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A new year in Triathlon
A new year in Triathlon

TriLife Goes On.

exmrtrobby exmrtrobAug 4th 2013
Haven't updated for a while. No reason just forgot i suppose. But this time I thought to share my thoughts on race disappointment. I'll get to it...but let me explain where i've been:
Training kept going all through the year. Running taking a good chunk of it as i know this is my weakest of the three disciplines.
I did the Llanelli Sprint and it was ok. I do not like swimming in water where you can't see your hands, but other than that I was quicker than the previous event over a slightly longer distance. No complaints. Apart from the blisters.
It was back to the grind though soon after and training was going well. Swim times were dropping, run form improving and each Saturday at the Park Run i could see obvious improvement. The weather turned into summer and things went into overdrive. Long bike rides on the Tri Bars were the call in the good weather. I was loving it, even though it was hard and work was crazy. I was committed.
Then out of the blue i received an email confirming my entry to the Wales Triathlon Middle Distance Championships!!! My Boss' idea of a prank. He didn't realise that it was 70 miles. But I relished the idea of the longer distance. Training really got stepped up with distances in all three going up. It bored my wife to tears but she put up with it and I adapted my training times to suit family life more. It was easy as it was Summer and the sun was up at daft o'clock. I was out the door at 5am most weekend mornings. This allowed me to stop by midday and spend the rest of the day 'en famile'.
While I was putting the effort in the event kept creeping closer, and I was nervous about it. I researched about pacing, nutrition, effort and timings. I had plans...they couldn't have gone more wrong!
Race Weekend.
Friday I left work early and was told there was a hotel booked in my name near the venue of the race. Amazing! It was like being a proper sponsored athlete! Almost. I registered, and checked out the start of the course, the swim venue and part of the run course. We then went to out hotel for food and a bed. It was nice too, and had a very good menu. They even understood about my allergy to lactose and made suggestions on the menu to suit. I just wanted pasta, but it wasn't available. I had sea bass. It was nice, but as pre race food goes...not ideal. Mistake #1
Race morning dawned chilly and clear. conditions were perfect. My wife and I drove to Transition in the pre dawn darkness and parked the car. We parked next to a couple that were competing against each other and the woman was the Queen of Tri. She knew everyone, everything and had a million pound race machine to ride. Her husband / friend / boyfriend / team mate didn't say much but was pleasant enough. She made me nervous. She was meticulous in her preparation and had a gadget for everything. I was lost in Tri Geek Hell and couldn't pull myself together. I was fussing over: gear, bottles, hydration, gels and bars instead of getting out of the way and into transition with the bike. I was flustered and didn't eat as a result. Mistake #2.
I eventually set up my Rack and heard the announcer say I had 15 mins to be ready for race briefing! I was late and now rushing to be ready. I was not happy. Mistake #3. I made it in time and then we were given the option to acclimate to the water and get back out for the start.
3-2-1 Go!
I had placed myself at the rear of the start pack as I don't know how my swim compares to these 'Athletes' I am to race with. Mistake #4.
I was floundering among much slower swimmers and bumped and dodged my way through the throng of sprawling arms and legs. I eventually found clear water and made headway. Sighting not being a strong point i made sure to look up often. The first loop went well and I was soon on the exit slip and trying to run for the next loop.
Loop 2 was easier and I felt good. My pace had been good for me and I put a negative split for loop 2. I hit the slip once more and suffered a terrible dizzy spell. I must have looked comical as I felt dreadful and needed to hold onto anything that was near me as I made my way to T1.
I held on to the rack bar as I removed my wetsuit. Held on while I got my shoes on. Grabbed the bike and held onto that while running from T1. I was still dizzy getting on the bike and very nearly crashed within a 100m of the start! I grabbed a gel and squeezed everything into my mouth, I gagged but kept it down. My legs got the message that we were now out of the water and I needed them and although slow to get up to speed they eventually turned up after a hill or two. I was flying now and overtaking slower cyclists. "I should be" I thought...I'm on a couple of grands worth of Carbon Fibre! "C'mon legs! Man Up!" I told myself and things just worked. Muscle memory or some latent ability kicked in and I really started motoring. I flew passed people that looked good, I danced up hills, tucked down them and was starting to think about pacing when...Bang! SSSSSSST! Front Wheel Puncture. 135lbs of air pressure dissipated from my front tubular. I stopped, unwound the tape on the single shot puncture repair foam and jammed it on the valve. Injected the race saving foam into the tub and felt it empty, inflating the tub to a measly 25lbs psi. Not enough to ride fast on or for any distance. My head reminded me that I hadn't had room for the mini pump and had left it in the bag at Transition. I sat down distraught and opened a Go Bar and just sat there, staring! Mistake #5
This was game over.
I trundled on a spongy front wheel back to the car and gave in my timing chip. I had learned some tough lessons today, but providing I ACTUALLY learn from them, I won't feel too bad.
It's time to dust myself off and get ready for the next event. It's two weeks away and the training for it has started already. I had a recovery swim today and was once again King of the Pool! I am smiling about it today. TriLife Goes On.
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