My first sprint distance and after two DNS, there was no way I was missing this one (illness or not – more on that later). I wasn’t planning on doing this event but when Steve Taylor said he wanted to give an Open Water Tri a go, I thought I’d give him some moral support. After Arriving at the very nice Croft Farm Leisure Park, registration was easy and the vibe was very relaxed. Steve arrived and together we took in the swim route and transition – his nerves visible but no greater than his excitement. Waiting on blood test results that were taken the week before after some worrying heart rate levels, I was unsure how my race was going to go… Would I get through the swim? Will I have to pace myself? Will I finish? the target – keep the heart rate under control and finish in good health.
Off in the first wave (only 18 of us), I thought it was a good opportunity to see what it’s like lining up at the front of a swim. Turns out people swim over you. The swim went ok – not particularly fast but very comfortable and I felt fine. On The long uphill run to transition I passed a couple of people and that meant I was on the bike in about 11th position.
Someone said the route was flattish – they lied. Long, leg sapping inclines and tight bends meant it wasn’t a fluent ride and the heart rate was starting to climb. This is where I got dropped by the guy I was trying not to draft. A good finish to the cycle meant I closed the gap again and a good transition sent me out 5th onto the run. The run was 3 laps of the leisure park, around the lake, through the campsite and up past transition. The run through the campsite got more populated with holidaying kids hanging out for high 5s every lap. 5th became 4th and 3rd place was in sight across the water. 80 meter gap became 15 by the end of lap two and the heart rate felt good, so I went for it – kick for home with over a kilometer to go. Legs felt good and the gap opened up quickly. I had time to zigzag across the path to make sure all high fives were collected before becoming the 3rd finished of the day. This soon became 11th overall as a few older GB age groupers came flying home and smashed my time. And then it was time to shout Steve on, after all, that’s why I was there!!
*the blood test results came back a few days later and it turns out I’ve contracted Weil’s disease – during Upton Triathlon. This first season in triathlon has been mixed, two 11th place finishes and a first placed novice along with a DNS due to a broken bike and a DNS due to ill health…. Can’t wait for next year!!!