Another Sunday, another early alarm sounds – it must be triathlon day!
Today the alarm sounded at 05:00, although for some reason I’d woken around
04:25 – far too early whatever the excuse.
Once up, the kettle was put on kit was packed, several times as usual. It’s
generally an easy task to achieve; put tri-suit on and then work out what is
required for each part of the event. Cue swim goggles for the swim, bike shoes
and helmet for the second part and running shoes for the final section. Add in
sundries like race belt, heart rate belt, sun glasses (essential for the bike)
and you’re just about there.
Apart, that is, from the water bottles, the energy gels, breakfast (to be
had once I got to Stratford), a towel for post-swim drying of feet, the socks to
put on (oh, I’m wearing them already) and a change of clothing for when I get
around to a shower. And a towel for said purpose, and a change of shorts should
I go to the gym for a steam. And so on.
Had my cuppa, checked e-mail (so sad – though several arrived from friends
wishing me well for the day) and then made sure the bike attached to the back
with tyres suitably pumped.
And after all that, I still got away by around 06:20.
Had a good drive to Stratford; one of the nice things about being up so
early is getting to see all the wildlife along the way and today was no
exception; lots of rabbits and even a good selection of deer which are always
lovely to see. Got into the car park around 07:40 and had some of my cereal,
then went to register and returned to the car to finish eating.
Once fuelled, I put the bike into transition, finding myself a nice end of
lane slot – should be easy to find coming out of the water and, better yet,
nicely placed for the run. Wandered off to watch the swimming, stopping to chat
with Wayne who keeps order on the entry into and out of transition. He’s a good
lad, full of cheer, and recently completed his first tri – well done to him!
All too soon, it was time to go and get ready for my race start, scheduled
for 10:02:45. checked on the bike, noting along the way that some muppet had
parked his bike in my spot (turns out he’d forgotten where he’d left his kit so
parked and wandered around (thanks No 12). He had just finished and called
across, apologising. No worries, been there done that…. Got poolside with
around 10 minutes to go, listened to the race brief (tales of doom and gloom –
and road works!!), and was then lining up ready to start.
Memo to self – when you’re next here, start timing when the guy in front
goes. That way you’ll not have to worry about whether the watch starts timing
when you start!! As you’ll guess, the starter said ‘go’, I pressed the button
and at the end of the first lap noticed the timing hadn’t started. Oh well,
we’ll have to work it out on the way….
Had a slow swim; crawled the first two lengths and then got into a little
traffic and breast stroked behind a couple of crawlers. The pacing was ok, but
I could have done with a little open water in front of me. Minor gripe, will
improve my swimming for next year.
Found the bike ok; socks and shoes on, grabbed a couple of gel chews and
headed out, only to be stopped at the second pelican on the approach to the
bridge. Don’t know how much time was awarded, doubt it really matters in the
The bike ride went reasonably well to start with; think it was honours even
at the end in terms of overtaking. Heading into Barford was the first set of
road works; I got a red but the marshal on hand told me to keep going, no doubt
arguing that as I approached at speed we could claim a yellow. And would I
kindly “get as far left as possible!” No problem.
Onto the A46 and hit single line traffic along the dual carriageway. The
first part was slow going because there was no bike gutter to ride in and the
traffic wasn’t too inclined to give bikes much room. The second part was much
better, a nice wide channel for bikes to ride in but the hill was steeper and
the slow speed was beginning to sap energy. Had a good fast-ish run back into
Stratford but, at 11:00, there was a lot of traffic, most of which seemed to be
hogging the kerb. The final mile or so was not as quick as I’d have liked but I
suppose that goes with the territory.
Into T2, a quick shoe change, and out on the run. By the far turn my back
was beginning to feel sore and, on the second visit I did stop and walk for a
minute trying to ease some life into it – think one of my physios is going to
get a call soon. Finally reached the finish line and heard my name read out by
the announcer. Stopped watch in around 1:33-34 – had to wait 24 hours for the
Placed 423/512 (plus two DQ) in 1:33:18; swim 10:04, bike 50:46 and run
32:28. Not great but an improvement on last years event, so happy enough to
claim another PB.
Roll on next year!