Wilmslow was my 2nd triathlon of the year after competing at Skipton in April. I wanted to build on a solid performance at Skipton and improve on some areas where I felt I lost time. With 4 weeks of solid training under my belt I felt race fit and confident that I could produce a good performance (assuming I had no mechanicals on the bike).
I arrived at the event in plenty of time and hooked up with fellow Racepace athlete Mark Egan who was also competing, having given our predicted swim times we were right at the ‘business end’ of the competition and out in the last couple of waves. We entered transition together and racked our bikes, each of us no doubt with our own specific routine on how we laid our areas out. We then got together and figured out the in/outs of the various disciplines. Always good to go through transition with somebody else from your team as you can bounce suggestions off one another and look out for potential issues that may slow you down. Having spent far too much time checking everything, I then left transition confident I was set up right to give me the best possible chance of a quick T1 & T2.
The swim was a rolling start, basically working on the premise of 1 in 1 out with some lanes having 5 swimmers at any time. I quickly assed whilst going through the briefing it might be best to get to the front of my wave queue giving myself the best chance of getting lane 1 (clockwise & nearest the exit door to transition). This worked out for me and I was the first guy from my wave in the water and in lane 1. The swim went by with no issues, I even got 4 lengths in before another swimmer got in. I went with a slightly different breathing strategy which I had tried out the week before in training and I came out of the pool in a good time and out towards T1.
Out of the pool exit I ran with a real intensity to make some time up, then into T1. Helmet straight on, race belt on, bike off the rack and away out of transition. 40 seconds in total! Improvements still, as it took me 2 goes to get my helmet clipped. Out on the bike and I had a solid ride, the weather conditions were great and this made for decent biking. Unfortunately, on the duration of the bike I did encounter a few occasions where I lost time, even having to clip out on one occasion, plus make some risky decisions to overtake where really I should not have, when in race mode though every second counts – a real battle as to what is the best thing to do. I did lose some time over the ride but it would have been the same for other competitors. You either get lucky or you don’t.
Came into the dismount line at speed but executed the dismount bang on and hit the ground running as they say. To get back to transition you had to run down the leisure centre road and then up on the pavement, this is where I got a huge ‘ooh’ from the crowd as I went full pelt into the kerb with the front wheel, lesson to self – lift the bike up. Once the bike had come back down from the sky I cracked on down into transition and racked my bike. Straight on with my trainers but took a few extra seconds as they did not go on snug, bending down again I sorted this and then out on the run. Seconds lost again.
The run went without an issue and I held a steady speed throughout the race, just a little over 4 min per km, which over 10km puts me at around 40mins and is probably a true reflection of my running at the moment. Over the line in 1hr 16mins and 5 seconds, 19th overall and on reflection a very good performance. 2 races under my belt and things I have away from both, Chester next and the first Olympic distance of the season and the small matter of World Qualification up for grabs.