Sunday, 28 August 2011

10 weeks and Sherborne Sprint Tri

So, we're only 10 weeks from Florida and if I'm honest training hasn't been going great this month. It's been ok, but miserable weather, work and a dodgy back last weekend have left me well off the target I was hoping for. Especially on the bike where I need it most! In July I spent 39hrs in the saddle, in August last year I had 46hrs of cycling in my legs, this month just 19hrs (so far). I'm even 11hrs behind my total from August 2009, my qualification year, so it's not looking great. I could do with an Indian Summer to get a few good hours in during September and October if the weather gods are listening.

It's been two months since I did a 'proper' race and now I've got three on consecutive weekends. Today was the started with a long Sprint Tri in Dorset. The race was a 400m swim in the gorgeous pool at the Oxley Leisure Centre, followed by a tough undulating/lumpy/hilly 30km bike ride around the Dorset countryside. After the bike came an equally undulating 6km run to finish things off.
THE SWIM - was normal. Nothing to say really, it was only 400m. There were two of us in the lane which was nice and the pool was lovely. It felt effortless.

THE BIKE - was tough. 18 undulating miles with 1,000ft of ascent. It hurt after Saturday's training, especially when I got involved in a real battle with Ben Butler who really had my card marked on the hills on his road bike, but I had the aero edge on the flatter sections to chase him down again. We were total opposites and never ever a similar pace, one of us was always plenty faster than the other. Ben got the upper hand though as he hit T2 ahead of me and I got stuck in the dismount area like a complete doofus.

THE RUN - was a complete nightmare. I started ok and cruised along taking in a healthy amount of downhill and easing my way past a good amount of other runners. As soon as the course went uphill though (and it did often) my quads started to cramp and I pretty much ended up jogging round the last two miles. Thankfully it never got bad enough to force me to stop and walk as it has in the past and the pace was enough to keep me ahead of those I'd passed in the first mile. The last section seemed to have us running around the biggest field in the world while the damn Finish Line was in sight all along, I was glad when it was over and I'd got round in one piece without having to stop. A solid training session done!
THE RESULT - In the end I was 2nd overall but I was well beaten by the winner, he was 3mins clear. On a fresh day I'd have been plenty quicker but doubt it would have affected anything, the difference between my tired and fresh performances (even with my awful run) won't be 3mins.
OVERALL - The race was great, the course was well marshalled and although I heard of several people getting lost I'm not sure how they did because I thought the course marking was spot on. The only downside and I appreciate that for the majority this won't matter a jot, was the prize giving.
The accepted standard (in my eyes) for prizes is 1st, 2nd & 3rd overall, then Age Groups. The Age groups could be in 5 or 10 years and could be one prize or top 3. You also normally find that IF you're in the top 3 you won't get an Age Group prize because normally your prize is of a higher value and the norm is to have one prize per person. Here it was different!
First place got a prize, second and third got nothing. The winner overall then also p
icked up an Age Group prize (which really wasn't worth much). So the poor lad in 3rd place overall who would normally get a podium prize ended up with bugger all as he was also in the same Age Group as the winner. I know for most it's a petty complaint, but I think it's poor and I know that anybody who raced this and is also racing Ilfracombe Tri on Sunday will be spoilt rotten by what they get at the Devon race in comparison. If they could sort out this last little thing (and sweep the transition area) then Sherborne Tri would be a cracking race.

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