It’s 3.10am and I am getting out of bed. Another early start for the Olympic distance triathlon at Windermere. Such an early rise but I manage to force some breakfast down and I leave my drive at 3.55am. I arrive at race HQ for 5.10am, so plenty of time to register, rack my bike and figure out all the technical details with the transition area before a wave start of 6.25am.
I have done this race before and from memory it was always a small transition area and this year was no different. Bikes were racked on top of bikes (not literally but pedals on pedals). It was the same for everyone, so I just had to figure out the best way to rack and keep checking the bike up to the last possible minute. We had a good briefing and looking at the swim course my initial thoughts were that it looked a long 1500m. It’s the same course for everyone though so I put that out of my mind and entered the water as requested in the first wave.
The swim was spread out early doors and this was mainly due to such a wide start line between the 2 buoys and only 70-80 in the wave. It was single file and then some gaps too so when the gun went you were pretty much in calm water from the start. I picked the most direct line to the furthest buoy and got into a very good rhythm right from the off. There was a group to the left who were in front of me and appeared to be moving quite quickly but on a diagonal and then there was a group of 5/6 with me. It stayed like this all the way round the course with me chopping and changing feet accordingly. I went on the front at some points as the pace seemed to drop a little and the conditions were near perfect. As I came around the final buoy there were roughly 5 of us all getting out at the same time. Up out the water and into transition. Wetsuit came off like a dream as I had cut the arms and legs the day before – this made for a very speedy T1 which this season had proven slow – for me.
A long run from transition to the mount line and extremely bumpy too, so in some places I lifted the bike off the ground. Over the mount line and away we go.
As I got my head down for the 45km bike leg I was conscious of 2 athletes in the race who I always beat in the swim and they pass me on the bike. This happened again which always annoys me but no one else came passed throughout the bike and I passed a few athletes too. Having done a recce of the bike course the week before I was well armed to know the course and what lay ahead. 3 gels went down on the duration of the bike leg and plenty of fluid too, but I made sure the last one was not too close to the start of the run. As I approached the dismount line, I was carrying too much speed and an athlete who was just in front dismounted in a way that left me no room to manoeuvre. It was such a tight dismount area and only fit for 1 person. I was trying to make it fit 2, tie this in with coming in too hot and I had to yank on the front brake hard, thus sending me over the handlebars. A very quick dismount but not the one I wanted. I dusted myself down, had a quick check of my body and picked myself and bike up and continued into T2 with a few aches but nothing that would stop me running.
The legs felt good off the bike and I started the run feeling good. This was a 5 lap 10Km run and was pretty uneventful other than each lap more and more athletes were on the run course, so I was doing more manoeuvring and shouting ‘’coming through’ each lap. This was only my 2nd 10km of the year buts was sure it had been a good one - timewise.
Having come over the line I had no idea where I had finished but knew there were definitely 2 in front of me (the 2 that passed me on the bike). The results took ages which is always annoying but eventually they were published, I came 11th. Looking at my swim time it mirrored what I first thought – that it was long. My bike time I was happy with (although when I analysed other athletes someone went 11 minutes quicker) and my run was a shock as I thought I was close to if not under 40mins so a 42mins 33 seconds through me. Either it was long, or I am not as in tune with my body as I should be. I completed the race in 2hrs 35, the winning time was 2hrs 25mins.
Salford Triathlon next which I last did 4 years ago so looking forward to competing at it again and putting into practise what I have learned over the past 4 years.