Living where we do (West London) there’s plenty going on if you’re an active-sportsperson. Each and every UK Bank Holiday the local triathlon club hold one of their triathlons. I entered two of the races in 2007 and waited until today to enter my third race. Since last year I’ve been swimming more, cycling much more and running less (due to injury and spending more time on the bike). My plan for today was to push hard in the swim, hard on the bike and hard on the run. I wasn’t too fussed if I burnt myself out early – I just wanted to push really hard throughout and see what would happen.
Why you ask – well, this is just a ‘sharpener’ for a much bigger triathlon that I’m taking part in in two weeks time (more on that in a future post).
I was up at 5:45am, had a big bowl of porridge and then Sharon and I headed off to Hampton Pool for registration. I wasn’t due to start until around 9am so was able to watch and support a number of our friends who were also taking part.
Swim – I took this pretty steady but strongly. All the swimmers start off in 15 second intervals (based on estimated swim times) and it’s common for there to be all sorts of bunching and overtaking during the swim. Thankfully I held my own throughout and had a clear swim. I exited the pool feeling good and headed into T1 (swim to bike).
T1 – all I needed to do was to get some socks on, bike shoes (velcro straps) on, sunglasses and crash helmet. Once they’re all done it’s a case of grabbing the bike and running through to the ‘mount point’ out in the street.
Bike – I’d planned to push hard on the bike and push hard I did. It was a little breezy but no big problem and I was lucky enough to have sailed through the single set of traffic lights on the course (which were green – had they been red you have to stop and wait).
Part way through the course there were some roadworks which forces all riders to dismount, walk/run through the roadworks area and then get back on the bike. This clearly slows you down – my GPS log shows that it took about 45 seconds to get through this patch – where cycling it would have taken probably about 5 seconds! Do this twice (both ways) and you’ve lost almost 90 seconds on the bike when comparing the time year on year.
Nobody overtook me on the bike and I overtook at least 5 or 6 people. I pushed really hard and managed an average speed over the 13.4 miles (21.6km) of 21.8 miles per hour (35km/h) – giving a bike time of 37:04. From here you have an ‘easy’ (non-timed) ride back to transition 2, which is when the start of the run begins. My bike in 2007 (minus the road works) was 38:12 – so I’m very happy with this years effort. In the provisional results I was 21st fastest on the bike. Last year I was 75th. A great improvement even if I do say so myself.
Run – I felt strong (suprisingly after the bike) and just pushed hard. I love the runs in these races (as it’s my best discipline) as I just seem to catch up and overtake people, which is great for the motivation. About 1km in I ran past someone who knew me (from this blog) who asked if he could ‘hang onto me’ – with pleasure I thought – although I don’t promise it’ll be easy!!
Just after 2km and 4.5km I ran past my ‘support crew’ of Sharon (obviously!), Kirsty, Danny, Heather, Nicola and Stuart who gave out some massive cheers of support which was most appreciated. Apparently I looked strong whilst running (not that I felt particularly strong that is!).
Before no time at all I’d reached the finished and crossed the line in a total time of 1:06:33, which is 1 minute and 18 seconds faster than this time last year. My run time (including transition from the bike was 20 minutes flat – last year it was 20:08) which was in line with my expectations.
My overall position was 20th (although the results are currently provisional) which is a massive improvement on last years 37th.
Looking back at my blog post from the same race in 2007 I wrote: “My aim for next year is to break into the top 25 or 30 which I believe I’m capable of.” Well, that’s clearly crossed off of the list :)
A number of photos from the race can be found at Sharon’s photo gallery website. A couple of ‘official’ photos of me ‘putting some effort in’ can be found at the sportcam.net website (just search for ‘Rowe’).