Monday, 11 June 2012
You learn something at every race. This one I learnt a few things.... The Brownlee brothers are in a different league. not just the top of their game but a long way ahead of pretty much everybody else I have 'raced'. Im talking about full time athletes including Australian and US Olympians and other British Olympians. It is these guys that they can be compared to and I have not seen anyone destroy a field so easily before. My second lesson came later in the race; swim like basking shark and run like a gazelle not the other way round........ The day started off pretty well, arrived and racked without issue after putting on the number transfers (I had dealt with these before in Holland at my First Euro AG race), the trick is to get them the right way round and use a wet sponge, unfortunately i dont usually carry around a damp sponge so a bottle of water and towel later and Sean Watson (who was racing in the Junior class in the same wave) and I were suitably adorned with four sets of numbers (which I still havent managed to remove!!) Despite the use of these transfers and having my name on my kit we still had to wear a race belt/number which seemed a bit excessive to me. This was only required for the run which caused some alternate tactical decisions...wear the belt under wetsuit....or......put on in t2. I opted for the wetsuit option and made my way down to the swim start. Previously I had been taking a gel just before I raced but after a chat with Mary Skelcher she suggested that the gel should be taken on much earlier i the morning as I usually have problems digesting the gel. It turned out that i didnt get to try this tactic as my pre-swim gel split before I could take it. Just before we got into the water Julz spotted the two Brothers who had arrived late followed by a lot of cameras and film crew. We all jumped in for a warm-up and you know it's cold when two hardened Yorkshire boys are taken aback by the temperature (id like to think they said...'eeee by gum its nesh' but it was more ' bloody hell its freezing in here!' Last year my splits were as follows Place: 36 swim: 10:18 t1: 2:40 bike: 32:07 t2: 1:18 run: 20:35 Total: 1:06:56 My aim was to better these, although I am still having to watch the run a little so am refraining from sprint finishes or pushing too hard early on. The swim was it's usual affair of starting at the back and finishing near the back. It ended up being a massive PB on last year but looking at the times others had done I think the course was a little shorter. I didnt have the same issues with digestion not having taken on a gel so think this would have helped and I ended up 1:37 behind Ali but about the same place I normally find myself within these athletes. Swim: 9:37 Blenheim is one of those races where you can make up a lot of places on the 400yd run into T1 - this was part of the plan and I passed a lot of the junior athletes who had been in the same wave. I struggled with my new wetsuit in T1 and got cut off by other athletes. T1 ended up being 2:36 so a few seconds faster than the prior year. The bike is where i make up most of my time and despite struggling to get my feet in my shoes I made up a lot of places and also dragged a lot of athletes round with me. I managed to link up with Graham Leitch (who is another senior athlete who races the bike as it should be) and between us we pretty much pulled the group round for the remaining 2 1/2 laps. This is reflected in the bike splits and being 11th overall. We almost managed to catch the group just in front of us and with a little contribution from the others we would have swept them up much earlier. Bike: 30:46 T2 (1:24) was essentially a nightmare. Having Number 11 (towards the sharp end of the race)I ran straight passed my slot while the tannoy announcer was harping on about 10 seconds in transition making a massive difference, try 20! The actual rack and change to run gear (helmet off/shoes on) was pretty slick but I had lost a large number of the juniors who had been sucking wheel as they sprinted out of transition. Fortunately for me (like most juniors) their sprint didn't last very long and I had caught and passed most by about 1k. However Lo and Leitch had certainly showed us how to to run and must have picked up 10 places by the time they crossed the line. I could see a number of my pre-race targets up ahead of me (Neil Eddy, Ben Howard and I started to make some inroads in the time gap. The run was going pretty well and I was up into the top 20 with a lap to go (and more importantly hadn't been lapped) and had a bit of place swapping with a number of athletes including Neil Bolger, Tyler O'callaghan and a few Juniors. This was when the pivotal moment occurred. Now, im pretty sure the Bee came off worse but it certainly stopped me in my tracks. Running through the far side of the run course near the turnaround I caught sight of a UFO in the corner of my eye and whether the little bugger saw my open mouth as a place of refuge or I managed to inhale as he was flying nonchalantly passed is pretty irrelevant; he still managed to find a place to rest at the back of my throat and leave a little prezzie as I struggled to encourage him to leave (i.e hacked and coughed until he dropped out). I knew I had been stung but didn't really know what the effect would be of being stung in the throat. I don't have an allergic reaction but could certainly feel a little lump but being as far away from the medical tent that I could possibly 'bee' I started running again as this would be the fastest way back. I'd already lost 2 places and had also lost sight of the targets I was reeling in but managed to pick back the two guys who had run past me while I was trying to eject my little visitor. The finishing straight was a nice sight (more-so the medical tent) and I dint really have the desire for a sprint finish with Tyler who had snuck up during the last 500yards even without the bee sting I now had to consider being ready for the IMUK70.3 the following week. Run: 20:49 Total: 1:05:10 Position 22nd All in all I suppose 'content' would be the best way to describe how I felt about the race. Pleased with the bike and being able to maintain the run despite the bee sting. It probably would have been a 2min PR on the course but as building towards overall goals goes, it's another solid step forward (with a few easy tweaks)
- 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.