4.15am and the alarm is ringing in my ears. Early start for a trip down to Nottingham which meant an early breakfast too. Your body never quite feels like eating porridge at 4.30am but I forced it down, packed the car and went on my way - quick stop to get me Dad too, a valued member of the support team.
This was my first open water triathlon of the year and the race was over a sprint distance. 8.30am in the water and roughly around 160 in my wave which was all males above 40 + years. Water temperature was 15.5 degrees according to the chap on the tannoy which did not sound too bad. On entering the water, it did take my breath away but I quickly acclimatised and got myself to the front with a direct line to the first buoy. I wanted to be in the front pack if possible so made sure I was ready for the horn start. Just from breathing and seeing the competition I knew I was in the top group to the first buoy which consisted of around 5 people with another guy off the front in 1st. This was the 350m mark, a 90-degree left and still with the same group for another 50m then left again and back to the swim exit. On the 350m leg back a couple more swimmers joined the group and we all swam in a pack to the exit. By this point my hands and feet were a little cold but I had experienced far worse.
Wetsuit off which was not as smooth as I would have liked, to be honest it was all a little rusty and something I will improve on over the season. 15-20 seconds lost. Over the mount line and on my way on the bike.
A simple flat 4 lap course to complete the 20km and only 4 left turns. I got into a rhythm and focused on riding hard but with a strong body position. The 20km went by in a flash. Unfortunately, my aero bars came loose whilst on the bike, so I had to use the wings for the last lap and a half, not a major hindrance but enough to stop me being as aero as possible. T2 was split from T1 and my position was the first one on the rack as I went over the timing mat – easy to find my trainers. Noticed too that there were hardly any bikes racked as well. On the bike leg my fingers had become colder and colder which I was oblivious too until I tried to get my catch on the helmet free, I just couldn’t, I had no feeling at all in my fingers. Then panicking I tried to get the strap over my chin and force the helmet off – a no go too. Back to the fingers and somehow using the left hand like pliers on the right hand I managed to get it undone but knew I had lost lots of time (felt like 5mins) in the race. Trainers on next and the realisation my feet had also lost feeling too.
I set off on the run whilst not being able to feel my feet hitting the surface something I have never experienced before – well I can’t recollect so anyway. I stumbled a couple of times in the first few minutes as I could not get the feeling/judgement right on hitting the surface. Quickly after this though I got used to the feeling and managed to knuckle down to the task at hand. With confidence building I felt like I was flowing and in a good rhythm. A flat course and one where you should be setting quick times. I finished the 5k with a 20.20 which I was a little disappointed with. Not sure what affect the cold had had on my overall race but definitively seconds if not a couple of minutes were lost. 4th in my age group which I was annoyed about as 3rd place finished exactly 2mins ahead, could I have been that 3rd person had everything gone to plan, who knows? Another well run event and a break now until I tackle Windsor Olympic in the middle of June.