Nottingham triathlon hosted the British Sprint Championships recently at the National Water Sport Centre (Olympic venue). Swimming was 750m of open water in the man-made body of water, the bike was 4 laps of the Olympic venue (20k) and the run 1 lap (5k). As it was both the British Championships and also a sprinter qualifier for the World Championships in Hyde Park this September, the competition was immense at the sell-out event. Later several news reports stated it was the most competitive British Sprint Championships in history...
Both Nick and I started in the first wave at 7.30am. It was great to be in cool clear conditions, but it did mean a 3.15am wake-up call!
The start involved the usual chaos with a lot of nervous and hyped-up athletes getting into the water and that rather unpleasant sensation of cold water seeping into our wetsuits. Lots of frantic breathing took place as we all tried to acclimatise to the temperature and to be fair, it was a higher water temperature than a lot of other open water swim venues. After numerous calls to get behind the start line everybody finally edged back and the hooter went off.
My plan of attack was to swim very hard for 200-400m to stay out of the way of the swimmers behind and to catch the fastest swimmers’ feet. During the event the pace was not slowing; yep it definitely was a championship race – full bore for an hour, which is just how I like to race!
After a good swim of 10.35, I was on the bike catching the swimmers that got away. Slowly, one by one I was moving up the field. With it being so flat it didn’t really challenge me and it was just case of keeping the pace up.
In less than 30mins I was off the bike and running for dear life with lots of talented runners chasing hard. Looking down at my watch, my HR and pace was good, but I did get past by a number of guys. As it was only a 5k run, it was soon all over and despite a 1hr 1min time-split, I only finished 14th, which was a bit disappointing considering I’d had a good race, but with a time of 104% of the winning time it was very close racing with seconds making the difference. I guess it is back to the intervals in preparation for Dambuster and Llandudno triathlons, where the hills should work to my advantage.
Nick’s version of events: I took a somewhat more conservative plan of attack into only my third week of open water triathlon racing. Somewhat fearful of the swim, I took the first 300 metres well within myself before opening up on the final 200 metres. Perhaps that turn of speed in the last 200 metres and subsequent oxygen debt had consequences for my co-ordination as I seemed to be extremely dizzy in transition.
Used to super quick transitions from my years of duathlon, I jumped on the bike as soon as I could and managed to come off again for the 2nd time in 2 weeks! Fortunately this was more of a comedy moment crash – bouncing between the traffic cones and a race marshall at almost stationary speed. The moment was so notable that the race commentator mentioned it there and then and also reminded everyone of the incident when I came through the finish chute 45 minutes later! (Tch..the things I do to get the sponsors seen and heard!)
After finally and successfully mounting the bike, I had 4 reasonable laps on the bike before coming back into T2 and delivering my trademark final fast run. Overall then and rather like James a reasonable showing for the Torq team but “must try better” next time. Roll on part 2 when James, Nick and Hamish (Chris will also be there) have one more attempt at World Champs qualification in Llandudno!
And where do TORQ triathletes keep their bikes? Locked up in the bath, must be a London thing…
All pro snaps courtesy of Jolekha Shasha
As ever, thanks to the help of all our fantastic sponsors:
www.huubdesign.com – Wetsuits
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets & Glasses
www.lakecycling.co.uk – Cycling Footwear
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.shimano.com – Groupsets
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.amphibia-sport.com – Transition Bags
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.lezyne.com – Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages
www.juicelubes.co.uk – Lubrication