Monday, 18 July 2011

Llandudno Sea Triathlon - What a Wet Race

I woke up early, to a windy and rainy morning, I was already nervous about the event, this was the Welsh Championships so a high standard was expected. I had read that this was a tough course so I needed the weather on my side.

I forced down my 4 weetabix and poached eggs down as I made the mistake of not eating enough for the Welsh half marathon as that was a 12pm start similar to this race, so I wanted to make sure the tank stayed full enough to complete this Olympic distance triathlon.

Off I went with my support team (my wife) in the rain to set up my transition, we went up to Llandudno a few days earlier so I could acclimatised with the seaside town, all that sea air is completing different to what im used to, in Swansea! We just fancied making a weekend of it so we didn't have to rush on race day which I can do with out especially on my first Olympic.

It took me long enough to find me place in transition, the number places weren't the clearest, but im guessing the rain hadn't help them, they look all soggy and not very easy to read. I finally managed to find my space, it was a little snug but I managed to get my bike racked and box of tricks in the space and I started my race prep and got into my wet suit ready to race.

All participants went to the race briefing and listen to race ref calling the shots of do's and don'ts there was some confusion with the swim route, but it would be easier for me as I could just follow the crowds.

I was in my wet suit along with other members of wave one, we were lined up ready to go down the jetty, and a welsh triathlon official came to us and said the swim is off, and with that over the speaker system "Attention all competitors - The swim is unsafe and has been cancelled, it will now become a 5km run" I was really gutted, this was going to be my first Olympic distance event, only to be taken away from me. I'm sure if swimming was your strong discipline you would have been mad, I'm glad my strongest part is my run, so it was a kind of win for me!

I went back to my transition point, stripped out my wetsuit and got my jacket back on to keep warm. We were told that we would still start in heats so I was still up first, so I made way to start line and awaited the starters hooter. In my wave there was about 35 racers so the start line was pretty crowed, I dont know how many racers had dropped out because of the cancelled swim, but after looking at the results I think its quite a few.


I decided to sit on the heels of one pack of runners on the first lap, and then kick on in the second lap, A few people sprinted off from the start and I soon passed them on my second lap, I knew pacing was going to be very important for me in this race, as I'd never gone this far in a tri before. I cruised in on the run and saved my energy for my biking. I slipped out my running trainers, into my bike shoes, turned my number around and off I went.

The bike starts with a incline and continues for three quarters of the route and then the final part is a fast decent and with all this rain about you had to take it relatively slowly but before the decent there is an ideal window where you can take on a drink and some gels before you zoom off. But back to the start of the bike, the incline just got bigger and bigger and the wind and rain got harder and harder, at one point it felt like I was riding into a wind tunnel and someone was throwing sand into it! It was tough, very tough and doing this 4 times did not make me feel great, but I did it and after finishing the bike I felt a great sense of achievement and I felt good. but not good enough to do another lap of that bike course. I heard my support team shouting for me to keep going which gave me that extra drive to push on.

I was now down to the last leg, the final countdown, the 10km, I slipped out my soaking wet bike shoes and squelched into my running trainers and off I went. I felt good, no stiffness in the legs, no joint pain, no energy dips I felt great. I was really surprised after doing that hard bike. I focused on a runner in the distance and my aim was to chase them down. I caught them on the sprint turn point and carried on to the 5km marker and all I had to do was head to home, I did exactly the same as the outward journey, sight and chase them down. I managed to get a great rhythm on the run and it showed as I clocked in a 50 minute off the bike which was home into the wind and after a solid bike I was very please.

My results for the race - 14th in my class which I was amazed with, a good result for me but there is always room for improvement. My bike is dragging me back, but it was a tough ride, but I need to get more miles under my belt and get out with other riders so I can improve and be pushed.

Todays session
Duration 02 56 38
Distance 5km run, 36km bike, 10km run

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