Brunty’s gone all Ber­tie Wooster this month, swap­ping his tri-suit for tweed at the Bromp­ton World Champs

220 Triathlon Magazine - - CONTENTS - MAR­TYN BRUNT Mar­tyn is tri’s fore­most av­er­age ath­lete and is liv­ing proof that hours of training and end­less new kit are no sub­sti­tute for abil­ity.

What ho, old beans! I hope you’re hav­ing a spiff­ing sea­son so far and that your re­sults have all been ab­so­lutely top hole. In case you’re won­der­ing why: a) I’m sud­denly be­ing nice, and b) I’ve gone all Ber­tie Wooster on you, it’s be­cause I’m feel­ing in an un­com­monly gen­tle­manly mood hav­ing just par­tic­i­pated in an ex­tremely civilised bi­cy­cle race on my trusty ve­loci­pede.

For many years my mostrid­den bike has not been my long-suf­fer­ing road bike (com­plete with skip­ping gears, creaky left pedal and sticky han­dle­bar tape cour­tesy of a thou­sand split en­ergy gels) but has in fact been my Bromp­ton. For those un­fa­mil­iar with this style of steed, it fea­tures no car­bon, no tri-bars, no bot­tle cage, and a po­si­tion so un­aero­dy­namic that you re­sem­ble a gi­raffe perched on a uni­cy­cle, a sur­pris­ing po­si­tion for me con­sid­er­ing I’m so scared of heights I get dizzy in a thick pair of socks. But, it has one dis­tinct ad­van­tage – it folds! And it folds up so small you could fit it in­side my mate Neill’s purse (sorry, Rapha “essen­tials case”).

I’ve also dis­cov­ered an­other ad­van­tage to own­ing a Bromp­ton, which is that you can race on it, and in a World Cham­pi­onship no less! The an­nual BWC race takes place in cen­tral Lon­don on an eight-lap course that goes along The Mall and passes Buck­ing­ham Palace and which, in 2018, fea­tured a cer­tain M. Brunt of no-fixed abil­ity among its 500 strong field.

But where does the gen­tle­man­li­ness come in? Well the strict dress code for the race states that a min­i­mum of shirt, tie and jacket must be worn, with no Ly­cra at all. Con­sid­er­ing I spend most of my time dressed like I’ve been kicked through a branch of Sports Di­rect, it made a pleas­ant change to get spruced up for the day and I de­cided that if I was go­ing to go to all the trou­ble of don­ning a shirt and tie I might as well go the whole hog and defy the boil­ing hot weather by wear­ing a full three­piece suit, tweed cap, brogues and, to top it all off, my Dad’s old pipe, which I kept clenched firmly in my teeth for the en­tire race.

The race started Le Mans style with a run across to The Mall to your folded bike, where­upon you un­furl it as rapidly as you can and pedal fu­ri­ously off to­wards Buck House. In­evitably as soon as the start gun went my new-found po­lite­ness went right out of the win­dow and the old com­pet­i­tive triath­lete came rac­ing to the fore, sprint­ing across the road and us­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of a thou­sand tran­si­tions to mount my bike on the run and biff un­wary Bromp­toneers out of the way with my spe­cially sharp­ened el­bows.

What fol­lowed was eight laps of some of the most fu­ri­ous rac­ing I’ve ever been in, and I found my­self in the lead pack be­ing driven along by a cer­tain Emma Poo­ley, for­mer world time-trial cham­pion and Olympic sil­ver medal­list. In­evitably, af­ter tee­ter­ing on the brink of medi­ocrity, my at­tempts to move up through the group came to nought and I was left to cling grimly on at the back and spec­tate as Emma crushed all be­fore her to cross the line. Apart from some spec­tac­u­larly reck­less cor­ner­ing out­side Horse­guards Pa­rade in a bid to keep up, my only mo­ment of rac­ing note was when I un­for­tu­nately breathed out through my pipe rather than in, gen­er­at­ing a cloud of hot ash that went all over my mush giv­ing me a white face and one red eye mean­ing I spent the rest of the race look­ing like a Müller Fruit Corner.

Af­ter rac­ing that fu­ri­ously perched atop a glo­ri­fied egg-whisk I spent the next hour mov­ing more stiffly than Theresa May do­ing a Rumba, and try­ing to wring out the four litres of sweat that had gath­ered in the folds of my tweed jacket. Such was the cut of my dash that even in my now di­shev­elled state I made the rest of the pas­sen­gers on my train home look like a hold­ing pen for The Jeremy Kyle Show.

So an­other race, an­other de­feat, but at least I lost while look­ing stylish which is a no­table first. So to reestab­lish my triathlon cre­den­tials I must re­turn to the more fa­mil­iar feel­ing of run­ning vests which chafe un­der your arms and Ly­cra shorts which nip at your knack­ers. It’s what you’d all ex­pect of me.

“At least I lost while look­ing stylish, which is a no­table first”


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