Friday, 15 October 2010

Marshman Triathlon Race Report 16th May 2010

Short Report:

2.6km swim:  39:43
130km bike: 4:14.55
30km run: 2.33.52
finish time: 7.36.44

Conditions: Windy, flat, radioactive, inbred.


So in the run up to this event, I have come a cropper to bit of an overuse injury which has seen me not running for 2.5 months and no consistent cycling in the last 5 or 6 weeks. All I have been doing is swimming lots, with a pull buoy and a band around my ankles. The race organiser had very kindly allowed Lotte to do the run for me as a relay at no extra cost, which was very accomodating.  My only real aim in the swim was to get a time that would translate to a sub 1 hour swim at IM Switzerland in July.


We all go in the water about 2 mins before the race start if that. I positioned myself at the front, with the aim of going hard and getting on someones toes who was fast. Off we went and I immediately got right behind someone. He was flying. I put my head down, to try to go with him but when I looked up to sight after about 15 seconds of hard swimming, he was perhaps 10m in front of me. Hmmm. Luckily this turned out to be Mark Stenning (he won the swim by about 4 minutes, and is essentially pretty useful in the water). Anyway, alongside me to the right was a group of 3 or 4 swimmers, who i tried and successfully latched onto. I found the feet of a girl in front of me who was going pretty hard. I basically followed her around the swim the entire way. With only a field of about 50 to start with, we were right up the front and drafting options were limited. I wanted a whole group to draft off but it turns out it was just 1 person. she was about 5-10 metres behind the ’lead group’ (except for Mr. Stenning) and at the pace she was swimming i didnt attempt to go past to bridge the gap.

I was pushing hard, and although she didnt exactly swim straight i manged to stay on her. I got dropped once or twice and pushed to get back on, deeming the extra effort worthwhile for the ride). One of these efforts caused me to take in a mouthful of water, choke and vomit the a good proportion of my breakfast into the water. (Sorry everyone behind me). Anyway I settled down and coasted back in right behind her.  I could have gone a little harder I think but I was close to where Id want to swim. My wetsuit is pretty tight on me making breathing hard and quite restrictive around the shoulders, so I was pretty happy with my time, knowing I could sustain that pace for another 1.2km if need be. better still that time would have brought me out of the water in 58 ish mins over IM distance. Bring on Switzerland!

Having cycled most of the course the day before hanging off the back of Olis wheel, at a completely unsustainable pace for my untrained legs,  i was worried that i may have nothing to offer on the bike. Not having any consistent riding under my belt wanted to treat this as a training ride more than anything else, and so I wasnt overly bothered either way.  I am now used to having the quicker cyclists pass me after a quick swim, and it was good to see Adam pass me early on at something approaching light speed way out in front of the Marshman (half IM race) field.   I relatively happy to maintain a little over 30km/h for the whole ride. Some of the course was pretty hard going, although dead flat, you know your in for a hard time when your on a 10 mile stretch facing in the same direction that a 26 turbine windfarm (which you have to do twice). Unfortunately I dont have a power meter,  so as hard as I was trying, I doubt I was generating enough power to run 33,000 UK homes, unlike that sodding wind farm.

Conversley cycling with that tail wind was epic - its not often you can feel like you arent trying, and be clipping along at 45km/h on the flat.  That was the best bit of the course by a mile, and great fun. Also amusing, are the variety of things ’for sale’ in deepest darkest kent. its a weeeeeird place. But I think someone should contact the Dungeness operators, because although its closed down, judging by the locals, I think there may have been a leak.


Well I dont know much about this, I was changed and having a coffee whilst lotte did all the hard work and ran 2.34 into some very tough headwinds, as the condtions got worse over the day. The run tours a lovely part decomissioned nuclear power station, so I suppose its good if your into that sort of thing. Her sterling efforts bagged us the equivalent of 9th place overall and a total time of 7.36.44.

Moreover she didnt get lost which is more than can be said from a lot of people I spoke to.

As accomodating as the organiser was to let her do the relay free of charge, this was not reflected in the quality of the marshalls. They sent lots of tri londoners the wrong way, and many others Im sure. Most of them didnt have a clue, and the overall signage was ambiguous at best. Not the end of the world, if you are treating it as a training race, but not so funny if you are leading the race, which was the case for Adam on the Marshman.   There was no food available for free after the finish, not even a banana, and there was only a £4 meal deal for athletes, which was pretty shocking (either pasta or a bacon roll, some fruit and coffee or tea - I should have gone with the roll, because after eating the pasta its safe to say it looked like and tasted worse than my breakfast that i left in the lake on the swim). Its hard to tell where the £95 race entry went really, which is a shame because it could have been a good day.

If your thinking of this race next year, go to the dolphin inn, only £25 quid for a masssive double room or £20 for a single. its a mile from the start and they are super nice. My  only other piece of advice would be, dont do this race next year.

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