A work colleague of mine (I hesitated for a while over whether
to refer to him as 'friend') mentioned to me the other day that the Army were
hosting a sprint triathlon in the Cotswold Water Park which, regular readers
will know is the venue for the Cotswold Triathlon. Seeing as the event was
on a Wednesday and I'd already had the first two days of the week away from the
office, what better way to continue the week?
Yes, well, I can think of better. The day started well
enough, I was in bed and snoozing happily when the alarm wailed into life at
07:45. Breakfast consisted of a helping of what is referred to at work as
'brown mud' (I also drink 'pink mud' aka strawberry), though I find thinking in terms of a chocolate flavoured diet
protein shake makes it somewhat more palatable. The bike went on the back
of the car, the bags were packed - several times - and a bowl of cereal was
enjoyed at around 10:00.
Popped to Asda to get my entrance fee, bumping into the
delectable Kathy along the way, always a bonus! Got to the course just
after 11:00 and joined the queue to register, picking up race number 146 as a MVet 'guest'. I'll never get used to being referred to as a veteran, just
doesn't seem right somehow.
Went for a wander, as I do, once the bike was racked and
returned to the car to struggle into the new wetsuit, an Orca Sonar. It
cost a few bob more than I'd planned, but fits well and will be an asset once
I've figured out how to swim in it. Kathy arrived just as we were about to
get the race brief, it was a huge lift for me having her close by.
The swim started well, crawled for a little while but I do need
to work on a) stamina, b) technique and c) everything else. Even on breast
stroke I was keeping pace with a few crawlers and, whilst the majority had
disappeared into the distance, I was able to relax and enjoy the event.
Finally made it to shore, helped up the rather steep exit by a
couple of strapping Army lads and into T1, just a few yards away. Memo to
self - leave socks until later (if at all), and practice removing wetsuit!
The bike went well, following the usual route along the Spine
Road to the A419. As is often the case, it got a little windy heading up
to the airfield roundabout, but good use of gear changing kept me on pace.
Just as we hit the dual into Cirencester, we turned left towards Siddington and
effectively cut off 'Tesco's Corner'. The end result was a final route of
around 17.5km, compared to the more normal 18km.
Made it back to T2, where I racked quickly, changed shoes,
dropped helmet, smiled at Kathy - or maybe it was a grimace? - and headed out
for the run. Although I'd worried about a left calf twinge on the bike, I needn't
have worried, the legs kept working and, if there was one complaint, it's that
there was no obvious drink station at the end of the first lap. Kept
working, picked up a little speed second time around though regular checking of
time meant I didn't have to worry too much to make target.
Times were posted, almost immediately for me, after the race.
Out of 156 competitors I came 150th - but as the majority were Army, only seven
other guests, as far as I could tell, not too fused about position.
Besides, I wasn't last! The swim took 21.05:708, T1
completed in 2.27:56 and the bike took 34.18:183. The run was a quick
24.07,which made for a final total of 1.22.49:885 (for the record, more than 10 minutes
quicker than '07 and 20 quicker than '08!). Even with the shortened
bike section, I'm very happy with that.
A good result, a very good day at the
office and thanks to the Army for putting the event on. And yes, thanks also to
Simon for mentioning it - I think I'll promote him to 'friend' after all :).