Posted by: lepages | June 18, 2011

Dambuster triathlon 2011

So today it was it!

Hoped for really early to bed last night didn’t happen.
Out at 7pm to try and sell some baby cockatiels at auction – really glad they all went! Home around 9.15pm. Couple of calls to make and then had to load car up, but in bed before 10pm and asleep pretty quick. Stirred every couple of hours as usual when I’ve got to be up, but slept pretty well, awoken by a series of alarms at 3.30am. Up quickly, dressed, stuffed face with a big bowl of nutty muesli and banana and get ready to go. On the way by 4.15am.

Weather not the best – damp and quite breezy at times. Still in my thinking if its raining now it’ll probably clear by the time we race (and it pretty much did, though there was a cold front that came in half way through the run, bringing some strongly driven dampness going across the dam). Air temperature around 14degrees.

Got registered and set up okay – other than bike rack being very low, so difficult to rack. Got some advice from a helpful British Triathlon official, and soon got it sorted.
Joined the long queues for the loos. Opted to have numbers directly on front and back of my trisuit. Julie kindly did the back for me. Why is it that I can put a number on the back of a cycling shirt whilst wearing it, but not a hope with a trisuit??!! Here’s another question…. why is it that folk spend a fortune on aerodynamic bikes, helmets etc. and then wear a number on a race belt that then flaps around in the wind?? Seems strange to me!!

Down to the race briefing. Usual advice, plus some additional stuff for the bike course from the local constabulary – fortunately none of the issues arose for me…. and I was very good… not having any pockets on my trisuit I shoved my empty gel sachets up a shorts leg – was amazed to find them still there after I’d finished!

Briefing finished, the first wave were down into the water. Amazingly the water temperature was 17degrees – warmer than the air temperature – and it was noticeable! Most unusual to go into the water and feel warmer as you go in!!

First wave off in blue hats. Lady announcer then calls for white hats to go in – wasn’t expecting to go in for another 20mins!! So checked with a few others as I went down – yes, that’s what she said! Enjoyed having a bit of a warm up – then heard her say, I think – white hats 35-39 into the water please – that’s not me – I’m in the 45-49 category! Out, with a number of others, advising the race head chappie that a number of us were misled into being in the water early by the earlier announcement. Joined Julie and went up on to a headland to watch some of the swimmers further out – looked reasonably smooth further out – looks can be deceptive!! Somehow or other I turned and twinged my shoulder/upper back. Quite painful. Hoped it wouldn’t interfere too much with my swimming. It didn’t. But when I got into the car later and turned to look over my left shoulder to reverse out, ouch!!

Back into the water. And a few minutes later we were off. Kept telling myself, ‘Long, firm strokes – just swim well – don’t worry about going hard.’ Soon discovered that the strong WSW breeze tended to drive me off course and had to keep reorienting to get back on track with the buoy… how much time am I wasting??? Turned at the buoy for the long back straight. And I thought it looked reasonably smooth further out!! How wrong I was! Head down. Concentrate on stroke. Occasional mouthful of lake. Few bashes with other swimmers here and there – bashed a few myself! Towards the turn back found myself swimming past a few folk – that was a nice surprise – including some from the previous wave – encouraging. Don’t think I was passed by anyone from following wave as I have been in previous events. How was I doing? No idea really. Tough swim! As I came out, had I made 32mins?? Anything faster than that and I’d be happy! Glanced at my watch as I clambered up 28mins something! Couldn’t believe it! Very happy. Official time recorded as 28:34. Well chuffed. Was 32:18 last year.

Run up to transition. Seemed more together than previously (was it the ‘free’ Red Bull in the goody bag??!! Never had Red Bull before – quite like it!!) Quick gel and drink and off. Surprised to find I had a T1 time of 2:45 – whatever was I doing??!!

Off on to the bike. Haven’t gone for the shoes on the pedals bit, so took me a bit longer getting out of transition, but went past several folk struggling to get their feet in their shoes as they were going up the channel to the road and out on to the bike course proper. Soon picking folk up. Feeling good. Opted to go for low gears and spin up the hills on the ripple. Went up slower than when I went for a spin round the course on Monday, but as I got to the top was able to change up and power off rather than flopping for a recovery period which is my normal pattern. Wind conditions pretty similar to Monday, so soon winding the speed up once turned left on to the flatter roads – mid to high 40kphs on the slight incline parts – high 50’s to 60 on the flat to slight downward slope parts – kept gearing high and powered through the small slopes. Up to this point only overtaken by 3 folk in full aerodynamic bling (few more took me just before end of bike). Coming to turn up the country lane average speed of 34.5kph – 0.5 faster than Monday – pleasing.Took on a gel. Kept speed up reasonably well once turned back into the breeze. Taken by a couple of guys on flat, but went past them on first slope, but they came back past me down the other side and I didn’t see them again. Coming back into Rutland Water bike computer saying average speed 33kph, but that does include going in and out of transition on foot pushing bike. Official time 1:15:21 – works out to 33.4kph – great improvement on the 1:21:00 of last year!

Coming out of T2, glanced at my watch 1:48 something!! Over 5mins ahead of my target time for this point in the race! So, be sensible, go for good cadence, but don’t push too hard and blow half way as I so often do when running. It worked! Though have a feeling I could probably have gone faster if I’d just gone a bit harder in first part of run. Anyway, result was I got a negative split, probably for the first time competitively! At around the half way point I was around 2:12, so around 24mins – second half I gradually upped the pace a tad – did battle with one guy back and forth – and then left him standing when there was about 1k to go. Upped the pace and did last k in under 4mins – great to finish strong. Stopped my watch at 2:33:06 – well chuffed – nearly 12mins faster than last year – official finish time 2:33:03. Felt rough, though over the moon! Downed a couple of cups of water with Julie’s help, then went and collapsed on a grassy bank.

Suddenly felt very sick…. and up came the remnants of the gels and drinks!! Very fluid so most of it just drained away! Hope no one else sat in that spot!

Didn’t feel much like eating anything after. Got a cheese roll a bit later, but couldn’t finish it. Fed it to a duck! Rain threatening again. Opted to head for home. Some sunny periods on way back and some very heavy showers. So glad we didn’t get any of them during the race.

Now… what will the Bedford Classic bring on 3rd July….

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