I originally planned to do the Olympic distance race at Tri-Anglia’s flagship event of the year – Norwich Triathlon. I wanted to get at least one slightly longer race in this year as I do a lot of shorter efforts through Paratriathlon, which always uses the sprint format.
In the end I switched to the Sprint distance held on the evening of Saturday 11th July. This was because I got a late call up to race at the World Paratiathlon Event in Italy the following weekend. With racing, work and travel I wasn’t convinced I would fully recover and be ready to put in a good performance in Italy just 6 days later if I’d done the longer race.
The Sprint attracted a quality field with Ironman Pro’s Joe Skipper and Simon Brierley lining up alongside the rest of us – seemingly warming up for Ironman UK. For my part, especially as I was racing solo, I just wanted a decent workout and to enjoy it.
After following a few pairs of feet through the waters of Whittlingham lake at what seemed like quite an easy pace, I got a bit bored and pushed on for the last 3rd of the swim. This was my first mistake. Unfortunately I couldn’t see any swimmers or buoy’s in front to aim at. Clearly my sonar also wasn’t working as when I cracked on I went a bit off course. OK I went so far off course a canoe marshal had to give me directions (twice). Having been shepherded back on course I exited the water, probably to the relief of the canoe marshall, the event organiser and the club’s insurance company. My time was slow at over 14 minutes, but I had seemingly managed to cover 976m instead of the advertised 750m… at least I got good value from my entry fee! (you do anyway with our Club’s events by the way).
Out on the bike I was feeling pretty good, helped a lot by my recent bike fit with James at Tri Harder in Dereham. I was cruising along and happily passing those who had done the correct distance in the swim. Then I made my second mistake. I saw a turn, and although it wasn’t marshalled, I made a split-second decision to go for it. I’d turned just a few hundred metres early – Doh!. I quickly U-turned and sheepishly apologised to several other competitors who had unfortunately followed me.
I actually had a decent bike split over-all without ever slaughtering myself and ‘enjoyed’ the surprisingly tough climb on the bike course before a fast finish. After a quick dash through transition I was out on the mostly off-road 5k.
As I picked my way along some familiar but uneven grass and trail sections I quickly became aware that someone had joined me. I settled into what was a good pace for me and just kept going. With about 1km to go my companion upped the pace and eased away, but later thanked me for the pace making even though he was one of the people I took off course on the bike leg! Very sporting I thought. I’d done 21:25 for the run – about 40 seconds up on two years ago when I last did this race, although more to come I think.
Over-all time was 1:09:25 for 24th spot – some 14 minutes down on winner Joe Skipper. Sean Watson took an impressive 2nd place having apparently been doing some training with the Brownlee brothers in Leeds and Simon Brierley rounded out the podium.
Click here for the full results.
On Sunday I also enjoyed marshalling the Olympic distance event, although I was a bit tired after a late finish the previous evening and getting up at 5a.m on a the next morning! New Guide Iain Robertson took out the win ahead of us travelling to Italy, so a good weekend all round!