I've been wanting to do a triathlon for a long time, with the closest to achieving this up till now being a duathlon as I hate swimming and I'm rubbish at it! But then again this forms part of the challenge to me, just to push myself through it and see what the outcome is.
The event is held this May Day bank holiday each year and this has been the first time in 4 years that I've been looking at it that I have been free from injury and able to participate. I deliberately did not enter in advance just in case the marathon was too much for me, but having corresponded with the organiser an on the day entry was always going to be fine, so this is what I did.
Moose had already told me he was going to be doing it, so I let it slip down the pub on Thursday that I may partake, so when I rocked-up stupidly early to register at the event base of the Hart Leisure Centre, I was not surprised to see that he was already there and well prepared as always, with me staggering in munching on my breakfast of champions: left over chocolate covered raisins and slurping it down with a can of Relentless!
We had a good chat about the event; Moose has joined the Basingstoke Tri club and is really keen on giving it a proper serious go as a sport, even tapering his training to suit today… Me on the other-hand did not do anything of the sort to maximise my performance, just ran a marathon, played some footy and thought what the hell - truly the worst lead-in to a race it could possibly be. I think my attitude to running and sporting performance amuses Moose as much as it infuriates him. He prepares meticulously every aspect and facet, I just turn up and go for it with a bare minimum of prep. The complete antithesis of each other… with Pini sitting somewhere between the two of us in attitude.
Killing the time till the off I went in to the transition area a few times to organise all my gear.
|The transition area. My bike was on the furthest row away!|
Racking the bikes in transition, everything was laid out as best as possible for a speedy change-over.
|Racking the bike.|
|Meticulous in preparation!|
With my swimming being so crap I was one of the first to set-off (my time for the 400m swim was the 5th worst of all 406 finishers!) and slowly thrashed my way through it and to be honest on the 3rd length I felt like I had made a very big mistake in doing this. Quitting is never an option so I consciously decided to take it easy on the swim to make-up the time on the other 2 parts. As I swam the last 2 laps I could see Moose poolside getting ready to start his swim, so I figured that I had about a 10 minute start on him.
Off in to transition having struggled to drag my weary carcass from the water. The one thing on my mind was the 'must put on helmet and fasten before touching bike' rule, which I adhered to, only to find I could not get the t-shirt with the number on over my head… Doh! so this cost me valuable seconds as I had to get the tee back off, helmet off, tee on then helmet on.
On to the bike and onto the 20km course. This was a circuit from Church Crookham up to the A30, down to Winchfield and back to the Hart Leisure Centre. I overtook about half a dozen riders on the ride and after a smooth transition it was out on to the 10k cross country run.
Surprisingly I did not suffer from 'jelly legs' as I transitioned in to the run (perhaps I don't move fast enough for this to happen!) and after a couple of km I was well in to my stride and had the chance to chat to a few people as I overtook them.
Running back in to the sports centre the sun was getting quite warm and I was grateful for the finish being sooner rather than those that set-out afterwards. Once there it was once around the field and across the line… about 5 minutes before Moose did.
|Moose crossing the line.|
|Relief to have survived the first triathlon experience!|
Collecting everything from transition it was pure bike-porn, with some very flash and fancy machines in carbon fibre that the VERY serious racers ride for those marginal gains - and are also by some overweight MAMIL's with more money than sense who do not really get the benefits from the ultra lightweight all-singing-all-dancing two wheelers.
Exiting transition for the last time I bumped in to someone wearing an Endurance Life shirt (the organisers of the Coastal Trail Series marathons that I have been running) which was great to find a kindred spirit and made Moose realise there's more than 1 nutter out there, and local to boot!
After hanging around and purchasing a race-belt, as did Moose who did exactly the same as me in transition with the tee over the helmet error, we went to watch the elite racers about to go out. Looking at the hardcore racers we could see a couple of Team GB triathletes in their suits - one of whom was Lucy Chittenden, a local girl who may well go on to great things - regardless of the time you record, it is a great feeling to be in the same event as people of this calibre!
The t-shirt was quite a good one as well that I would not be embarrassed to wear out and about so into the wardrobe it goes!
I certainly enjoyed the experience and would certainly like to do more - although with more work on the swimming in advance. The one I have my eye on is the off-road XT Triathlon in late September, which is in the woods that were my playground where I grew-up and was where I raced the duathlon I alluded to at the start.