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Highway to Hell

Eton Supersprints Report

ghylandby ghylandMay 17th 2010
My 'taper' going into this race was non-existent due to work commitments, niggling achilles and shin splints and laziness I had done no training since the Sunday before the race which was a very hard brick session involving a brutal climb on the bike. I was very tired for two days afterwards so decided to take the 'less is more' attitude. I had wanted to do a quick swim and (very) short run but did neither in the end.

Come race day I was itching to get started. Fortunately the weather was decent for race day. Earlier in the week it had been very cold but on race morning the sun was out with a forecast for about 17 degrees. The same could not be said for the water temperature because it was below 12 degrees.

I got registered and racked up with no fuss, chatting to some of the other guys in my wave. Beforehand I had eaten an energy cereal bar in the car with a bottle of energy drink and some water. I took a gel about 30 minutes before the start and this seemed to work well, I had no sickness at all and never felt low on energy the whole race.

I was using some new goggles for the swim which were great, altough I had my usual problem of them misting up a bit at the start - cold water meets warm face I guess.

I again made the bad choice to start towards the back, I really should have been more confident and gone in the main pack as I got a few whacks in the first 100m but swam the back half of the race well. I was pleased with my stroke length and also how well I rotated the shoulders, I felt very easy apart from at one point swallowing a load of water and had to stop for a few seconds to get my breath. I took a very tight line round both buoys with no problem. I sighted well and never got off line. The swim was comfortable, not fast and I came out just outside 8 minutes, I had wanted to come out around 7:45 so missed that but not too bad.

I was able to jog to the bike but made a bit of a hash of T1, I could not get my feet out of the suit and had to sit down, my hands were cold which didn't help either. What was pleasing was that I ran out of T1 with the bike rather than stumble but a T1 time of 2:34 was slow. I normally aim for 2 mins to T1 so lost another 30 seconds there for sure.

I felt really good on the bike. My position on the bike is a massive improvement on last year and I stayed in the aero tuck for 95% of the ride and pushed hard. I only used three gears the whole ride, kept a good high cadence and really pushed into the wind. I overtook more people than passed me and swapped places three times with the guy who was next to me in T1 although he dropped me with about 3km to go. the saddle is still an issue, I was totally numb for the last 10 minutes but pushed through it. I knew I had done a good bike, the feeling of pushing the whole way, I guessed my average speed was well over 30km/h. I was delighted with a sub 39 minute split. This was about 4 minutes quicker than my previous best time.

T2 was OK, I could tell I had pushed the bike as the legs were very wobbly. My T2 time was outside 1:30. Again I look for 1min for T2 so a bit slower there again. I think my draw was against me as on the way out and in with the bike I had to run a long way with it which will always add a few seconds.

I felt like crap for the first 10 minutes on the run. I resisted the temtation to go out hard with the excitement and decided to pace myself steady for the first lap and see how I felt. This worked OK but I felt a blister forming on the top of my right foot at the 2km mark but had to just get on with it. Down the last 1.25km straight I really went for it and came home as strong as I could, passing a good 10 people on the last bit. My run split was 25m 59sec, I had ideally wanted to go for sub 25:30 so missed that but not by much. I was totally exhausted at the end, definitely the hardest I could have done.

My final time was 1hr 17min 04 which was a PB by over 5 minutes so I was really happy with that. My goal beforehand was to go under 1hr20 so I smashed that. It was the first time I felt like I 'raced' and really felt that I pushed my limits. The areas for improvement would be to start nearer the front on the swim and be more agressive in the first 100m as my swim stroke is good, once I get among the better swimmers hopefully I can draft off them and avoid traffic jams at the back. Both transitions were quite sloppy and could do with work. The run was a battle but a lot of that was due to pushing so hard on the bike, perhaps I should have backed off down the last 2km or so but with the wind behind me I felt like hammering it. More bike to run bricks are needed to get the legs going on the run. But overall very happy with my performance.
 
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