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Weymouth Middle Distance Triathlon June 6 2010

TeamBadTriby TeamBadTriJun 8th 2010
Weymouth Middle Distance Triathlon June 6 2010
Weymouth Middle Distance Race Report

I¬'ve been tootling down to Weymouth for a few years now, for some reason perhaps drawn by the donkeys, ice-cream and what I sense (tho no-one else seems to get this) as a definite undercurrent of fairground-style menace. Maybe I¬'ve been reading too much Graham Green. Literary references aside, the Weymouth Middle Distance has many things in its favour ¬- a reliably calm, though often shallow, sea swim: a fast bike course with the occasional stunning view, and a run that is a little on the short side ¬- always a bonus.

For long-distance triathlete types who probably have their ¬'main¬' race in July or August, a middle distance race in early June can be the first real test of how successful their training has been. For yours truly I always feel that Weymouth (or any ¬'half¬' around this time) has quite an emotional investment ¬- if one is not up to scratch at this point, time is quite short to turn it around!

For my race I was hoping, if weather conditions were reasonable and the course comparable to previous years, to finish somewhere around 4.25. This would be a couple of minutes up on my last go at it, and on probably less effective run preparation. I was also experimenting with ¬'racing by feel¬' ¬- no watch, no HR, no bike computer. All I would have for the whole race would be the feel of my legs, my lungs, my energy levels - and those strange voices in my head¬....would it work?

The swim started with the normal melee, and shallow water meant a curious mix of swimmers and walkers out to the first buoy. I was quickly behind the main group, swimming from the gun not being a particular strength of mine, but as usual I concentrated on engaging the right muscles, holding a relaxed stroke and swimming a nice straight line to the far turn buoy ¬- irrespective of where everyone else was going! I turned at about 900m feeling very comfortable, and started to push just a little. By this time the sun was coming up and it was clear we were in for a hot day. I finished the swim about 150m down on the leaders, which was a good performance for me, and stopping to remove my wetsuit at the top of the beach gave me a chance to collect my thoughts before running off to T1. A smooth transition (I¬'ve been practising these!) meant I picked up a couple of placings even before getting on the bike, and I was quickly off doing what I feel I do best at the moment ¬- pedalling!

The route out of Weymouth is a bit broken up with roundabouts for a couple of miles, and then climbs quite sharply before the rolling starts and the speed gets up. As usual I was passing people the whole way through the first 15 miles of the bike, both the quicker swimmers from my wave and the back markers of the waves in front. From about 15 to 35 miles I was in and around a small group of the same cyclists, some of whom were unfortunately drafting, so I decided to wind them up a bit by pushing the pace, hoping to they would take the bait and start to race too hard¬....and it seemed to work well as I saw them all later on the run! I let them go ¬- though not too far ahead ¬- for the last 15 miles, sitting in my own comfortable place, keeping hydrated, being as efficient as possible and taking full advantage of any downhills. I finished the bike a little overheated perhaps but otherwise comfortable and ready to run. The lack of watch paid off really well here ¬- all I had in my mind was concentrating on form, effort level, and pacing myself to manage the 12 mile run without distress.

Lap 1 (of 2) came and went without problems, though the heat was definitely noticeable. Knowing the course was a big advantage at this point, as I continued to reel people in and felt I was running well. Again, no idea of timings for lap 1 meant I had to stay in the moment and simply manage my run in the best way I could. Lap 2 started with a little tightness in my legs, but then the gel from lap 1 started to do it¬'s work and I was soon striding out, even bouncing along and feeling reasonably comfortable! I¬'ve been bitten before though in these conditions and know that it can very quickly turn from skipping to crawling, so I still held back until about 12-15 minutes to go, then gave it a bit of smack from there to the finish, running strongly and feeling really good.

I was pretty sure I had put in a good time but the best thing about the race was that I managed it sensibly and got the rewards ¬- I felt energetic all the way, controlled my pace, never felt it was getting away from me and had the biscuits left to really push for the last section of the run. Success! The bonus to all this was a 4.22 finish, so well under my target, 6 minutes up on my previous best, and just forced my way into the top 10 with 8th place overall. I also noticed with some sneaky pleasure that I¬'d finished ahead of some of the ¬"elite¬" starters.

Overall I was hugely pleased with the race ¬- a great result but more importantly everything went just as I wanted it to. Things are coming together and I hope now to hold onto Sunday¬'s lessons for the rest of the season.

Also going really well on Sunday was Neil Williams - his report to follow...

BAD Tri has sponsored teams for both triathlon and cycling. The aim of these teams is to provide support for athletes within the club at high-performance age-group level and above. As a club we are grateful to those who represent us at this level and understand that it takes a great deal of time, money and dedication. In return for this support, triathletes are expected to represent the team and perform well at the races throughout the summer. Cyclists will be expected to race regularly and place well at local road races and/or support others in the team to do so.
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