The boys took on Chirk, Chris maintained his winning streak and Dave killed his Age Group.
Dave – The (real) Man:
It seems strange to literally have to sit in front of your pc and wait for the entry to a Sprint Triathlon to open and then to have to enter as soon as possible. However, to ensure an entry for this year’s Chirk Sprint Tri, this was exactly what had to be done, as the event sold out in less than 15 minutes!
Another reason this Sprint Triathlon sells out so quickly, is that it is viewed by many (myself included), as a very good Season opener, to guage how your Winter training has gone. For this reason, you are virtually guaranteed a very competitive field in all Age Groups. The bike and run courses are both challenging and scenic – with the run being particularly undulating and energy sapping at the end of a race.
On arriving in Chirk, I was pleased that the wind had dropped. It was rather cool, but at least it was dry.
I had a late start and when it came to the off, I was glad to see that my swim lane was quite unusually free from congestion. I therefore had an uneventful (apart from a little discussion about how many lengths I had done!) but steady swim and was pleased that my new Swann goggles were thankfully completely leak proof!
After getting on the bike, I soon headed down the Glyn Ceiriog Valley, to the turnaround island, where I caught people from the previous swim wave. To my relief, much of the road had been resurfaced (which made for a less bumpy and faster ride), so I was able to push hard; particularly on the faster parts heading back towards Chirk. I was pleased with my bike time (especially considering it involved heading into the North Easterly wind).
Heading out onto the run, I tried to push hard up the first hill and then maintain a fast but steady pace all the way around. I must admit, I was relieved to head towards the finish. After the race, I was pleased to hear that I had finished first in the 50 to 59 Age Group, especially when my age put me in the middle of the Age Group field. I was even more pleased to have finished 15th overall, in a very competitive field. So all in all a good Season opener. Now I can start to prepare for some longer distance races.
Chris – The Winner:
After racing at Harlech 3 weeks before, I then had a 10 day Training Camp in Mallorca. As I had returned only a week prior to the race, I knew it was going to be touch and go as to whether I could recover in time for this race. This has traditionally been my Season opener, it’s a great race, it’s competitive and gives you a feel for where your form is. I was going for my 5th win in the last 6 years at the event, so was keen to try and keep this race record going. The start line consisted of many of the usual faces, but also had a new youngster (Ross Hosking), who is a good all rounder, with a very strong swim and I expected him to be the biggest threat.
We were both in the last wave of the swimmers and started the 400m swim together. As we approached the end of the swim, as expected, he had about 15 seconds lead, but I was so intent on closing the gap in T1 and catching early on the bike, I hadn’t realised he had carried on swimming to do 18 lengths rather than 16. It was only when I got to my bike, that I realised that his was still there. I know the organisers well and knew that they would deduct this from his final time, so I thought I can’t afford to race head to head now, I need a minimum of 40 seconds by the end.
On to the bike, I just went for it, thinking I don’t want to get caught. As I headed into the headwind for the 1st half, I pushed as hard as I could. The waves (that had started 3 and 6 mins in front, with some strong athletes in), were coming the other way, so I quickly calculated the gap and was confident I had put time into all of them. As I turned, I got my first sight of Ross, I reckoned it was about a minute lead, so I pushed on for the 2nd half. My legs certainly felt tired from the training camp, so I wasn’t going to take anything for granted. I also knew I still had to push hard on the tough 5k run. Through T2, I started to catch some of the earlier waves and had them to focus on. At the turn around on the run, I got another chance to check on Ross’s progress, but the gap was up to 90 secs by then. I knew (even with the time taken off for the swim), that I was comfortable to take the win by approx a minute.
It’s been a great start to the Season with 2 wins out of 2 in local races. The run injury I carried over the Winter is now sorted and my fitness has come back faster than I expected. My next event will be the British Sprint Champs on the 10th May (now in St Neots, Cambridgeshire), which is also a European and Worlds Qualifier. For the rest of the year, I shall then focus on the Half Ironman Distance Triathlons.
A big thank you to our sponsors for making it happen:
www.wilier.it – Triathlon Frames
www.ffwdwheels.com – Race Wheels
www.huubdesign.com – Wetsuits
www.schwalbe.com – Cycle Tyres
www.ismseat.com – Saddles
www.invisciddesign.com – Speedfil Hydration Systems
www.lezyne.com – Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages
www.zyro.co.uk/altura – Triathlon and Cycle Apparel
www.fenwicks.info – Lubrication
www.camelbak.com – Bottles
www.tifosioptics.com – Sunglasses
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets & Glasses
www.lakecycling.co.uk – Cycling Footwear
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.swansuk.co.uk – goggles
www.shimano.com – Groupsets
www.amphibia-sport.com – Transition Bags
www.stagescycling.com – Power Meters
www.racewaredirect.co.uk – Custom Garmin Mounts