NiceTri London Brik Standard (Olympic) Distance Triathlon 2014 Race Report

Me again!  I have been up to stuff since writing my last report, but haven’t had the time to blog about it.  In summary, I completed the St Neots sprint again, and beat last Septembers time (1:36:38 vs 1:41:31), and completed a couple of off road/mountain bike triathlons, which were a bit of fun, and made an improvement between the two, so pleased with that.  (1:27:56 vs 1:24:17)

This weekend saw my second standard distance triathlon:

London Brik

London Brik

Not actually any where near London, but just outside Bedford at the old brick works.

I opted for the standard distance – 1,500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run.

Saturday had been a pretty relaxing day, not doing much at all, apart from watching (mostly sports, flicking between the Commonwealth Games and the Tour de France) on TV, cooking and eating, and faffing about with the kit for the race.  I cooked a really nice chicken pesto pasta dish with loads of veg.  It was very tasty, nice and clean, and full or carbs and a good bit of lean protein.
We got to bed nice and early, and it was a really hot night, so opened the bedroom windows.  Unfortunately one of our inconsiderate bloody neighbours had decided it would be a good night for a bonfire, so it absolutely stank, but it was too hot to sleep with the windows shut.
Net result – I had a bloody terrible nights sleep.  I thought I’d been pretty relaxed about the race, and I didn’t consciously feel nervous, but I’m guessing I may have been.
The alarm went off at 5:45, as we had to leave at 6:15 and I had to load the car, and get the bikes on the back of the car.  I scoffed a banana and a cereal bar, and necked a pint of re-hydration drink and a coffee, and we were off.
It was about half an hours drive to the race, so we had plenty of time.  We parked up, got the bikes off the car, and made our way to the race registration, which was pretty straight forward.  We got given our race memento’s and race pack – a NiceTri mug, race belt and, weirdly, some shower gel.  The race pack included race number, timing chip, and swim cap – blue for standard, and pink for sprint.
There were quite a few of us Freedom Tri people racing today – 5 in the sprint, and 11 in the Olympic, so I was in good company.
We racked the bikes, and queued for the bogs, which was tiresome as usual, there are NEVER enough toilet, and just made it back in time for the race briefing at 7:50 for an 8am start.
The sprint wave was first, and as they got half way into their lap, we were put in the water for a deep water start.  We basically had to hang onto a jetty for a bit, before the air horn setting us off at 8:10.  I was deliberately holding back – there’s no point me rushing to the front of the swim to get battered and swam over.
I had 3 goals for the swim – not to get lapped, not to be dead last out of the water, and swim the 1,500 in sub 40 minutes.  Thankfully I just scraped the first two.  I didn’t get lapped, and I think there were probably about half a dozen people behind me.  I missed the sub 40 though, but I did measure the course as a bit long.  My official swim split for the race was 42:02. I don’t know if this was down to my bad sighting in the water, taking a long line around the buoys or what.  But if I’d swam the 1,500m rather than 1,689m at that pace, it would have taken me 37:19, so something’s not right there.  I’m sure I’m just making excuses though.
Taking the positives from the swim – I felt strong in the water, I swam the whole 1,500m (1,689m 😉 ) front crawl, without stopping.  I didn’t get lapped, and I wasn’t last in the water.
Heading for T1

