Friday, 14 September 2018

Vitruvian Middle Distance Triathlon English Championships 8th September 2018

1.9k Swim 82k Bike 21k Run – Temperature 17oC
Swim 00:31:17 - T1 01:41 - Bike 02:22:53 - T2 02:06 - Run 01:27:04 Total Time 04:25:01 
2ndAge Group 50-54, 46thOverall   National Silver Medal

It was a pretty late decision to enter the race but with so little racing, and in particular run training, I was unsure of my ability to race a triathlon at the pointy end. I had notionally thought I would enter Xaimen 70.3 in November to have a shot at qualifying for Kona 2019 but with only one slot there I would need to be in top condition. I figured that if I was able to win the English Champs then there was a reasonable chance I could win in China.
No real taper race week which is normal for my training races, just go full gas for four and half hours and see what happens. As we waited on the beach for our start it was apparent that the race, whilst large, was not sold out to the maximum 1000 athletes as in prior years. There are so many options in the calendar that its inevitable numbers will be spread more thinly. The good news of course was that once the gun fired it was only a couple of hundred yards of argy bargy before things settled down and a firm rhythm kept me in the top 5 of the age group. 
A pretty tardy T1 and I was out on the bike course. I had in my mind to try and hit a good power number for the bike, time is always dependent on conditions. Since we were the last wave the whole bike ride was spent going around earlier waves, which has its advantages and disadvantages. By the time I hit the second lap I thought I was still in the top five but didn’t know for sure. I started to loose concentration but then I was passed by an athlete I figured was in my age-group so I resolved to stick with him. He was a big unit and so I presumed that he was an axe on the bike but wouldn’t be light on his feet, just hang in for T2 then drop the hammer on the run and leave him behind.
He got a small gap on me before T2 but not something I felt I couldn’t shut down pretty quickly. Anyway, another tardy transition and off on the run. The legs felt ok but with only half the volume of run training this year it was always going to be hard work. It wasn’t until the 5k turn that I saw my man and what could have been three or four others in the age group ahead of me, no time to just jog through, I was going to have to push hard. By 10k I had closed him down and after the turn I made sure he saw me then dropped the hammer to put him off hanging with me. I kept at it to the 15k turnaround but was shocked to see him only 20m behind me, that wasn’t meant to happen. No chance of easing up now, 5k more of gurning to get me to the line ahead of him and what I felt was sure to be a podium. 
I crossed the line a minute or two ahead of Mike and my friends told me I had got second. I felt pretty relieved that my efforts had been rewarded although I had been well beaten by the age-group winner. So a silver medal for my efforts but in mind a performance not good enough to make the trip to China worth a shot. Now to knuckle down, finish the training block for Kona and look forward to the trip. 
My 2019 campaign starts in Daytona 8thDecember where I will be gunning to qualify for the Challenge Championships.

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