This was the big one. This was my A race for the year. An easy swim, smoth bike and a flat run and I’ll have that sub 2:15 I felt I could achieve. Last year when I came to Ripon it was just after IM Lanzarotte and I was tired. I still managed to have a decent race, swimming well and having an OK bike. Yes I did die on the run a little but like I said, I was tired. Finishing in 2:25 (with a 2min penatly for a numbers violation, wtf,) pushing me to 2:27 I felt that I could go faster, much faster, and with the entertainment for the kids it was decided we would be returning.
I’d been working hard in the pool the months previosuly, and whilst not getting massivly quicker, although now consistently under 27 mins fo the 1500, I was feling less tired after the swim which boded well for a good bike/run. With my new found freedom on a wednesday I’d been getting some long bikes in, bricking on occasion and had even been able to make it ot some of the club rack sessions. I was feeling in a good position.
It was hot in Ripon, very hot. So hot infact that wetsuits where not allowed, and after much grumbling from the ther triahtlets accepted. Then came the anouncement that this meant we could’t swim in compression wear, being allowed to put it on in T1 (cos that would work well). This did cause slight concer as my right calf sometimes cramps up on the run when I race, something with my calf gaurds have put an end to. Oh well, everyone was in the same boat.
The swim went well. Rather well actualy, I didn’t have any problems sighting and managed to draft off the faster swimers most of the way round. I normally get a minute quicker from my pool based times when I don the wetsuit, so to come out of a non wetsuit swim with my fastest time over the 1500 I was quite pleased.
A non wetsuit swim ment a slick transition for T1, until I got to the mount line. What an idiot! had put the shoes the wrong way round on the bike, something I’d only ever done once before during A Day In The Lakes 2011. Cussing my stupidity I had to stop and switch them over as athletes I’d worked hard to beat on the swim streamed past me. Balls. Two races in a row I’d cocked up my shoes/mounting.
Once I was away I had another issue, my bike computer wasn’t working so I had little idea about how hard I was going. Nothing for it, race as hard as I felt I could. The rolli gcountryside of North Yorkshire rolled past quickly, I caught a few people, got caught by fewer, and generally, had a good time. The section past the airfield was nice, if you like strong headwinds, we knew they where strong as we could see the airsock in a horizontal position aiming right at us, but the section back after turning was quick. Gel number one done and settlin in nicley this is where I started having an issue. I seemed to be loosing all go forward momentum. Only for a moment and then I was fine again.It was odd. Every 5 mins or so I would really struggle and then be fine again. Another gel taken and I just had to battle on. Past the section where I nealry crashed in the rain the year previously (from being tired and not paying attention) and I knew I was nearly home. A quick look at the watch showed I would have to have the run of my life to get under 2:15.
T2 was slick as a slick thing, flying dsmount, running past people who had come in just before me, I had the bike racked, hat on and gel and water in my hand and out of run exit before you could say ‘Brownlee Brothers.’ I hadn’t gone far before I had passed the leading lady and I was out on to the run course proper. I’ve already mentioned that it was hot, and the heat is not something my body copes well with, but this heat was brutal. I hadn’t gone far whe I knew I wouldn’t be doing a fast one, or anyne else for that matter. Everyone seemed to be struggling equaly. However I had a good run for the conditions. Whilst I wasn’t running for time, I was definetly running for position, and was overtaking people left right and centre. People who had seemingly blasted passed me on the run where passed and left behind on the run. It was hard, but others seemed to be finding it harder. Kind residents along the run route had set up garden sprinklers to help keep people cool and these where much appreciated, mostly in helping to wash away the sticky mess left from my empty gel wrappers. The km’s ticked steadlly away until the 8km mark when my right calf started to cramp. This was something I would just have to get through, only 2000 metres to go. Only thing which made it harder was that was the point where you could start t hear the commentry and music/ drumming from the finish area. I was close, but not close enough. By this point I’d stopped looking at the watch, I wasn’t goi g to get my target time, I was going to be going quicker than last year, I just needed to run through the pain. The run back took us along the canal which offered some much needed shade before heading back into the main area of Ripon Race course and th finish area. Coming towards the finish line I saw my riend Stu coming in off the bike having started in a alter wave so I gave him a good cheer. I could se the clock tick past 2:20 as I raced towards the finish, ecouraged by the photographer there to do a littel showboating (I’m going to miss that hat) before colapsing in a tired, sweaty, bloody (thanks to the shoes) heap. Race done. Time to get a beer and look at the results.
Overall I came 37th,
Swim – 0:26:28 -Good considering it was a non wetsuit swim, didn’t feel tired
T1 – 00:01:00 quick, apart from the balls up with my shoes
Bike – 01:09:54 – Fairly happy, but what happened with the loosing speed?
T2 – 00:00:59 – Quick. Liked it
Run – 00:42:08 – Poor by normal standards, but in that heat I’ll take it.
So not too bad. I missed my gaol, but did better than previosuly. I’d had a good swim and wait, what’s this?? racking the bike onto the back of the car I noticed my front tyre was flat, and from looking at the damage to the edges, had been ridden on for quite a distence! That was probably why I struggled so much on the bike. Well OK then, a 1:09 bike with a flat tyre seems much better now. Does mean I need to buy more tyres now though. Bummer.
Time to head home, drink some beers and get the low down from the younger brother who had raced in liverpool that morning.