Well this is definitely a week of firsts for me! With my first sprint tri tucked into my race belt, I donned my lycra & Tricksie the trek and I hit the P164 for my first ever official TT! Whilst I was familiar with course having done it a few times in the past with friends, It transpired, after Rich checked one of his many spreadsheets that it was in fcat 2 years since I'd ridden the course.
Having been a stunning morning at RunCamp, I was rather excited by the prospect of perfect conditions beckoning. However, as the day went on, the clouds got greyer & darker, then the rain came, and went, and came back again, and then the wind joined the all weather party. Eeek... was this such a good idea? So onto stalk book I went to see if there was any indication that the TT wouldnt run, nope all seemed ok. So after much deliberation throughout the day & consultation with the hubby, should I shouldn't I, I decided to just hang it & go for it. What was the worse that could happen?
So out to the forest we went, and pulled into the Car Park. Ah, this is intimidating! Lots of expensive looking TT bikes, aero wheels, funny pointy coney helmets, and lots of .... men .... The ladies would surely be on their way.
So off came the bikes from the bike rack, kit on, layers on, more layers on, & just one more fore luck (& warmth) wheels pumped. #1 on my back, apparently n-one does this? Well it seemed logical to me as I was surely going to be the slowest by a ocuntry mile.
Off we went up to the start, a few minutes later, another new experience, I was clipped in with both feet, and had some nice gentlemen holding onto my bike frame, Eeek, balance balance balance! Rich then offered a word of advice, Max, have a pedal up so you have something to push down against, ah yes, good point!
5,4,3,2,1 gooo and with a nice push off, I was off! Pedalling like my life depended upon it.
I found a bit of a groove, and 4 minutes in, hubby with his Trusty steed Thommie the Trek (yes named after Thomas the tank engine!), anyway I digress, passed me looking relaxed on his try bars, with an encourgaing 'Hey you, Love you' as he sped off down the hill! Damn, hunt him down. Well, for once I managed to remember to use whichever gear it is that enables you to pedal down a hill with some force going through the wheels, as opposed to my usual legs spinning like they will fall off. But then ahh, a hill, oh dear, No come on Measures, theres Lanky still in sight on the opposite corner, there he is, and he's .... gone. Oh. heyho. Once again I wished I had a tape recorder in my head as I was writing my race report on my way round. A few minutes later, zooom, Number 7 on hit TT bike & big deep dish wheel came whizzing past, with words of enocuragement, then a 2 up pair, with more words of encouragement, then a solo rider with a cone helmet, and more words of wisdom and 'dig deeps'. I am at the depth of my digging, there is no more ...
Left turn and onto the bottom side of the triangle and trhough the trees, and more wind. I was really strating to flag by this stage, damn RunCamp & Coach ant with his jump squats & 2k TT, my legs were screaming, but I ignored them and pushed on harder. 2nd left turn, and damn that wind, its swirling all around me. Thought there was supposed to be a tail wind somewhere, I had yet to find it. Yet more gents passed me, and more words of encouragement, nearly there ... then the final hill. I recognised this, this was the home straight, well windy hilly part into the finish. There, they last 2 up people were still in sight, and there, in the not to distant distance was a lanky figure in a white top, must be Rich waiting for me. Come on where is the last fast gear.... I pushed with all I had left and sped past them like an F1 car (well it felt that quick!), and I'd finished! My little computer told me 36.45 when I remembered to look at it a few hundred yards past the finsih line!
I caught my breath and waited for hubby to join me, for the congratulatory kiss, and he told me my official finishing time. 36.04!! I was very happy with that considering how cold it was & the wretched wind. That was now officially my best P164 time! Result. :) (I was aiming for sub 40!).
I found gears on my bike I didn't know existed, and whats more, I didn't use granny gear on the hills! (Until the ride back to the CP, but that doesnt count).
So with not one bit of aero go faster kit, AND, more importantly, I was the FIRST lady to cross the finish line! (No-one needs to know I was the ONLY lady across the finish line!).
So all in all, very happy to have set a PB, and bring on Tuesday when the target will be 36.03!! :)
The only down side, the little midgeys, who had a good supper at my expense last night!
I really recommend this course, which I am told is a fairly challenging one and very condition dependent, and I really hope to see some of you lovely ladies there soon!
Untill next time, have a lovely day, and a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend.
(sorry for waffling - I am just jolly excited at the moment with this week!)
Swimming at the Quays on Saturday as usual, but no swimming on Monday due to the Bank Holiday
Lots of open water swimming possibilities - see here for details https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10404889/STC%20swimming%20information%20times%20and%20locations.pdf - recommended sea swim time for Calshot is 1300 on both Sunday and Monday subject to being lifeguarded
I finally managed to write my race report and for the delayed time probably nothing exciting to read. But anyway, here comes my experience from the Buckler's Hard Sprint distance.
This was the second time I entered this race as I enjoyed the beautiful landscape of this nice harbour already last year when it was my first triathlon ever. So I knew what to expect.
And indeed, I was far less excited than last year and managed to sleep a bit longer than only one hour. Apart from that nearly everything on that day went the same as last year. I wasn't however brave enough to risk finding the way to Buckler's Hard without a satnav. No experiments on race day!
The same breakfast, the same bike and even the same blue barrels in the transition area again. So I racked my bike infront of one of them as a better reference point for T1 and T2. One could even count on the Mosquitos that morning by whom I was stung a few times.
When the starting pistol was fired however I forgot quite quick about that. I even forgot I had to go to the toilet quite urgent in the last minutes before the actual race begun. Normaly not a big thing to relief oneself but already dressed up with Trisuit and Wetsuit...no chance to do that quickly.
