Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Hercules 1.0 Triathlon Race Report

Swim – 20:32
T1 – 02:25
Cycle – 1:16:08
T2 – 01:08
Run 41:45
Position = 6/68
I had planned to treat this race purely as training. On Thursday I had a massage from Chris, and having not been for one in a good couple of months, there was a lot to iron out. All day Friday I felt that massage and I was a little worried I’d have nothing to offer come race day, I felt sluggish in my swim on Friday morning and certainly didn’t feel much better getting dragged round the Chilterns by a couple of ‘real cyclists’ later that day.  Saturday I went for a swim and did feel a lot better and simulated some starts hammering the first few lengths then easing into a more sustainable pace.
Sunday came around and my goals were to get into the front pack with the swim as best I could, bike conservatively and run at my threshold. I wasn’t here to compete, I was here to test my training to date.
The swim was fresh (14.1 degrees apparently), but not unbearable, I warmed up as best I could and kept moving trying to keep the blood flowing. Soon enough we were off and I found myself on the toes of the lead swimmer. A look back and there was a gap of about 3 metres to 3rd by the turnaround on the first lap. It felt somewhat odd, as being so far up in the field was a foreign experience to me. For my swimming companion, sighting was obviously foreign to him – he was all over the place.
There were some buoys for navigation, and it was colder than this looked
I wanted to take advantage of the draft but not at the expense of 200 extra metres on the swim. As I worked my way back down the lap, I decided it was best to take control of the situation. By the start of the second lap, he had merged behind me, and in my childish nature, I couldn’t help but mess around. I put in a couple of spurts, just to see what would happen. He didn’t respond and lost a couple of lengths on me. I thought about killing myself to see how far ahead I could get, then grew up a little, and decided to hold the pace I was comfortable with and swim in. He rolled in 9 seconds behind me. I feel this was a pace I could hold for Half Ironman certainly, and having no draft for the majority, even if it was a little short, am very happy with my swim – you can’t beat first! ;-)

Leading out the swim....ohh yeaaah!
After the swim I decided that no matter what happened the rest of the day, I would be pleased with the result. I certainly took my time in transition and put on my jacket, gloves etc etc – I left transition in 4th – haha. I set off on the bike and tried to keep my heart rate at a reasonable level.  I knew I wouldn’t enjoy the ride if I was cold, so no regrets in wrapping up. A couple came past me early on and I caught the girl who had overtaken me in transition. I to’d and fro’d with the swimmer who couldn’t navigate and although the legs felt a little tired, as the second loop was over I felt like I was just getting warmed up. I certainly had a lot more to give on the bike but I definitely need to work on it A LOT if I want to realise my season’s goals – for which there is still time. 

I dismounted before the line, and as I ran into transition, I unclipped my helmet. The marshal shouted, “you, stop there!” As he did so, I clipped my helmet back, guessing what it may have been pertaining to and apologised. I hadn’t intended to cheat and I certainly felt by this point, it was clear I had understood my mistake, and already lost as much time as I could have saved having come to a complete standstill.
I know now that the bike has to be back on the rack before you touch your helmet – but racing the longer stuff I genuinely hadn’t thought about it that much. I’ve even read through the ITU rules now – something I can’t imagine is expected of every triathlete entering a Sunday afternoon run around in Welwyn. (Apparently its illegal to crawl on the run!)
Anyway, the jobsworth marshal was having none of it. As he slowly waddled his slightly rotund frame over to me, he began to question me “How many of these have you done”…..I said “I’ve done one Olympic before”……I looked at my watch and said, “sorry, but can I go?” as the 5th place ran off out of transition. He said, “look, you can either have me stand here and hold you up for a while or I can give you a two minute penalty”. At this point I bit my tongue, and although many of the things I wanted to say came rushing to me, I just said “be held up for a while?!”. He then waited for a couple of seconds and said, off you go.
On reflection I broke the rules, and I certainly will take heed in future. But where was lotte’s stop and go penalty as stipulated in point 31, Appendix K, number 12, p.126 of the updated 2012 ITU rules for leaving equipment (aerobars) or discarding personal articles on the course? – there is just no justice in the world. What probably bothers me the most is that after all the stick I gave lotte for her Lanzarote transition, it was well and truly returned when she realised she had outsplit me in both transitions. What goes around comes around! See you at IMUK 70.3 Carritt!

Anyway, lesson learned and onto the run, I after less than a lap I had caught the 2nd swimmer once again, and settled into my pace, I was running at 170 HR and felt I could have held it for a good while. I could see I was very slowly gaining on the guy ahead, but as the laps went on I lost him in the extra bodies on the course. I passed Naomi on my 3rd lap, and received some encouragement. I carried onto the last half lap as the first lady drew level with me, she had been slowly gaining on me for the run. In no mood to kill myself, as she drew level, I told her she was good to go and I wouldn’t give chase. I mean someone who wears their name on their kit at that time in the morning in rural Hertfordshire is clearly taking triathlon a bit too seriously! ;-)
Some of the run course - it wasn't this nice a day!
Sadly as I rounded the last corner I saw that the guy ahead of me and he was much closer than I had though – maybe with a little more effort I would have had 4th.  But realistically, there was not ability in this field worthy of beating. Even so,  I upped the pace in the final 50m – its almost irresistible  when you are running towards a finish chute. I was happy with a solid race (bar transitions) and gladly  undid all my hard work at Ray’s gathering – as usual……


  1. Hey, I went back and picked up my aero bars so it wasnt littering.

  2. I would have punched him and gone home.

  3. Let's face it Oli - you wouldn't have turned up!