Monday, 22 September 2008

Langport Triathlon 2008

Sunday saw the official end to my triathlon season, such as it was. The end of the season was marked by the 15th Langport Triathlon. This is a small sprint triathlon, based in a local leisure centre and is certainly nothing big and fancy. It is, however, a bit of an institution among the local triathletes. They only allow a relatively small number of entrants, three hundred this year, and last year I missed out as I was too late applying. This year I applied in plenty of time so I got to end the year with a race.

Amazingly, after the year we have had, the weather on Sunday was brilliant. Even better, my start time was 11:24 and the race was only a 25 minute drive away, so no early start was required. Having cycled around the bike course last weekend and found-out exactly where the leisure centre was getting there was stress-free and I was in a relaxed mood. After registering and racking my bike I mooched around and ran into quite a few people that I know, old rugby team-mates, family friends, people from the village and newer triathlon acquaintances. A number of them had competed in the Ironman or Ironman 70.3 this year but everyone was enjoying the sunshine and looking forward to a less serious race to round off the year.

As usual the swim starts were running a bit late but waiting around in the sunshine was no great hardship. Then I was in the pool and off. I clocked a swim time of 7:19 for 400m, which is slightly slower than I would have liked but actually felt really comfortable at the time. Then it was a short run to the transition area and on to the bike. One thing I need to work on for next year is my transitions. It is time I started doing things like having the shoes already attached to the pedals as I feel I am losing time getting onto the bike.

The bike course itself was a single loop which my Garmin measured at 22.22km. The first 10km was fairly flat but then you make a sharp left turn towards Somerton and hit a nasty hill. Just to make matters worse the road surface at this point is terrible. It is coarse gravel tarmac that is cracking up and falling apart so you get your teeth rattled around in your head while you try and get up the hill, great fun. The plus side to the steep up-hill section was the equally steep downhill section on the other side. My legs maxed-out at 60kph going down the other side, it would have been more but the traffic slowed me down. Then it was a section of hills, up and down, constantly breaking your rhythm and in next to no time, or 45:22 to be precise, I was back at the transition area. Looking at the official times and my Garmin time I think the bike time also included the time taken for T1 and T2 so I was reasonably pleased with that time.

Then off on to the run. This was a combination of roads, tracks and fields. My right knee which has been giving me some trouble gave a few twinges but I ignored it and pressed on. It took me a few minutes to get into my stride but once I did I felt really good. I concentrated on picking off one after another of the slower runners ahead of me and felt I was making good time. Shortly after I reached the turn-around point I started seeing on after another of the guys I know running back the other way. Knowing they were behind me helped push me on as I didn't want to get caught. They had started the swim at different times to me and I was fairly certain they were going to get faster times than me but I was not going to be overtaken by them. Thankfully, the finish arrived before they caught me and I managed a time of 24:28 for the 5km run.

So that gave me a total of 1:17:09, not exactly world beating, 45th position actually, but not too shabby for me. So my season is pretty much done. Before I wrap-up this season I need to look back over the year and start looking at planning and goal setting for the year to come. Langport 2009 is definitely going to be in the mix somewhere.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Great time Mike - am jealous of the run speed!

As for the shoes on bike thing... A good tip given to me this year (I did this for the first time this season) is to start my taking your feet out of the shoes everytime you do a bike ride and do a running off dismount. Getting in actually isn't too bad so long as you have hoops on the heel of the shoe. GOOD LUCK with it!