So this blogs featured image just about sums up the London Triathlon – it rained. My god did it rain.
I headed down to catch Alex for her 11:30am start arriving in relatively pleasant weather. Alex seemed fairly excited at the prospect of her first Sprint Tri. She had a great day out on the course – I was really impressed with her bike (she completed in just outside of 46mins) and she had a good swim and run – eventually finishing just outside 1hr 42mins. A very respectable time considering the weather conditions.
I was due to head off at 1540, but unfortunately my wave was delayed by around 45mins until around 1620. The weather had deteriorated somewhat and there was the occasional crack of thunder and lightning – far from ideal..!
Anyhow – eventually I got called, and headed for the swim assembly point. It was a fairly basic race briefing, full of joviality, and lots of hurrahs and yays, so eventually headed down to the waters edge. I opted for the second split in my wave as I am a slightly slower than average swimmer. In hindsight I think this was an error, but I will come to that!
As I approached the waters edge, I saw Julie, and Alex and Jessie who gave me the thumbs up, and I got into the water and got myself into a tightish position on the rope side of the swim – it felt relatively warm – once again, I had opted for my thermal skull cap to keep me warm.
The first split wave went off, and then a few minutes after the second gun went off. I settled down into a relatively comfortable front crawl and stayed with the pack until the first turn. There were of course the usual bumps and kicks and ass-slaps as can be expected in any mass start deep water swim, but it seemed to be much more prevalent here than the recent events I have done! – not sure if this is due to the ‘novice’ field or what, but I must admit I did get panicked at the turn point as people were just clearly just swimming over me! Anyhow, that aside, and after a few fairly good hoofs in the face, I eventually caught up the tail swimmers of the first part of the wave, and sadly got boxed in and stuck behind some fairly slow swimmers so lost some time here, eventually completing the swim in 17m:51s – not my fastest, but not my slowest – about average for my swimming competency and in light of the number of bodies in the water, Next time, I will be sure to try to start in the first part of any wave if it is a split wave again.
T1 was fairly uneventful – wetsuit and goggles etc off relatively quickly and straight into the large conference hall – I had forgotten how big the building was, and how long the transitions were. When I arrived, there were still a lot of bikes in transition which is always nice to see (and particularly unusual for me). Got my socks on and grabbed for my bike and headed to the mounting line. T1 was 4m:24s.
The bike itself was pretty wet in places, with a lot of surface water. It was still raining ever so slightly, and some of the dead-turn corners were pretty dicey. I tried as best as I could to get into a good rhythm but once again was suffering from cramps in my leg. I had purchased some compression calf guards and I did not suffer any cramping on the swim, but I had never experienced cramp this early on in any event (I would estimate within 5 or 6 kilometres). Anyhow, it eventually went, and I carried on pushing on the bike. One thing that I did notice was that there seemed to be a lot of ‘traffic’ and people not riding on the left, so cutting through some of the groups that had formed was quite irritating. I think perhaps this was caused by the slightly poorer weather conditions, but I am sure that I would have lost some time trying to overtake. I was aiming for around 36 mins based on a 20k distance, but having looked at the route, had figured it to be closer to 22k. I eventually pulled into T2 at 44m:06s so was quite disappointed that I had seemingly lost a good 8 minutes somewhere on the course albeit the course was slightly longer than anticipated. Reasonably, I think I ‘should have’ been capable of a 40minuter. Hey ho.. back to drawing board for the bike I think! [watch this space!]
T2 was fairly uneventful – I met some dude that opted for a crafty lie down in transition as his back was really sore – and I racked up, and got my running shoes on pretty quickly and off I went leaving T2 in 3m:12s.
The run itself was a 2.5km out and back with approximately 400m on each lap in the excel centre. I set into a relatively decent pace – I would say around 5mins / km – and was relatively comfortable. There was a lot of surface water and quite deep puddles on the circuit, and staying dry was not an option, so I just put my head down and cracked on. Sadly, very soon into the first lap, I got cramp in my right leg again and had to slow down. Eventually by the lap one turn I think it had gone, and I just put my head down and cracked on. I was catching up and overtaking a lot of people, with far fewer people catching and overtaking me which is always a good sign when you are racing. Anyhow – it’s always difficult to gauge, as you never quite know what race someone else is doing!
Onto the final lap, and cramp all gone, I settled into a really nice pace, and headed down the finishing chute eventually crossing the line in 25m:46s, just outside my target of 25mins.
My finish time for the day was 01hour:35mins:17secs.
I was aiming for sub-1hr30, and indeed I was hoping to even go as low as 1hr 25, but overall I am pleased with my performance in light of the poor weather conditions, long transitions etc .. but there is still a lot I need to work on though, including, but not limited to…
Swim technique & speed
Bike speed and hill work
…& not getting cramp…!
I found this neat graph measuring my performance against the other competitors.. Newsflash… I am an above average bike & runner, but a below average swimmer!!
The position graph is also food for thought…. quick T1, slow T2 – I put that down to having to change from cycling shoes into running shoes – I perhaps need to think about unclipping my shoes beforehand and leaving them on my bike and running through transition without shoes on… food for thought!
I think I am going to try and squeeze in a couple more events this season – possibly another in August and one in September.. so watch this space!