Sunday, May 02, 2010

Lymm Triathlon Memories - before they fade

The Lymm Triathlon was my second thriathlon ever and 4 years since my first triathlon in Penticton in 2005. In between there have been cyclo-cross races, cyclng tours in Canada, France, Tenerife and of course the UK, 5 changes of address and a lot of courage.

The night before we drove to Lymm to find the venue and to drive the route. Traffic on the M6 and a lacking knowledge of Lymm's nether regions all made it difficult and we had to call to delay dinner. I hoped it would be better signed on the day. My lack of experience ranked very slow so I was one of the first competitors to arrive. Great for parking.

I registered, racked my bike. A shock to the system that Andrew was not allowed into transition with me.

It all seems reasonable now, you can't have random non-athletes wandering around with all that expensive kit, but that dy it flet very lonely preparing my transition whilst he looked on from the other side of a metal fence.

In retrospect, racking and setting up transition should be a quiet time without the distraction of conversation. I took my time to layout my box, make sure it was packed in the righ torder and fine-tune the clothing for the day and the food packed into each pocket. I visualised the process of changing and sighted my position in the transition area by a lamp-post. I placed the bike and balanced the helmet on the saddle. Someone else was being scalded by an official for using a mobile phone in transition I thought it was a bit much for a race which isn't even olympic distance, doesn't involved open water and relies on teenage school children to act as marshalls. Especially as there was an hour to go before anyone started racing.

Terribly early, we did a lap of transition to walk through the ins (swim and bike) and outs (bike and run) and the finish line.

We went inside to look at the pool but it was difficult to see how things would start and where we would go. I could, however, figure out that it involved a very chilly run through the car park. Thankfully carpet and finally the emeergency evacuation fire doors at the end of hte pool were thrown open.

I don't remember anything up until sitting on a bench wiht some equally nervous women and a couple of men who didn't look like the swim 1000m in 30 minutes - more like 5 - they were ripped. Apparently you get special treatment if you tell the organiser you've got to "get away early". It also apparently helps if you're going to win as the man from Manchester Tri club did.

Another woman was complaining that she wanated to put her hat on as it's "part of her routine" but sadly, the thing we were waiting for was the hats so that the team of not so enthusiastic teenagers could count our laps and stick a blue buoy into the water when we had two to go.

I started at the side of the pool and ploughed easily through the laps. I'd sum 1.5 times the distance before so I went quite quickly despite the fact that I'd only just mastered three breath swimming again. My aim was not to drink too much water. I was aware of being lapped by a red hat in my lane and, below the water, of lapping at least one person in the lane next to me.

I'm glad the teenagers were counting if, indeed they really were because I certainly wasn't. I had to watch on and forgot to ask Andrew to time me so I had no idea what my time was.

I had to pause to toss my hat back to the teenagers then set off to do the freezing cold, uncomfortable run through the car park.

At transition I treated myself to a townling-down to stop my teeth chattering but still struggled to put my cycling jersey on. To my surprise, the two women i had lapped entered transition just behind me complaining that they'd left early because their teenagers miscounted. Given that I'd lapped them, I think their teenagers might've been right. They left transition just ahead of me.

To my joy, I remembered to helmet-up before setting off and not get onto my bike before I was allowed to. At the first junction I passed my "cheated" female companions, gave them a cheer then never saw them again.

I don't remember much of the Lymm bike. Men passed me as only the stronger competitors were behind me in the gridding system. No woman passed me by the time I was on the bike. There's a pub advertising a beer festival which is tempting but as I pass a man racin in trainers, I get the bit between my teeth. He stays with me for a while but then I don't see him after the first climb. Around Lymm this is nothing more than a motorway bridge.

As usual approaching transition, I realise I'm on for some sort of sub-time band finish - in this case a 36km ride in 1hr:20min. I sprinted for the line and turned in in 1:18. Believing it was a 40km ride, I was well chuffed.

In T2 I stuffed another banana in my pcket and again failed to retain it further than 100m. This time when I stopped to retrieve it, I dropped my sunglasses. No worries as the man in trainers returned them to me as he passed me. I didn't see him again until the other side of the finishing line.

My legs were tired. The run was mostly on grassy fields with some road. My first, very comfortable rell race I suppose.

The banana went down surprising well as did the water from the volunteers. Th winning man from Manchester Tri club came past me on his second lap (confusing when I was so tired as I wondered why I'd been beating him up until this point). As I came through the finish area, I powerd up the last hill and was proud to indicate I was going on to a second lap for the full length "proper" race.

On the second lap through the parkland I was getting tired and slow but enjoyed joking with dog walkers and eventually resorted to anticipating the last corner leading me to the open field up to the finish area. Men were passing me left, right and centre by now, most of them heading off on their second lap. My calf muscles were complaining. At the sight of TSK I accellerated a little wanting to cross the line with some sort of dignity. I was glad I made an effort as my dad appeared, having just arrived on his bike. I was given a finishing medal by a little boy - the best volunteer of hte day and despite having a bunch of faster competitors who started behind me, I earned the acolade of being the first woman to cross the finishing line.

I headed straight off to the masage tent and sent Andrew to get money to pay the lovely lady. I piled onto a bench next to my friend in trainers.

Final result:
Swim: 900m 26:36
Bike: 36km 1:17:56
Run: 8km 58:12

No comments: