Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hever Castle Triathlon - Race Report

Anyone who has ever raced the Hever Triathlon will agree with me that it is an unbelievable venue with great organisation and great atmosphere.
This was the midweek sprint series which is much smaller in size than the original event usually held in September, for which I am registered to compete in the Olympic distance.

Registration done.  Ready to set my transition zone
My wave was the 6:45pm start and I was actually quite surprised at the low number of athletes in transition zone.  I suppose I was expecting the same or similar numbers as the September race but that was an unfair expectation since the September race has 2500 people over the two days of racing, and this is a midweek series with no more than 30 people per wave, and it had about 8 waves today.

While setting up transition it started raining and all the guys around me looked at each other and we all knew what each was thinking...(oh crap... the bike leg!!!!).  Anyway, it was just a bit of a scare as it actually cleared up pretty quickly and soon enough the sun was out again.  Since transition was quite empty I was able to spread out my stuff comfortably in order to easily find my gear on the way out of the water (it didn't happen that easily...keep reading).

One of the guys next to me started chatting and we went to the start up together in order to relax a bit.  As we get down to the bottom of the hill I finish putting my wetsuit on, with Sonia's help, and play around with Sofia and Alexia before the briefing started.  Soon enough we were in the ice cold water swimming to the start line.  As I have mentioned before, the swim is my weakest discipline but from having looked at the previous results I was solely aiming at finishing the 750m in less than 25 mins.  The first 200m were actually fine as I was soon going by the third buoy and aiming for the last one in order to turn around.
Very Slippery exit from swim
It was when I got close  to the last buoy that I started to feel the pain.  Up to that pint I was swimming freestyle and then taking a quick rest, but I decided to change my strategy on the way back so I could keep the rhythm.  I decided to swim for 20 40 strokes and count 15 second of rest.  Luckily enough the lake was neck deep so anyone over 170cm could stand in it, and, needless to say, I took advantage of this at times.  I made it out of the water in 21m:14s, which was under my planed time of 25 minutes.  On my way up to T1 I caught up with one of the guys I was pacing myself with on the swim and that was a bit of a boost.

On T1 I took my gel, drank a bit to keep hydrated, and hit the road.  I must say that I have a thing for not checking out the tracks and expect them to be flat as a pancake! I was also wrong this time, just like on my last triathlon in Tonbridge.  As soon as we exited the castle grounds we started hitting the hills.  It was not as hilly as Tonbridge or as the last long ride I had gone on, but it was still pretty steep, specially for someone who had just swimmed 750m with no previous hardcore swimming training. I got passed by one of the guys before we got to the top of the first hill, and later on by someone else.  I did, however, manage to pass two people, one of which passed me again after I missed one of the marshals and wasted about 20 seconds getting back on track.

T2 was soon here and I finished the hilly courese in 50m:10s, which was more than what I had anticipated at 45mins.  On T2 i run my ritual of gel, drink, cycling shoes off,  running shoes on, race number on, hat on, shades on, and off to the road.  As always, the first 1Km I had jelly legs and was a bit wobbly to tell the truth.  However, as always, I used the people in front of me as targets to push harder and keep going.  I was not passed once on the 5Km run and I must have passed about 5 people. which was good to keep my motivation high.  The running course can be tricky specially if one is not used to running on uneven surfaces as it is a course that runs through the castle grounds and surrounding areas.  It is a lovely scenery as you see the castle twice on your way around (or maybe that was me imagining things), and you run through other lakes in the grounds as well.  I was soon over the 4km mark and the last push needed another motivation.  I was able to catch up to two guys who I had in sight for some time and I passed them both with about 1km to spate.  At this point I just wanted to finish and I put the cruise control on in order for the to just get home safe.

Soon enough I could  see Sonia's red jacket and Alexia's bright pink jacket in the distance and that was the final motivation I needed.  As I passed them I sprinted to the end and crossed the line of my first "complete" Hever Castle Triathlon.

Although it was a slower time than any of my previous efforts, this was a different sprint as the swim was longer than any of my other triathlons, it was open water and not pool, and the bike and run were hilly and uneven respectively.  It was, however, a good experience ahead of my next 750m swim triathlon in Barcelona in 6 weeks time.  This was another eye opener for both my swim and bike legs, which are the ones I need to work on in order to start getting some decent times in.

I reckon over the summer I will be able to step up my training since I will be by myself most of the time.  This way I will not think about the fact that the girls are away from me so often... or at least I'll be busy even I do think about it that often, which I can anticipate will happen.

Total Time: 1h:42m:44s

No comments:

Post a Comment