Sunday, July 02, 2017

Ripon Triathlon

Plan:
Swim: 31
Bike: 1:13 20.5 mph
Run: 49 7.3 mph

Would have qualified me in St Neots last year... so let's see how we do.

Actual
Swim: 31:15 619/1014, 154/298, 25/55
T1: 1:36
Bike: 1:16:21 607/1014, 107/298, 18/55
T2: 1:14
Run: 50:56 616/1014, 136/298, 23/55

Overall 2:41:21 591/1014, 124/298, 18/55 118.5%

Normal performance has been resumed on the bike.

Initially I had been disappointed with this race.

The swim went really well.  I got on feet and then I passed those people and sprinted out and caught some more.  I stayed with those feet and as the group shrank, I was still there.  We went around the buoys at the end and despite feeling a little tired, I also felt like I could keep going at the same speed to the end so I stayed with those feet.  I felt like I could pass these people so I started drawing alongside a hip but then the space between two people closed and I was pushed out, falling back to sit on feet for a little longer. This happened several times until I learned to stop expecting to pass and just freewheeled in (with effort).  I exited the water exactly as planned - despite cramp in the first 100m caused by a clash of people during weed-swimming.

Transition went remarkably well - it's so much easier when there's no pressure of the cold.  You don't have to remember to dress in the right order because there's no dressing to be done.  I did remember to leave my goggles on until my wetsuit top was off though.

The bike course started well.  This time I remembered to give myself a target speed to stick to.  At Chester I was trying to achieve 18mph but given the flat course and the leg strength training I have been doing I went for an optimistic 20.5mph.  This was based on my Bala speed at the height of last summer.



I was averaging 20.7 once I figured out which Garmin to look at which was excellent but tough to maintain.  Still, I tried.  What more could one ask for other than the perfect race.  The cross wind was a bit of a pain and I though I might have had a little headwind but no, when I reached the turnaround point I realised I had 12.5 miles of headwind riding to do.

I passed a small group (actually, a large group) who had crashed on impact with a car.  One rider (not sure if racing or just a passing cyclist) was directing traffic.  Either way - what a kind man.  5 or so were waiting for ambulance attention.  I hoped everyone was OK and carried on.  They seemed well looked after.

The final hillock before the last descent was the windiest and at one point I was on the tri bars, bum barely on the saddle and going at maximum effort to achieve 9.9 mph.  Ow.  Just ow.

I guess I had a lucky run at the route.  Others reported sitting on the brakes but I was just off pace enough to avoid any tight spaces and glided through all but one of the roundabouts, got a good run up at the finishing chute and ran into transition without too much inconvenience.

I was 2-3 minutes slower than my planned time which I was disappointed with but given the conditions, I did well compared to many others who just sat the wind out rather than pushing into it.

The run was a different kettle of fish.  I can't say I wasn't trying but nothing that I did could lift my speed above 6.9 miles per hour... and I had been aiming for 7.3.
So obviously struggling in the first 200m


I spent the whole thing looking at my watch and trying to think of things to motivate myself.  The live music (complete with acoustic guitar and amp) and the water spray hose momentarily increased my speed but I was just being passed the whole time.  My legs didn't feel empty they just felt sore and demolished.  As I approached the finish line, I lady came by and said, "Don't worry, different age group to you".  I looked at her leg, where a stout "I" was printed in neat writing.  She was 5 years older than me and I should have been kicking her ass.

No one else was around as I pushed my sorry ass over the finish line.

Looking only slightly more like a runner.
Later I take some positives from this.  My race was still good enough to qualify for Europeans (had it been a euro's qualifier), even if I didn't get a world's place (which I'm not bothered about really because it clashes with TNR).  I put 1 minute into another Yorkshire competitor who I have never met but her name always stands out as beating me by quite some margin (Claire Smith, but not THEE Claire Smith).  I didn't foresee the windy ride and so pretty much nailed the predictions on 2 of my three disciplines and these are areas where I thought I'd get close to my best time.  I knew I had to do more running and my run proved it.  I don't seem to have demolished myself too badly and am looking forwards to doing all other races this season on my other bike.

Mostly, I enjoyed hanging out with Sarah Harrison who won our age group cat and having a good gossip about the whole AG process and qualifying and she's given me the impetus to stand up and do some more fast tri's in the UK rather than ploughing so much effort into the international scene.  I'll still enjoy Pentincton and look forwards to Estonia next year if my legs will carry me there but I think there's a point that national championships races are far more exiting and far more challenging at AG level than Euro and Worlds races where money and time to travel count for as much as athletic ability.

Ripon wasn't my kind of course, race or venue.  With TSK getting a cold, we missed out on the social aspect so music till 10pm just kept us awake, the showers were cold at the campsite and it took us an extra hour to leave the campsite the next day due to marshals who didn't know whether they were going to close the course or not.  Camping 1m from other peoples kids wasn't really our bag so in spite of this being a club favourite, I doubt I'll be back there.  I'm looking forwards to tougher races next year with a few pokey hilly halfs on the cards.  Watch this space bitches!

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