Sunday, 10 April 2011

Ringwood Triathlon 2011

I felt almost serene when I woke up this morning. I'd packed everything and sorted all my food and drink last night so all that was left was to enjoy my breakfast and use the toilet as many times as is physically possible in the space of about forty minutes.

I thought I would have a quick hop on the scales and see how much affect my 36-hour carb-loading epic had had... on Friday morning I weighed in at 53.8kgs. This morning I tipped the scales at 55.9kgs! That is a fairly impressive 4.5lbs, I figured (and hoped) it must just be water weight. I also hoped that the extra energy given by all that food would outweigh the extra effort required to haul those extra pounds uphill on the bike!

My very minimalist transition set up
Suffice to say once I'd arrived, registered, been drawn on in permanent ink and set up my transition I shared what must have been a fairly good portion of all that food with the Ringwood Leisure Centre sewage system in what can only be described as an extremely explosive manner.

Despite feeling enormously fresher and lighter after the gastronomical explosion, the pre-race nerves had started to kick in and my stomach was fluttering more and more with every minute that passed. I watched friends in the earlier waves complete their swims and get out on the bike course. When I eventually got to poolside I felt a huge relief as loads of people looked just about as nervous as I was! 

The swim started well and I felt that I paced myself without trying to sprint the first 100m. The other two men in my lane lapped me somewhere around the 350-400m mark and as much as I tried to stay on their feet and draft, I couldn't keep up. It all went wrong in the last 150m as my nose clip kept sliding off and I had to keep stopping to readjust it at the end of the lengths. I tried to swim whilst holding it for one length which was a ridiculous thing to do as it threw my breathing off completely and meant I was swimming with a fist instead of an open hand - what a plonker!

I could see other swimmers in my peripheral vision as I jumped out of the pool, not being the last one out made me very happy indeed but I realised I'd forgotten to start my watch so I had absolutely no idea what my time was. Into transition and I was trying to be quick but I knew I was being a bit faffy; in between hopping about getting my socks on, having issues with the buckle on the race belt and dropping my glove I definitely wasn't as quick as I could have been, but it wasn't too bad an effort!

When I started running with the bike my glasses steamed up and I nearly ran into the race official. I veered to the right, found my way out and immediately began to have all sorts of issues that I've never had before with my cleats. I don't know if it was nerves, excitement, adrenaline or what but it took me ages to clip in and once I'd finally managed to, my race belt (which apparently I hadn't buckled fully) fell off so I had to stop and put it back on. To make matters worse I got overtaken whilst I was messing about with it. Basically from T1 to about a mile into the bike was one massive, faffy fail! 

However, I then got my head down and pushed hard on the bike, really hard. I kept that little blighter that had overtaken me in my sights; on every hill I got closer and on every flat he got away again. For over half of the whole course I didn't see anybody else at all and whilst I was happy I wasn't being overtaken I felt a bit disconcerted that I wasn't catching anybody up either. At one point a random cyclist started tucked in behind me, he stayed on my wheel for a couple of miles which was very bizarre but good to know I was going fast enough that someone wanted to draft me!

After a very brief stint on the A35 I turned off into Bolderwood Ornamental Drive. Normally I love slogging up this hill but today it felt especially hard as the legs were starting to tire. Just as I started to slow, a couple of guys shot past me. That was the kick up the backside I needed and I started to push again. With just under ten miles to go, the legs were starting to hurt and I was getting hunger pains. I was gutted to find that the gel I had stuck on my handlebars had fallen off somewhere (note: use tape and not elastic bands next time!). I tried to chug down as much water as possible to stave off the grumbly belly and I just kept pushing. 

Coming into the finish
I flew through the last, flat five miles and with a rush of overkeen-ness nearly skidded past the dismount point at T2! I pulled the trainers on (elastic here was the right option!), grabbed a couple of sweets and tottered off. My legs were heavy from the bike and I felt like I was running really slowly. I was being overtaken by loads of men and I figured I must have been running at about 4mph. Breathing was easy but I just couldn't make my legs go any faster.

I hit the final stretch and tried to stride out, speeding up for the last half mile or so. After finishing I tucked into melon and orange chunks and enjoyed a free sports massage, massive bonus!

We hung around for the results ceremony as we suspected that a couple of clubmates had won some age group prizes. I was completely astounded when my name was called out as an age group winner for 20-29. Not a bad result for my second ever triathlon! 

We celebrated by heading to the pub where I indulged in a Sunday roast - lovely. However, as I type I'm munching on carrot sticks because I really need to lose that carb-loading weight! Moral of the story: 1. don't be a glutton and use carb-loading as an excuse 2. do affix gels properly to the bike 3. this tapering business actually does work! 
A few of us after the race, showing off the trophies!

1 comment:

  1. Funny read! something to be taken from every race i rekeon!! how many carbs did you actually have in the end???