Sunday, 9 September 2012

Vitruvian Middle Distance Triathlon 8th September 2012

1.9k Swim 80k Bike 21k Run – Temperature 27oC
Swim 00:31:44 - T1 01:47 - Bike 02:15:21 - T2 01:30 - Run 01:23:01 Total Time 04:13:25
Age Group Winner 45-49, 11th Overall
This was the fourth time I have raced the Vitruvian, it’s in my back yard and serves as a last hit out before the final five weeks running into the World Championships in Hawaii. It’s a great benchmark for my fitness and helps me fine tune the last few weeks of preparation. I had won the last three years but this year top age group athlete Tim Bishop was racing. A fourth win looked unlikely, particularly in the light of the hard training block I had completed in the preceding weeks.
For the first time the swim was a beach start. This added to the drama as the gun fired and we raced to hit the water, elbows and feet making heavy contacts as we fought to find some clean strokes. I opted to swim hard to the first buoy and it paid dividends as I quickly found a rhythm and some clear water. Having turned on the buoy I latched onto Tim’s feet for a pull through to the next turn. As we exited the water to start the second lap it appeared we were at the head of the age group and it remained that way through the entire lap. I entered T1 in third place, and moved through smoothly and out onto the bike course. I quickly caught Tim and it was nip and tuck as we spent almost the entire ride trading places, catching the age group leader half way through the second lap. The conditions were excellent, warm and with only a light wind.
As we approached T2 I prepared myself for the transition to running, having no more than a ten second gap on Tim. I only needed one small chance to gap him and this was it. I ran hard out of T2 and ran at close to 6 minute miles for the first three miles hoping to open up a sizeable gap such that his appetite for the chase would be thwarted.  I reached the first turnaround and hadn’t wanted to look back, but on the return leg I was able to clock the deficit I had built - two and a half minutes, significant but not decisive. Lap 1 done, I had the opportunity to recheck the deficit and I was pleased that it had grown to over three minutes although I had been running at my limit. A solid second lap was all that was required but with the temperature inexorably rising, it was getting tougher to maintain my pace and running form. I tried to zone out and just focus on rhythm not the race as such, staying relaxed but purposeful. My second lap was slower than the first but good enough to maintain the gap and cross the line as age group winner.
It had been a great contest, fantastically organised race with lots of friends and family racing and supporting. I was stoked to have won, achieving a course PB and finishing 11th overall, my highest ever ranking. This has set me up perfectly for the race in Kona, proving my fitness is probably as high as it has ever been entering the final build up. All that remains is to sharpen for the race and freshen up to have a crack at the best athletes in the world.

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