Wiggle Tri Challenge

A very solid race by Hamish Shaw, recording some fantastically quick times and reaping the benefits with a podium overall and 2nd in his age group…

Here’s what Hamish had to say: The last time I raced at Dorney Lake was back in 2010 where it was a non-wetsuit swim due to the warmth. I also got some horrific sunburn. One of these was to come true yesterday at the Wiggle Tri Challenge Standard Distance. Unfortunately it was the latter. The lake was a pleasant 15 degrees which was made a lot more comfortable by the 20 degree sunshine that was beating down at the venue. There was a stiff wind blowing which would prove interesting on the bike and run section.

This race was my first standard distance of the year coming three weeks before the European Championships. A good time to see where my fitness was at with still a little time remaining for some fine tuning before the Euros.

I was feeling good, not quite on top form but getting there. Mentally, I was prepared for what was to come and looking forward to the challenge.

The time came to make my way to the pontoon and jumped into the lake. It’s amazing to think that less than 12 months ago the Olympic rowing and kayaking were taking place in the very same stretch of water. It was very refreshing to let some cold water into the wetsuit as I had already started to sweat having worn it for 5 minutes. I had no idea of the competition that I would be racing today so I figured to go out fairly hard on the swim and see if anyone was keeping up. By the first buoy I had clear water and continued to extend my lead across the second lap (Ed. Hamish actually got fastest swim of the day).

The great thing about swimming in Dorney Lake is the rowing lane buoys, so long as you don’t swim into them. The swim buoys are tethered to the rowing buoys which are connected about one metre underwater along the whole length of the lake. This means that I hardly had to sight and I could just follow the cable whilst I was swimming. I settled into a good rhythm for the second lap and I exited the water with the fastest swim split of the day followed by the fastest T1 of the day. I took a flying mount onto the bike and set about the cycle leg.

I was soon into a decent rhythm on the bike. It was an 8 lap course around the lake with a tailwind on the out section and a nasty headwind on the return. I used ‘feel’ to measure my effort, particularly into the headwind as pushing too hard into the wind could have been disastrous. I was passing cyclists from previous waves and up to the three quarter distance on the bike no-one had passed me. It was at this point my glutes started to complain a little, still some fine tuning of the bike position required, but I wasn’t feeling too tired.

Part way round lap 6, a cyclist passed me going at a rate of knots that I knew my legs wouldn’t be able to keep up with, so I maintained my rhythm. I got a gel down me and prepared myself for the run which I knew was going to be hot. Excluding the relay teams, I had the fastest T2 and set out on the run course.

The run course was four out and back loops. For the first half of the loop the wind was behind me and the second half the wind was coming toward me. I tried to concentrate on maintaining good form and technique throughout the run. I could see the competitor in the lead coming in the opposite direction, roughly 750m ahead of me. I would be able to see him 8 times on the run to be able to tell if I was gaining on him. Unfortunately, he seemed to be pulling away from me slightly, so I concentrated on staying ahead of everyone else in the wave.

After 2 laps had been completed, I was starting to get some pain on my left heel where my timing chip had slipped down and was chafing against my skin. I knew I couldn’t stop to adjust it so just tried to ignore the pain and set my sights on runners ahead who had only completed one lap or were from a previous wave to try and speed me up. I dug in for the last lap knowing that I was still in 2nd position in my wave. I managed a bit of a sprint for the line and crossed it in 2nd place in the wave.

I had placed 2nd in my age group and 3rd overall. A double podium for my efforts! On the whole I am very pleased with my result and know of a couple of areas I need to fine tune before the Europeans in 3 weeks time where I hope to be on top form.’

Many thanks to our awesome sponsors:

www.wilier.it – Triathlon Frames
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
www.chapeaucycling.co.uk – Chamois cream, clothing
www.triathlonspecific.com/Sable/Sable.html – Swim Goggles (Sable Water Optic)

Photo Credits to Martin Landy, many thanks!

For those of you who haven’t seen my horrific sunburn:

‘Ouch. I will definitely be wearing lots in Turkey!’