Sunday, 6 June 2010

VOtwo 3.8km swim at Box End

Where: Box End Park, Bedford Google Map
Organiser: VOtwo
Course details:
Distance: Swim 3800m (OW- Lake)
Marshalling: NA
Facilities: Showers/Toilets/Changing in waterski centre facilities. Café serving breakfast rolls for spectators (and finishers too I guess)
Technical: 3 clockwise laps of the larger lake then out and finish on land through gantry.
Freebies: Swim hat. Water/Tea/Coffee. Various cakes, cereal bars and pureed fruit bars.

Having bought a helix this year I really want to do some swim events, so after doing the Bournemouth version of this last year decided I would try and do 3/4 in the series this year.  First race was at Box End, just outside Bedford. A waterski lake about 3km from my parents house in the fields around where I grew up.  I did a sprint tri there last year (in the other, smaller, lake) so had some idea of what to expect.  Although with all the hot weather recently I was a bit concerned about it becoming a non-wetsuit swim.  And just to calm my almost nonexistent nerves last night my mum pointed out that someone had to retire from the sprint event last year after a rather nasty bite from a fish. They get into the lake when the river floods, with no fisherman to catch them they grow quite big.  Thanks mum.

Got up and had my usual pre race breakfast at the appointed time then my dad drove me around to register before the start.  The car park looked pretty full so there was going to be some competition. Registered, got my swim hat then donned my wetsuit ready for action. Made sure the right bit of my neck was bodyglided this time (shoulders to hair line just to be sure) and didn’t pull the suit up too high like in Barcelona. Race brief and into the water. Rather nice temperature actually, and I made it a bit warmer too.  Took a few warm up strokes and positioned myself on the left side 3 people back.  Got the countdown, with a ‘sometime in the next 5 secs’ supposedly to avoid false starts. Airhorn and we were off.

Seems I had positioned myself about right as I kept roughly on the feet of the person in front and no one swam over the top of me.  All was going well for the first 300m till some idiot decided to swim from the left side to the right side at 45 degrees to everyone. Managed to swim into me knocking my left goggle off. Onto back, empty goggle, start again, only lost about 10secs I think, but annoyed me. Then on to the melee that was the first turn. I ended up in the middle of a pack here so had to take a slightly wider line, but made came in on the inside at the next buoy 100m away. Tight rollover turn that Mr C showed us on the rookie day and I was off, quick check of the watch and a bit over 10 mins, good pacing, if not a little quick.  Somehow managed to get disorientated and ended up on the far left again though, until I started swimming through weed, back onto the inside line searching for some feet to draft off but finding none.  Down to the start area and another couple of buoys, nice tight turns again and onto the second lap. 20mins 10s done

The first leg of the second lap is where things started to go wrong.  I nodded off a bit and next thing I knew I was about 10m further inside the course than the direct line. Whoops, what an idiot. Sighting, Sighting, Sighting. Thought I’d try breathing every 3 to keep an eye on people swimming the correct line whilst I corrected but abandoned that when I started to feel dizzy. Then just as I approach the first turn buoy my swim hat starts to feel funny, then it stopped feeling funny. I guess that was the moment I lost the organizers swim hat. On to the second buoy and a split of 10:35, pacing still good then.  The rest of the lap was pretty uneventful.  22:04s for the lap.

First leg of the third lap and I repeat the mistake of the second lap. What an idiot. Make a major correction and get in with a pack of other swimmers, holding on to most of them till the second buoy, by which stage my tight turns and extra power opened up a bit of water and I closed on the next grouping. About 400m from the finish I upped my speed, turned out that was about 100m too soon and the woman I passed on the final stretch chicked me with 50m to go. Numpty, there wasn’t enough left in the tank to go after her though as she had saved more than me. Up to finish and I kept swimming longer than the people in front. I swear I got some strange looks from a few of the spectators for doing that. Up onto my legs. I can stand, run up to the finish in a time of 1:04:58 – better than I had hoped given my 1900m time was 34 mins 3 weeks ago.

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