Wotton Triathlon – Race Report
My first triathlon in 20 years and preparations weren’t good. I’d been ill for a couple of weeks so hadn’t done much training and hadn’t managed to get out on my bike after fiddling with the position set up.
We arrived in Gloucestershire on Friday evening and I had a quick drive around the cycle course with Matt. It didn’t look like a particularly fast course. It was fairly hilly and all of the descents were on very narrow singletrack roads with lots of potholes, gravel and bends so the downhills would be slow. There was a nice flat stretch at one point, and then a couple of short but steep hills towards the end which looked as though they may cause me trouble with my high gear ratios.
Sleeping in a strange bed on Friday night meant I only got a couple of hours sleep before the birds woke me up at 4am. The drive down on Friday and the bed didn’t do much for my back either. Saturday was spent wandering around garden centres and shops (including Ikea) and all the time my sciatica was getting worse. Things weren’t looking good for the triathlon on Sunday.
I decided to sleep on the floor on Saturday night to see if that would help my back. It actually turned out that I didn’t sleep on the floor, rather just lay there and didn’t sleep a single wink all night long. My back did feel a little better by the morning though.
So that was it, race day was here, I had only had a couple of hours sleep in the past 48 hours, my back was a little sore and to make matter worse it was raining! Time for breakfast, get our stuff ready and head off to set up.
We dropped our running shoes off at the bike-run transition at KLB school and then headed up to the pool where we set up our bikes and cycling kit, got into our swimming kit and had the race briefings etc. The people I knew who were doing the Triathlon were my brothers Jay and Brad, my sisters’ boyfriend Matt and his friend Beale. They all mountain bike with us and are all younger than me, Matt & Beale especially so. I had to show them who was boss!
At 8am the race was on. 30 lengths of the pool with four people in each lane. The first wave of people to start contained most of the fastest people based on their estimated times – although there were a few fast people going later in the day as well. I knew that swimming was a strong discipline for me so was expected to exit the pool towards the front. It wasn’t the fastest swim in the world as I was constantly having to overtake the others in my lane but I exited the pool in first place.
After a bit of a push and shove to get into the transition area I was a little slow getting my cycling kit on. I put my heart rate monitor and GPS on and was soon off on the bike and looking for the little red ‘WT’ signs on the road to find my way around the course. It was raining a little on the bike but nothing too much and I soon got into a nice steady ride. The bike felt good and the position was spot on for the aero-bars. Unfortunately the potholes on the road and the twisty country lanes weren’t ideal for the aero-bars so I didn’t use them much, but all felt OK.
Being out in front on the road is always difficult as you don’t have the incentive of chasing people down and are always looking over your shoulder. It also means that the marshalls aren’t quite ready as you are the first person to pass them. I kept pushing on though, negotiated the course OK, made it up the steep hills without any problem and entered the bike-run transition still in first place on the road and without seeing anyone behind me.
Off with my helmet, off with my cycling shoes and into my running shoes and off onto the run. No one else entered the transition area whilst I was there so I knew I had a little bit of time in hand. The run went quite quickly and I felt good all the way around. I didn’t push too hard as I wanted to keep something in reserve in case anyone caught me. No one did, but I did at last see some other people out on the course where the run route followed part of the cycle route. Before too long I wasn’t far from the end so picked the pace up a little bit and crossed the line in first place.
Now all I had to do was wait to see who was next in. It was actually quite a wait with the next person coming in 8 minutes later. In the meantime I learned that I had had about 10 minutes in hand over Matt by the Bike-Run transition and more over Beale, Brad and Jay in that order. Jay was actually a long way back due to a puncture on the bike which was a shame. A few others came over the finish line and then next in our group was Matt 20 minutes behind… Hah, the old man had beat them and by quite a way! Beale came in 4 minutes later, Brad a few minutes after that and then Jay about 30 minutes behind that having fixed his puncture and continued to finish the race.
Our final times were:
- Me: 1:30:11
- Matt: 1:50:37
- Beale: 1:54:25
- Brad: 1:57:10
- Jay 2:19:40
Although I’d finished first on the road there were of course still people who had started after me that could beat my time so it wasn’t until later in the day that we could see the result online and find out our actual finishing positions.
It turned out the the bad preparation, bad back and lack of sleep didn’t affect me too much as I managed to win overall with a margin of just over 6 minutes.
All in all a good day out and several thousand pounds raised for the pool and the school. The results can be downloaded here. Anna took a few photos where she could (below) and there are more photos online here. Hopefully Matt’s Dad got some good photos as well.