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Sharing my experiences in training, racing and learning the 'science' of progressing in Triathlon - from total novice to top-ten finisher (and hopefully beyond!). Stop by to listen to what I have to say, but don't forget, the whole point of web 2.0 is interaction, so don't be afraid or too shy to leave your own thoughts!

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Race Report: Bristol Triathlon

prhimby prhimJul 19th 2010
Race Report: Bristol Triathlon
Well for some reason I was more nervous than usual ahead of yesterday┬'s Bristol Triathlon. Not quite sure whether it was the thought that I believed the competition would perhaps be the toughest of the year so far, or that I was placing a heavier weight of expectation on myself following the great result at Marlborough.

Either way, the attempts to focus and quieten my mind as I racked-up were only partially successful.

I know people joke that swimming pool starts in triathlon are akin to a washing machine, and this one was the worst I have seen. The pool at Tockington school is very narrow and so the four lanes were crammed together tightly and the water was very choppy. Having stupidly left my favoured goggles behind at the Cotswold Water Park (where I did the Ironman charity swim) earlier in the week, I was forced to wear some unfamiliar goggles that I feared would both leak and steam up ┬- leading to an uncomfortable swim.

Being placed first in my lane, at least I had a minute or so to get in, test the seal on the goggle and psych myself up for the start. At the off, I was happy with my pace, trying to think strong thoughts without over-exerting myself in the first couple of lengths. About 8 or 10 lengths in, I felt a tap on my feet and let one of the later starters unlap himself; I lost a few seconds but nothing to really worry about.

And I can┬'t deny that I was incredibly relieved to see the big luminous yellow marker shoved under the waterline to signify I only had two lengths left ┬- yay! I exited the water first from my wave, surprising but also gratifying.

Transition #1 went well, I choose to don my shoes before running out to the bike course due to the gravelly and steep descent from Transition down to the road. Onto the bike and all was good. Then quickly a right turn and┬.... Oh my god.

The race notes warned to expect a ┬"short sharp hill┬". Well in my book a 1km climb isn┬'t short! I got to the top to calls of ┬"well done, you┬'re first in your wave!┬" from the marshals while all I could think was that my heart rate was already hitting 181bpm and how the hell was I going to survive the next 24km of the bike ride!

Thankfully the course flattened, although there was a strong headwind. I think I made it 4km or so before I was overtaken and then another 1-2km down the road before the next. That wasn┬'t unexpected as my bike fitness isn┬'t quite there at the moment. What did really annoy me though was two competitors (you know who you are) blatantly drafting off each other. Unfortunately, there was no motorcycle referee this year ┬- hopefully something BAD-Tri will fix in future.

So I spent most of the rest of the 25km bike route pretty much on my own, down in what I calculated to be fifth place in my particular wave. Coming into T2 went well and apart from regretting not having put a drink on the bike I was in okay form.

Blessedly, the first 100m or so of the run were downhill, which helped me shift from pedalling legs to running legs. The run stage of the Triathlon has always been my nemesis, so I was really focused on a steady pace and keeping my stride short but strong. I wasn┬'t a big fan of the off-road run course, but that┬'s just personal preference, others obviously had no problem with it (just look at some of the run times, astonishing). Coming back into the finish line I got my second wind and was able to put in a strong sprint up the hill to the finish ┬- if only I┬'d been able to hold that pace throughout!

I crossed the line in 1hr 10min 42sec; good enough for 17th out of 352-odd finishers overall (actually, I had exactly the same time as 16th placed guy, but faster times on two of the three legs, so why not 16th for me?! LOL), and yet more valuable racing experience.

All times below are including transition (don┬'t think they timed these separately):

Swim (400m): 7:03 (12th)
Bike (25km): 40:51 (12th)
Run (5km): 22:49 (59th)

So an all-too familiar story! The run let me down again. But at least I know where I need to focus (again!).

A quick note to the Marshals ┬- thank you for being so supportive, much more so than many other events I have been to. It makes a real difference to have someone clapping and encouraging when you┬'re hurting.
Oziemby member: Oziem, Jul 21st 2010 14:02
Well done prhim, I was there helping out :D
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