This was my second Elite race and after Strathclyde I had an idea of what I wanted to do and where I needed to be. Some notable racers included Tom Bishop, Richard Stannard, Todd Leckie, Phil Graves, Dan Halksworth
My plan was to hit the swim hard and try and get a better start than last time to enable me to save energy on the bike by not having to chase down packs. As with a lot of plans it didn't quite work out, having said that I have a lot of positives to take from the race.
It also turned out that Phil Graves would be racing so I was keen on using him as a marker to see how I had been developing since our first race where he put 10mins into me.
I had some new kit at the race, well I still had my Blueseventy Trisuit but it was now adorned with the names of my sponsors by Customized Solutions of Norwich email (I certainly looked the part in transition before the race anyway!!)
The swim was a deep water start and although it didnt have the same 'Elite feel' of the Strathclyde race (i.e. a special tent and named bike racking and sponsored nutrition) you could not ask for better surroundings with the Palace the focal and central point of the race and the traffic free grounds enabling a good and fair drafting race.
Having completed one Elite race I had my targets and although there were more competitors here (72 finishers from 85) and potentially a stronger field I was still going to be disappointed not to finish closer to my placing at Strathclyde.
The swim has been playing on my mind and as such was not (again) the best start to a race, whether it is psychological or not this was the first race I have done where I have had difficulties due to breathing, (the whole race felt a lot harder that the Strathclyde race which surprised me as I had done the 70.3 the week before that one and had a relatively easy week prior to this race - I will have to watch this as maybe my recovery/race fatigue kicks in later i.e. I feel OK for a week and then when I start to race the body slows down???? - I will research to see if a study has ever been done).
Back to the race - I didn't get kicked in the face, although had a nice elbow. As I was half expecting it I didn't drop my stroke and improved on my time (and position) on the week before. I am still coming out way down the field though and this has massive consequences on the rest of the race.... I felt pretty fatigued during the swim but was pleased to see that I came out of the water along with Graham Leitch who is a target as he has also come through the Agegroup ranks.
Swim 10:18 (Leader 8:46 Halksworth/Stannard)
As Blenheim is a palace (and so nice views are had by all) it is on a hill - not too much of a problem normally but in Triathlon this resulted in a 400m run up some steps and into the palace grounds to T1. The run is akin to the Little beaver run , probably a little steeper but with the bonus of being on even ground and not a ploughed field!
T1 was OK but I gave up easy time on the leaders with the fastest time being 2:17 (Young) and my time coming in at 2:40 - this is easy time to make up and I should do better! The additional time gained in the Helix is no good if I do not get it right in T1!!
The bike started off well with less problems engaging my feet/shoes and I soon caught the first group and pushed through to the second group. On the second lap Graham and I started to work together to try and pull in the third group but as usual we ended up stringing a lot of Juniors along for the ride. The third lap was, in all honesty a struggle and I started to drop off the pace. This is where the swim position started to take it's toll - I had worked so hard to make ground on the groups that I was now struggling to stay in contact with them. After about 1k I recovered enough to maintain the gap but the damage had been done.
The bike course was great, rolling and technical in places which split up the larger groups and allowed a fairer representation of ability. I had used some High5 Zero caffinated tabs in my drink for the race and they seemed to be kicking in well at the start of the bike.
Bike 32:07 Fastest Bike (Tim Don 29:50). T2 was better with a 1:18 (Best 1:08 Todd Leckie) and I headed out onto the run trying to match Graham and keep with him throughout. This time he had too much for me and gradually pulled away. I managed to maintain my position through out the run gradually pulling back a few places despite feeling a lot more fatigued than the previous week. Unfortunately I dropped two disappointing places on the last lap with the National Sprint Champ (Rich Sumpter) and Paul Savage coming past me. Run time for 5.4k 20:35 (Fastest Tim Don 17:19)
A great race, a little disappointed with my performance but 2 Elite races down and points in both in tough fields. Final placings as follows
Total 36/72 finishers 85 starts
Its obvious where my work needs to be but it was also good to finish just over 3 minutes off Phil which shows my improvements since 2008 at my first national race.
Tri247 has a great little gadget/app at the following link which shows how the race unfolded.
- 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.