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Return to Blenheim

I have been out of Triathlon action for around a year and a half, with niggling knee problems due to too much weight on them and having a midlife crisis of taking up Triathlon when it would have been easier and less knee-impacting to buy a Ferrari! Anyway, my aim is to lose a ton of weight by the time Blenheim Tri arrives and I thought it would be great to do it for a very worthwhile cause in the process. I want to raise at least £500, so please help this aging carcass get around the course (particular the running bit) by donating. My knees and I will be eternally grateful. :O)

Safari Sagoodie!

Well so far I have stayed true to my word and am in full flow with my training regime. I realised this is even more important considering that even despite me not signing up for as many events this year, I still have Blenheim, Gosfield and Dunmow Triathlons, a Duathlon and two 10k runs to get through! That’s not withstanding any ad-hocs that I will no doubt be sucked into! So, I only have one rest day a week (Thursday) with Sunday being my ‘Any’ exercise day – I spent an hour running round a football pitch with the kids, so I’m chalking that one up! I am loving my swimming right now, and went Friday & Monday night with the club – my front crawl feels strong, and technique getting better each time. I need to get some open water swims in prior to Blenheim in early June, it really is a completely different experience to the pool!

I even hauled my carcass out for a run on Saturday afternoon, intending to do 5k but falling short by 1km – it felt awful, even getting shin splints, and just further reaffirms my hatred for the discipline! The irony of Royksopp’s ‘Alpha Male’ coming on random play really didn’t help either… Tonight I am hoping for enough daylight to take my bike out its first spin since the October Born2Tri Duathlon and will be the first time with my new clips, cleats and shoes. Failing that it’s on the turbo boredom, irrespective I’m doing it!

My goal is to be as fit as I can possibly be for the events, but also beyond, not going to look back again and ensure I keep the weight off, stay fighting fit and be able to run around after the two little wee scamps!!

Gosfield Sprint Triathlon 2015

The club I am in Born2Tri host a Sprint and Olympic distance Triathlon at Gosfield lake each year, and this time I decided to sign up for it. I know I am biased, but what a fantastically organised local triathlon this is, and Gosfield Lake is the perfect central point for it. Everyone got a free Born2Tri t-shirt, which I was somewhat grateful for as the decision for the race was mandatory NON-wetsuit! Who knew the UK could boast such weather! It was to be my first 2015 Tri in glorious sunshine too!!! Anyway, this meant I only had my trisuit for the race numbers since I foolishly left my race belt at home. I had the bright idea to use the shirt literally 1 minute before transition closed, meaning that I rushed safety pinning the numbers to the front and back – something I’d find out was to my detriment for T1! At this stage the sun was out, but black clouds were looming!!!

Anyway, I had a nice swim despite reservations about not having the buoyancy of the wetsuit to aid me. Wasn’t breaking any records, but felt good and technique came into play nicely, although the black clouds that had loomed were now letting loose their contents! I lost my timing chip somewhere near the start I reckon as it was hanging at my transition point so my timings are somewhat difficult to gauge – especially when you consider how long I was in T1 due to a safety pin epic fail. Yes, yours truly had safety pinned the back on the shirt to the front, and with trembly post swim hands and a light head I was finding it all too difficult to remedy! Coach Pete thankfully saw my ineptness and came to the rescue (thanks again fella!) and after what must’ve been 10 minutes I was on my way again!

The cycle route pretty much followed the exact route I devised as my training laps for when I used to live in Bocking, so it was all familiar territory which allowed for me to up my pace somewhat despite the rubbish weather. I went for clip shoes this time round and was grateful for the extra purchase and power this gave on the incline out of Sible Hedingham. The ride definitely felt good and I made some good time up catching up some of the previous wave competitors and a couple in my own wave. I knew this would be short-lived once I got on Shank’s Pony but hey allow me those little pointless victories if you will.

So, into T2 and discovering (by way of change) soaking wet trainers for the 5km run – this is a single circuit across fields and dirt tracks, with the rain this made things rather muddy and puddle strewn. The run felt great however, still at the pace of a pack mule, but kept it steady throughout and knew I would post a time more a-kin to where I was last year. The support from the marshals was excellent too, giving you that extra lift when you need it most. Great race, even though again it was a very wet affair. My kingdom for dry Tri!

Overall – 01:52:31 : Timing chip lost in swim, so individual times not available.

Blenheim Palace Sprint Triathlon 2015

Blenheim Palace is a great setting for a Triathlon and since it is close to very good friends of ours it makes for a fantastic long weekend full of pre-race carbs and post-race alcohol! Last year I experienced my first puncture in a Triathlon on the 2nd lap, but this year was trouble free…. apart from yet MORE rain!