Heading for T1

You can see in the photo above that I’ve ditched the beard, in an attempt to be streamlined and reduce drag (it’s actually that sun cream and facial hair don’t really mix, I’m just pretending to be a pro).
On exiting the water, I did have a bit of a technical hitch.  I couldn’t unzip my wetsuit.  One of the other guys racing stopped to help me, to no avail, but thankfully one of the marshals came to my rescue and pulled my zip down, so I could get on with the race.  Technically speaking, I could have probably been disqualified for that, or been handled a time penalty – you’re meant to be unaided for the entire race, but at my level, not many judges are looking, and the ones that are probably realise that me being unzipped by someone wouldn’t affect the results.
Looking at the map off my watch from the swim, it looks like the chip mat must have been on entry to transition, so my swim time included getting stuck in my wetsuit, so maybe my swim was better than I thought.
Anyway, enough speculation of the swim, onto transition.  I found my bike quickly – there were 5 racks of bikes, and not many bikes left by the time I got there.  So I pulled my goggles, swimming cap and ear plugs out, put my glasses and helmet on while I kicked my wetsuit off, dried my feet, pulled my socks and bike shoes on, and I was off on the bike.  Running with the bike to the mount line, jump on the bike and off.
Looking at the results, I was 115th out of 122 on the swim, so there would only have been half a dozen other bikes in transition when I got there!
The first half a mile or so of the bike was shocking, entirely down to the road surface – it was a terrible bit of road.  I wasn’t happy about that at all!  I had in mind that 4 laps on the awful road surface would be seriously bad times – dodging pot holes.
Thankfully we turned left onto the actual course – 4 laps on pretty good roads to be fair.  The race was billed as fast and flat, and the bike course was 4 laps between two roundabouts.  On the first lap I did hit a big pothole hard, and my water bottle jumped out of the bottle cage . It was too hot to ride dry, do I decided I’d try to pick up the water bottle as I passed it on the second lap.  I’m really glad I did.  I don’t think it cost me too much time, and I think I’d have had a bad day out if I’d let myself get dehydrated on the bike.  I managed to avoid the pot hole on the other laps.
4 laps on the bike was actually a little bit dull to be honest.  It was great seeing a lot of my clubmates though.  Our club tri-suits are pretty distinctive, so was great to give and receive waves and nods of encouragement on the bike leg.  They all pretty much finished a lap in front of me, and the last lap was very noticeable quieter, with fewer cyclists out on the course.  By sheer fluke I glanced at my watch, and it read 1:00 – one hour exactly, and I’d clocked 18.7 miles, so I knew I was on for a pretty quick bike split.
I measured the bike leg slightly short – it was meant to be 40km, but I measure it 36.7km – 22.8 miles.  Average speed was 18.5mph, total time 1:14:15.  VERY pleased with that.  One of my goals for the year was to be riding 18mph rides, so doing this at a decent distance in a race is great progress for me.  My goal for today was to ride the bike in sub 1:30, so no problems there.  I actually gained a few places on the bike, my bike leg was 96th out of 122.
Back down the rough half mile back to transition.  Sam and the other sprinters had finished their race already, so they were there to cheer me on, which really got me fired up.
On my pedalatron

On my pedalatron

I quickly ditched the bike, helmet and bike shoes, got my runners on, grabbed a gel, water bottle and cap, and cracked on.  T2 was a pretty respectable 45s.
Out onto the run course.  2 x 5km laps.  I HATE laps.  But thankfully it was a flat 2 laps.
The other Freedom Tri athletes were on the run, and there were high-5’s at every opportunity  – it’s the Freedom way.
As always, I set off too quickly on the run – finishing the first mile in 8:24.  This was too quick for the 10k on the back of a triathlon, especially in the heat – the sun really was beating down.
I forced myself to slow it down a bit – I’d rather run it all than blow up and have to walk.  I really wanted to run the 10k in sub 1 hour, but even more wanted to run all of it.  I’d rather run all of it in 1:01, than walk a bit in 59 minutes.  Strange as it may sound, but I’m a fan of pace discipline.  Maybe I would be quicker with a run/walk strategy, but I’d rather run the whole lot a bit slower.
Mile 2 was 9:22, which included the turn and a water station, where I downed one cup of water, and chucked another down my back, despite carrying a small running bottle, the cooler water was greatly received.
Mile 3 was 9:24, and I was at the 5km halfway turn at about 28 minutes.  I knew I was on for a decent run split, so long as I could hold the pace, and keep running.
Runners were pretty thin on the ground for my second lap, as most people had finished already.  I did manage to hold my pace thankfully, and finished the 10k run in 56:03.
Running bit

Running bit

Total time 2:54:33
Splits and Positions:
Swim:  42:02 – 115/122
T1: 1:27 – 68/122
Bike: 1:14:15 – 96/122
T2: 0:45 – 42/122
Run: 56:03 – 102/122
Toal: 2:54:33 = 110/117
Still pretty pleased with that all round.  Good all round improvements, so can’t really grumble too much.  My first tri of this distance was the NiceTri Anglian Water Standard Olympic Triathlon at Grafham Water, which I completed in 3:11:38.
And no aches or pains, apart from some sun burn.  Perhaps I should have raced harder?
Garmin links for those stat nerds like me:
Swim: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/550567925
Bike: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/550567930
Run: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/550567943

 

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