What: Bedford Autumn Sprint
Where: Bedford, Bedfordshire, UK
Organiser: Galeforce Events
Course details: http://www.galeforce-events.com/
Distance: Swim 400m (Pool), Cycle 25km (Road), Run 5km (Tarmac path around park)
Closed Roads: No
Marshalling: 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. Start from timing mat. Mats at bike out/in, finish
Freebies: Fleece, Chocolate bars, juice box, and water at finish
So, the do I don’t I race dilemma. After Swashbuckler my mojo was gone. I hurt, I left everything on the course, but I left it in the wrong places and there was a nagging feeling of “could do better”. Looking at my race calendar the only chance I have to race Bedford this year was Race 2, and I do really like this race. But my feet were a mess. I put the question to the BCTTT and in a moment of madness they suggested I didn’t race (really guys?). Of course, ignoring what was justifiably sensible advice on Thursday afternoon with just a couple of hours to get ready I entered. I would miss racing more than a DNF would frustrate me.
After a tough 100 minute turbo in the heat chamber on Friday I arrived home, then got up early and made my pilgrimage to Bridgtown. After a few hours up there I returned with a new bike, and more importantly some tweaks to my road bike position and some new bling tri shoes, throwing sense out the window I’d be racing with a new position and new shoes.
Having got up at a nice leisurely time I arrived, got my number, got racked then sat about for a bit. At one point I saw the BTF ref removing a helium filled balloon from transition. The guy claimed he’d been to on a triathlon site to use one. Quality. Then I set about dealing with my feet. My blisters still looked pretty messy as I had managed to keep them intact. So I covered them up with a plaster then put a few wraps of ZnO tape around each foot to keep the plasters in place. The idea being it would stop them falling off, and also mean my socks couldn’t rub. Then I went and sat poolside in the warm and waited for the swim start for the fish. Dad arrived and I handed my dry kit to him then had a warm up, stood in line then it was go time.
There was a new start system this time around, step off a timing mat into the water. It got me a little flustered to be honest, I new the time had started but I wasn’t swimming. Then I hit “lap” not “start” on the Garmin so missed the first length(s?) after a few length I caught the guy in front, which provided a slight respite to clear my leaking right goggle. Then I was caught with 2 lengths to go. Great, a little draft for the final 66m to make things easier. Out the water, and on to T1. Garmin made it 6:02, official result shows it as 6:44, but that also includes a 20m run into T1.
T1 went OK. Decided to stick my windguard vest on as it felt nippy. Wise choice I think, except it was a little clingy. Helmet, glasses, socks on properly this time! New shoes, and off!. Avoided the huge puddle at the mount line and then out on the bike.
Could hear the rear brake rubbing, but it centred at the first roundabout when I had to brake. Start of the bike felt tough. Supposedly it was a crosswind, but it felt like more of a headwind. Having managed the gradual rise over the first mile I then found my pace and started taking scalps as I headed out to the loop. A couple to TT tricksters sped past, but I was slowly picking the easy prey off. Made it up the first hills in the saddle, then onto the nice downhills. Took a guy on a Cervelo with flashy Zipps on one of the inclines. Result! Then powered back. The ride felt great, actually really comfy again, and my peddle stroke was nice and smooth. The tweaks Mike made were paying off. Loved the ride back, hit 60 km/h on the long down section, picked a few more people off before arriving back into T2.
T2 was ok, bit slow as I did a mental check before leaving, and a moment of indecision about whether to wear sunnies or not.
Out of T2 and onto the run, and I felt slow. I was running strong though, I latched onto a guy who I thought was running well, and stayed with him for the first lap. Turns out I was running well. Through the first km in 4:04, hmm, this is parkrun pace… second km in 4:06, going well. Lost my pacer as he broke off for the finish. Kept my stride and plucked another 4:04. Getting tough now, but I was picking people off. Through the 4th in 4:08, the slight rise was killing my legs. Now I was on the home downhill though, looked at my watch and knowing the course is short knew a sub 20 was on the cards. Lifted my pace, lungs were burning now, eventually the finish line came. 3:03 for the final 800m according to the Garmin.
Official results: (PB Result)
Swim: 6m44 (7m10)
T1: 1m49 (1m08)
Bike: 48m03 (44m55)
T2: 1m22 (1m14)
Run 19m11 (20m32)
Total 1h17m11 (1h15m01)
Came 32nd out of 193 finishers, and 3rd in age group.
Really pleased with that. It’s 2:10 more than my PB for the course, but I don’t think that tells the whole story. Looking at the results there were 3 guys ahead of me also in my PB race, and they were between 1 and 4 minutes slower today. I faired better in the rankings too. The bike was windier, and that is where I lost out most. I took 1m21 off my run, and I’m really pleased with that, swim turns out to be a little quicker, but then I had a strapped/recently sprained ankle last time around that stopped me swimming properly. Transitions were slower, but the weather wasn’t as nice and that probably accounts for 20-30s of the wasted time. I was consistent today though, I have undone the demons from last week.