So, as the group kicks off its Roth adventure, it seems like a good idea to ask a few questions about the enterprise. Is it wise, for instance? How did they end up committing to such a massive endeavour? Are these men of diminished mental capacity? We decided to get the motley crew to explain how it all came about and what it all means to them. Jack stepped up.
Jack - We’re lucky enough to have this completely manic Dad [Ric]. He has always been interested in sports and the outdoor,s and his obsession with cycling and triathlon started around ten years ago. From that point the percentage of his salary spent on equipment has grown year on year. Oh, and he has got quite good at it too. If I’m allowed to be serious here [Editor: Oh, all right, just this once] it has been fantastic to have his influence in our lives.
And we’ve got the habit too, now… We try to go on an adventure once a year, all three of us. We’ve managed to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, to do the UK 3 Peaks triathlon, a kayaking expedition to St Kilda, just to name a few! I consider myself very lucky to not only be able to do these type of things, but also to do them with my brother and my Dad.
The idea for a triathlon came about five years ago, when George [brother of Jack, son of Ric] and I watched Dad do an Ironman in Bolton, and we said “OK, that’s for us. We’d better do one too, by 2020…”
And then we roped in Mark and Si, two of my best mates from uni. They’re both as inexperienced as George and I when it comes to Ironman distance triathlons!
So, a father and two sons with a sports habit out on an event together. How competitive will they be – both out on the course, and with one another? The mysterious sixth member of the group, Dave W (uni mate of Ric), known also, in a confusion of consonants, as Wave, quips:
Have you ever met the Coopers?!
We asked Jack to muse on competition, competitiveness within the family and competing with the old man…
All three of us are on the same coaching and training programme, which was developed by Chris Standidge at Total Tri. It’s fun being on same program, and yes, a bit competitive too...
One thing is that each month we go through ‘test week’, in which we do a series of tests to check our progress. As you can imagine the results are hotly awaited, and the banter simmers quietly before erupting when our scores are revealed. Competitive? Us? When I beat Dad by 6 seconds in the swimming, he almost drove to London to measure the length of the pool I use….
Rick was pretty quick to respond to this [cue the voice of a slightly manic leader]:
I did in fact secretly travel to London and checked the length of Jack’s pool and I should let you know that it is 0.023m short, which after careful calculation means that my time was in fact 3s faster than his over 500m. Interestingly after last test week, Si had fastest swim followed (erroneously) by Jack and then me, I had fastest bike followed by George, and George had fastest run... So, all to play for...
Here’s a final tip from Jack about Ironman success.
My advice would be to get yourself a triathlon-obsessed dad. It works particularly well if he likes spending most of his income on new kit, as you then inherit a top of the range wardrobe and equipment. You also get free consulting on race strategy and technique [Is this really a good thing? Or is actually really annoying? Particularly when you’re in a heap after a heavy training session and he casually says: ‘You should have done this… and this… and this…like he used to when you were ten]. It’s a very good investment if you ask me!