Saturday 12th July was the day I headed over the Ripon in North Yorkshire to compete in the NYP Ripon Triathlon. A new race to me and slightly different timings with race start being at 2pm in the afternoon. Knowing what works for me and having had trouble with digestion in the past I made the decision to stick with a porridge for dinner before the race.
Registration and transition were well organised and I was able to get myself setup pretty quickly. The weather on race day was hot but not quite hot enough to make it a non-wetsuit swim.
Getting into the lake I was able to do a quick little swim to get used to the water and having been pre warned was not surprised to be greeted to a good amount if weeds. Getting into a good position on the start line we were soon on our way. I was able to get a fairly clean start and soon found myself in a fairly big group of people. I tried to stay on as many shoulders and feet as possible but coming up to the turn around point at the top of the lake I found myself to be swimming alone. It was during this time that I had to dig deep mentally. For some reason my swim just didn’t feel good, I felt like I was criss-crossing the lake and couldn’t seem to get into my usual good rhythm. I just kept telling myself to keep going though, keep my arms moving and try to relax. Little did I know at the time but I actually managed to swim a PB of 22:09.
Into transition and quickly out of my wetsuit, and out with my bike. The run out to the mount line is a good distance and includes a sand path which when combined with wet feet made for gritty feet in my bike shoes. The bike course at Ripon is fast and one in my opinion that could really do damage to a person’s running legs if they don’t ride it correctly. With some good straight roads it’s easy to get caught up in other peoples races if you don’t concentrate on your own enough, being prepared for this beforehand I was able to focus on my bike leg and perform to my best. As a side note, unfortunately the types of roads used do lend themselves for drafting. Obviously the organisers do expect this and have draft busters out on the course but it wasn’t hard to spot some big groups out on the course.
Into T2, and having been practising, I was very happy with how this went. Quickly into my trainers I was out onto the fast 10km course. Getting onto the shoulder of another competitor I was able to get into my running fairly quickly. Whether this early pace or the heat got to me I felt that my pace did slightly decrease around the 6-7km marks, however noticing this I was able to get back on it to finish strong.
The organisation of the event was excellent and the support out on the course was really good, with the hosepipes set up by the local villagers on the run course being well received on a hot day.
My final finishing position was 7th overall but first in my age group. I’m happy with my overall performance but as ever have several things to work on going into my next event in Liverpool on 10th August. (Sarah Jepson)
Ripon Triathlon (available soon) Image courtesy of www.sportsunday.co.uk