AM. Wantage triathlon, Hard, HR153(167)
Swim 850m/13:27 (1:35/100m) HR145(150)
Bike 34km/56:15 (+45 s at traffic lights) (36.3km/h) HR155(167)
Run 11.5km/50:20 (7:02min/mi) HR155(166)
Total 2:03:41 (+ 45s at trfl = 2:04:26). (official results have me 4th with 2:04:25?)
Another morning driving to a race with the windscreen wipers going and the heater in the car on. I find it hard to believe there’s a drought, anywhere in this country! I’d rather have just been going out for a run, but this was a warm-up event for the following week’s half-ironman, so I’d better get on with it. I’d not done Wantage Tri before, and the course looked pretty challenging so I was looking forward to it, with some apprehension about the cold and wet.
I had a reasonably steady swim. Although when I got my start sheet earlier in the week I was seeded in the last wave of swimmers, as is usual with Soll Leisure events, more people had been left off the start list and there were at least three waves of swimmers after me so I had a bit of a fight overtaking people in my lane. I also had to swim 34 lengths instead of 32, as the lane counter in my lane mis-counted – I didn’t like to argue and just swam the extra two lengths.
T1 was OK, my new Mavic tri race shoes were a cinch to get into out on the bike, but boy, it was cold and wet out there. I worked pretty hard on the first climb up Hackpen Hill, trying to generate some heat, but it was hopeless and I fell back to a steadier rhythm, getting colder all the while. I rode pretty well, my gears were playing up a bit, but not too distracting – something to sort out before next weekend. I froze to death on the final descent back into Wantage. I sat up a bit here to slow the bike – the wind was blustery and I didn’t want to lose control. Had to come to a near-stop at the bottom as a van was reversing across the road and blocking all the traffic, but I sneaked through and then had 45 seconds or so stopped at a red light in Wantage, trying to warm up my hands. The stoppage time was supposed to be taken off my bike split, but I can see today that it wasn’t. Never mind. [As well as my extra lengths in the pool, it doesn’t look as though anyone’s stoppage time at the lights was taken into account although there were a pair of marshals at the junction taking note of these times.]
I tickled into T2. Normally I’d get my feet out of the shoes and scoot into transition, but I my fingers were so useless I couldn’t undo the velcro on the shoes. Then I dropped my bike, couldn’t get my socks on my wet, cold feet for the run so I abandoned that idea but still struggled with just my running shoes. Then I couldn’t undo my helmet strap so I had to run over to a marshal and ask them to do it for me – loads of faffing about. My T2 time was one of the slowest.
Eventually … I got out running! A couple of guys I’d passed on the final part of the bike leg had caught me in T2 and one shot past in the first 500m of the run while I was still finding my running legs. I soon got going and pegged his advantage. The energy drink I’d swallowed on the bike leg was washing about in my belly a bit, but as the run went on that feeling subsided. The other guy was a bit quicker than me up the big climbs, but on the flat I had his measure and I only just failed to catch him again with a storming last couple of kilometres. I started to enjoy the run as it was warming me up, but it was a relief to finish. I collected my souvenir shirt and mug, got changed and headed home for a hot bath!