Well, this is - was - the big one. The Mazda London Triathlon 2008 - I've never seen a hall so big, or so many bikes in one place.
The weather was lousy, rained most of the way up, though thankfully the walk from the car park into the Excel Centre was dry.
Registration/chip collection was a breeze though, as a first-timer, spotting the collection point took a little while - maybe a few high level signs?
The swim was sluggish; whether it was due to a long swim out to the start, the wait for the other 339 participants (will check on that figure later once the results are finalised) to get into position, or the race in the face during the return leg I really couldn't say.
Transition worked reasonably well, got out of the water ok, even managed to get out of the wetsuit fairly quickly, and the jog up the stairs back to the bike went ok. The surface was a little slippery though with my bike shoes on, so I'll have to give some thought to barefoot bike-mounting for next year - could be entertaining.
During preparation (aka watching the early races) I heard a couple of crashes at the foot of the slope out of Excel, so I took that bit carefully. Turned the corner for the first stretch and soon got into my stride, as it were. Tough section up and over the first bridge before the turn, but a nice back straight - with the odd turn at roundabouts - before remembering at the second turn that it was wet. Oops, no brakes!!!
Made it round the corner for a fast return, even managed to slow up safely to take the corner. Back to complete the second lap ok, took the turn back into Excel, dug in and stood up the ramp, before tottering carefully back to my rack.
A quick drying of feet and tugging on of loose socks, slip the running shoes on - elastic laces, love 'em! - and out for the run. Long run out of the hall, not too any people around, either side of the barriers but some well received cheers. Thanks everyone!
My fan club had finally arrived and were placed at the top of the out - down - ramp, then were around the corner as I got out form under the Excel. Lots of good vibes from the watching crowds, just a shame about the rain. First lap went ok, though the climb back up the ramp was a pain, literally, as was being so close to the finish. I wonder how many went in after the first lap?
Second lap was a little slower, did stop and walk a bit in a couple of places; the back was hurting a little, so I'll have to work on that some more, but I kept going and managed to raise a bit of a sprint across the line to finish in 1:48:29. Slower than I'd have liked, but then every finish is a result! Position (tbc) - 1182/1400, so not last which was just as important. Click here to see footage of me finishing.
And I've got the t-shirt, another one with my name on it (in very small print!).
In the meantime, I've managed to raise a few pounds for charity, thanks to everyone who has contributed; see how much I've got so far:
To be completed later....
© Shogem 2009