Shropshire Triathlon, Ellesmere 2005

Time: 02:00:09 3 12

T/cat/ovl

Swim: 00:21:38 4 30

Bike: 01:02:26 10 32

Run: 00:36:05 5 20

3 Tri Londoners gained qualification for Honolulu – The Ginger Bullet, Jo and myself.

The Long Race Report:

Plans to qualify nearly had the kibosh put on them when I arrived at John’s place and he couldn’t unlock his front door. Disaster averted by shoving the key through the letter box and me opening it from the outside.

A nice drive up to Shropshire where following a lovely Waitrose lunch munched in a layby we met Louise and Jo and rode the course. It was a lovely afternoon, there seemed to be a following wind throughout and we enjoyed an ice cream (in some cases 2 (with a flake)) – so spirits were high for a good race the following day. John had found a great Italian near by where most of the Tri London contingent met up for a pre-race meal.

What a civilised race – first wave off at 11am … which meant we could all enjoy a proper breakie. At the Faulty Towers this varied from a restrained bowl of cereal and slice of toast through to a couple of bowls of cereal, croissant and half a dozen slices of toast. Unfortunately the mood was slightly down on the previous night as it was now overcast, cold and windy.

Transition closed at 10.30am and with the first wave off at 11am it meant there were lots of cold triathletes hanging around, shivering. I was having my doubts about the sense of early season races when they announced the water temperature was 17c!! Let me in there.

We had competitors in most waves so we tried desperately to spot their swimming style – Jo in the first wave, Louise in the second, Andy in the 3rd, myself and Gordon in 4th, then John and finally Anthony and Ollie in later waves. Needless to say I don’t think we spotted anyone and we certainly didn’t spot Louise who got into difficulties and had to cut her race very short.

The water was lovely and warm and pretty soon after getting in I was warmed up. I spotted Gordon right behind me, fully planning on jumping on my feet. I chatted with the guys near me – we were off to one side and they were asking if everyone was planning on heading off steady (!?) – I commented that the great thing about being off to the side was you were with people that didn’t want “argie bargie” … there was general agreement.

30 second warning. I had no watch (due to a spate of watch breakages recently) and when the hooter went my mind was elsewhere, I saw the guys either side of me dive in before I made a move. In I went … so much for no argie bargie. By the first turn buoy I was in the top half dozen and had cunningly jumped on the toes of someone. Following the next turn buoy I found the guy I was drafting was heading off course so I dropped him and went by.

I had a great swim exiting in 4th place. As I’d approached the swim exit I’d mentally rehearsed T1. Hand in swim cap, run, pull down wetsuit, concentrate on clipping helmet first time … all went well, ran out of transition and managed, for the first time in competition, a running hop onto my bike. Only minor issue with T1 was my left shoe got the tongue rolled up as I put my foot in … tried to sort but in the end just fastened it up and headed off. Swim time with T1 was 21.38 – can’t complain.

I started to hammer the bike. Continuing my race strategy I used last year – i.e., ride the bike as if there’s no run after it. (T2 is when u recover for the run ;o)). Aim here is to minimise lost places. Down the section through to our hotel I had two guys go past me – one of them must have been Laurence Harding who posted a bike split of 57.48 … 2 mins quicker than anyone else and took 5 minutes out of me! This put me in 6th spot. Luckily no one else passed me on the bike. The course felt pretty brutal compared to Saturday with a strong head wind in the middle third. Coming down the final straight I saw a Tri Londoner ahead – Andy Collinge. I’ve gotta come clean – as I went by I motivated myself by deciding I wasn’t gonna let him catch me on the run. Bike and T2 1:02:26.

Into T2 … hop of the bike, run in, shoes on without sitting down!! This is going well. Now into the run. Aim: no one must pass me, if a ‘G’ passes me I’m going all out to stick with him. On the way out I see Jo coming in … she’s looking comfortable and clearly well up the field. I cheered her on. I passed one guy with a G putting me into 5th, then saw two guys ahead that had not been marked with their category (sneaky toe rags) … but one I knew was my age group… I passed the first guy and then came up on the guy I knew with about 2k to go, considered staying behind him and sprinting past at the end but thought better of it, instead put a spurt on as I went by so he wouldn’t think of trying to stick with me – he didn’t. Finished with a run split of 36.05 and total time of 2.00.09 – if only I’d had a watch on I’d have got sub 2 hours!!

Of the other Tri londoners:

Jo – pleased with her race, got the 5th qualification spot so can’t complain!

John – very pleased with his race, nothing to complain about and getting the 4th qualification spot must be the icing on the cake.

Andy, Anthony and Gordon – seemed non-commital about the race but certainly enjoyed it.

Ollie – said he had a bad race, when asked what went wrong was heard to say “bad swim, bad bike and then a bad run” .. so nothing specific. Someone making off with his wetsuit (by mistake we think) really rounded it off.

Top race, well organised, really nice course, and lovely homemade food layed on after – worth doing next year.

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