Salford Olympic Distance Triathlon Sunday 17th August. I was really looking forward to this event. Unfortunately as race day approached I realised that the weather was not going to be kind to us, but I refused to let that dampen my spirits, so I arrived on race morning positive and determined to enjoy myself and give it my best shot despite the wind and rain.
I arrived in plenty of time and looked for a spot in transition to rack my bike. It was a big transition area, but there were some small trees around the square so I lined my bike up with one of those, and made a mental note of which row I was on, enabling me to easily relocate my bike after the swim.
The swimmers were set off in waves, 20 minutes apart. All the standard distance women were in Wave 3, and there were about 100 of us. I wandered down to the swim start, and got myself in the water with only a couple of minutes to spare, so as not to get too cold. The start of the swim took me a little by surprise, as a weaker swimmer I usually hang about towards the back, but somehow I had ended up right in the middle of everything. I stayed calm, and just started swimming as best I could. After that it was just a case of getting into a steady rhythm.
Swim completed and into T1, just as it started to rain – great!
On to the six lap bike course, and it became apparent just how windy it was. The roads were also very wet, and there were a lot of people coming off their bikes. At one point the course crossed over the tram tracks, and I saw two people sat on the curb receiving medical attention here. There was also roundabout with a right hand turn where several people slid off their bikes – including one guy who was directly in front of me.
So, I resolved to put my head down and ride as quickly, but as safely as I could. I passed a lot of other competitors which was pleasing, but I was aware that I wasn’t pushing as hard as I knew I could.
I had just started lap five when I had the most bizarre problem. My right foot suddenly slipped off the pedal, and when I looked down the cleat was stuck in my pedal and had become completely unattached from my shoe. My first thought was “oh no, race over!”, but I pedaled on for a few minutes with my right foot just resting on the top of the pedal, and just my left foot clipped in. I finished the last two laps of the bike “one legged”, and was very happy to get to T2 in one piece.
I started out on the run feeling pretty good, and after taking a few minutes to find my running legs, I tried to push a bit harder. All was going well until on lap 3 of the 4 laps, I started to feel a sharp pain in my calf. It progressively got worse through the rest of the run, but I was determined not to stop or resort to a walk, so I pushed on and tried not to let it slow me down too much.
Despite the awful weather, I really enjoyed this event, and it would definitely be one that I would do again. It was very well organized, and I enjoyed both the cycle and run courses.
In terms of my own performance, I initially had mixed feelings when I saw the results as my bike time was disappointing, much slower than I would have hoped for, and I really need to improve my transitions, but on reflection I had a good race.
Firstly I really enjoyed it. Added to that, I pb’d on the swim (although there’s plenty of work still to do on my swimming), and I also pb’d on my 10k run time (albeit by just 1 second!!), and I finished 7th in my age group, so I’m happy with that for now. (Wendy Drake)