I didn’t go into this triathlon with too much of an idea of how I might get on. My cycling was progressing, but I was still struggling with a sore right achilles tendon and that was restricting the amount of running I’d like to be doing. I managed to increase the intensity and frequency of my cycling and swimming sessions and hoped that a couple of runs a week would leave me with enough fitness there.
The weekend weather was predicted to be very hot and sunny, so I decided to ride the 18km over to the Thame race HQ from home. This dictated a road helmet and my easy-to-manage Rolf Vector wheels for the bike. Not a huge aero penalty. Being one of the last to start the swim, I had plenty of time to sort my gear out and get hydrated.
I had a reasonable swim; it was only 400m in a pool so there’s not much to do apart from take it steady and get out into T1 as quickly as possible. I had Claire Vallance from my cycling club in my heat; she’s a good swimmer, so getting out the pool at the same time as her was just fine and we jogged the 500m into T1 together. I was speedily through and out onto my bike, firing up my Garmin 500 as I did so, so I could read my power. I was aiming for around 260-265W for the 18.3km bike section, but sprinting and stopping through the (sometime heavy) traffic on the outbound sections in Thame killed my legs and I struggled to get up to 257W average along the flatter more straightforward roads to Chinnor and back.
I was disappointed at the time that I seemed to be fighting to get the power out, but it was getting quite warm by then and it turned out that I’d done enough to record the fastest bike leg of the event. (It later occurred to me that I could get a faster bike time by putting a slow swim estimate on my entry form and getting a start at 8am, when there’s little traffic, instead of 10:30!). I got badly baulked at the Chinnor turnaround by a horse box/trailer that pulled out in front of me and then faffed about stopping and turning right, holding up a few cars behind it too. A more straightforward passage back through Thame (slightly scary at 40km/h though) saw me quickly back the race venue. I was speedily through T2, donning my new K-Swiss running shoes, with velcro fastenings, fancy! They were just about broken in, but I’d put some old insoles in them to prevent blisters.
The run, up and down a disused railway track, the Phoenix Trail. It was hot here, and there was little shade. I was starting to regret not carrying a water bottle on my bike to prepare me for this, but at only 5km, the run only took me a shade over 21 minutes, a bit slow for me, but then I was sprinting for the line. Thirsty and hot! I was very pleased to find I’d finished 5th overall, winning my age group, on what for me is very little triathlon-specific training.
Swim 400m/6:24 (1:36)
Bike 18.25k/28:54 (37.9km/h) HR162(168) [NP257W, average 239W Strava link]
Run 5km/21:20 (6:52 min/mi) HR170(176)
= Total 58:53. 5th overall, 1st in 45-49 age group [PDF results]