2:02:56 3rd M35-39, 10th overall
Up at 3 am for a leisurely breakfast then on the road by 4am. The weather was nice and warm in London but as I progressed to Rutland water the temperature dropped from 21c to 12c, it clouded over and it started to rain.
Having qualified in Shropshire I must admit that as I shivered before the start I wondered as to the wisdom of getting up rather than having a sleep in.
The water wasn’t too bad and as this race wasn’t hugely important I was using it to try out a few new things namely: 1. wearing a two piece race suite, 2. Sprinting hard at the start of the swim and 3. using my HED water-bottle that fits in my Tri Bars.
The swim went superbly, a sharp sprint broke me free of the crowd and by the first turn buoy I was happily sitting third in the lead group of four. The fourth place guy went through and pushed the pace, I stuck on his toes and we dropped one. It was clearly the right tactic as I was working hard to stay with the guy but not all out. I exited the swim in under 19 minutes!!
As ever, I just couldn’t get my balance as I got out of the water and the other two guys ran away. Onto the bike – hopped on, left foot got a little caught in the shoe again (not sure what I am going to do about this) but overall pretty good. I soon passed the second place guy and within the first 10k had caught the leader. We then played cat and mouse a little. On the long drags he pulled away almost out of sight and then on the steeper hills I pulled him back. The last few hills into the finish found me catch and just pass him, we entered T2 together. The bike hadn’t been great, felt slightly below par. I put this down to either slightly less motivation in this race or the LAMM still in my legs (or both of course).
Numb hands did their usual trick on me and slowed putting on my shoes. The guy I’d entered T2 with was a few bikes down, I looked up when I had my first shoe on and he was already gone. God knows how much time he’d taken on me.
Felt great on the run. The 3rd place guy went by me on the way to the dam but he did not pull too far away and by the end of the second lap of the dam I could see I was clawing him back and the lead guy was definitely coming back to me.
I pushed along but couldn’t gain enough over the last KMs and finished 3rd, 20 seconds behind the leader and 11 behind second place. Can’t really complain but know I should have won it. The winner had been 8th in Shropshire and I’d really sorted him out on the bike at that race.
As to my experiments – all went well. The sprint start resulted in my best ever swim – my fastest time and tactically mature ;o). The bottle on the Tri Bars certainly meant I drank more on the bike but I need to learn to temper it as I needed a pee on the run!! And the two piece tri suit was a revelation – I thought the top may feel restrictive but not at all – on the run I felt I had alot more freedom of movement than in a one piece.