Sunday, 10 April 2011

First Tri of 2011: Ringwood

So as I explained yesterday today was the first event in the 2011 triathlon calendar for me. Ringwood Tri. Normally it is Winchester, but they are doing it at the end of the season this year. This was a new event, and in fact not much further than Winchester is either. Distances presented enough of a challenge too. 600m swim, 28 mile bike (45km) and 10km run. Longer than Winchester. Well, yesterday involved some of the usual panic, although for some reason I was a little more apprehensive this morning than I usually am before events. I guess I don't really know where I am fitness wise and if I could do it in a time I'd be happy with. Based on recent training I went today with a 10 minute swim, 1:35 bike and 50 minute run as the criteria for a good race, with a few extra minutes for transition.

Well this morning, up at 4am, shower, shave, food, packed the car, made sure that I had cleared and potential for AD and at 5:30 it was time to set off. Google said it was a 30 minute drive so that should get me there about right. I was slightly early but they had already set up registration so it was fine. Picked up my numbers and got marked, both arms both calves. Then it occurred to me no timing chip, so this wasn't going to be chip timed, oh well, best get the Garmin right!

Had a nosey around transition to get my bearings and recce the mount line/first bend then headed back to the car to get my stuff. Got the bike sorted and headed over to transition and got set up. Tried the far racking but realised because of the curb I couldn't get my bike in, OK try the next rack in. The usual dip bike to side to get it under (why can't organisers use racking that 6' people can get their bikes under?) and laid my gear out. Bex came over and said hi, (sorry I wasn't very chatty, communication switch off when I get nerves before an event). It was blooming freezing so I headed back to the car to pick up my clothes bag and bumped into Bex and Scotty on the way back, had a quick chat with Scotty before heading in to err, use the facilities (yes there was an OMPF). Warmed up a bit and watched the first wave go off. Then thought I'd go outside and catch a picture of Bex going out on the bike. Then it was a waiting game. Having chatted with Scotty I was having doubts over my strategy of just going with the lycra tri suit on the bike. It was fecking freezing. So went back and laid my bike jersey out, chatted with the guy racked next to me and explained reasoning (tree lined roads might not get the sun benefit!). Ade was racking a few bikes over and said hi. Then more waiting, then I got a picture of Scotty mounting the bike. Then it was time to go and bin the warm clothes. Thankfully it was pretty warm poolside and I managed to get warmed up nicely. It was running 20 minutes late, no surprises there - every tri seems to be 20 minutes late by the time I get in the water. Guy next to me asked about how to do auto multisport on the Garmin, we got chatting, he's doing IM wales then finally it was time to get in the water. The other person in my lane didn't turn up so I had it to myself.

I started on the second go (why I had to I have no idea), swimming up and down the black line for 24 lengths. I'd lost count by length 5 and was trying to catch a glimpse of the Garmin on the turns. Except my goggles had fogged up (don't know why, spit and rinse has always worked before). Swimming up and down the black line was quite handy now. Think I went through 400m on 6:16, so going well. Too well? Tap of the head cam and now for an nearly all out 50m to get the legs going. Out of the water and lap the Garmin. 9:33, so probably 9:25 in the water. Hmm, thank you very much, swimming quite well, I didn't even feel pushed. Maybe I should have gone harder?

A pitifully slow transition. Number on sunnies on, helmet on. F***, bike jersey! Helmet off, sunnies off (due to water) Jersey on, helmet on, sunnies on, socks on, damn stones. Bike shoes on and off we go. Down at the mount line and on the bike, through the usual bunch of people putting feet in shoes there and off onto the roads.

The first bit was OK, trying not to draft so putting a bit of speed in to overtake rather than drop back, then the roads straightened out. Had a (draft legal) chain gang session with another guy, he would pass on the flat, I would pass on the uphill as the route rolled away towards Sopley. Eventually I won but got passed by the guy I'd been chatting with poolside on his Boardman Hybrid (damn, beaten by a hybrid rider). Then the route worked its way out into the New Forest. Mostly uneventful. Some hikers, one who was riding a bike with his backpack on got a shock as I weaved through 3 of them using up the whole road. Then the Ornamental drive. Damn the road surface was pretty crappy, there was a photographer right before the crest of a nasty bit of hill. Then pelotons of riders started flying by. There must have been a sportive on. Then a very sketchy bit of road with some serious pot holes, all under the cover of the trees. made it damn hard to see them, thankfully I came through unscathed,  they had said there would be a marshal there, didn't see one. Then the highlight of my ride, being run off the road by a f***ing caravan. The driver had waited for two bikes 40m in front to pass then pulled back out right in front of me. W****R. Had to brake and pull onto the gravel at the side to avoid being hit by the thing. C**K. Road bikes don't like being ridden on gravel. Still made it thorugh alive without stopping. Rest of ride was OK, through some nice twisty sections and to the dismount line. Being a useless twonk after dismounting I pressed the wrong button on the Garmin, stop rather than lap, but realised straight away so restarted and moved to T2.

T2 was alright, hard to get the jersey off. Time for run shoes on, couldn't get the Greeper laces done up under pressure. Think Boy, Think! Gel down the front of my trisuit for later (wish it had pockets...) and out onto the road. Pressed the wrong flipping button again. Grrr.

The run hurt to start with, legs were screaming, after a mile my right hip was screaming too. 4:37 for the first K, not bad. Thinking about it now I don't remember any jelly legs, just aching. But after a procession of fast people passing me a guy of similar pace caught up and we ran side by side till the water station at 3.5K, where he went on while I attempted to drink a sachet of burning sugar. Just after 3K I passed Scotty running in the other direction where he shouted something about having retired. Can't say I understood. My powerbar gel was now about 3,000,000°, still didn't want to squeeze out of the packet either. Cup of water to wash it down then over the crossroads. I'd only lost 20m so picked up pace and ran behind for a few hundred metres then sensing an opportunity I took the lead, he was breathing pretty heavy so I could hear he was keeping pace, it is nice having a pacer to follow. I was trying to catch a new guy 100m in front, wasn't happening though. I was pretty glad by the time the water station came around again. Cup of water and what I thought was the final 3K. Seems it was shorter than advertised. As I turned the final corner just before 9K I realised I was now on the home straight. Final effort and through the finishing chute waited a couple of seconds (to account for earlier stop-starts) and stopped the timer. 2 hours 25 minutes and 25 seconds after starting. Hmm. Damn pleased with that.

Managed to have a chat with everyone after the finish too which was nice.
So crucial stats from the Garmin (awaiting the official results)

Swim - 600m - 9m33s
T1 - 2m7s
Bike - 45.06km - 1h28m40s, av cadence 85, av. HR 75% max
T2 - 1m43s
Run - 9.14km - 43m20s, av. HR 78% max

Tracks at:

HR seems quite low, not sure why, was running as hard as I could. I've been playing with an interesting plugin on SportTracks that calculates your gearing too, so here is the crucial data (red= 3 favourites, green=3 least favourite)

So my favourite gear was 50x17 and I barely used the granny gear 34x25, although this is all interpretation from cadence, speed and wheel size. Quite interesting if your a data geek like me and perhaps justification for sticking with a compact chainset should I change bikes any time soon.

It was obviously sunny out on the bike as I now have the makings of a nice tri suit tan. Awaiting the official results, but feeling good about this race now. The run was short but I have a prediction of 47:39 if I'd carried on another 860m, under my target, and both swim and bike were under target too.

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