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London 2013; Misty eyed optimist?
London 2013; Misty eyed optimist?
With the season over for 2012, sights are now set on the ITU World Champs in London in September 2013. Qualification race booked at the Dambuster in June, so 7 months of graft awaits!

Match Report

jamesrunchmanby jamesrunchmanOct 23rd 2012
I am now lying on the bed in my hotel room slightly the worse for wear after yesterday's exploits having gone through the procees of race deconstruction, inward reflection and a general feeling of "what the bloody hell was that all about"! Like me, you may have circumnavigated the ITU website and viewed my result, if so you will be will aware of my placing in the world, or to be more accurate, lack of placing! For those of you that haven't, I can inform you that I am officially 72nd in the world, 535th male and 683rd in general! Not the most awe inspiring figures are they!

The race itself started off not too badly, the first part of the swim was in a sheltered part of Auckland Harbour and was quite enjoyable. But after around 300 metres we were in real open water, outside the confines of the docks, this was an eye opener (or rather an eye closer because at this point my googles did me the kind favour of filling up with water, what a treat!)! Although not ridiculously choppy, the swell was about 6 foot and (due to aforementioned goggle malfunction) I rapidly lost sight of the pack and any marker buouys. At this point the swim fell apart for me, on at least three occasions I was reduced to asking the safety canoeists where the hell I was and where the next marker buouy was located, they were not very forthcoming with assistance, I suspected a little bit of "anti british" behaviour when one reply was "you are in Auckland you pommy b*****d"! I wasn't in the mood for comedy but managed to refrain from pulling him out of his canoe and and shoving his paddle where the sun doesn't shine, before continuing on bereft of a charted course! At one point I was swimming towards the shore in the mistaken belief that I was heading for the swim finish. By pure luck whilst on the top of a particularly large wave I noticed a pink swim hat of a later wave swimmer a hundred metres to my right, this brought me back on course (I would have ended up in completely the wrong dock, or country). Shortly after this I was steam rollered by the next wave/group of swimmers (female, fast and angry that I was hampering their progress), those of you that have seen or experienced open water swim racing will know what I mean! Anyway, after a few digs in the kidneys and back of the head I struggled on and eventually reached dry land and limped up the gangway in a style usually reserved for shipwreck movies. I had completed the swim in 34 minutes, a full 10 minutes slower than a time I would expect to clock! on reflection, I think I probably swam in excess of 2000 metres instead of the regulatio 1500 I was supposed to!

Hey ho! On to transition 1. An unusually long run into T1 of around 500 metres and the normal "where the hell is my bike moments". This was only amplified by the fact that; in a standard race you would stand a pretty good chance of tripping over your machine eventually, knowing that there would only be a couple of hundred to choose from. In this case though there were in excess of 3000 bikes and a fair chance that you might die of starvation before finding yours if you had not remembered where you had racked it (and you know how rubbish my memory is)! However, I did stumble (more by accident than design) across my bike pretty quickly and was off and running out of transition towards the road. A smooth exit and mount and I was away, content with the knowledge that I should start to real in the blokes in front of me. We had been on a number of practice rides on the course over the week and I was confident that I would be strong, this confidence crumbled though on the first of the hills as my legs had apparently been replaced by that of a newborn donkey and I think that overnight someone had poured concrete into my gear mech! The ride went by in a bit of a blur of blood, sweat and tears, but my lasting thoughts are;
1. An argument with an Aussie who refused to give way and let me pass on a particularly narrow and fast stretch of downhill tarmac. I eventually overtook and left him with an earful of "aussie convict" jibes!
2. An energy gel explosion after 20km. I attempted to open said gel pack whilst smashing it at 50kmh along the coast road, the pack split and covered me and several other riders in sticky, sugary goo - leading to another altercation with our prison ship decedent friends!
3. The vicious headwind on the route back along the coast - Like being in a wind tunnel, but tastier (see point 2)!
However, I did manage to claw back a few places before hurtling into transition 2.

