Monday, 15 July 2013

Three races...three jellyfish.

Pendine Triathlon
I got a lesson in running by a 16yr old boy. What is it with these Welsh Juniors?!
The swim was cancelled on the morning of the race. I had no issues with this decision as the sight of the buoys coming back onto the beach in a tangled mess was enough to raise a few eyebrows.
This meant that swim was replaced with 3k run. 8k of running on a beach? Less than ideal 1 week out from a Worlds qualifier in Bristol.
Pendine is pretty exposed and the winds were playing havoc with racked bikes and the unattended helmets were being blown around the place. A case of just grabbing the closest helmet when getting on the bike?
From the off I held 2/3rd position at relative ease with another guy matching my pace. The junior had already got a significant lead going into T1. I could hear my running mate breathing pretty heavily so I guessed he put too much into the first leg.
Onto the bike and I was making some decent time into the junior. I caught him on the start of the second lap and decided to push on into the headwind on the return where I opened up a decent gap. This gap was torn to pieces as he caught me before the turnaround of the final 5k. Running down the beach into the headwind was pretty shite...and it started raining. I kept the gap on the return and worryingly, I've realised I start the run these days in a bit of a mess? It takes me 2.5/3k to get into a rhythm? (this is still with me after Bristol).
I finished 2nd roughly 25 seconds behind Junior and 3 minutes ahead of 3rd. I was pleased with the quickest bike split of the day considering I'm 66kg and the flat course with a filthy headwind isn't exactly playing to my advantage. I got a free Welsh cake.
Bristol Triathlon – World Championship Qualifier Round 2
An easy week led into Bristol Triathlon - one of my targets for 2013. I was subdued all week and felt generally flat during the lead up. Perfect.
This was easy to plan for. Finish in the top 5 of my Age-group (30-34) - it just so happens to be a pretty competitive age-group. There were ~80 of us in there and nigh on 600 entries to the race itself.
I caught up with a mate (Thomas Peoples) from previous races in Leicester when I tried my hand at middle distance in the Vitruvian . He spent most of the morning on a wind-up and generally putting people on the back foot with his observations....
”six gels? For a sprint...?”
“Yellow shoes? He’s got to win”
“That bike is worth more than my car!”
“You wearing a watch? You won’t have time to look at it....”
Onto the start and what was a pretty uneventful swim, I stumbled up the travelator and was disappointed not to be greeted John Anderson in his shit striped pj’s. I was out in 11th from the AG and was already feeling rubbish when I finally got on the bike. Being a flat, out and back 10k (two laps), I spent the majority of it laughing at the packs of rides (which was inevitable, considering the course) making their way past followed by the ‘draft police’. It’s an awful bike course! Penalties and DQ’s were being thrown around at the end of the event. 9th quickest bike split of the AG.
The run was just shit. I was stiff and struggled for the first 3k again until Thomas caught me and I finally pulled myself together and hung onto him for the remaining 2.4k. Unfortunately, I was overtaken right at the end and missed the final slot of 5 by 1 second. I had no idea at the time, but had no complaints on reflection. I ran like an absolute clown. I was 19:59 for the 5.4k and 15th in AG. Rubbish.
After all the DQ’s and penalties were handed out, I finished 6th in AG and 23rd from the 495.
I had one last chance of qualifying, it was the next weekend in Llandudno which would be my 3rd race in 3 weekends.
Llandudno Triathlon – World Championship Qualifier Round 3
Last chance saloon...same plan as Bristol, top 5 or miss out.
I’ll apologies to Lowri again for the accommodation I booked. I paid £40 for the hotel. To put this into perspective, two breakfasts cost £19. I’ve been to Anne Frank’s house and the only difference between the two was she had Nazi’s with rifles and we had half soaked, seventy-year old Scousers propping up the bar in tiger print.
Anyway, the race. I really didn’t fancy doing it in all honesty. I was tired from the previous two weeks and could have happily gone home after seeing the retirement home/hotel.
Floating around in the sea waiting for the horn to go (not mine, although I am a fan of tiger print), I was stung by a jeffin’ jellyfish. Both ankles, wrists and neck. Luckily, it didn’t bother me until I finished the race. I took the swim relatively steady and just aimed at getting around in the 2nd pack and hoped to make some time up on the hilly bike route. As I was 16th out the water in the Ag (108th overall), I clearly took it a little too easily...
The bike was great; two hilly laps of the Great Orme. I took the road bike and thankfully, this didn’t come back and bite me in the arse. I was catching people straight from transition and gradually made my way up the field. I had no idea where I was in terms of positional, so just rode pretty hard throughout. I knew I’d lose time on the descents as I’m not exactly built to go downhill, but I more than made up for this on the ascent. Looking at the results, I had a solid ride: 5th in AG and 12th overall.
I wasn’t sure how the legs would respond to the ride and was pretty nervous going into after what happened in the last two races. Thankfully, I got into my rhythm pretty quickly and was happy to tick along for the first 2.5k. There was a hill on the turnaround and I started to catch a couple people who by the looks of it, put too much into the bike. On the return, I was passed by a guy in the AG below me and decided to stick to him as long as I could...he dragged me to the finish line. I passed a couple guys in the same AG as me on the way back but I left too much to do with a poor swim. I’m pleased with my time on the run considering it wasn’t exactly flat and especially how I’ve been running lately. 18:09 was good enough for 5th in AG and 25th overall.
Finishing 14th overall from the 715 that finished, I knew it would be close...but I had to laugh when I found out I finished 8th in my AG. EIGHT? Of the top 20; 11 were 30-34. Kinell’. Between the winner and myself, there was only 1min 40s and I missed the final slot by 26 seconds. Also, to show how bad my swim was, I was quicker than the eventual winner on both the bike and run.
Anyway, I’m 2nd on the roll-down list and should find out if I get a slot within the next week or so.
From the two races, I’m relatively happy with where I am. I’ve missed out by 1 second and 26 seconds. Meh’
Next for me, Cymmer Off-Road Triathlon. This is part of the Welsh Grand Prix circuit. It’s got hills.

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