This was the first event of a busy April for me, where I am racing three consecutive weekends, and I was really looking forward to getting going with it.
Watching the forecast leading up to race day it became apparent that it was going to be cold, wet and windy!! Having reccied the course using my deep rim wheels on my TT bike, and been blown all over the road on a similarly windy day, Saturday afternoon saw me dashing to my brother’s house to borrow a less deep Zipp front wheel which would still fit with my TT bike’s brakes. This turned out to be an excellent decision!
I woke on race morning, and for once the forecast was correct. It was about 5°C with driving rain and 20mph wind, so I packed a jacket.
I was due to swim at 12 noon, but the event had started at about 8am, so by the time I got to transition, which was on grass, it was a bit of a mud bath, as were the bike out and run out which were across a field.
I executed my swim exactly as planned, despite being first in my lane, with only a 5 second gap between swimmers. I resisted the urge to shoot off too quickly and settled into a consistent pace, letting the two others in the lane pass me on the first length. In the end we all got out at the same time anyway.
It was a long run across the car park, and along a small part of the run course to reach transition, so I had left a pair of trainers, a towel and a rain jacket just outside the swimming pool exit. This meant that I could cover the distance quicker than bare footed, whilst drying myself and putting on a waterproof jacket. All this was pre-planned after the reccie, with the exception of the jacket which I decided on the day.
Out on the bike course conditions were very bad, the wind was gusting badly, and the driving rain made visibility difficult, but I never felt that I wasn’t in control of the bike, and I was very grateful for the more “wind friendly” front wheel.
Back safely to T2, where the only issue I encountered was trying to get my feet in my trainers when both my hands and feet were numb with cold
The run was two laps around the park. I was quite glad to get to the end, and cross the finish line that was actually being held down from blowing away by a handful of marshals. I even managed to cross the timing mats which were flapping around erratically.
Shortly after I finished my race, the organisers took the decision to abandon the bike leg on safety grounds, and turn the event into an aquathlon. The bike course was along the A59, which is a fast and busy road at the best of times. I’m sure the decision was frustrating for some people, but actually I think it was the right call on the day. (Wendy Drake)