Osprey Sprint Triathlon, Portland – Race Report
The Osprey Sprint Triathlon, Portland – Race two of the year for me and as I’ve been trying to tell everyone, I’m not taking things quite so seriously this year. I’m still training fairly well and in that respect there had been nothing wrong with my preparation. I’m not however doing things to quite the same intensity as I was a couple of years ago and I’m not eating, drinking, sleeping and training ‘triathlon’ 24/7. Due to this, it was all a fairly relaxed affair. I wasn’t aiming to win my age-group, I was just out there to have a good time in what would hopefully be a well-organised and friendly race.
I’d already met a few of the local Bustinskin Events Triathlon team earlier in the week. Charlotte had cycled around the course with me one evening during the previous week and I’d met Mark a few others on a strength and conditioning session at Newton Cove too. Everyone seemed friendly enough and it was nice to see some familiar faces once I was at the leisure centre on race-day morning.
Registration was between 6:30 and 7:30 am. Not ideal for Anna and Morgan but as is usual for us we were there at 6:30 so I was soon registered and set up in transition area. Once again, with my new laid back approach to races this didn’t take long, so all that was left to do was to check out the leisure centre, attend the race briefing and wait for the start.
The start times were based purely on predicted swim times with the slowest off first, and the fastest off last. I therefore had a quite a long wait for my start. People were even allowed to move start position just after the race-briefing if they thought they were in the wrong place, and with over 240 competitiors entered into the race quite a few wanted to change. I was happy with my predicted time of 4:15 though so stayed where I was.
Quite a few had obviously moved forward in the queue as there were only about 6 people starting behind me. The time soon came around and I jumped into the pool and headed off.
The swim went quite well, It was one of these where you change lanes and progress your way through the pool. Up one side of the first lane, down the other side then duck under the lane rope and repeat with all six lanes until you get out at the other side of the pool. There was no overtaking in the lanes, but I did catch the guy in front of me, tapped his toes and he politely let me pass at the end of the lane. I caught the next guy on the last length too, but didn’t tap his feet as there was no point on the last length so I just eased up for the final length and swam behind him. My official swim time was 4:24 but the timing mat was just outside the pool so my predicted time of 4:15 was probably spot on.
Out into the bright sunshine and cool temperatures of Portland, overlooking the harbour. I usually have little to do here as I attach my shoes to my bike and put my feet into them once I’m up and riding, so its just a case of donning my number belt and helmet and going. Today though I had to put my shoes on as well and hobble through transition on them. The bike course starts with a climb from the leisure centre up onto the Isle of Portland and I had decided that I might struggle getting my feet into my shoes on the incline. T1 therefore took a little longer than usual, but I was soon up and riding and out onto the bike course.
As I’ve just said, this starts with a long climb up to the Heights on Portland. I climbed fairly well and overtook loads of earlier starters on my way up. It was windy up there though. Once at the top I got onto my aero bars for a a few seconds but decided it was too windy for that so didn’t use them for the rest of the race. The entire course is either uphill or downhill anyway so there weren’t many areas on the course where they would have been that much benefit anyway. I was overtaking people all around the course and was overtaken by the eventual winner on the way down to the Bill. At the Bill we turn around and ride back, this time with the wind behind our backs, but back up hill to the heights at the same time.
I was overtaken by another guy coming up to the heights hotel, but caught him back up on the descent towards the end. We then both got held up behind a parked ambulance and a traffic queue at the bottom of the hill, just after I passed Charlotte who was marshalling on the side of the road.
Once past the traffic I eased back from the guy I’d re-caught so as not to be done for drafting and he sped off, getting a good tow from a police car in front of him as we headed back to the Leisure Centre.
Transition 2 was an unremarkable affair. Feet out of shoes on the way in, dismount, run to bike racking area, bike racked, helmet off, runing shoes on, swizzle race number around and head out on the run. Job done.
The run course was flat and a little convoluted. It wove its way through the roads avoiding the hoards at the Fish and Ships Festival in the marina and emerged and out onto the causeway between Portland and Wyke Regis. I was overtkaing plenty of people and weaving in and out of them along the narrow off-road section along the beach. There was a 180º turn-around partway along the causeway and then it was back the way we came. Still overtaking people and not getting pased by anyone, I arrived back at the leisure centre feeling good and farily pleased with my time which looked to be just under 59 minutes. Not a stellar performance but with my extra weight and lack of fine-tuning for races I wasn’t expecting to be on form, so finishing up somewhere near the top would be a good thing.
The Osprey Sprint Triathlon, Portland – Results
I came 9th in the end, which was initially ranked as 1st in the 44-49 age-group, but in this race the age-groups were 10 year groupings so I was 3rd in the 40-49 group. Pretty good really, all things considered.
We hung around for the presentations, said goodbye to the people I’d met, bought a pair of ‘Dude Shoes’ who were sponsoring the event and then headed off. Happy in the fact that I can still do OK in such races even if I’m not really on form. And that was it, the Osprey Sprint Triathlon, Portland done and dusted and our holiday to Weymouth and Portland at an end too.
As alwasy I didn’t get chance to thank enough of the organisers and marshalls on the day, so hopefully some of them will read this as the race was well-organised, there were plenty of marshalls and all were friendly and helpful and overall I would say it was a very welcoming event which is certainly worth doing. It’s quite a way from home for us, but we might be back for the Osprey Sprint Triathlon one day.
Here’s a video of the event – N0 sign of me, but you can see Anna and Morgan.