A question raised in my head: what would happen if I would let go in the water? Any chance it would diffuse out of the wetsuit? I wonder if anyone from the Club has ever come across such a situation? And to put oil on troubled waters, I didn't let go.
The swim for me was a bit disappointing. After I enjoyed for quite a while having no one in front of me and doing the "look to the bottom of the pool"-thing I raised my head out of the water to figure out I was going the wrong direction. I struggled quite often with keeping the right direction in the water. I think maybe some overtaking manoeuvers are to blame for that.
The next problem I faced was in the transition area after the swim where I struggled to get out of my new wetsuit. Unlike last year I brought myself a proper wetsuit (or maybe not?) as my last one was more meant to be for surfing purposes. While I was very pleased with how it felt during the swim it however seemed to take ages to get out of it. I really lost time during that moment of the race.
The bike ride and run made no problems although I forgot my cycling bottle which made it unpossible to refuel a bit during the ride. The result were slightly more heavier legs than usual.
But all in all it was great way to start a day with and like last year I really enjoyed it and looked forward to the barbecue to come in the afternoon which was the right answer to all the effort in the morning.
My overall time was 1:32:13, far far behind Marius who saved me from being the only one from the club doing the Sprint distance. He even more became overall second and first in his age group. My congratulations for such an achievement!
Great report from Peter Gillott. Having got his first international medal on Sunday he is now aiming his sights on the World Long Distance Champs at Belfort in France in 10 days time.
Enjoy reading this!
For 2013, the European Triathlon Union chose to piggyback their middle distance championships on to Challenge Barcelona. Cheapskates!
I wasn't expecting to win this race. Besides Javier Gomez and Chris McCormack being in the lineup for the elites, British MD Champion Mike Smallwood was also in the GB team. Mike had beaten me by some 40 minutes in the British Champs last year and it was my intention to reduce that margin by 50 percent.
The day before the race a near storm had blown up and made the sea almost unswimmable. Fortunately, it had abated by morning but those waves still looked pretty horrendous to me. As luck should have it,I found myself standing behind Mike Smallwood on the beach before the start. I wished him luck as the horn sounded and we were off,crashing into the surf. A huge breaker knocked Mike back onto the beach and I thought Wahey, I'm in front already. And so I was until the next wave deposited me back on the beach, eating sand.
Somehow we struggled out to the first marker buoy. A left turn here and hopefully those waves would carry me the next 1.5kms to the last marker before turning back to the beach and T1. No chance. Those waves were coming from my right, side on,making bilateral breathing impossible. No problem, just breathe to the left,every four strokes. I soon got into the rhythm and felt I was making good progress when one of the kayakers said I was swimming too close in to shore and I had to move out. All very well mate but there's bloody big waves out there!
There were too. Breathing to the left, I swear that one time I saw people twenty feet below me. Perhaps I exaggerate a little. Still no chance of sighting marker buoys out here. I think I swam halfway to Ibiza before I turned to the beach finish.
And finished I so nearly was. Tossed onto the beach like a mother turtle looking for somewhere to lay her eggs, only with less sense of direction. Somehow, I managed a slow transition and I was off on the bike. Suddenly there were hundreds of people passing me. I couldn't understand what was going on until it dawned on my numbed senses that the young guys from the Challenge race who had started 5 minutes after the national teams were streaming past me.
Normally, I would try to respond and go with them but I was feeling so cold and disorientated after the swim that all I could do was try to travel in a straight line and hope everyone would avoid me. I was expecting to be kissing tarmac at any moment. It took me 30kms before I began to feel better. By that time,we were almost beginning the ascent up the mountain.
Now,I enjoy climbing. I look on it as something personal between me and the hill, or in this case a (smallish) mountain, and I found I was passing just some of the people who had passed me at the start of the bike. By the time I got to the top,I was feeling quite pleased with myself and things were starting to look up, or down if you get my meaning. Things were so good, I even allowed myself a pee stop.
I was in the middle of struggling with the python when this bloke came up and tapped me on the shoulder. Well, you can imagine how I jumped. In broken English, he asked me if he could borrow my pump, pointing to his flat rear tyre. Now you know how I'm a man of few words, I save them up for occasions such as this when they may be of use. And I let him have it. The pump I mean, yeah, well a lot of words as well!
I explained to him, not too politely that it was bloody irresponsible of him to start a race such as this and expect other people to bale him out in an emergency. I told him to get the pump whilst I minded my own business. Having finished, I gave him another stream of invective, no, that's more words, shouted my number at him and told him to put the pump back in my bag in transition and sped off down the mountain.
Now,he wasn't to know that I carry a pump as a last resort, having a gas pump in my saddle bag but I sincerely hope no-one from STC will be so daft as to set off without the means of fixing a puncture, whether it's in a race or a Sunday afternoon ride with friends. If you do, don't ask to borrow mine whilst I'm having a pee.
The rest of the bike leg passed quite well really. A long, fast downhill stretch, through some beautiful countryside, and a few villages where half the population had turned out to cheer us on and before long it was in to T2 and on to the run.
The run was quite simple, two 6.5 mile loops along the sea front. I found a steady pace and stuck to it, walking at the water stations. I was pleased with my time there, 2 hours 4 mins or thereabouts. There are always dark places in a long run and this one was no exception, but the thought of letting down those people who had wished me luck, and I knew were thinking of me, kept me going. I met Mike in the food tent, he finished just ahead of me, beating me by 9 mins 40 secs, so that made my day. And I even got my pump back.
Whilst I've been away I've really enjoyed reading some excellent reports of the weekend's activities by other STC members, especially the newbies. It's so good to see you enjoying your triathlon and I hope you'll keep at it for many years to come. It's a great sport, innit?