Monday, 1 July 2013

Three races one report

Wow, its amazing how time creeps up on you. One minute I'm in Australia smashing up the Ironman course and in a blink of an eye its July. A quick glance at my last blog entry reminds me I have races a few times and with significant points to write about. Where can I get a Hermione Granger watch from? I need more hours in the day.

Race 1 - Chester Deva, ITU Worlds Qualifier race for the GB team. I only need to finish in the top 5 to get a slot to race across London in September but the problem is I have been suffering with knee pain since returning from Australia. So, smash the swim, hammertime on the bike and hold on for a steady run and take what I can get. I lead the freezing cold swim until the first bridge then get caught up in a small group exiting the swim in 5th in my age group. It feels like a long swim but it goes against the current for a long time.T1 is at the top of a big hill and soon I'm out on the uneven roads of Cheshire and Wales and enjoying a little sunshine warmth. Back into T2 and run down the hill into the meadows for the two lap course and despite a controlled run I manage to catch a few runners and finish 5th in age group. Fortunately I am moved up to 4th as a drafter gets a 2minute penalty. Either way I have my Great Britain place for the ITU Word Standard Distance Championships. Job done!!

Race 2 - Dambuster Triathlon, ITU Worlds Qualifier race for the GB team. Well I have my slot so really should I race??? hmmm I love racing and its all good practice for the swim and bike if I decide not to run.
The swim is a beach start and its pebbled but as its in a small bay I decided to use the rules to my advantage and run along in the waters edge and gain 50 metres on the swim. Its cold too so I have 2 hats on and I barely notice the cold in the Xterra Vector Pro3. Again I lead the swim for about 50-100 metres before being absolutely thrashed by one of the fastest swimmers of the day(17:30!!!!). I exit on the back of the first group in 20:45 and set about hammering around the infamous Rutland Ripple. Now this is where some people should realise their limitations as an age-grouper and get on the small ring and spin up the hills. If you cant make it sing, get off the big ring! After the ripple I start to make inroads into a lot of riders in the previous age groups and I am thoroughly enjoying being on my old stomping ground. There's a lot to be said for familiarity. A 1:06 ride is fairly decent on this 26miles course. Because I'm feeling good I decide to try the run and see how it goes. After about 39 minutes I'm at the finish line in 7th place. Not a bad race given the windy conditions and lack of run training. Very pleased with my performance.

Race 3 - Spalding Sprint Triathlon. Again a huge contrast in comparison to the Ironman distance but its the hottest day of the year and windy so maybe a little like Melbourne. (Maybe not).
As the previous years winner I was invited back to race and having been a local race for me in the past it was also a fantastic opportunity to see my children who live in the town. This is a really friendly low key race but very well organised. I would recommend it to anyone of any standard, experienced or novice.
I am off in the second to last wave for the 400m pool swim so I cant hang about as these races are the ultimate in time-trials. I'm running out of the pool down the ramps to T1 in about 5:45 and post the fastest T1 with some superslick moves which I had practised the previous evening. Preparation pays off. Out on the bike I'm in the zone with a bit of a tailwind and leaving everyone from my wave in my wake. At about halfway into the flat fenland 18.76km ride the wind turns on the head so its tougher  back into town. Theres also traffic to contend with and the busy A16 to cross which catches me wrong but head down again and get on with it. A quick and slick T2 and I'm out on the 4.6km 2-lap run. I am only 11 seconds slower than last year, despite the niggly knee, and I finish 1st again which is bonus. A big bunch of flowers for Ali and an afternoon in the sun and shopping with my kids. It doesn't get much better.

I also decided it will be my last race for the RAF since I left the RAF two years ago. Its now time to go unattached until I can find a new team I want to be part of. Sad, but after 22 years since my first triathlon its time to move on. I made some great friends that will be friends for life. It was awesome to go out with a win.

Next race - The NHS championships in Bolton depending on the knee!


Sags said...

You always pull it out the bag Mat! Let us know which Club you join buddy. Kona still an option?

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