9 June: South Cerney Classic triathlon

South Cerney Classic Triathlon. 1.5km/42.5km/10km, hard ___ HR151(166)

Swim 1.5km/24:09 (1:36/100m) __ HR142(148)
T1 2:31
Cycle 42.5km/1:10:58 (35.9kmh) __ HR150(161)
T2 0:55
Run 10km/43:12 (6:57min/mi) __ HR160(166)

Total = 2:21:45 [Results]. 18th overall, 7th in 40-49

Found this race quite tough, even though it was “just” an Olympic-distance. Although I didn’t realise at the time, there were some fast guys in my age group. Overnight the wind had been blowing hard and out in the flatlands near Lechlade (this event isn’t actually anywhere near South Cerney any more, it’s at Bowmoor Lake), it was still blowing cold when I got to the venue. I struggled a bit with the swim. It was very cold in the lake, just took my breath away, and the first leg was into the headwind and the chop. Although I got a good start and was soon clear of trouble, I really struggled to relax into my stroke and found myself breaststroking a few times just to try to get my breathing under control. Once I’d got round the first buoy things started to even out a little, but on the second lap I still struggled a little bit on that leg of the swim.

Clambering out of the water my hands and feet were just frozen and useless. I had a hard time getting my wetsuit off with dead hands, and trying to put on a lightweight jacket for the bike ride (in hindsight, I could probably have managed without it). Got passed by a few guys in my wave here. Out of T1 and onto the bike, I also found it tricky to get my numb, wet feet into my cycling shoes (I’d left my shoes clipped into the bike for a faster change). After 10 minutes or so I was starting to reel in a few other athletes and getting into my stride. The first half hour of the bike leg was into the face of the gale, but after that we turned around. Riding up to the turnaround I could see faster riders from my wave already returning – I was far from the head of the field. Things got a bit easier with the wind behind and I relaxed, drank my carbo drink and started to enjoy myself a bit through the Cotswold villages, rather than really racing it, hoping to leave some energy for the run.

Back into T2, I was much more quickly changed and out into the run; two laps out and back around the lake. The surface was uneven and muddy in places and I concentrated on keeping a good footing, as well as trying to relax and stride out. It was difficult to work out who was on what lap, what with the seniors having started half an hour before us vets, so I just tried to keep up a good pace. I stumbled on a rabbit hole at one point. Fell to the ground but no harm was done and I was quickly up on my feet and away.

Managed to raise my pace for the final few minutes and was pleased to finish strongly after such a poor start in the cold water. Hung about for a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea to warm myself up before the drive home.