Week 27 – LLandudno Triathlon
Well after deciding last week that I could swim 1500m in the pool and entering llandudno triathlon a week ago, today was the big day. The week had been ok for training, I managed a few good rides on my bike, a couple of short runs and found a pool near me, which will do (providing I go during lane-only times). I wish I had done another swim to prepare myself, but thats life. I also went out with the office, discovering some of the roads round my new home, and there are some great roads! Not quite up to shropshire/wales standard, but hey ho!
So, after having the bike shop bend my hanger back into place yesterday afternoon when the new one failed to turn up in the post, I went out to blow away the cobwebs and put a short run after. In hindsight, I may have overdone it on the bike, getting a bit carried away with my zipps… they are fast!
So I arrived at Llandudno this morning, completely unprepared. I knew it would be a bit hilly, but driving up all I could see was rising land! Just the way I like it! I had no idea where the run was, where transition was, or where the swim was. I found a car park, full of bike, which is always a good thing about tris, easy to spot! Following the crowd, I found the main area and got my transition area set up, then had about an hour to burn waiting for the race brief. I checked over my transition once more, then decided to put my wetsuit on early as it takes me ages to get into that thing! Good job too, as I put it on backwards the first time! After entering the water, I found a space at the edge close to the back, trying to stay in the same position as much as possible, without the sea moving me to where it thought I should be! Then all of a sudden, the horn sounded at we were off. My first OD triathlon!
The swim was everything I expected, 200m of arms and legs all over the place, while everybody found their position. Finally I found some space, and then waited for it to calm down, only it didn’t. The sea was ridiculous! For the first kilometer, I was being thrown all over the place, had my goggles knocked off three times, taking air strokes as I was lifted so high out of the water, swallowed too much of the sea, and felt sick from being so dizzy. I was trying to sight, but all I could see was another big wave in front of me. It was impossible to find any rythym, and I had to breast stroke parts to point myself in the right direction. I was having serious doubts about my ability to swim 3.8k in a few weeks. But after a while it soon calmed down, and I actually began to enjoy it! I felt good, settling in to some long distance work, and my shoulder felt great.
T1 was a quick one, whipped my wetsuit off, helmet on and I was gone. Though apparently my bike had changed gear when it was being thrown around in the wind on the rack (deep section rims), and I started off in 53-12! The bike course was about 7k up, 2.5k down, 4 laps and the roads left a lot to be desired. Massive potholes on the steep descent, loose road, uncovered cattle grids, all for me to battle with. But I soon settled in, and my climbing was good. In the second lap I started to notice a grinding sound coming from my gears and saw that my front derailleur was bent. I wasnt sure if this happened in transition on hitting a hole on the descent, but it meant I was wasting energy grinding it down, instead up going up! The flat sections were good, and with a bit of wind behind me and my wheels, I was chugging along comfortably at 50 kmph! I was a bit too friendly with the brakes on the descents, and could have taken a huge chunk of time off, but I still don’t have all my confidence back that I used to, from my crash! But better to take 5 extra minutes now than crash and not doing Ironman!
T2 was quick again, though I probably overcooked it on the bike as my legs were dead! But each lap, I felt better and better, and spent the middle 5k with another guy, pushing off his pace. It was around halfway through the run, that I realised if I ran well, I could break 2 hr 45, which for the course, the sea and my collar bone I would be seriously chuffed with! So I pushed the pace up and up, feeling good, but not something I would want to hold for the marathon! But I had 2 hr 42 in the final straight, my visor even flew off and I left it, and clocked 2 hours 43! All in all, I am very pleased! I was 4th in my age group, and 55th overall. Not as good as my last tri, but all things considering! Will be an interesting chat with the doctor on thurs, when he has a look to see if I can go back out on my bike! Haha!
This week is my final heavy week, with 180k ride at the weekend, then I taper down for IronMan!!! Cannot wait!!!