I entered the Pennington Flash Sprint Triathlon (750m swim, 16km bike, 5km run) on the spur of the moment, just 5 days before, as a bit of fun. I was somewhat regretting that decision on the Saturday night when the rest of the country seemed to be staying up late to watch England take on Italy in the football World Cup, whilst I tucked myself in bed early ready to leave home at 5am on Sunday morning.
I have been swimming at Pennington Flash a couple of time this year already, so I knew exactly what to expect on the swim, but I’d had no opportunity to check out the bike or run routes other than on google maps.
The swim was set off in waves, with all the Sprint distance ladies starting together. The swim was a straightforward triangular route, but the landscape is relatively featureless, so sighting was slightly challenging. From the middle of the lake one clump of trees looks quite like another. Fortunately after the second buoy we were heading back to the yacht club hosting the event, which was much easier to spot.
Into T1 where I came across my friend sat on the ground wrestling with her wetsuit, so I paused momentarily to help her dis-entangle her foot from her suit, before heading off onto the bike leg.
It was a fast flat bike course, two 8km laps. Unfortunately there were three sets of traffic lights on the course, so over two laps, that was six opportunities to get held up. The race organisers had said that they would make a note of race numbers of anybody stopping at lights and attempt to make adjustments to their times (which they subsequently did).
I had to stop completely and wait for what felt like an eternity on two occasions and to be fair the marshal did take my race number, but what they cannot make allowances for is the loss of momentum in slowing down and the effort of speeding up again afterwards, or allow for those adjustments in speed hanging back, waiting for traffic lights to change rather than stopping completely. But, it’s the same for everybody in the race.
Being such a short bike leg meant that I was back into transition before I knew it. A quick change into my trail shoes, and then myself and another lady left T2 side by side. The run was an off-road loop on trails and paths around the lake. My competitor went off ahead of me, and I started a little slower, but kept her in sight. At about 2km into the 5km loop I started to gain ground on her, and finally past her at about half way. I was aware that she was running behind me from then on.
So it came down to a sprint for the line, and despite giving it everything I had, she sailed past me with about 20 meters to go, to take second place, putting me in third by just 4 seconds. (Later bike stopping adjustments altered this time difference slightly, but thankfully didn’t change any positions).
I was delighted to finish in third place – things like that don’t usually happen to me! (Wendy Drake)