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TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper
TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper

The Variety Show

TriHardAlanby TriHardAlanJul 25th 2014
In my last Blog I spoke of the challenge of balancing three disciplines and improving your weaknesses without sacrificing your strengths. And with plenty of racing to do this season now is not the time to draw any conclusions on how successful I have been. But I have raced 4 times since then and what these races have illustrated is one of the other wonderful aspects of Triathlon, variety. No two races are ever the same. Ignoring the obvious aspects like course length, terrain, weather you also have what you want from the race, how you have trained for it and the quality of the opposition if you are looking to place. But despite all these variables I am going to try and compare 2 of those 4 recent races, both Olympics. 2 races that were both positive results but had very different conditions, terrain and targets. I will begin with a brief description of the races and what I wanted out of them.

Worthing - 6th July
Sea swim, rolling bike, flat run. Weather, pouring with rain. This was our Club Champs event so aim was to race hard and beat as many of my club mates as I could. I had been training well and rested for a couple of days beforehand to be fresh. I was also keen to get a good swim as the race has a reputation for fast swim times.

Votwo - 20th July
Held at Dorney Lake, pancake flat bike and run, weather good. Dorney is notoriously windy but that day was calmer than most. At the end of a hard week this was a training race, a stepping stone toward London and Liverpool next month.

And here is how they both went and what I was thinking at the time.

Worthing â€" On a clock wise triangle shaped course my focus was on not drifting left. The swim out was with the current and had gone well and the swim back didn’t really feel any harder. So that has to be good right? It was, 25.08. a 3 minute pb, excellent start.

Votwo â€" Another clock wise swim and same focus, don't drift left. With no current I thought 26 minutes was a realistic target with my previous best at Dorney 28 minutes (my old pb). And as the two laps went by I had swam very straight and had people around me most the way. Another success? No. 27.11. No disaster but I don't know why I didn't hit my target.

Worthing â€" It was raining. And quite hard. I decided to be cautious and took a few bends up on the bars I may have normally taken down on the Tri Bars. I had caught everybody from the club I was going to catch early on and pushed hard on the straight bits enjoying the fast descents. Time, 1.10.38. I didn't know how good that was at the time but felt I had rode wisely.

Votwo â€" My 40k bike pb was 1.07 going in to the race, achieved at Dorney and this was a chance to break that and I thought I might go sub 1.05. And as the 8 laps were ticked of I did the maths every 10k. At 10k, 16 mins, I could do 1.04, that’s good. At 20k, 31 mins, I could do 1.02/03, great, keep it up. At 30k, 46 mins, do I hammer the last 10k and get the hour? No, that's silly, but keep pushing, trust your run. Time, 1.01.53. Absolutely delighted, if a little shocked!

Worthing â€" Up and down the promenade, in to a head wind one way. Lots of encouragement from and to club mates but no one to chase. Miles behind the next person, miles in front of the ones behind me. But push, push, push to do my best regardless. On a slightly short course, 38.30.

Votwo â€" Same as Worthing, no rivals to chase down. But as I exited T2 my Garmin said 1.30. But it doesn't display the seconds. A sub 2.10 was on but I would need a sub 39 min run to guarantee it. I have done this a number of times but never after such a fast bike. I surged occasionally to keep my pace honest and put in a strong last half a K to seal the deal. Time, 38.55.

So how did these two very different races compare? After Worthing I was very happy. With tidy transitions, a pb swim, solid bike and a good run it was the kind of well rounded strong across all 3 disciplines performance I am looking to make a habit of. A total time of 2.15.53 had only been beaten once which was at Hyde Park last year where the bike was short where as at Worthing it was slightly long. So that was a tenuous pb of sorts and a good score in the club championships, which I currently lead (by virtue of having done more races than the fast guys). A satisfying day.

Votwo, now that was very different. The swim was not so good and could maybe have run better too but the bike was sensational and quite simply a game changer. From this point on all bike legs in all Triathlons will be judged by this new standard. And on the strength of that bike leg the total time of 2.09.52 was a 5 minute pb. Also a satisfying day.

So can you compare those two very different races? Does the well rounded performance of Worthing trump the one discipline wonder show of Votwo or is it ultimately about the bottom line regardless of how you get there? Is the bottom line comparable when the course and conditions were so different?

So to answer my original question, no you can't compare them, there really are two any variables. And that is a good thing.
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