Another weekend, another race. This time out it was the Maldon sprint triathlon in Essex on Sunday 15th July. This would be Carl Shaw’s debut as a guide and would be good practise ahead of racing together at an international Paratri event in Scotland during September.
On Saturday we took the chance to get in some training by completing an open water swim, transition practise and a short bike ride. We spent some time setting up the new Matrix tandem too, which had only just been built the day before by Madgett’s cycles in Diss. It certainly looked the part!
Fuelling up for Sunday’s race took place with a full English for Brunch and a tasty chicken, spinach and pasta evening meal courtesy of our resident chef Jill, which rounded off Saturday nicely.
Sunday morning came and after a 70 mile drive to Essex we were at Promenade Park where the race was centred. Racing with a guide and having a tandem to rack caused a little confusion with some officials, but they seemed a good bunch. We were soon organised and at the race briefing ready to go.
After wading out into knee deep mud (slight exxageration!) for the start in the shallow Blackwater river, we had a great swim. I had decided to use my new Blueseventy Helix wetsuit as I wanted to see what it was like and would need all the help I could get given Carl was an elite swimmer in the past. The fit of the suit is much better than my old Axis version and the increased flexibility around the shoulders was something of a revalation causing less fatigue – always a bonus!
We scored a swim PB for me by some margin. even without accounting for falling over exiting the river and a fairly long run to the transition timing mat! We came out jointly in the lead with another swimmer who had been tickling my toes most of the way, but was quicker than us around the buoys because he could take a shorter line than we could safely manage with the tether rope. He gained a few seconds in transition, but we soon pulled that back before we had even left the Park .
The undulatlating 28km bike section was definately to our liking, especially with the new flying machine helping things along nicely. Despite an awkward turnaround point at 14km and having an enforced stop for 30 seconds or so due to heavy traffic in a village we passed through, we still took 4 minutes out of the next quickest competitor to give us well over 5 minutes lead going into T2. We seemed to ride well together as a pairing which is promising as this was only Carl’s 3rd or 4th time on a tandem.
So, we looked good for the win in our first outing together. Sadly the wheels feel off in the second half of the run; a sudden change of direction to avoid some cars left me with severe cramp in my right leg. It took several minutes for my knee to unlock and allow us to continue by which point we’d been passed. The left leg then cramped up when I ducked under a tree branch resulting in a further unwanted delay. Annoyingly we finished 4th but at least we were still fastest in our age group.
Interestingly enough I came down with a sickness bug on the following day. Was there something already in my system that caused the cramp when racing? It might just have been a case of pushing too hard in the swim and bike or perhaps I need to tweak my new bike position slightly. Who knows.
Despite the disapointment of surrendering the lead, it was nevertheless a useful exercise and a good weekend generally. I’m looking forward to Scotland now, but I am slightly concerned as Carl asked “what would happen if I swim even quicker?”…oh boy!
|4th Over-all / 1st in age group