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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ringwood Triathlon Race Report

So, first tri outing for me of 2011, and I was going into this race feeling fit and strong but unsure of how I'd perform as I have done little in the way of specific training this year. The last 4 weeks I have done a few shorter run sessions and a couple of short swim sets, but the biking has been limited to turbo and roller efforts as I haven't had the time to get any outdoor miles in.
Mr B senior was along to support so I had to go and give it some welly!
Venue for the swim was Ringwood leisure. Registration a simple affair at 6am and then off on turbo for half hour to get the legs moving. And the rain came! It had been raining heavy in the night so a lot of surface water as well, I wasn't looking forward to a lot of rubbish washing down onto New Forest country lanes. But everyone has to do it so I just focussed on what I would be doing. Umbrellas are very useful things, and I was sat up holding on to one whilst spinning my legs on bike!
Racked at 7:30am and then got myself over to poolside for a 600m swim. I was in 1 of 5 lanes with the fastest wave. My predicted time of 9 minutes was a little hopeful but it was an attempt to get myself into the faster wave so I would have something to chase on the bike. Off we set, and I was almost immediately passed by Michael Phelps, who I later found out swam a 7' 50". I swam solid and exited with no idea what time was. But looking across at the other lanes, I noticed I was still up with most of the competition so I was very happy with that. Running out into the car park the rain was pounding down, so a shrug of the shoulders and helmet and shoes on, bike in hand I legged it off pretty sharpish and got into my riding quickly. Couple of tight turns in a residential area of Ringwood and out onto the main course proper. 1 mile gone and I hit the front, passing 3 of the front runners and set my targets on chasing down Mr Phelps!
I passed the eventual race winner after about 7 miles and then a couple of miles up the road Phelps was overtaken. So I had some clear road and I got the bit between my teeth and pushed on. I was feeling great and all the time trialling this season has really made me strong. Through Burley and had to negotiate a Subaru car rallye meeting! Then stuck behind a New Forest Land Rover who was waiting behind one of the slower riders from an earlier wave. But got round ok. Negotiating cattle grids in the wet slowed me up a little, but I was pushing on well, now that the rain had cleared and the sun was threatening to come out. With 22 miles to go I looked at bike computer and I was on for a 1hour 10 ride which was about what I wanted to ride. If I could hit that then I was certain of hanging on in the run and maybe sneaking a win. And then.......PUNCTURE!
Well, air turend a lovely shade of blue, purple and any other dirty colour! I didn't bother with a spare tub as it was only a 28 miles bike and if I did puncture then race over. So I slowed right down to a halt, hopped off and walked along with bike thinking I had at least got in a good training ride and swim. The I thought well, it's about 5 miles to the finish so I'll jog in with my bike and then at least finish the run if I felt ok! Well half a mile later and I stopped running and walked. By this time all the front riders had passed me and I was just enjoying the New Forest and the sunshine! Then I happened across an athlete who had had a nasty crash on a tight wet bend. I made sure he was alright and I was prepared to sit there and wait with him for the van that was coming to pick him up. As we were talking he asked me if I wanted to borrow his rear wheel as his race was over. After a brief discussion I thought well, at least I can finish even though I was out of the running. So a swap over and I got going again, and by god were my legs tight! What should have been a lightning quick last 5 miles, mostly downhill, was a bit slow and I eventually ended up in transition with my dad looking puzzled as to why I was so far back. Into my running and I felt surprisingly good. In fact I have never run better in a triathlon. I was picking off runners and eventually caught up again with Michael Phelps who had passed me again earlier on the bike when I had punctured. I pushed on and made the most of the very fast and flat course, clocking 37' 14" for 10k. Now it was actually a bit short, so more like 9.5 I think. But that said I was delighted to finish so strong after what had happened.
So I met up with my dad, had a bit of a chat with a few other people. Found the athlete who lent me his wheel and made sure he was alright. Swapped wheels again and then got myself home.

Overall, very very pleased with how I went. And I really enjoyed getting back to racing. I am so glad I had a break from it all year. Last year was tough and I struggled with feeling ill and not getting enough rest and recovery, and a bit of a stressful time all-round, with getting ill at Roth and a very disappointing result at Outlaw Triathlon. It was good to get out and out a performance in despite the puncture. I'm very philosophical about it all and these things happen. Next time on a wet New Forest surface I shall go for some different tyres!
So results were out and I was pleasantly surprised. I was 9th overall, had a 9' 38" swim, run with transition was down as 38' 30", which was 4th quickest run only a minute down on the first place run. I was 10 minutes down on first place overall and had I biked a 1 hr 10 it would have bagged me the win by a couple of minutes. But that's the beauty of racing, you never know what's gonna happen! Big thank you to Michelle Noble and the Results triathlon team for putting on this great event. Race results
This bodes very well for next season. I'm off to find some duathlons to race over the next couple of months and I'll be planning a race schedule for next year. I'm back!!!

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