Tuesday, 7 August 2007

London Triathlon Sprint Race Report

I survived the London Triathlon and actually managed to enjoy most of it.

My worries about getting to the venue didn't come to anything in the end. I met some colleagues from work at Waterloo Station and we cycled across London to get to the ExCel Centre. No dramas at all, though thanks go to Trevor for leading the way because I know I would have got myself horribly lost. The bikes had to be racked by 12:00 which we managed easily and we then spent some time wandering around the exhibition hall before making our way to the room the company had booked for us all.

The room had a balcony overlooking the dock so we sat in the sun watching the swimmers go up and down. The view was lovely and it was really good to hear the cheers for some of the slowest swimmers as they finally finished their swim. Gradually everyone from the company filtered up to the room and the comment they all made was "That's much further than 750m!" It certainly looked a long way and appeared to our untrained eyes to be much too far. However when you broke it down into more manageable chunks you could see it was "only" the required 750m.

Eventually it was our turn to start and we all made our way down to the swim assembly vaguely listened to some welsh bloke trying to get us fired up. He also told us how Wales were going to win the rugby so he obviously wasn't to be taken seriously. Before I knew it we were lined up in the water waiting for the klaxon to start us off.

The swim was my first ever proper open water swim. It was a nightmare. I found it really difficult to navigate and find my bearings. This made it almost impossible to get into any sort of rhythm. It is of cause my own fault for not practising this before. I knew I had to do an open water swim and should have been prepared. Once or twice I switched to breast stroke for a few strokes while I tried to get my bearings and my hamstrings cramped up straight away. Then I managed to end up in the middle of a bunch with hands, elbows, and feet flying all over the place. Thank goodness I was in a small corporate wave not one of the larger ones. It was bad enough with the small number of people we had swimming. I was so glad to get to the end of the swim and get back onto dry land.

Then it was a quick run up the stairs to find the bike and after a reasonably smooth transition out I went. I am much happier on the bike than in the water and I felt really string on the bike leg. There seemed to be loads of people going quite slowly on the course and I was constantly overtaking people from the other waves that had gone before us. One of the girls in my wave was very evenly matched with me on the bike and we spent most of the bike course taking turns to overtake each other. Not drafting or anything naughty like that just racing. The bike was over far to soon for me and I was on to the run.

Some of the guys from one of the previous waves had decided that their rack was a bit full so they put their bikes on our empty rack, right over the top of our run kit. This caused me a bit of confusion as I tried to find my trainers. They also seemed to think it was OK to stand in every ones way around the racks while they had a chat. Luckily I have a loud voice and they soon moved when they saw me running at them.

Despite the problems I managed to get out of transition quite quickly and out into the blazing heat. The heat was manageable on the bike with the wind whizzing past but at my plodding run race it was horrible. Right near the start of the run was an awful ramp that really sapped your legs. At the top of the ramp was a bar with a barbecue going. Torture!

A couple of minutes into the run the girl who had been matching me on the bike went past me. There was no way I could match her on the run and she disappeared off up the road. Despite the heat and the ramp back up into the build the run seemed to be over very quickly. It was nice having people around for a large portion of it giving you encouragement though it was nicer when it stopped.

I wasn't sure what my time was until the day after the race and I was pleasantly surprised. Even my swim time wasn't too bad (for me). I know I have some things to work on (open water swimming) but I am really looking forward to my next race.

My times: Swim 15:45, Bike 38:48, Run 23:40, Total: 01:23:28.


Anonymous said...

Well done! Next year? I bet you do better - the swim won't be so strange for you. I hear that from our trainers who have trained for and worked with racers. Big Ed.

MikeyB said...

I have already started working on my open water swimming and I am feeling more confident already. Just need to keep up the training!