Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Well where do I start..... The end of course.

I finished my first Elite race in 26th Place out of 48 starters (I Think). The swim was eventful, Transitions comical, Bike respectful and run tactful.

The day itself started off in a state of disorganisation as the registration for the event was 8:30am, briefing 10am and racking 12:45 (yes, the life of an Elite is grand with an afternoon start!). I wasnt sure when registration shut so had to go down earlier than I really wanted and couldnt make the most of my Hotel breakfast or a lie in (grr). It turned out that I could have come down at 10 and registered just before the briefing, but I suppose that's one of the 'tour secrets' so to speak.

I also didnt know that you had to take your kit with you to register so they could check it was ITU compliant - fortunately I had my kit in the car so after a bit of running back and forth we got this sorted as well.

It was great to be lining up with the likes of Tim Don on the start line - I thought this was the last Id see of him - unfortunately it wasnt as he lapped me on the run (but he was the only one!).

I was told that the swim start was organised by racking number - this wasnt the case and after they introduced the top 10 ( including Mark Buckingham who ran a 29 odd 10k the week before) the rest of us piled onto the pontoon. The horn went off very quickly and a few of the stragglers hadnt even got set (see the picture -to be added) which I think made a massive difference to the final outcome of the race ;)

The swim was hectic, with everybody swimming (id like to say same speed but that would be a lie) a similar pace. I have never received a kick to the face before and it certainly knocks the marbles around a bit - I still have a sore nose 3 days later!

I had been warned by Tom Curtis that the swim is a bit of a free for all with a lot of the junior swimmers being overly aggresive (as this is how Triathlon is portrayed on TV) and pulling my legs/ankles and basicly swimming on top of each other. There were only 48 people in the swim yet at IMUK there was a few thousand, at IM 70.3 Mallorca 300 and most of the Agegroup racing a few hundred, out of them all this was the hardest swim I have done.

After being kicked in the nose I nlooked up and could see I was drifting further from the back of the pack but carried on and after a few minutes got my bearings back and made a bit of ground, especially at the bouys where everybody was intent on swimming in the same space.

My race never really recovered from here however and I exited the water with a poor 10:30 750m time and 4th from bottom - If this was the Bad....

T1 was definately the ugly! I struggled to remove my wetsuit - not something I had a problem with in Mallorca but when time was really of the essence it made a massive diference (this was the only time I felt fatigued from the 70.3 the week before). I was already off the back of the field and had a lot of work to do and this was not making my job any easier.

I had not tried a superman mount on this bike before but decided that it was make or break and just about pulled it off (I have a very high seat and am not the most dainty triathlete so it's a bit like trying to land a Rhino on a step ladder- it takes some work).

This leaves me with.....The Good (or better anyway)

I hit the bike hard an d caught a lot of the junior riders - I had my sights on four competitors (not including Don!) as markers for how I was fairing.

Dan Halksworth (He had raced the 70.3 last week the same as me)
Tom Curtis (I had stayed with Tom at Tri Camp Mallorca, knew he was a tough competitor)
Graham Leitch (Graham had put 2 minutes into me at the 70.3 and beaten me at previous races)
Roger Witz Barnes (I had raced Roger at AG level along with Jack Peasgood)

Dan didnt race in the end so my direct comparision would be Graham and I worked on trying to make time on the three packs that had formed.

I picked up a lot of places on the rolling course going past a number of juniors and past a small pack that had formed off the back of the main pack (which included Tom, Graham, Roger and Jack). The small pack I went passed jumped on my wheel and I was hoping for some assistance in chasing the next pack down but despite verbal encouragement there seemed to be little desire to work on the front of the bike - with cycling being my strength I had to make the decision to keep pushing as I knew a lot of the younger guys could run. The problem with being on the front was that it made it dificult to take on the Zero/4in 1 High5 mix that I had on the bike and I really could have done with it!

I managed to drop a few off the back but went into T2 with 3 guys going past me just before we reached the dismount line. 34:48 for the bike including a rather rubbish T1.

T2 was much better, I ditched the helmet into the box (so no penalty) slipped on the Piranhas (Xtenix laces worked a dream) and headed out to start the run.

We had just about caught the main pack by the time we reached T2 and I could see Tom up ahead. I expected to lose places on the run as the Jnrs had been given a bit of a free ride but decided I would try and pace off Tom and work to catch Graham who I could see further up the road.

The run was into a brutal headwind but was fortunately flat so the pace was pretty easy to maintain. Tom and I passed a number of competitors but were eventually caught by Tim Don at the start of our second lap - and he was moving well. Neither of us tried to pace off him, kept the rhythm and made up a few more places.

I left Tom on the final half a lap and finished strongly - I could see Roger ahead of me but had not realised he was so close or would have pushed earlier. I felt good at the end, not fatigued and I dont feeel I pushed myself as hard as I could on the run. I have not done a sprint for 3 years (Waveney 2008) so was quite unsure how to pace this event, especially off the back of the 70.3 Last week.

To summarise -
Learning Curve = Steep
Swim = More pool time
Bike = Need some aero bars
Run = Push harder
T1/T2 = Concentrate and get it right!

Overall Im happy with that - esp as I think only Graham and I had raced the week before


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About Me

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As an ex-National League Basketball player I took up triathlon as a development from cross training. I won my first Sprint distance race and placed second in my first Olympic distance. Since then I have raced the UK Elite Superseries coming 24th in the National Elite Champs, raced Vegas 70.3 WChamps and helped Paratriathlete Iain Dawson to World, European and National Titles. In 2011 I obtained Pro authorisation from the BTF and am pushing my development by stepping up to top level competition in 2012. Aside from this I am a L1 Swim and Tri coach and Professional Lloyds Broker.