Thursday, 26 July 2012
Tri Exercise Pembrokeshire Olympic Triathlon - Race Report
The second race to my triathlon season has arrived already, so quick after the half Ironman, was I ready, was I fully recovered, it was too late to turn back now.
As this was a Welsh championship race, I knew it was going to be a fast race and some cracking athletes would be racing it, I was lucky enough to be racking my bike next to Oliver Simon, so I knew I was going to have plenty of space to take my wetsuit off in transition as he would be long gone by the time I got there.
It has been raining constantly for the week leading up to the race so I was hoping for a bit of sunshine for race morning, and just as I wanted the sun turned up bring and early. This race was a late start (well for triathlons anyway) 10am swim start, so I got some sort of lie in till 6:30, which was nice, 2 more hours than the half Ironman.
While driving to the race, I noticed that we were going down hill most of the final 5 miles of the journey, I then thought "I've got to cycle or run back up these hills" in then donned on my that this hard race was going to get harder. I parked the car up and looked out to sea it looked lovely and blue, a few waves caught my eye but I wasn't to bothered by it. A quick and easy registration and off I went to transition. I'm carting far to much stuff so I'm going to have to look into streamlining my stuff and get a smaller race box/bag. I arrive into transition get tagged on my arms and legs with numbers and Welsh championship category, and I'm escorted to my transition racking place.
It took me about 15 minutes to setup get my wetsuit so I left transition otherwise I'll only fiddle around with my kit and break something. I even remember to get my drinks right this time and put them on the bike, no running back to the car last minute like Cotswolds113. After the race briefing we made our way down the beach and into the sea for a warm up, I needed a warm up the water was bloody freezing.
A quick 10 minutes acclimatising and then we came out, over the timing mats, into the race pen "HONKKKKKKKKKK" and off we went.
It was cold, and my face was hurting, I soon got into my stroke and the coldness disappeared, It was quite tough getting out to the first buoy and after the first turn it got tougher. As I only breathe to the left I knew this was going to be a challenge for me as the waves would coming in at quite a rate so I had to work hard to lift my body out of the water to get that vital breath in before I ended up with a gob full of water. after the second buoy I decided to up my stroke rate and this caused me to go off my race line as I wasn't sighting so much and I couldn't see any other swimmers around me, I soon noticed the errors of my ways and head to the final buoy, and then I was finished, out of a tough swim and into transition, and as I guessed there was plenty of room for me as the people racked next to me in transition had long gone. A standard T1 time for me and out I went along the sea front and up the first climb, it hurt!.
After the first climb it was time to get some fluids on board and get rid of the taste of the sea in my mouth, as it was making me retch. I found my rhythm on the bike relatively quick, there wasn't many flats on the course I took advantage of every downhill as much as possible, by getting into the high gears quickly on the brow of the up hills so my legs were working overtime. I found a great place and was gaining on a lot of people from the swim. Then disaster struck, my chain came off at the bottom on a steep incline I was stranded, I put my chain back on, covered in oil, only for it to slip straight back off. I repeated this a good 5 or 6 times, to which cyclists passed, a few asked if I was OK. I decided to push the bike up the hill to the flat, so I could get it all sorted, it took me a total of 12 minutes plus to get this sorted. All my hard work on chasing people down has gone. I was gutted, but the show must go on and so set my sights on having a good run.
Into transition, rack my bike, clean my hands off from the oil, bike kit off, run kit on and out I go for what I understand a hard 10 km run. I think its best not knowing sometimes what's out in front on you. I definitely was suffering with tired legs, I've raced every 2 weeks sine the half Ironman and I think Fatigue was showing at this distance race. Its my 2nd year at triathlons and I'm loving every race.. even the tough ones!
The first 3 km of the run was a mixture of beach, coastal path and it was majority up hill which didn't help my already tired legs after the ride. When you hit the summit of the incline your blessed with a cracking view of the Pembrokeshire coastline, blue seas and blue skies.. you cant ask for more, also there was a water station, this scenario cant get any better.
After a quick drink, I turned the corner off the coastal path and onto the road, hurray only 7 more KM to go. I was getting pretty hot by the 6KM marker and I was happy to see another water station, 2 cups of water went over my head and it cooled me right down for the final 3KM. I had managed to chase a few people down on the run, and only being passed by 1 racer in the final KM was a good feeling and as the final half KM was downhill it was good to open he legs up and lengthen my stride again. I could see the finish line, 500 meters accross the beach and I was there, I heard my name and number being called on the PA system and it gave me that extra push to finish on a high.
This was a cracking race and I'd recommend it to any athlete, I can see why Welsh Triathlon gave this a championship status. It was well turned out from athletes as far as Cardiff and the organisation was brilliant. I will definitely do this race again and I know what to expect next time.
Although it wasn't a great time on the clock I had a great time and it will make me strong for my next race.