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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!!

Ripon Standard Distance - 9 Jul 11

borobhoyby borobhoyJul 9th 2011
I have raced in the Ripon Tri for the last two years and it is usually the only standard distance race that I enter as my main focus is on longer distance races. Therefore I use this as a gauge of my overall fitness and a short test event before my first ironman distance race of the season. It is a club run event, rather than run by a commercial company, but it manages to retain its more intimate feel even though it has around 600 or 700 competitors. One of the differences between this race and many others is that it starts at 1400hrs on a Saturday allowing for a more leisurely start to the day and with activities on site for families to enjoy. However this year the start was delayed by 30mins due to a 15min hailstone shower - in July!!

The swim is a fairly simple affair - 750m out past a buoy then return keeping two small islands on your right at all times. There are five waves depending on your predicted time and I was surprised to find myself in the second wave, whereas last year I was in wave 4! This meant there was a little bit of pushing and crowding in the first 500m but things calmed down after that with the return leg being straightforward. The one downside to the swim was that the 80 or so Army triathletes were spread amongst the five waves making it a little more difficult to judge where you stood in the Army standings. I managed to complete the swim in 28:33 and followed this with a relatively quick T1 for me of 1:45.

The cycle route has changed slightly from previous years and is closer to 41km than the previous 44km meaning it was closer to the standard distances but did mean that an extra hill was added! It is a mixed course with country lanes, partial lane closures and good marshalling for the first 15km or so. This is the time to get the legs spinning and speed along, overtaking those who had a quicker swim. After this though it was hard work. The course moves on to a road parallel to the A1 which is very open and prone to strong winds and this was the case on race day. I managed to overtake some and stay around a number of other competitors of a similar standard at this point but this meant that I was having to work very hard to do so. The run in to T2 is a little awkward as the road is very tight and, as it was Saturday afternoon, quite busy with other traffic making it slow going for the last couple of kilometres. However I was still relatively happy with my time of 1:13:26. T2 was fairly quick again (1:17) and gave me the opportunity to take on a gel before setting off on the run.

By the time I started the run the sun had come out and started to beat down. The route follows some country lanes and a canal path and, as such, is sheltered from the wind which meant it felt very warm. However for the first time in the 3 years I have done this race I managed to run the whole course. On leaving T2 I knew I was very close to achieving my 2hrs 30mins target and felt I would just miss it. The first 3km were hard and felt quite slow at just over 5mins each. I was able to pick the pace up after this to complete the run in 46:07 and so was much quicker in the second half of the run as I averaged 4:36 per km throughout the run.

I do like this race for a number of reasons such as the late start, being on a Saturday, the swim wave start and was happy with my time of 2:31:08 even though I just missed my target time. The run went well and shows I have improved quite a lot over the course of the past twelve months as I was over 5mins quicker than last year on this alone. The wind made it a struggle on the cycle and explains why I wasn't quicker here. Overall, a good race that I will do again if it fits with my long distance races.
Ripon Standard Distance  9 Jul 11
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