set for stupid o’clock in the morning we retire with our own thoughts for the week ahead.