I should really start with a training update. That won't take long because I've hardly done any really.
The week started with a Bank Holiday so I popped out for a few hours on the bike. Because it was a BH though the traffic was mental and I was back home after 35miles. Then it was Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off. I actually swam on Friday but that doesn't really count and strangely after 4 days off any sort of 'proper' training my body seemed to be falling apart. I seemed to have aches and tweaks everywhere, mostly in the bottom 1/4 of my legs though - very odd!!
Saturday was my first real chance to get any training in but with a wedding to attend from lunchtime it was going to have to be a morning special, so I pottered out for a steady 10miles with the pup. That was it for the week leading up to the race, more about that later.....
In other news I NOW HAVE A WEBSITE thanks to Andy. Pop over and have a look, there will hopefully be all sorts of pretty links to things as it grows. I'd like to get plenty of people visiting so that Andy feels I was worth his effort. Click onto the sponsors page too, see the people who've been helping me out on my way to Kona and my latest legendary supporter Steve who is the creater of the Hundred Pushups program.
So now onto the weekends racing.......
Sunday marked my first real race of the year, the Burnham on Sea Sprint Triathlon. I've done this race every year for longer than I care to remember. There's nothing better than local(ish) races where you know the organisers and many of your fellow competitors. It's like a season opening social event as much as a race. Over the last 4 years I've got quicker and quicker over this course and last year I cracked the hour for the first time but got beaten into 2nd place by the stupidly fast running Gary Gerrard. I also traditionally ride the 80miles from home to Burnham the day before the race, this of course wasn't happening this year as we were at the wedding. So the pressure was on for another pb and hopefully a tilt at the win with neither of the competitors that joined me on last years podium at the race.
The signs weren't good for a fast time with a good stiff wind blowing along the beach and through the town, it was going to make sections of the bike and the outbound section of the run very tough.
The 500m swim was standard enough, it was my first outing in my new club trisuit which seemed to glide effortlessly through the water. I guess I should be slightly down about the fact that I was a few seconds slower than last year, but for a very similar pace I seemed to put a whole lot less effort than normal into it. Out of the water and through the door in 6:54. Everybody started individually so I had no idea where this put me in the field, this race (like most pool Tris is a proper time trial format)
T1 was as always POOR!! (1:07) I really must learn to get through this quicker, everybody keeps shouting about it being free speed. They're right of course and the 14secs I lost to my closest competition could well have proved costly.
The 20k bike was (as suspected) tough work. It's flat enough which is good for me but I can only guess that the tailwind was right at the start of the course when the adrenaline was pumping because there never seeemd to be any help off the wind once I'd got settled into it. It was a fairly lonely ride, occasionally I'd catch and pass someone but never anyone who was quick enough to stay in the distance and give me a solid target. Nobody caught me though either so that was a good thing. 20k bike complete in 30:45 for a 24mph average. Again it was slightly slower than last year but the weather was a lot tougher and last year I had a target to aim at for 90% of the course so I can't complain really.
T2 was a total screw up. There was a new transition area and I didn't really check it out (novice mistake). So as I biked through the coned off section that normally signalled the point where I think about removing my shoes I was suddenly greeted by the dismount line. Arrrgh!! Hard on the brakes, off the bike and it was clip clop clip clop all for the whole length of the transition area as I ran to my bit of racking. Amazingly I only lost a couple of seconds here though so maybe the others made the same mistake.
Heading out onto the run and immediatly my hamstring started feeling tight, it had come on during my bike shoe run through transition. I eased off the pace a little as we headed out to the beach and concentrated on my form hoping it would work its way out. I kept the pace solid without being overly fast while we ran along the beach into the headwind. The sand seemed softer than normal (due to recent high tides) but it would be the same for everyone so I just plowed on. Through the dunes and the golf course I felt pretty strong but not overly fast, I knew I'd got a tailwind on the way back though so I planned to push on then.
As I ran off the final sand dune onto the beach there is a big log mostly buried in the sand. It's been there for years, today though I just grazed it with the bottom of my foot. It was the slightest of glances but enough to throw me off my balance in the loose sand and after a couple of steps I was rolling along the beach, covering myself in sand (and swearing). I was soon up on my feet though and back running as I tried to brush off most of the sand. I pushed for home and finally crossed the line to cheers from Shelly and my folks, good natured abuse from my fellow competitors (bless them). 5k beach run done in 20:57, again slightly slower than last year which I am genuinely disappointed in as I really struggled on sections of the run last year and had to walk a section.
Then all we could do was wait, had I done enough? Had one of my old foes taken my scalp? Had someone turned up that we didn't know and beaten us all? I'd failed to break the hour and was over 90secs slower than last year so anything was possible.
Finally it was time for the presentation and there were only 2mins between the top 5. As the positions were read out so were the times so I knew I was in there somewhere....... Then it came down to the top 2, Dan Whaites (a young up and coming whipper snapper) and myself. They announced that there was only 11secs between us, so who'd got it?
In second place, with a time of 1:00:43 was ............................................ Dan!!!!
Phew, I'd snuck the win by the smallest of margins. I could go home happy (or should that be relieved?). Dan will be back, he's getting quicker every year and I've got almost 20 years on him. I fully expect him to put me in my place this time next year if not before. For me it was some much appreciated ego massage and some free goodies :-D
If you're looking for a good fun and friendly Sprint Tri to do next year bear Burnham on Sea Sprint Tri in mind. It's great and next year will be the 25th Anniversary of the race Don't turn up if you're quicker than me though, I want to win it again ;-D