Time to test my fitness with a little local sprint triathlon. Last time I did this one, I was coming off the back of a season’s racing my trike and we had good weather. I was 4th that day, would I be as fast this time? I was still dropping off to sleep at a moment’s notice, but when I decided to put a bit more effort in on the bike I could feel there was some real power there. No achilles problems after returning from Paris either, so I’d managed three steady runs.
The day dawned wet, and looked set to remain that way so I drove over to Radley College rather than riding. No point in suffering. Being one of the faster swimmers I was off in nearly the last wave, and had a pretty good swim – just 400m in the pool – first out of the water from my wave start, although one other guy passed me in transition while I faffed with a gilet.
The roads were soaked, so every corner had to be taken fairly carefully, no point in any heroics. The first part of the bike course is lumpy and there’s a lot of time to be made up by going hard here I think, so I was soon past the guy from my wave and hammering up over Boars Hill. After the descent that follows it’s more steady, although there are quite a few junctions which you’ve got to jump out of to get your speed back up. Coming back to T2 I eased off a bit for the final 5 minutes and then cruised to the dismount line.
We had a lengthy run across the tarmac transition area here, and barefoot it wasn’t good for the toe I broke this time last year. I faffed about taking my gilet off and squeezing wet feet into wet running shoes but straight away in the run I knew I’d damaged it a bit. This wasn’t so bad on the bits of the run course that were grassy, but there was a lengthy section of footpath, and on the second lap it was really getting sore. I still managed to wind up my pace for the finish – sub 4 minutes for the last kilometre – but the toe was a bit of a worry.
It was good to catch up with the local Oxford Tri folk and see how everyone’s season had gone. After I’d packed my bike away and got changed, I wandered back to the school hall to see how I’d done and was just in time for the prize presentation and to collect a little cup for my win in the M50 age group. Although I was about 5 minutes slower than 2012, the run course was a bit longer (and I was slower) and the bike being wet had slowed that down too, as well as faffing about with a gilet for the bike. Despite the wet it had been a nice little event; friendly faces and some good cakes. Only my sore toe was a bit of a worry.
As well as a medal, there were some nice things from Secret training in my prize bag – a gel, some balms, wipes, and sort of sports-flannel.
Swim 400m/6:31 (Official timing in brackets 7:05)
Cycle 22½km/37:14 (36.2 km/h) (37:50)
Run 5.3km/22:42 (4:14 min/km) (22:42) = Total 1:09:49, 4th overall and first M50 [Results]