The last two weeks have been a work frenzy and training has suffered as a result. By Friday this week I'd only managed two training sessions and although there was a race on the cards for Sunday I needed to train so set about biking, running and then swimming once I'd finished my week of 13hr shifts. On Saturday I aimed to do a 50-60 mile bike ride but my legs were shot and I was home after 35miles. Not the ideal preperation for Sundays race!
My shadow during the swim dealt with T1 much better than me and was ahead of me onto the bike, he was soon disposed of however as I headed out onto the course. This was where I had my concerns as I'm not the strongest cyclist in the world, the course doesn't exactly suit me with it's short sharp climbs and descents that almost all finish with a hard breaking turn. I'd also got my clubmate and training pal Phill starting behind me and I knew he was going to be on a mission to catch me up. He's been flying of late and I haven't. Our training sessions together haven't exactly filled me with confidence either. So I pushed on, riding scared and waiting for the white Cervelo P3c to pull up beside me. Anxiety that wasn't helped when I started catching up groups of cars that were stuck on the twisting roads behind slower cyclists. Race or no race, I refuse to risk killing myself as some folks do so three times I was forced to sit up and wait patiently for the traffic to sort itself. The middle third of the course is on good fast open roads and although there was a stiff headwind on the outward section I buried myself along here. After the turn around I got my first glimpse of Phill, I'd no idea when he'd started but he was now about 2m30s behind me and had overtaken both of the people I'd shared my lane with, with the tailwind I pushed hard.
Back on the twisty, rolling section I went back to type as I struggled to maintain a rhythm on the climbs but pushed on hard where I could. Soon I caught my clubmate Lee, this was a good thing as he's a pretty damn good cyclist. Maybe I was going quite well after all, I blew past him with a few words of encouragement going either way and focussed on getting to T2.
The after race gubbins was full of confusion. While chatting with regular race day sparring partner and last years winner Wim Korving it became clear our times were very close, but I'd screwed up with my Garmin so couldn't be sure of my exact finish time. Then at the presentation it got more cloudy when the timing company the organisers had used (at a huge cost) provided them with nothing more than a piece of paper with the top 3 male and female names on. No times, no age group winners etc etc. My name wasn't on that list so it seemed the race was very tight at the top end. Wim won though and I was very pleased for him as he's a top fella.......... I was curious however as to how Wim had won and I'd not made the top 3 when either way there could only have been a handful of seconds between out times. No point moaning and chasing the organiser Paul though as the timing company had blatently screwed him up. The race gives out a huge raft of Age Group prizes, but they had no Age Group results, so they would have to get posted on. Not good when you've got sponsors to please!!
Soooo, the next day the results come out and there's my name - at the top of the list. It turns out I'd won, beating Wim by a mere 5 seconds. Of course I wasn't alone. The womens results were also wrong. The timing company gave the race organiser a piece of paper with 6 names on it and it turns out that even those were wrong. Shocking!! I'm sure it will all turn out for the best though. I have faith in the Taunton crew, they're a good crowd and will have wanted things to go properly. It's just a case of waiting.