Bala Triathlon

Two TORQ triathletes had strong races at Bala triathlon. Hamish Shaw qualified for the European championships again, giving some shape to his 2014 season already and Dave Mawhinney come through with a top placing too…

Hamish: Getting into the lake, I was reminded of how chilly Bala lake is compared to most other lakes I have raced in, with the exception of Llyn Padern. It must only have been 12-13 degrees. There was the usual jostling of position at the start line before the horn was sounded. When I was underway, there wasn’t any boisterous activity, which was good and meant I had chosen a good start position. It did mean I had probably 25m more to swim to the first buoy, but I didn’t mind that too much as I could get into a decent rhythm away from flailing arms and legs. I was beginning to feel the cold a little toward the end of the swim and part of me wished I had put a base layer on to help keep warm. I exited the swim at the back of the second pack of swimmers:

After a quick T1, I headed out onto the bike, determined to catch a few people up. There was a strong headwind on the way out and I made sure I stayed as aerodynamic as possible even on the uphill sections. It wasn’t long before I stormed passed a group of 4 cyclists and was targeting one further up the road. Around this point the rain started to fall. This didn’t help the situation in which I couldn’t feel my feet and barely my hands either. Thankfully there was a tailwind back to transition, so after the climb from the turn point it was a very quick return:

On the approach to T2, I slipped my feet out of my bike shoes for the dismount. I glanced down and noticed they were completely white and lacking in temperature. On my left foot, two of my toes were curled underneath my foot so it actually looked like I was missing them! Thankfully, I managed to uncurl them before doing a flying dismount. I didn’t look behind me for the whole of the run. Approaching the turn around I began to feel my toes again, which was nice! There was a hill of about 400-600m soon after the turn and by the time I had reached the top, I had regained full feeling in my feet. I knew at this point I only had about 3k to go and I began to increase my speed.

I finished high enough up the field to gain qualification for the 2014 European Championships, which was my main aim for this race. This meant I was able to give absolutely everything at London knowing I didn’t have to race again this year. I was pleased with my result given the strong field and the conditions. There were definite lessons to be learnt going into London, which could see similar conditions.

Dave: Going in the last wave of 4, it was hard swimming out into the choppy water directly into the wind and it was a relief to head back to transition – the rough waters making for a slow cold swim. Into T2, it was a case of getting onto the bike and of trying to push hard to try and warm up! Heading out into the rain and into the westerly wind was tough, but being in the last wave meant that there were plenty of people in front of me to chase down to help me to try and warm up. I tried to keep my heart rate steady for the windy first half of the race, which meant I could really push it on the way back with the wind behind me. I was pleased to get back to T2 only 1 minute 30 seconds down on my previous Bala pb bike time.

Getting going on the run was hard to begin with, the cold having tightened up my legs, but after 5 minutes I started to pick up my run pace and to feel more comfortable even though it had started raining heavily. After the turn around I tried to push the pace more and was relieved to get to the final downhill section and to head to the finish. Another race done with a top result.

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