Thames Turbo Triathlon – 30 August 2010

After racing this local triathlon in May of this year I decided to give it another go this year post Ironman.  A short distance race would be a great sharpener and also fit in as a bit of practice before my final triathlon of the year – a half Ironman distance race I’m doing in a few days time…

So here we are, Bank Holiday Monday and I’m up at 5:30 with my porridge in the microwave.  Shortly after 6 with a bit of panic when my bike computer decided to not turn on I cycled to Hampton Pool to register and rack my bike.

For these pool based swims there are two waves of racers – in May I was in the first wave and spent much of the race entirely on my own – although you do get the benefit of very little traffic on the roads at 7:15am.  This time I was in the second wave – and started at about 8:20am.  In the end there were actually no traffic problems and I quite enjoyed watching the first wave of swimmers.

Pre race I once again I estimated my 400m swim to be 6 minutes 40 (which is what they base your start time on) and the (426m) swim was pretty uneventful.  There was a lady who started ahead of me and after four lengths I tapped her toes to request to get ahead.  She let me past her and I swam in clear water for the rest of the swim, although I did feel her tap my toes a few times – which was more from nice close drafting as opposed to wanting to overtake (as we’d end up just swapping places with one another each length).  My swim time including transition was 8:50 (9:17 last time).

Transition 1 was fairly quick and before long I was onto the bike for the 21k ride.  The weather was bright and sunny, about 12 degrees c and a 9/10mph NNW wind.

I was overtaken by one person (Matthew) on the bike as he raced past with his fancy TT bike and disc wheel (I’ll have a decent bike set-up one day!)  Him racing past gave me someone to aim for and for the rest of the big leg I tried to keep him in sight.  We overtook a few people from the second wave and quite a few of the slower riders from the earlier first wave.  It’s great to see people of all abilities out on the course taking part in these races and if you ever want to give triathlon a try, then I’d strongly recommend the Thames Turbo races.

After the race in May I looked at my bike stats and wrote the following:

Looking at the bike leg data on my GPS I averaged 22.2 mph for the 36 minutes or so.  Interestingly (well, for me!) my cadence averaged 102 – all of my other rides this year have averaged about 91 rpm cadence.  Is this indication of me ‘spinning’ faster related to miles already in my legs [as I’d ridden 60 miles the previous day], or is it just how things are when you bust a gut and race hard for short distances.

In my recent rides I’ve started to slow my cadence down a little.  This may be partly because I’m no longer riding a ‘compact’ chainset on the bike but is also as a result of me moving into the world of training with a power meter (which I will post about one day!).  I currently seem to be getting better wattage from a slightly bigger gear.

Today was no exception and I chose gearing to slow my cadence down – today it averaged at 93 RPM.  Similar to the race in May, on the previous day (that’ll be yesterday) I did a longish ride (50 miles) so my legs were not completely ‘fresh.’  My official bike time was 35:51 (36:20 last time) and 23rd fastest (out of 362).  I’d love to know how many of the faster riders had aero helmets and time trial bikes – maybe I’ll take a look at the official photos and have a look.

From my GPS my average speed was 22.6mph (22.2 in May) and I don’t think I was anywhere near as exhausted at the end of todays ride as last time.  My heart rate averaged 161 and maxed at 167.  I didn’t have an HRM on in May.

Power wise I averaged 329 watts for the 35:32 which I clocked on my watch (the 19 second discrepancy to the official time will be because the official time starts a little way before the bike mount point).  Unfortunately I don’t have second-by-second power data for the ride so just have an overall average…. and there I was looking forward to spending hours trying to analyse it all in detail.

After the bike finishes you have a few minutes ‘non-compete time’ to get back to transition 2.  This was pretty quick and then I was out onto the run.  I didn’t plan to run this all out as I want to not put my right calf under too much pressure, but having said that, once I get racing I do get a little carried away with it all!  I soon overtook Matthew (who once again – see my run notes from 2008 – wanted to ‘hang onto the back of me’ – sorry… maybe next time?) and from here on in everyone I overtook I was moving up a position (at least, as they all started ahead of me) in the overall results.  In my eyes that’s encouragement to push on…

I overtook a few people, had some great pirate aarrrgghhh support on both laps and nearly got overtaken about 3.5k when I went past someone and he sat right on me.  I soon made sure that wasn’t going to last long and pushed on ahead to the finish.  My 5k time (including transition from bike to run) was 19:56, which was 11th fastest overall.

In May my time was 19:18, although it turns out that this was on a slightly shorter course – about 20 seconds quicker by my calculations.  The course change was because of a wasps nest that we were not aloud to run right past! The official run course is also measured as being about 70m long as well (thanks to a clarification post by TTTC at tritalk.co.uk) so that’s another few seconds in my favour :)

My run was comfortable throughout and I could have pushed harder if I had wanted to, but I kept things under control (just about).  My average heart rate was 167 and max was 177.  Funnily enough my Bushy parkrun from the past weekend had the same HR figures for exactly the same time.

Once again a cracking race at the Thames Turbo Triathlon.  Overall time/position wise in the provisional results my time is 1:04:37 (compared with 1:04:55 last time) and my position was 20th out of 357 finishers.

After getting packed up it was off to a local cafe for a late breakfast with Danny, Kirsty, Heather, Kath and Mr and Mrs Wilson.  Lovely.

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