At least this year the weather was consistent at Blenheim, ie it rained throughout, whereas last year it rained during initial setting up of transition and the swim section, brightening up to a scorching day for the bike and run. Not this time, my 2nd Tri this year and 2nd sopping wet experience! At least, unlike Hyde Park, I had plenty of time to prepare, warm up, feast on jelly babies etc… and made for a much more pleasant swim which felt a lot more controlled and my technique although still not fantastic was a league ahead of Hyde Park’s feeble effort! I was even keeping pace with a couple of the guys that were doing it with us.

By the time I hit T1 I realised that yet again I was going to be cycling and running in soaking wet trainers, I vowed that next time I would have my clip shoes and just accept the additional time it takes in transition! Anyway, the bike leg takes you through the beautiful grounds of the palace, and a nice half mile incline which by the 3rd lap had gotten very old! But hey, no punctures!! Result! Once again due the rain a much more measured approach was required, and again I witnessed a couple of bone crunching stacks where riders just weren’t respecting the conditions. I made it safely around the three laps despite a close call with one of previously mentioned riders who thought it wise to breeze past me on a bend, almost totally wiping me out in the process!

A swift T2 and onto the run section which despite being a plodsome affair I at least managed to get around it without stopping, as like the ride there’s a nice incline to navigate with a sergeant major type on the brow barking at you just to really add to the fun! Highlight for me was my daughter Lucy shouting ‘Daddy, why are you going so slow’, although I didn’t hear it at the time being told afterwards near choked me with laughter. At least this time I knew I couldn’t finish any slower than last year as I completed that one in around 02:50 due to the puncture and not being able to inflate the replacement tube (turned out to be the tiniest of kinks!).

Final result Swim 00:20:42 Bike 00:50:46 Run 00:42:59 – Overall 02:03:08

Vitality Hyde Park Triathlon 2015

I am somewhat guilty (again) of not updating my blog, and every time I think ‘oh yeah, I’ll keep this updated’, I end up coming back in a few months and thinking ‘I really should keep this updated.’ So, anyway, I thought I’d make this update Triathlon centric, having done three now in the last two months, and I will provide a brief account of all three for you (yes, you, the avid reader) so that you can share in the delights of my completely irrational passion for all things Triathlon. Still got you…? Good, then I’ll begin with Hyde Park 2015:

So, my ‘race season’ kicked off on Sunday May 31st – it was due to be the 30th but Arsenal decided to get through to the FA Cup final AGAIN and played this on the Saturday. A very kind lady at ITU central (or some subsidiary of) moved me to the Sunday, which obviously and unintentionally was going to steal the limelight from the Brownlees in the Elite race later in the day. Sorry chaps! I think I knew this one was going to be a disaster right from the moment I had to make an emergency comfort stop near Paddington for both myself and my daughter, already running late but when the moment strikes, nothing can be done. Finally get to Park Lane Q-Park and had to run with the bike to get to transition, even then I only had literally ten minutes to prepare my transition area, get my wetsuit on an leg it the 400m odd distance to the swim start. I arrived just as my wave were about to head for the pontoon…! So, no warm up, no chillaxing in transition and preparing myself, nope, just straight into it.

The swim was pretty hopeless; in my flustered state all technique went out of the window and it was all I could do to make it to the first buoy, feeling like I was swimming in treacle rather than the delightful Serpentine! Half way around and the skies opened, and as I rounded the last buoy my thoughts moved to the soaking wet trainers waiting for me in transition. I decided to go for a one pair of shoes strategy meaning, which works okay on the SPD pedals on the bike, but with slick tyres it meant a very cautious three laps. My caution was well advised as I saw three different people monumentally stack it on corners they were taking too fast, all three got back on safely, but still, it would’ve hurt! I could feel my trainers squelching on each rotation and was really REALLY looking forward to running 5km in them!

And so to the 5km run, I hate running… did I mention that? No, well I do, I HATE it, but it’s part of the overall charm of Triathlon and I am getting better at it meaning it is slowly becoming something I don’t dread anymore! I got shin splints in lap 1, which seemed to take forever to subside, and not sure if it’s the cold and wet causing it or not. Finally I got a bit of adrenaline on lap 2 and upped the pace slightly to the finish. Final result Swim 00:20:31 Bike 00:48:27 Run 00:34:20 – Overall 01:52:17… Slower by 7 minutes to last year, but considering the conditions I’m pretty chuffed with that.