Sunday, 5 July 2015

Canterbury Sprint Triathlon 2015

Having attended a wedding yesterday of friends who have just completed Ironman Austria, it seemed fitting to blast out the post-wedding fuzz with a very conveniently located local triathlon, the Velocity Events Canterbury Sprint Tri.

We sat smugly drinking coffee with plenty of time to spare even with the horrendous unisex toilet queue of doom. The race had changed venues at fairly shirt notice  and it looked like access to loos might have been overlooked. However, what the event lacked in facilities it made up for in organisation; registration was super swift and simple, there was a well-stocked kit stand which is always a bonus at a small event and a good but not overwhelming selection of cakes (very rarely am I overwhelmed by cake but we were a little more fragile than usual).

Enjoying the lovely dry, sunny morning
before the race!
The whole of transition was being managed by an incredible woman who had total control of everyone and everything, nothing was missed. She was doing all the ins and outs as well as referee duties, cheering, answering questions and hawk-eyeing every undone helmet and missing race belt. Not only was she doing all that but she was doing it whilst remaining entirely unstressed and cheerful, quite a feat!

I lined up my sunglasses neatly in my helmet and headed into what looked like a large poly-tunnel where the pool was housed. This would be my first experience of a zig-zag swim, where you work your way across the pool, ducking under the ropes as you go. Whilst waiting in line to begin and chatting away, I glanced outside to see a sudden torrential downpour. Not ideal. At least I had a chance to mentally prepare for a wet ride, I felt sorry for those that had started their swim in the sunshine and were in for a shock.

After approximately one year of missed swimming sessions, I did not have a great swim. T1 - however - was quick, I took one look at my socks which were now two inches underwater and decided I would save myself a few seconds. The bike started with a long, gentle incline which made for a great warm up. The rain was coming down hard and there was a lot of standing water but this wasn't a problem until the middle bit of the course which was through bendy, narrow country roads. I had no idea what was around each corner so was particularly cautious in the wet. The marshals were brilliant; really visible and vocal even though I'm sure they wanted to sit in their warm cars and drink cups of tea. I was concentrating so hard on handling the bike in the dodgy weather that before I knew it I was heading back down the hill toward transition.

Very soggy and happy finishers
The run was a dream. It was a mixture of tracks, trails, mud, field, gravel and tarmac, a bit of something for everyone and the rain was doing an excellent job of keeping me cool. I couldn't figure out if I was running slowly on heavy legs or my legs were working because I was running fast. Playing with triathlon mode on the Garmin in a race probably isn't the most practical approach, all I could see was a time and no distance. Again, the marshals were brilliant, especially the chap who had to inform everyone to clamber through one of the holes in a gate that hadn't been unlocked. I was secretly hoping it was the start of an obstacle section but no luck this time.

There was great support at the finish line, as well as jaffa cakes, always a winner. The event was slick and smoothly run but still had the feel of a little, local race. I was chuffed to bag my first triathlon in a year and secretly hoping my friends decide to have an anniversary party to I have a good reason to race it again next year!

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