Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Bad week, Solid weekend

Wow, I'm glad that week is over. Everything very nearly went pear shaped. As is quite often the case my week started in a half hearted fashion. My Monday night track session wasn't anything exciting and then there was my regular Tuesday off from training which was probably needed after the previous long training weekend. Then it all started to go very wrong when I kept waking up during the night with an ache in my jaw. By the time I finished work on Wednesday evening I looked like the elephant man. Now I had a good news/bad news situation. As luck would have it I'd got Thursday off and had got a dentist appointment booked for 8:30am, to be followed by a long training session. Hmmmm, well the dentist happened but by the time I left there it was clear that no training was happening after having one of my teeth ripped out that had got a hulking great abscess underneath it. Damn, what a waste of day off. At least it didn't happen in race week though, I'll count my blessings!!

So with just my regular Friday swim session ahead I started the weekend with just 2h50m of training done in 5 days, at a time when most people training for Florida will have been putting their biggest weeks in. For once this year my saviour came with the weather and the all too short burst of good weather we had.
Saturday was a beautiful day so I loaded my bike up and set out for my 2nd consecutive Saturday Century ride. We'll ignore the fact that I hadn't sat on my bike at all between the two!! In a near repeat of the previous weeks ride I biked to Copplestone and back, then my my clubmate Phill & rode Puffin Billy and back, all as aero as possible to get used to the position but without putting in a huge effort and wrecking myself ahead of Sunday's race ............. Oh yeah, I'd got a race to do on Sunday :-)

The original plan had been to finish my bike ride and then run to Bideford and help Shelly with the Saturday registration for Sunday's Sprint Tri. With only 1h50m to get changed and run the 13miles out there on an unseasonably hot day I wimped out though. Sure it gave me plenty of time, but had I suffered in the heat, or had any post ride issues then Shelly wouldn't be at home to rescue me and if I did end up with a long walk she'd be worrying where I was rather than focussing on the job in hand concerning the race. As it turned out I could have jogged up their in my leisure because Shelly had everything under control and my services were hardly needed except for a few Q&A sessions off some non-local and novice competitors.
We finished off a looong day by calling in for a Chinese takeaway on the way home that hit the spot nicely.

Bideford Sprint Triathlon

The day started with an early wake up as Shelly was organising the morning registration. I had the option of biking up to the race later, but as is normally the case I took the easy option and helped out dishing out timing chips while giving random nuggets of info to competitors. Soon it was race time though and I got everything prepared, ready to roll.

The Swim

We all set off in waves of 20 on the swim to ensure there were no issues when we swam under the arches on Bideford Bridge where huge crowds had gathered to watch the race (apparently forcing traffic to stop). The first 3 waves we people who'd put the slowest swim times down, then the next 4 waves included the quickest swimmers (I was in wave 4). We had a 4-5ft jump into the water then lined up for a deep water start, it wasn't long before we were on our way though and after an initial bit of jostling I was in clear water on my own. Apparently I took the slower route through the arches (I've no idea, I just swam), then we had right turns at two buoys before returning through another set of arches and heading back to transition. It was only 600m so nothing too exciting although the line of white caps from the previous waves of slower swimmers helped my useless navigation skills a little.


I hit T1 happy to see one of my squad swim pals still in there. I knew at least two people who would destroy me in the water, I wanted/needed to keep them within a minute, especially as one of them was on the British Triathlon Olympic Talent Squad last year. I'd held them to 45secs in the water but then I lost another 13secs in T1 battling with my wetsuit.

The Bike

The Bideford bike course is a real ride of two halves. The first half is along good width country lanes which rise and fall constantly, hardly ever letting you settle into a rhythm. The 2nd half would be a real TT'ers delight if it wasn't for the almost constant headwinds that greet you every time you ride it, it's very fast and with very few climbs to force you off your Tri-Bars. Thankfully the recent burst of hot weather had also reversed the normal wind direction, so what tiny bit of wind there was would actually be behind us. Bonus!!
I knew the two speedy swimmers ahead of me were both on road bikes, so if I could keep them at a sensible distance over the climbs I should be able to make time up on the fast return section. I never for a second expected to have caught and passed them within the first couple of miles, but I did!!
I was now leading on the road and for the 2nd race on the trot I had the company of a lead motorcycle all the way to T2. I've no idea how fast I was going on the 2nd section because I didn't wear my Garmin, I wish  I had of now though.


No messing, just in and out. My clubmate Phill who rode with my on Saturday had punctured in T1 :-(. His bike was racked and his wife shouted at me that he was a minute ahead of me as I ran out. Cheeky :-D.

The Run

Strangely I hadn't felt any ill effects at all on the bike from Saturdays century ride, as soon as I hit the run though my legs were protesting, they really did not want to run at all. I remembered my recent race at Burnham Standard Distance Tri when my legs felt tired but the Garmin was still giving my good figures and I pushed on. I had to really, I knew there were some good fast runners behind me and I had no idea how far behind they were.
The run was 'awkward'. Lots of twists and turns around Bideford back roads with no chance to settle into a groove, there were also two real stinging hills that my legs cried out to me to walk up, but I couldn't, not while I was first on the road. I kept looking over my shoulder for somebody chasing the pace felt sooo slow, but there was never anybody there.
Finally after what felt like forever I ran alongside the park in Bideford and knew I was on the final stretch. I cruised into and around the park until I crossed the finish line and then I waited 1, 2, 3, 4 minutes before anybody else came home. Damn, I could have eased off!
I spent the next hour chatting with various friends and clubmates as they all crossed the line while waiting to see how the other waves times had compared to mine. When it was all over I'd managed to hang on to my lead and win in a time of 1:07:57, exactly 3mins ahead of 2nd place.

So the week ended well although I'll admit I'd rather have finished further down the field and not had the tooth issue/missed training from earlier in the week. I totalled less than 9hrs training which is pretty pathetic with just 5 weeks to the race...... BUT I'd ended on a high with a solid Saturday ride and a very solid Sunday race. Now I just need to knuckle down and get on with things for a few more weeks. Here's hoping!

BIDEFORD SPRINT TRIATHLON - 1st overall - 8:31 (0:52) 38:22 (0:20) 19:52 = 1:07:57

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