What a day! Today I completed my first Open Water Sprint Triathlon.
The day started at 05:30. Going downstairs and forcing breakfast of 2 slices of toast and a cup of tea. I really struggle with early starts and getting some food down me. I then prepped my special race juice drink of water with Robinson’s squash. No fancy supplements here. An interesting note is that I try and avoid gels. No in-race nutrition.
I left at 06:30 as it’s only a 15-minute drive. Parking was a bit of a mare, they clearly didn’t expect so many cars because the car park was full and people were parking on verges, basically, anywhere they could. I managed to find a spot a good half mile away from the transition area.
I went to the Transition area but needed to have a toilet break. There were only 5 toilets so that was a 10-minute delay and then realised that I hadn’t been given my timing chip when I checked in. More delay. All in all, it meant by the time I was getting to transition they were threatening to close transition. I still had my triathlon box that I had to run to my car.
It was a panicked situation. Admittedly I will make changes, get there earlier and in gear but it wasn’t helped by the race logistics. I managed to get to the pack of the wetsuit gang waiting to wade into the water. I saw @magnacarter and went over to say “This is all your fault!”.
While the day started cold it was sunny and warm by this point. Luckily my rushing around had meant not much time for nerves and within a couple of minutes were getting into the water. The water was warm and it didn’t take long to get used to the temperature. There were a lot of reed/weeds in the water which was a little spooky looking.
I took up a position at the back and soon we were swimming. Swimming was actually much easier than the Open water session I did a few weeks ago as the lake is a thin rectangle shape which means you are never far from a bank.
The swim itself was quite enjoyable. As I was doing the sprint and coming up to the finish some of the faster Olympic Swimmers were overtaking. It’s amazing the speed differential between me and them.
The transition between swimming and cycling was somewhat leisurely. First was trying to take off my wetsuit which looked like a game of vertical Twister. Once done I patted myself dry and put on a running top with my number pinned to its front and back and running shorts over the top of my tri suit. Helmet, glasses (clear), and buff on. Next job try and put running shoes on.
I was wearing thinner socks this time and the difference was noticeable. It went on much easier. All in all, it took 4-5 minutes.
The bike route was clear and fairly flat. According to Strava there was a Category 4 climb for 1/4 mile. I used the big cog at the front which I don’t normally do. I was trying to have a lower cadence. A few locals had come out in support and the marshalls were very good. The only issue was an unscheduled comfort break was needed. I knew I wasn’t going to hold it so found a quiet place to go. It is not easy trying to go when you have a tri suit on!
The bike leg was as good as I could have managed – but it wasn’t helped by the wind.
I stopped right on the line, hopped off and dropped the bike off. Got rid of helmet and glasses and out.
Last time my calf seized almost easily. This time it didn’t but my legs didn’t feel right. Jelly legs aren’t something I am used to so within 5 minutes I was walking. It was frustrating but I kept run/walking. Running laps drives me bonkers. I felt for the Olympic guys who had to do 4 laps.
I needed a lot of encouragement here and the marshalls were great. Most of the participants were not exactly friendly. All head down types. A few people smiled or said hello but most were quietly suffering in their own place. A guy fell badly and then proceeded to run past me.
Just before the finish, I saw @magnacarter who ran the last bit alongside me into transition. A nice gesture.
The finish was good, the announcer calling out my name as I crossed the line. A couple of young lads collected the race chip (ankle chip) and handed out the medals. They had run out of Sprint Medals so I got upgraded to Olympic.
Collecting the bike was a bit of a farce, the transition was being guarded by the most miserable Marshall you ever meet. Who was stopping everyone collecting their bikes with the reason that ‘There are too many people in transition’ which seems fair enough? Over the next 5 minutes, I and half dozen people waiting saw 20 people leave and no one enter. It was at this point where we started pointing out that there wasn’t actually anyone in transition so why can’t we collect our bikes?
All in all, this was a great event. Yes, there were a couple of issues but it was well supported and it’s nice to see local events doing well. I will be back next year.