T2, full change again – one dude seemed to be putting on deodorant – and onto the run. Now, I like running & in the grand scheme of things, I’m OK at it. Started off at a decent pace (just sub-4) for the 1st 10k or so & felt fine. Walked through the aid stations, high-fived the little yellow rays of sunshine as they passed (or the PSOF as they’re also known) and chatted to other runners. All going fine. I started to walk a bit more towards halfway & felt that my energy levels were dropping so walked just when I couldn’t be bothered to run. My initial aim was sub-12.45 which was my only previous race at Vichy in 2013. That wasn’t going to happen after the bike leg but thought that I might get sub-13. As the run went on, that target went so I just jogged it out to the end, passing the various pirates & other “Aaarghh” aficionados along the course. Finished the run in 4.35 & grand total of 13.19.
So, happy to have finished but that’s me done for IM-distance tris for a long time. Maybe in 3 years or so I’ll find another one with a hillier bike leg (and I’ll be looking soon-ish) but no to the TT-bike stuff and if anyone wants to buy my bike then let me know!
I have a couple of grumbles – some shameless drafting towards the front of the race and the post-race stuff (lack of signage – I missed out on any post-race food & refreshments, making competitors walk up & down a hill to collect bikes & bags, supporters getting in the way) was just a shambles. However, many thanks to all of the supporters and sherpas who cheered us on all day long and to the residents of Nottingham for their hospitality.
Full change on to the bike – it was going to be a long day so no need to rush. Grabbed a couple of bars & flapjacks for the ride like it was any other Sunday & headed out. Brief chat with AJH on the lake loop then off we went. Like a few others, my speed at this stage was good (well, good for me). Averaging around 18.5mph through the 1st pirate aid station (more fancy dress as I’m sure you’ve seen) then carried on. At the 2nd station, I noticed that I’d punctured (best place to do it though, eh?) so did the necessary change over. Stupidly my spare tubes were too short & I’d forgotten my valve extender. Luckily the aid station gave me a spare (expecting a bill from the organisers which I’m happy to pay) which was fine. A couple of pirates stopped with me – sorry didn’t get your names – and the sight of one of them having a ciggie seemed to shock the aid station volunteers!
So, 10 minutes lost there & didn’t really get back to that average speed. Now, I like cycling. But the cycling I like usually involves climbing hills & enjoying the views. Flat & TT cycling is not my thing. I don’t enjoy it and I’m not very good at it. You could ask why I decided to do a fairly flat long-distance tri but I’m not sure that I can fully answer that. Anyway, the bike went on and on, with my sense of humour disappearing somewhere & my average speed dropping all of the time. The crowds at Car Colston were helping (how good were they, by the way?) as were the aid station people. Other than that, most of the cyclists were adopting a grupetto mentality and chatting to each other just to make the miles pass more quickly. Bike leg was 6.55 in total – rubbish and nowhere near what I’d hoped for. Overall, I fairly hated that bike course towards the end. Way too many cars, often dodgy road surface, energy-sapping wind in the 2nd half and that private road that we came in on was just terrible.
I was supposed to do the Outlaw in 2015 but got a hernia which stopped me from cycling or swimming any proper distances and – with the benefit of hindsight – I’m glad that I got to compete in this year’s weather rather than last year. We don’t do camping so stayed in a hotel near the cricket ground, missing any pirate festivities sadly but also missing the various fancy-dress costumes that have polluted our facebook feeds recently. Swings & roundabouts then. I did meet a few pirates before the race – the usual thing of normal name followed by forum name but I didn’t hang around too much. The hotel breakfast at 4am was quite quiet – I think most of us had other things on our minds.
So onto the race. Everything I’d read about the swim suggested that it would be easy enough & so it was. Bit of the usual nonsense in the first few mins about finding a way through but it settled down. The lake felt wide so there were swimmers to the left & right of me all of the time – I didn’t know if there was an optimum line to follow so I just stayed in the middle. I’m not the best swimmer by any stretch but I have a method which doesn’t seem to tax my energy levels so out of the water in 1.27 (was aiming for 85 mins but swam an extra 200m or so, so my pacing was probably OK) and on to the strippers.