Monday, 11 June 2012

1st of the year, done and dusty

It amazing how soon racing comes round, even with a massive delay and injury forced changes to my plans, the first race has snuck up on me like a Ninja in a thunderstorm. Originally I had planned to build to IM70.3 Mallorca and then drop back down in distance to stay sharp for IM70.3UK without building too much fatigue. Race Blenheim the week before as a sharpner and then hit the Wimbleball course hard. The 6 week forced down time caused me to drop a lot of hours (I am now averaging between 12 and 15hrs per week depending on when my rest day falls ( a large amount of training is done on a Saturday usually with a 90 min swim 3hr bike and 20-60 min run), Sundays is more technical with 90-2hr run, 1-2hr bike and the rest of the hours made by looking to get 90mins in a day. During the injury I was down to about 6 - 8hrs and feel better for gradually increasing my intensities and time training. It is worth being patient with injuries! The recent AG sprint champs was a back-up event really where I had hoped to get top 4 in age mid training block and get a qualification to go to NZ at the end of the year for a holiday. I would have liked to race one of the oly qualifiers but these all clash with events I had already planned. Despite getting a silver in the Euro's last year I dont get auto qual for this years event (I understand this nut am also rather frustrated as couldnt afford to go to Israel early in the year and Beijing clashed with the 70.3 WorldChamps last year) C'est La Vie. It turned out that the short, high intensity work I had been doing set me up pretty well for the race and although I was still vary wary of how my leg would hold up in a brick/run situation I decided I would deal with that at the time. I knew there would be some pretty quick guys at the race but was even more surprised when a couple of last minute ringers appeared on the startline. My targets for the race were Joe Skipper, Andy Tarry and Phil Mosley, unfortunately all of whom were in different waves. (I am a firm believer that a different wave is a different race as there are too many variables between waves to make it a fair fight - nevertheless this is how a lot of races are run so it is how we have to race them. My swim has been a disappointment for a long time - ever since I got kicked in the face pretty hard at Strathclyde Elite race last year (bloody nose) I have struggled to perform where to a level I believe I should (N:B That is believe) and have erred on the side of caution when selecting starting positions. The start of this race was no exception and I picked a bad starting spot and to make it worse had a couple of muppets decide that they would swim in front of me and start before the gun - I dont have a problem with this if you are a legitimate top three racer but otherwise be sensible and bugger off. Now this is nothing like the start of an elite race but was still quite washing machine like. In Elite races the guys go off fast and stay fast, in this race they all went off fast and pretty much died after 200m so after losing a lot of ground I started to claw back a little in the open water. In the end though it was a pretty crap swim time coming out about 12th (way down on my usual in AG races) in a slow 10:25ish. I generally hit transitions pretty hard and managed to catch a few people on the way in and again on the way out. I was probably up to about 5th by the time I hit the road and put in a short burst of effort to pick up a few more places in the next 10k. I had no idea where I was in the overall positioning but settled in and tried to balance my bike effort knowing that I still had a run to complete. I went past Chris Standige at around 11k and after taking a gel down was sick a couple of times during the back end of the bike but still had no idea of where I was. Chris managed to nip back past me into T2 due to a lack of knowledge of the run-in to the dismount line, however a pretty quick T2 had me back out into what turned out to be the lead. It was only then that I realized it was Chris that I was racing as he ran alongside me and we exchanged a few 'hey Matt' hey chris' 'good to see you racing again' and we then knuckled down to business. I settled in on a steady pace as I wasn't sure how the legs would respond. It didn't look good however as my calfs were tightening and there was no more I could do in terms of pace so I just ran sensibly and picked the racing line so if Chris wanted to make a move he would have to go round me. After about 2k my legs started to ease off and I was able to up the pace just a little which enabled me to drop chris and steel a few yards at the beginning of Lap 2. Just before the start of the second Lap Phil Mosley went past me to the finish line so at this stage I figured that as Phil's AG started 10minutes before me, if I lapped under 10mins per lap I would place pretty well and sit above Phil overall. I also knew that I would be pretty high up in my AG having dropped Chris and passed Oli on the bike. I just had to run at a pace so that I didnt have to sprint finish (as I felt my legs wouldn't be ready for this). I maintained my lead and crossed the line relatively comfortably having done all the work early on in the race. It was announced that I was AG winner at that stage and that I was the 3rd person under the hour. behind Andy Tarry and Phil Mosley. Th eonly wave left to finish was the 18-30 wave including Roger Witz Barnes, David Bartlett and Joe Skipper. Needless to say Roger and David finished pretty much on par with each other taking 1 and 2 overall and Joe came in 10s up on my time, which was also the difference in our run time. If we had been in the same wave we would have started the run at exactly the same time. So, 1st in AG and National Sprint Champion, 6th overall behind some quality athletes so a decent tester and nice opening to my 2012 account. The next race would be Blenheim Elite race against some of the big guns in the UK Shortcourse circuit followed by my first Pro race at IMUK70.3 the week after.

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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.