Sunday, 3 October 2010

Last tri of 2010

What: Bedford Autumn Sprint 
Where: Bedford, Bedfordshire, UK
Organiser: Galeforce Events
Course details:
Distance: Swim 400m (Pool), Cycle 25km (Road), Run 5km (Tarmac path around park)
Closed Roads: No
Marshaling: Marshals at every major turn and junction. Sign-posts at every turn.
Facilities: Toilets/changing/showers in leisure centre, lockers, café, warm up swim area, tri shop, massage (not free)
Technical: Chip timing. Mats at swim out, bike out, bike in, finish
Freebies: Technical T-Shirt (pretty reasonable), Mars bar, juice box, and water at finish

So after a pretty busy (and somewhat boozey) week I was off for the last triathlon of this year. Training this week consisted of 2 half hour long swims in pools that were too small to swim properly. This was going to be my 4th attempt at the course, having done it in June, posting a somewhat awesome time (for me) of 1:17:25. I'd already decided this wasn't going to happen again, so damage limitation was the object of the game.  I'd somewhat fudged the swimtime, I'd estimated it off a 100m time with 10% extra per 100m, so 6:40.  As it turned out one of my Dad's friends, and somewhat of a nemesis had put down the same time - we've been within a few seconds of each other at the past few races and I've lost, had put down the same time and was 2 numbers in front of me. So the game was on. The weather was the only wild card, heavy rain was forecast for about the time we'd be out on the bike course. Dad was racing too, so the first part of the day involved dealing with him, luckily he was off first so after he was out on the bike I had time to prepare mentally.

Swim time came and into the pool I went. Has to be said I felt quite slow, I didn't dare look at my watch  in case it was the bearer of bad news.  With a few lengths to go I overtook the guy in front, putting me dead behind my nemesis, a good T1 and I'd have the lead out onto the bike course. Swim done in 6:42. 1-0 to me

T1 wasn't pretty, the combination of rain and 320 people before me had turned parts of it into a quagmire. This was bad on 2 counts, firstly I got mud between my toes, which wasn't pleasant, but more importantly it was really slippery, especially with bike shoes on. I kinda fluffed it though, after 11 triathlons I forgot to put my helmet on before touching my bike, idiot, luckily I wasn't spotted before I corrected the foolish mishap. I made it to the bike mount first, although my slow attempt at getting my shoes in meant I was soon caught. T1 in 1:06, 2-0.

The first 2K's of the bike was a game of cat and mouse, I took the lead, I lost the lead, until the first incline, where I lost the lead and never regained it. Nemesis was only 20m in front though for the next 4K, when we got to a bigger hill and I couldn't keep up.  I passed Dad on his return leg after a few K, and gave him a shout, which got a smile. The bike has never been my strong point.  The conditions weren't pleasant.  The rain earlier hadn't dispersed and the roads were covered.  This made the draft box quite clear, get within 7m of the bike in front and you got a face full of water from the rooster tail off the rear wheel.  The bike was pretty uneventful, apart from getting overtaken by two TT bikes going up the hill, then passing them after hearing a pop as one of them had a blowout. Bike leg in 49:32, 2-1

Coming back into T2 I got a shout from Mum and Dad (who'd finished by that point) that I was about 3 minutes behind (looking at the results it was only 2). A quick transition was needed. The only problem was that transition looked worse than a field at Glastonbury. Got my bike racked then managed to cover my hands in mud tying to get my socks and shoes on. D'Oh. Still, managed to get out in 46 seconds.  3-1

The run wasn't pretty, within the first 500m my quads were burning, my HR was rocketing, and my breathing was getting uncontrollable. I often have problems breathing out, but now I couldn't breathe in either. Crap crap crap. Another 500m in and things were getting under control, first K in 4:31, on target. Another K and lap 1 was in the bag. A few hundred metres into lap 2 and I spotted nemesis 100m in front. I was clawing this one back, it wasn't until halfway round the second lap that I finally got the lead. All I had to do now was hold on for the rest of the lap and the half lap to finish. I was feeling pretty good. The final 500m hurt, the pain on my face must have been obvious as lots of people were offering me encouragement. I managed to cross the line after 22:19, not bad considering my lack of training, and I finally managed a win.

My first wet triathlon done (I've been really lucky so far) and a reasonable result.  Provisional results are showing a 1:20:27, my second fastest time for the course, placing me 81/297 finishers. More worryingly I seem to have managed a top 25 swim time.

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