My move into triathlon has gone well of which I didn’t have much doubt. The only doubt I had was the swim section but my training for that went well in the weeks leading up to this triathlon.
The day started early with us getting to the venue early and we went straight to registration. This was handled well with numbers being given out and written on your arm and leg in permanent marker. The chip was fastened around my ankle and I quickly forgot this was there as I had wondered if it would become annoying. Thankfully it didn’t.
Being a complete novice at the transition I stood there looking a bit lost and started to copy one of my neighbours. I didn’t know the etiquete of the transition area, was I too close to the next person? Was I taking up too much space? Did i hang my bike to the forward or rear of the bar? I decided that I couldn’t do too much wrong so opted to hang my bike by it’s saddle with the front wheel touching the ground on the other side of the bar and I set up my stuff under the rear wheel. I chose a spot right next to an upright pole with the thought that it would help me find my bike when the racks were all full up.
I’d laid out my trainers with socks already in them on top of a small towel to dry my feet. I also laid out a jacket and gloves in case I thought about wearing them. My mate watched as I set up and immediately told me to ‘Man Up’ and not to use the gloves or jacket as ‘it’s only a sprint’. The weather was cold, with sunny spells but some clouds looked ominous.
Transition all set up it was time to chill out and watch the initial heats so i could get an idea of what to expect. Time for the heat and it was the first time I had worn a swim cap which was actually quite tricky to put on and then realised goggles go on after! I had initially put down a swim time of 16min but in training I had done a 14:50 so I knew I was going to be fast for my heat, and not only that I was the last to go in the lane so I had some over taking to do.
I kept behind the pack for two lengths to get into the swing of things, one guy had waited to get to the back so I only had to get passed 3 others. This took some effort, as someone didn’t want to get out my way. I had touched the mid leg as I was right up the toes of this person but they wouldn’t let me pass. In the end I had to grab as hard as possible and eventually they let me go.
This was the first time I’d managed to count the lengths correctly as normally I would forget so right on time I got tapped on the head and that was 2 lengths to go. Jumping out the pool, then running outside was a strange experience. But I had no time to think too much about it and got to the transition area. Dry feet, put socks on, slide shoes on, put helmet on, unrack bike and run with bike. Jumping on the bike wasn’t that graceful so there is room for improvement there.
The route was a bit brutal in that it was straight into a hill but this went without too much bother as much of the rest seemed downhill! This is where my nerves took me as I’d only been on the road bike three times previous and only one of those was on a long route. I didn’t have the confidence to go downhill full steam, high gear and pedalling so I kept relatively fast. I also was missing glasses which meant my eyes were watering and I couldn’t read the road which made me extra nervous. Turning the corner, halfway into the first lap, my mate passed me who started in the same heat as me. He was good on the bike, skinny, less wind resistance. I managed to pass him again as he was taking a sip from is bottle but he soon went passed me again and into the distance.
On the second go of the uphill I managed to overtake a guy who had all the expensive gear but no power in his legs to get him up! He did, however, pass me on that downhill but I managed to get passed him again before turning into transition.
I’m not really that competitive and I really was just going around at my own pace for me but I did want a good time.
Transition 2 was funny, I racked my bike, threw off my helmet then stopped wondering what was next! It all seemed too quick but realising that all I needed to do was run, that is what I did. The sun had gone by now and there was ominous black clouds above. I started out on the railway path and in the distance I could see a familiar figure – it was my mate who’d passed me on the bike – he mustn’t have got too far in front. So I pushed on to pass him. By this time I had the beginnings of a stitch in my rib and my feet were numb and legs were weird. It is the first time I experienced the cycle to run leg strangeness. I kept saying to myself..”I know how to run, so just do it!”. It felt slow but I was making progress on passing my mate.
I eventually did and said, ‘hello, i’ve got a stitch’ he replied ‘so do I’ and kinda felt bad for running faster than him with a stitch. The course was 5km, out and back and the turn around point seemed to take ages to arrive. It eventually did and I was glad to see my mate not too far behind.
It started hail stoning at this point and boy was I glad not to be on the cycle part of the course! It would have been brutal speeding down that hill into hail! And the hail was big! It was quite nice though for the run.
I picked up the pace thinking that I could run OK with a stitch and it was OK to push myself. Running over the line was great and I did feel tired.
1st triathlon done: 1:15:05. Not a bad starting time for a novice. 🙂
Cake and refreshments were great. I hung around a bit watching the guys in the later heats and trying to spot some tips for the next race.
here’s some pics… some courtesy of Ian Rob.