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Father, student, teacher and ironman triathlete. Quite a mix and a busy life but trying to manage it all. See how I get on!!

Primera Swashbuckler Middle Distance Triathlon Â- 22 May 11

borobhoyby borobhoyMay 22nd 2011
Something which I hadnÂ't realised when I signed up for this race at the end of 2010 was the ridiculously early start time. As the swim was in the tidal Beaulieu River, it meant a start time of 0515 hrs due to high tide being at 0430 hrs. I was staying at home, so had to get up at 0200hrs to be able to travel and arrive in time to get setup before the start. On the way the weather deteriorated and meant that I had to put my bike together and get to T1 in the pouring rain. Fortunately the rain stopped by 0500hrs just as we were leaving T1 to walk to the swim start.

I had never swum in a river, especially a tidal river, before. I wasnÂ't sure what to expect but the taste of salt water was not a pleasant experience. We had been warned at the brief that the shortest route would be where the tide would be at its strongest, especially on the return of the second lap. As such, it was relatively quiet as I chose this route and most competitors chose the longer route near the bank, but with little impact from the tide. This showed on my swim time of 42:30 for 1.9km which was a few minutes outside my normal lake swim time for the same distance. It was good practice for the sea swim at Ironman Wales in September though. The few hundred metres run up the bank to T1 couldnÂ't get the salt water taste out of my mouth!

Cycling in the New Forest is a great experience Â- the roads are virtually flat, not the best surface at times, but with wildlife such as horses and cattle wandering over them at will. Starting the bike ride around 0600hrs was interesting. The roads were virtually deserted of traffic which meant it was easy to get up to speed and pass some of the faster swimmers. However, I soon regretted not putting on my arm-warmers as it was pretty cold for the first 30 minutes or so. The ride passed without any problems and, although I rode on my own for sections, being two laps there was nearly always somebody to aim for. I realised pretty quickly that I was on for a good time so tried to concentrate on not pushing too hard. Even then I still completed the 80km in 2:26:38 Â- much better than I had hoped.

By the time the run started I was grateful for the early start as the sun came out and even though it was only around 0900hrs it was pretty warm. There were a few runs on the two lap run which had a good mix of narrow lanes and some trails through woods. The wind picked up on the second lap and a dip in energy meant that I struggled between 10 and 12 miles before my Lucozade Sport kicked in and I was able to push hard for the last two miles. A time of under 1 hour 55 minutes for the 14 mile run was better than I expected, especially after going a bit harder than planned on the bike.

Overall, this is a very good, flat race shown by my finish time of 5:10:52 Â- over eighty minutes quicker than my previous couple of middle distance races. It has a shorter bike, a longer run but even this doesnÂ't account for the much quicker time Â- it is an ideal race for those looking to see how fast they can go. It is well organised, with plenty of food and drink provided for competitors at the finish. The only problem on the day was the death of one of the competitors from a probable heart attack on the run.
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