Matt - just slap it here!
I guess it was you I saw just as you were finishing your second run lap. I did give a shout of 'pirate' (albeit after you'd passed) and *you* did acknowledge me.
I also saw you come in at the end and checked my watch. The time on that fits in with what you are saying as your finishing time bearing in mind I don't know what wave you started in.
I did look to see if you were milling around at the end, but I don't know whether you covered up as soon as you finished.
Really pleased you enjoyed it and good to hear you wanna come back again next year. You now have a PB to beat
I did try to respond to any shout of 'Pirate' but they got gradually less animated as the day wore on!
Right, alarm went off at 4am. I haven't been up that early for a while. 5am, 6am fine, but 4 is a rude awakening. After fighting my way out of the sleeping bag and into the tent it was a case of head torch on, get the stove going for coffee and porridge.
Looking outside it was proper dark, and as the morning rolled on it wasn't getting much lighter. I was wondering what it would be light to swim in the half light! Kettle boiled, so brew on, Tesco own brand instant porridge made. The porridge actually turned out to look and taste more like wallpaper paste. Really nasty. High% berry bar and energy drink saw to the rest of the breakfast intake.
Tri box dug out and checked over, bike unlocked and removed from car and the wheels put back on and tyre pressures checked. All looking good so far.
OH starts waking up, as did the rest of the campsite, but it still wasn't getting much brighter!
Race briefing was set for 5:45 and transition was due to close at 5:30 anyway so we set off about 5 to walk up to the race venue. Racking was simple enough, a few things laid out and the rest in the box just in case it rained. As it was my first middle distance and due to be a while on the bike I thought I might as well make it as comfortable as possible.
Kicked out of transition and heading down to the start area for briefing etc. I had to leave the wife to listen to the briefing as I took care of pre-race 'nerves'.
Finally, just after 6 am. Wetsuit on, all ready and wave 2 is called to get in and acclimatise. This I was NOT looking forward to, a lake swim this early - so I was pleasantly surprised when the water turned out to be rather much warmer than I expected. Very nice.
6:10 - hooter sounds and we're off. Heading to the first mark I was in the middle of the pack(ish) keeping up with them and heading in a fairly straight line. Crawl was going ok. Out to the start marker, then off to the first turn, pretty straight forward. Switched to breast stroke for the next few legs with bits of crawl where I could. Must get the swim sorted. After an uneventful swim with about 1/3-1/4 swum in crawl and the rest in breast stroke it was out of the lake and into T1.
On all the shorter distance tri's I've ever down I've been pretty swift through transition, normally under a minute or so. First time at this distance I thought I'd stop to put on a cycle jersey, some cycle shorts to protect the important bits, and so on and so on. Tea and cake would probably have been quicker. Anyway, I was off and out and on the bike course within 45 minutes. Ahead of my plan - I'd been thinking 50-60 minutes to get the first bit over.
The bike course was back out on the spine road heading to the A419 before hitting the village lanes. Superb marshalling and police presence at the major junctions meant getting out and back was a doddle and the roads were smooth and as flat as promised. Heading out after the 417 past the Latton pumping station I spotted where the feed station was so I could see where about it was for the next few passes. Off onto the lanes and it was proving a pleasant morning ride. The fact it was still pretty blooming early on a Sunday morning meant the roads were pretty quiet but it also meant the sun was quite low in the sky, which was about the only ‘issue’ at all so far. Mile by mile it was all feeling pretty good. Trying to work out what to eat, how much to drink, do I need a pee, can I actually stop, where should I stop? I was passing a fair few riders along the way. I did get passed by a couple of speedy buggers on full tri-bikes. I was really wishing I’d managed to get Molly (my tt bike) set up properly to cope with a 50+ miler in time to see if I could get any quicker and keep up with some of them.
Riding into Hannington meant it was time for the hill. One short, sharp hill followed by a couple of rollers. Nothing too bad, but a surprise after all the lovely flat, and there didn’t seem to be a corresponding amount of down to make up for the up. Heading back to the start to get on to lap 2 was all very steady and uneventful, except one corner where I had a slight slide on the front wheel, my choice of line found the only damp patch but the result was a lot better than a couple of weeks ago J
No events on lap 2, the hill seemed hillier though, and there was one poor bugger had wiped out on a sharp right hander on the way back, but the marshals were on their way so I didn’t see any need to stop (sorry chap). Pushing on back and I felt good. Arse was a bit sore, but everything else felt ok.
Back to the lake side, dismount and head back to transition. I’d love to say ran back but it wasn’t happening. Everything seemed to decide to lock up. I got back, racked the bike, got rid of the jersey etc and just had to stretch things out to see if I could get going. It was so sore. More brick sessions needed I guess.
SO the run, last part and always my worst discipline. I knew I wasn’t going to be quick, but I wasn’t sure how slow it would end up. I knew I had 4 hours to ‘cut off’ so I was going to get round if I had to walk the whole thing. As it happened it was going to be a run walk – I’ll fix that for the future but for this I set a strategy and stuck to it – as the wife would find out later when she was videoing me walking and decided she should try and persuade me to ‘run for the camera’. It was getting hotter as the run went on, about half was in the shade of the woods round the water park but the stretch that went in to avoid the muddiest bits was along the main road and by the third lap it was HOT.
What was great was the support. Everyone was cheering but the Pirate top got cheers and shouts, competitors knew what it was about, but the people just enjoying a day out where shouting things too. My race number 69 got a few comments too J I tried my best to acknowledge all the Piratey cheers and so on, but I was hurting all through the run. I need new shoes as I could feel all the blisters coming, and the miles seemed to refuse to go down, but as I was running I knew I was going to do it, I was going to get there and that was all that mattered. With any luck I wouldn’t be last either.
Lap 3 and nearly there, round the last bend and I could see the finish. I’d done it. I couldn’t believe I’d done it. And when I looked at my watch it was under 6 hours, A very happy pirate indeed
See I told you!
Well done. Keep practising that run/walk strategy you will need it for IM.
Visit the official Triathlete's World page
Follow Triathlete's World on Twitter
Other Natmag-Rodale Sites
About Triathlete's World