Not a great T2, had a spot of bother getting into the trainers which led to a paralysing calf cramp, but was out and running in a reasonable time. The run was around the harbour area and was rammed with supporters, I haven't raced in front of such crowds before and it was a real buzz! This is where I started to reel in a few more of my fellow age groupers and a couple of GB guys who had beaten me this season so that was another lift. The last few hundred metres were a blast. I was handed a GB flag as I rounded the corner onto the blue finish carpet, at this point I gunned it and overtook another Aussie (petulantly waving my flag behind his head as I passed him) and sprinted down the chute crossing the line in a "show boating" fashion not really befitting of my performance (I know some of you saw the live stream). I was then, slightly out of shot of the camera, promptly sick on the shoes of one of the race volunteers handing out the finish medals! Not the first kiwi I have upset this week and probably not the last!

After getting changed and collecting my wheels, I trudged back up the hill to the hotel struggling with the burden of; bike, wetsuit (wet and heavy), water bottles, towel, race kit, track pump and all the paraphernalia connected with this ridiculous sport, whilst cursing loudly to myself each time I dropped items of kit. I think this bit was tougher than the race itself! Post race admin, shower, changed and down to the bar for some light refreshment with fellow team members. Informal race debrief with the usual "if onlys, what ifs, should haves, could haves and next times" then out to the bars and restaurants of Auckland. A steak (as big as your head) dinner with extra chips followed by chocolate brownies and ice-cream and just a "few" pints! Next memory, waking up in the hotel room with a hangover big enough to kill an Aussie!

Today has been quiet with a tinge of sadness and disappointment at not finishing higher up the rankings, will have to learn to swim better (or become more adept at sea navigation - should have joined the navy)! Onward then to the World Champs next year which will be in London, it is going to be difficult to qualify, but will give it a go. Doing this race on home turf is a compelling prospect and impossible to ignore. So I am now off to the pool to get cracking with the training, secure in the knowledge that I might not be the greatest triathlete in the world, but I definitely am the world number 1 at hangovers!
by guest: Sean, Oct 23rd 2012 13:53
I was looking at your swim time during the race and thought that something wasn't quite right. So it wasn't the sharks you needed to worry about after all; it was the swell, navigation and pink capped assassins.

Sorry that it didn't quite go as planned and after all that prep it must be really annoying. However, it was good that you made up so much time and really satisfying to beat an Aussie over the line (nice bit of petulance too, you can't beat it) - a lot to be proud of I reckon.

I hear that the Serpentine has many fewer challenges, the worst being discarded condoms, but certainly no tidal issues so you should fare much better next year. Also the advantage of a home crowd - the Kiwis sound like they are as biassed as the Aussies!

Anyway, I am inspired mate! I have decided to go for it for the World Championships in London next year and will commence training immediately. Not sure what I will opt for yet - handing out refreshments or catching tired triathletes as they cross the line. Might opt for the former as I don't fancy get vomit on my trainers!

See you soon and well done!
by guest: ruby/wm, Oct 23rd 2012 22:48
to be 72nd in the world is brilliant. we think you did extremely well. congratulations to you...., looking forward to hearing all the news on your return. the swim section looked really difficult, pity you didn't leave ''that oar'' in the rear section if you see what i mean. xx
by guest: Wendy, Becca and Samantha, Oct 23rd 2012 23:53
72nd in the world of triathalon but always No1 here!! (Sorry were you sick on someones trainers again...?) Now that its all over, the pains in your body and the hazy recollection can only be compared to giving birth - on a bit of a high, relieved its all over and give yourself 2 years and you'll want to do it all again ! Looking forward to reading and hearing your next report on the major event of celebrating on the town - which I know for a fact you are not match fit - well maybe more than Angela was at your send off party! Just a wee inspirational quote to send you into the breach,,, Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry, "God for Harry! England and Saint George! " (thats not Potter or the dog)

Lots love xxx (but can you get a move on and come home now as I have a triathalon of my own to do - Tescos, ironng, ballet run ... :-))
by guest: Lambertons, Oct 24th 2012 13:27
72 in the world is bloody brilliant...just a pity only 73 people entered!!!! God I'm so funny,we are real proud of you,great achievement, me and bob had a celebration drink for you misus the vomiting as I am not good with hangovers.
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