AM. Little Beaver Triathlon. Swim 1500m/Cycle 36.3km/Run10km. 2:12:21, HR 157(171)
Swim 1500m/23:32 (1:34.1/100m) HR144(159), 2 laps (flat!)
T1. 4:51 (long run!)
Cycle 36.3km/1:00:14 (36.2km/h) HR 161(171) (route http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2849644)
Run 10km/43:17 (6:58 min/mi) HR 161(171) 3 laps, hilly.
Total: 2:12:21, 2nd in age cat.
Another early morning start for the trip up to Leicestershire, the weather was looking brilliant.
In the swim, after the washing machine start I got clear of the chasing pack but wasn’t quite able to hang on to the feet of the three or four fastest swimmers for the 2-lap swim. I had a bit of a ding-dong battle with one other guy, but concentrated on keeping my stroke smooth and we exited the (very murky) water together.
There was a massive run to T1, about 400m in bare feet (see the pics), as we stripped our wetsuits to the waist. Once there, I got quickly changed and out on to the bike.
The bike course was superb for a cyclist like me – up and down and twisty, with one huge long flat straight stretch where I knew I’d be putting a lot of time into my rivals. I passed almost everyone from my wave within the first few kilometres, although there was one guy in the next age cat. up from me who took a bit of passing – he was tall and skinny, and I reckoned he’d be a good runner, so I needed to put some time into him. There was one tricky hill (it’s got a chevron on it on the OS map), and my bottom gear of 45×23 was just about OK for that – I passed three or four riders from the previous wave up there.
Then it was back into T2. I didn’t manage to negotiate my feet out of the shoes before stopping – the last 400m to T2 was bumpy downhill and I didn’t fancy faffing about while trying to balance the bike. On the run leg that goes past this point I noticed that the elite women in the next wave were taking their feet out on the flat bit at the top of the descent – that’s something you’d only know with a bit more course experience.
Out of T2, and time to get running. Trouble is, this part of the course was a steady climb up to Belvoir Castle, so it took me a while to get into my stride. There were three laps to do, up and down the hill to the castle – it was hard work. I felt like I went better on laps two and three, although I got passed by the tall skinny guy here, and couldn’t quite manage to stay with him. There was someone at the end of the lap giving out age cat. positions – I knew that I was hanging on to 2nd at this point, so where the course doubled back on itself I was looking out for other vets with similar numbers to mine, but I didn’t see any. It was with some relief that I crested the climb to the Castle on the last lap and sped down the hill to the finish. I was starting to develop a couple of blisters from running without socks, but I didn’t care too much about that.
Very happy with my performance today, my time would’ve got me into the top-10 in previous years, but this year it’s a World Championship GB age group team qualifier event (http://www.britishtriathlon.org/events/page.php?article=241&category=/events/), so the standard’s moved up a bit. My 2nd place is good enough to get me into the worlds, although I’d not pre-registered an interest because I knew I’d never be able to afford the air fare to Australia for it.
I’m also thinking about getting a better wetsuit. Mine is an entry-level Orca that I picked up for £80 in a sale last year, just to have a go at an open-water tri. It’s not the best and I’m wondering whether a better – lighter and more flexible – one would help me make the most of my swimming. Jules also fits into it OK, so it would be good to pass it on to her for this season.
Jules’ pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/39551142@N00/sets/72157618618355143/