This race is often a hot topic in the triathlon magazines. Probably because it’s set in a beautiful setting and offers the opportunity to have a proper blast out before the end of the season. It is certainly on most triathletes list of ‘must do events’. Dave Mawhinney got into the lead on the bike and managed to maintain it, winning his age group. Despite being in a more mature category, he finished with a very credible placing overall, showing the young guns how it should be done…
I was really looking forward to taking part in what has become one of the country’s favourite races over the last few years. The race seems to have received very good feedback from the people who have taken part and has been voted one of the top middle distance races by 220 magazine.
It was straight forward racking the bike on the Friday evening before the Saturday morning start. The race was based at Rutland water, the largest man made reservoir in England. The swim was to consist of a two lap 1900m swim in a sheltered bay, followed by a 2 lap 26 mile bike leg, finishing off with a 2 lap 13 mile run along the reservoir shore.
Getting to transition at 5-00am, I was glad of head torch as it was still pitch black. After taking a few minutes to finish the bike set up, it was time to head down to the start for the race briefing. With the sun starting to rise, we would be heading straight towards the rising sun when we were heading to the first swim buoy. Luckily I had my tinted goggles!
Starting in one of the later waves, the 2 lap swim was straight forward once we had got through all the weed at the start! Being in waves, the swim wasn’t congested and it was easy to get into a good rhythm helped by the extra buoyancy of my Huub Archimedes wetsuit and I was soon overtaking people from previous waves.
Transition was well spread out, so there wasn’t the usual cramming in of the bikes which made for a quicker exit. Onto the bike we all had to contend with the westerly wind getting stronger, the cyclists biggest enemy. The first part of the bike leg was into a stiff head wind, but with plenty of people to aim for in front of me from previous swim waves, it kept me pushing on.
The toughest part of the bike circuit was an undulating section known as the Rutland ripple, which disrupted the rhythm, but after that I was able to concentrate on keeping a steady heart rate while still pushing as hard as I could on the bike. After the second lap and on getting into transition, I was pleased to see I was first bike back in my age group which spurred me on even more for the run.
The run was undulating, but mainly on tarmac roads and on pushing it hard from transition, I was able to catch and keep pace with someone in the 40-45 age group from 2 waves ahead of me and we paced each other for virtually the whole of the 13 mile, keeping us both keen. After the last turn around and while heading towards the finish, I started to feel very tired, but kept it together to finish.
On crossing the finish line, I waited/recovered for less than a minute before the next placed person came into finish, so the racing was extremely close! I was pleased to finish 1st in my age group (50-54) and 51st overall out of 800 finishers, my best performance of the season.
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