Norwich Triathlon Part 2 (The big Day)

Race day arrived with the bonus of a nice bright sunny morning after some wet days recently. It was time to find out if the pre-race preparation had done the trick (see previous post). I felt quite relaxed about the whole thing, which might have had something to do with my relatively modest goals as I knew if I could get around the swim in one piece I would be OK.

I had two options for the swim: place myself on the edge at the start to keep out of trouble and try not to swim off course, or, start right in the centre so I could follow the group more easily. I went for the latter, starting right at the back which would further minimise the chance of going astray. This tactic worked well except for the majority of swimmers in front seemed to be slower than I was and I got several hard kicks in the face for my trouble! I did wonder if I should have been a bit braver, got myself to the front before the start and just gone for it like normal?

I'm in there somewhere, probably.

Once it settled down, I stuck to my plan of taking it steadily and followed whoever’s feet I could find. This worked pretty well, as with over 100 people in my wave, there was always someone to follow. It wasn’t quick at 28 minutes compared to what I normally do when guided, but I got round quite effectively. I only saw 2 of the 6 marker buoys though, one of which I almost swam into! Presumably I completed the correct route…

In transition the race organiser had kindly allowed me to position my bike at the end of one of the racks so I could spot it more easily – very helpful. One or two grumbles were heard from fellow competitors along the lines of ‘if he can’t find his bike he shouldn’t be doing a triathlon’ etc. but most people were fine with this. Transition 1 and 2 proved no problem, thanks in no small part to the flexible and open minded approach Tri-Anglia takes to these things.

Out on the bike and care was needed along the first few sections with parked cars and a couple of tight corners. Then it was into the hilly outward leg before a flatter, faster return interspersed with a few little villages to negotiate. For some reason I just couldn’t get going, even with my rather nice Matrix Pyro to help me. It’s not the quickest of courses and it was a bit windy but on the day the rider just didn’t match the machine… I probably looked like I had ‘all the gear, but no idea’. I wasn’t that worried though as if I’d had good legs I might have been tempted to push too hard and probably ruin my running, again. Having struggled around in 1 hour 10 minutes I was glad to see T2.

Now time for a spot of running, come on legs!

By now it was starting to warm up nicely ready for the run, an 11km off road jaunt. I got going and thought ‘ah, my legs feel good for once’ which was strange given how lacking they seemed to be when cycling. I didn’t go too wild though as I knew we had a few testing hills to come that would sap the strength. I was also wondering how the increased distance of the Olympic Tri would affect me towards the end. Having settled into a nice pace, lap one was completed without too much fuss, although the run route was different to what I thought it would be meaning I was covering new ground. This was a bit tricky as some sections were quite uneven but I just played it safe and knocked off a bit of speed where needed. I even had time to high-five Jill who was walking around the lake in the opposite direction, much to her surprise!

Pushing on harder for lap two I was still feeling pretty good and must have looked comfortable judging by the amount of abuse Jill gave me when I next saw her. Still, I lost a few places towards the end and whilst I felt like I could keep going all day, I couldn’t seem to push it to the point where I was really hurting myself like I normally do in shorter sprint distance events.

A final time of 2 hours 35 minutes and 46th place from almost 200 entrants might not seem like much of an achievement compared to winning World championships or other titles, but over-all I was happy with my days work. My goals of finishing and running reasonably well were both ticked off.

What made the day though was both the high level of organisation with which this event is run with and the huge amount of support out on the course from Jill, fellow athletes, the marshals and spectators…awesome!

Tri Anglia post race team photo

Well done to Mark Philo (organiser) and his team for producing a fantastic event.


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