Sunday, 8 July 2012

Thorpe Sprint Series Race 3

What: Thorpe Lake Sprint Race 3
Where: Thorpe Lake, Surrey
Organiser: The Tri Project
Course details:
Distance: Swim 750m (Open Water), Cycle 20km (Road), Run 5km (Mostly Trail)
Closed Roads: No
Marshalling: A couple of numpties in kayaks. A few people on the course.
Facilities: Toilets/changing/showers , café. Quagmire to get car stuck in.
Technical: Chip timing.
Freebies: Nothing.

A last minute race for me. Was meeting up with Ben and the others post France for a spot of training this weekend. Not sure what state I was going to be in after Run24 last weekend so not convinced about this one. Somehow Faith planted enough of a seed in my mind that I ended up wanting to do it and soon enough I was on the entry list. After a nightmare of a week with work (half of it away from home) I made it back at 8pm on Friday to pack and reassemble my bike after France for a 5am start to get to Thorpe to meet the others, praying I had packed everything.

After a swim and a bike route recce the day went the BCTTT way. The recce had me questioning how well I’d do as it was a little lumpy. Maybe I sandbag a little too much these days, but when the road goes uphill I tend to struggle. The goal was to swim about 12 minutes, bike around 38-40 and then aim for the 21-22 minute mark on the run (depending on course length). The goal was to make it onto the run before Faith overtook me. With a 10 minute headstart I figured it should be just about possible.

Driving to the lake it was obvious plans would need to change. After a lot of rain overnight there was a lot of standing water on the roads. Maybe I’ll need to be more conservative on the bike. Arriving at the venue cars were starting to get stuck in the car park. Why did I have to go and forget my trail shoes? Maybe I’ll need to be more conservative on the run too…

After racking The Fear visited and I started questioning why I was doing this. How do I get talked into these things? After a mini cluster losing Tarka who had my wetsuit I was ready for the plunge. Jumped in, warmed up, then took a position near the front on the inside line. 5-4-3-2-1-Whistle
I mashed the water to start with to try and get clear. Think I held my own then eased into a steady stroke. After about 200m a guy just appeared from my blind (left) side and next I know my left cheek hurts as his heel smacks me hard in the face. Goggle squished in but not knocked off or leaking, but my face hurt. The red mist came, unfortunately instead of channelling it into speeding up and getting clear my mind wandered onto revenge. Could I get up and pull his zip? I soon snapped out of it and returned to swimming, albeit a little slower. Round the turn buoys and onto the final straight. Drifted off a little and found myself snaking. Regained composure and then picked up the effort to the exit. Annoyed at being a little slow. 13m05s on my watch at the exit. 13m21s official with the little run to the mat.

Into T1 and I obviously haven’t done enough OW events recently. Struggled to find my zip. WTF, I’m normally good at that. Argh. Then I ran looking for my bike as I got my arms out. Then thought I’d run too far so turned around and looked back for my bike. Couldn’t see it. I was stood next to it. More wasted time. Got the rest of the wetsuit off. Helmet on, shoes on, bike out. Reached the mount line, moved left went to put my leg over and noticed the chain was off. Grrr. Reach under, chain on, mount. More wasted time. Official T1, 1m20s.

Up the ramp, out onto the road and off on the bike. Just tried to settle in on the first bit, was starting to catch guys in front, and then there was the roundabout. I corner like crap though and lost about 20m by the time I’d exited. Need to fix that. Started reeling them back and I had made ground up before the left turn. Started playing leap frog with a guy on this run. This pretty much continued through to the traffic lights. About 4 guys in front were slowing up for the red light and starting to dismount. I saw a car coming from the other side and decided to play it cool, slow down but stay clipped in, sure enough green light! Onto the downhill, big ring, grind away, 4 places made up. Then came the uphill bit, I was actually holding my own, not getting overtaken and even opening up/closing down gaps! 7.5k in and the first guys were heading back. I didn’t think to count them at this point. Or look to see how far back I was. Turns out I was only about 5 mins down on the leaders. I just stuck my head down, in the drops and rode until my lungs hurt. Remembered to have a swig of drink, then around the roundabout for the run back. Now I could see everyone else behind coming up. I was holding a reasonable place by the looks of it. A little unusual. The amount of cheating feckers drafting was slightly annoying, groups of 5-6 riders isn’t an accident. Saw the first female and starting keeping an eye out for Faith. Uphill into the lights and just as I spot her hear ‘Go Jibby’ returned the encouragement before negotiating the red light. Mr Frog was ahead on the outside and stopping, then just as I go into the neutral zone the light changes. Having not unclipped I let out a huge scream as I tried to get the bike moving again and through the lights. Lost a place in the process but never saw Mr Frog until the finish. Riding nicely I was knocking out 38+km/h. It was comfortably uncomfortable and I was loving the fact. Final turn into the drive down to the lake and the marshal shouts I’m in 12th. S***, I never ride that good. At that point I decided not to waste my lead playing with a shoes off dismount. Official bike 36m26s.

Into T2 and let the cluster begin. Almost missed my racking point. Helmet & glasses off. Shoes off. Right sock on. Right sock isn’t going on. Doing too well to lose lots of time in T2. F*** this, abandon the socks idea and I’ll suck up the pain from any blisters. Shoes on. Shoes don’t like wet feet either. Crap, eventually on and run out of T2. 1m12s apparently. Felt a whole lot longer.

Out onto the run and within 20m I wished I had my trail shoes. Lots of puddles and wet mud. There was a guy not far behind and didn’t want to get caught so pushed on hard. 4m16 for the first k. Maybe too hard. I got over my bike>run spurt and settled in at 4m40/km pace for the next couple of k. Got passed once, then on the dogleg I saw the fast guys heading my way, counted them through, then spotted a woman. WTF? By the turn I had counted 13 guys and a woman. Just had to hold this… Lifted my pace and did a 4m20 Then back onto the tarmac. If I’d known how far it was I would have kicked earlier. I left it a little late to give everything I had. Crossed the line after a 21m39 5k then did my current trick of collapsing. Everything left on the course again.

Swim 00:13:21
T1 00:01:20
Cycle 00:36:26
T2 00:01:12
Run 00:21:39
Total time 1h14:01, but have 4s taken off for the traffic lights, so really 1h13m57s. 18th Overall, 15th male, and 8th in Under 30s. Glad I was talked into doing it, it has restored my passion for racing tri, and reaffirmed the fact I want to go short and fast for a bit once Barcelona is out the way. I think it might be in me now. It has also given me the boost I need to convince myself I can get in the time needed in the ETU qualifier, if not a placing.

Learning Points:
1. I need to channel the Red Mist constructively in future during swim fights.
2. My OW transitions are shocking. Need to improve that.
3. Check my bike is in the proper gear before heading to the swim. Complacency.
4. I can hold my own on the bike and I need to have more faith in myself.
5. I can’t corner and need to find a way to get my confidence back.
6. I can run 5K without socks and not blister too badly. Maybe tape my feet for Bedford.
7. My transitions need practice. Too slow in both of them
8. Should have memorised/scouted the run course to know when to kick for the finish.

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