27 August 2012. Oxford Tri sprint triathlon, 4th

Monday 27th August 2012Oxford Tri sprint triathlon

Swim 400m/6:27 (out of the water in ~6:10 = 1:33/100m)
Cycle 22½km/36:06 (37.4 km/h)
Run 5km/20:35 (6:37 min/mi) = Total 1:04:49, 4th overall and first over-40 [Results]

I’d had a bit of a mixed week, a couple of swims and runs, and some cycling. On Wednesday I’d turned out for my first midweek club 10-mile TT of the season (leaving it a bit late!), only for the race to be abandoned when one of the 2-up teams (who went off first in the field) crashed into each other. Then on Saturday the forecast didn’t look good for the Didcot Phoenix CC afternoon Open 10-mile TT on the Witney bypass, so I’d given that a miss too (thunder broke out in Cowley at the time I’d have been starting but I later heard that the storm missed the race itself). And then, on Sunday morning was a re-scheduled midweek mota-vation race, but with my right achilles still a little sore I didn’t want to stress it by running on two consecutive days and gave that a miss too!

The Radley College venue was only a short 25-minute bike ride from home for this low-key triathlon. Nice not to have to get up at stupid-o’clock with a car full of triathlon stuff, just a 6:30am alarm call. I picked up my numbers at the pavilion HQ and after setting up my bike in transition, it was time to get cracking. Each wave had a little race briefing from Peter Larbalestier, and amongst other bike and run-safety things were told not to sprint past someone in our lane in the first two lengths, as we were sure to die and just get in their way later.

My wave picked up our white swim hats and got into the water ready for a 5-second countdown to the start. I quickly settled into my usual swim speed, not too quick, not too slow. About halfway through, the next swimmer got into my lane, started swimming and then tapped my feet to get past. I let him through, but after another two lengths he died a death and I re-passed him. Clearly, he’d not listened to Peter’s words!

We didn’t have anyone counting lengths this year, so you were trusted just to get out when your 16 lengths were done – that was good, In the past I’ve had to do a couple more lengths than I was supposed to because the lane counter mis-counted (it can get a little tricky for them with three or four people in each lane). I dumped my hat poolside and made my way carefully on the wet tiles to the pool exit and the transition area. Didn’t waste too much time here as I just had an ordinary road helmet to put on and my bike shoes were already in the pedals, and was quickly out on to the roads. I chased down a few riders, and blasted up the climbs over Boars Hill, not coasting much down the other side either. As I passed a couple more riders around Cothill I was starting to think that perhaps I was overcooking it a bit so I eased off a touch for the return leg back to Radley College. Ended up with the 2nd fastest bike split, so not too bad at all.

Quickly out of my bike shoes, I ran into transition with them flapping around on the pedals, annoyingly bashing on to the ground, but I soon found my rack, put my run shoes on – elastic laces and no socks – and headed out. Immediately I was thinking that yes, I’d overcooked the bike, but after five minutes the course turned across a grassy field and I found the going easier. My old Adidas short-distance racing flats had died over the summer so I was running in some Asics race shoes but they were not as kind to my feet, the grass surface was very welcome. Towards the end of the first run lap I was caught by someone I’d passed in the last km or two of the  bike. I tried to stay with them but they were just running a little better than me. The last month of reduced run mileage due to my sore achilles was definitely having an effect. I managed to raise a bit of an acceleration for the last bit of the run and collapsed across the finish line.

After I’d gathered up my stuff, there were some excellent cakes and tea to be had in the pavillion, as rain came down outside. I collected my 1st Vet prize and some beers, and then it was time to ride home and wash my bike, collapse on the sofa. If this event had been at the start of the year I’d have been keen to fit in another easy spin in the afternoon, but with the odd rain shower about and the end of the season looming I was happy to take it easy.