Graham managed to take time out from his busy schedule to complete his race write up.
After the very busy month of June, where I did four races (three of them trying to qualify for the Worlds in London (which I didn’t get – so a lot of expletives that I cannot put in print – very disappointed though) as well as travelling to Turkey for the European Sprint Championships), I was looking forward to rocking up to this race for the fact that I didn’t have to check who was racing in my age group, but to just turn up & enjoy, which I did.
We travelled up on Saturday as I wanted to do a reccie of the bike course which included Leigh Hill, which is the highest hill in south-east England (according to their website). Also, I got into the lake for an afternoon swim. The officials however were saying that this would probably be a non-wetsuit swim due to the high temperatures, so this practice swim was without the wetsuit. It was not too bad (but not as warm as Turkey).
As for race day, I was in the first wave for the Olympic distance race, at 8am. The swim was definitely a non-wetsuit affair, which was a first for me in England. It was however a long swim as you will see from my time. I am not the best of swimmers, but even for me it wouldn’t have taken as long as it did. Also, the other factor in the swim was the multiple weeds along the course which caused me to stop twice – the first to get a load off my timing chip as it was holding me back & the second was a sighting issue due the amount of weed across my goggles (maybe that is why it took me so long to swim the course!!!).
Out of the swim & a very long run to transition, which was based in the middle of a field, collected my trusted steed & off on another long run to get to the mount line. The bike course was a one lap semi-closed road affair, very undulating & with the monster Leigh Hill thrown in for good measure which suited me down to the ground (I really enjoyed the bike course). I was constantly overtaking people because the middle distance race had started at 7am & they had to do two laps of the course. As for Leigh Hill, I can get up most hills on 39 x 23 but I had to dig the 25 out to get over the top of this one. A cautious descent because of a busted water main which was gushing loads of water out on the tricky descent, but otherwise a good ride.
Into T2, put the runners on, not my favourite start to a run course because the first mile was through a farmer’s field which was rutted & solid ground. Not so good for my poorly ankles/feet but I had to get on with it. Once we got out of the field we had a little bit of farmyard track to run & eventually we hit some tarmac so I could start running properly then through the aid station & then the road just seemed to climb gradually but then at the turnaround point it felt like there was no advantage gained on the downhill section. I did get overtaken by a few speedy runners, but I just concentrated on my own thing & not going over on my ankles on the final section through to the finish line.
Overall time – 2:26:40
Swim – 31:01
T1 – 1:08
Bike – 1:10:06
T2 – 0:32
Run – 43:53 (very slow)
I was 18th overall out of 360. I was 1st in my age group of 45-49 but as the awards were in a 10yr age range, I came 5th. So no bling for Starmie – damn.