Whilst the coaches were up at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Graham was still out racing.
Five weeks after the European Champs at Austria I felt like I needed a race so we travelled up to Milton Keynes on the Saturday & arrived at our B&B just in time to watch the Commonwealth Games Mixed Relay triathlon on the BBC (come on England) so after watching that race it gave me the get & go to do my normal pre-race 20min bike, 10min run. Mid afternoon we headed off to Emberton Park to register only to find that there were approx 200 entrants for this event, which was nice with not having to chase age group placings etc & that I could just go & enjoy the race. As I’d never done the Olympic distance here before, after dinner we headed off & reccied the bike course.
Sunday morning our wake up call came in at 4:45am with the race starting at 7am. The weather conditions were a lot cooler than for the past few weeks & windy as well. At the park I had no problems with setting up in transition & then headed off to the swim start for the race briefing at 6:45am. We then had a 10min warm up before the prompt 7am start. The swim course was a one lap swim in the Emberton lake which had seven turns in it (2 of them being dead turns). During our reccie I had spoken to Coach 2 about my swim start position because when I did the sprint race here a few years ago I made a right pigs ear of it, but this time I had no problems.
The swim was good & there was no untoward bumping & barging. When I got out of the swim Coach 2 shouted I was approx in 14th position, & I must say that I was not expecting that.
Into T1 & out onto the two lap bike course which consisted of 4 decent sized rollers, 1 good quality climb & 1 fast descent. During the first lap of the bike I overtook one lady & got overtaken by 1 bloke. The main part of the bike ride consisted of me trying to chase down a fellow competitor. It took 13 miles to eventually catch him & overtake him on one of the climbs, but he didn’t like that & immediately overtook me, so I thought that I’d try once more but he still didn’t agree with that & overtook me again. At this point I thought sod this, I’m not wasting my energy on doing this for another 12 miles. As we were going at a fair lick I let him do all the work for the rest of the lap, within the permitted legal drafting limits of course. As myself & Coach 2 had reccied the T2 entrance on the Saturday, I was prepared for the tricky, technical entrance into transition, which consisted of a jump up a kerb, then over some grass followed by a tight right turn around a bollard, so when the guy in front of me was headed down the hill towards T2 he started taking his feet out of his shoes. Now that wasn’t my plan, so I whooshed past him, which was a bit unfair but that’s racing, & continued into the park towards T2 (Coach 2 shouted that I was now in 10th).
The run was 3 laps of Emberton Park. The first part of the run was a little bit technical in parts i.e. on banked grass then single windy tracks until we got onto the road part of the park. Mushti, who I’d just overtaken obviously didn’t like being overtaken again & came flying past me on the run, never to be seen again. The run went well, still not super fast for me, but I’m accepting that now. The 2nd & 3rd laps got a little bit confusing position-wise due to the other competitors on the course as well the Sprint Race now having joined the foray, but I enjoyed it & felt reasonably good on the run.
My splits are as follows:
Swim – 22:28
T1 – 0:50
Bike – 1:07:11
T2 – 0:33
Run – 41:54 (1st lap 13:42, 2nd lap 14:07, 3rd lap 14:05)
Total time – 2:12:58
14th overall (out of 160 competitors) & 3rd in my age group (out of 23)