Thursday, August 25, 2011

Race Report - 220 Triathlon Evening Series

Sprint Triathlon - 750 Swim, 20Km Bike, 5Km Run

Today I had my last triathlon before the week off with my wife and daughter on the cruise.  It was an afternoon triathlon and it was great in the sense that the sun was not on our face the whole way.  On a negative note, the cross winds were massive on the bike leg and it really slowed everyone down.  

It was a small event so not much to say really.  I took it as a practice session and I ended up getting a PB, wooo hooo!! Hurray! Nothing to brag about, but hey, a minute is a minute!

As soon as I arrived I registered and entered the transition area to rack my bike. I got there at 5:45pm and had no time to take proper photos of the event, so apologies for the lack of visual content. As I enter the transition area I set up my bike and I see the first wave go to the Swim Entry area.  It was a small wave so I was expecting mine to be the same (about 80 people or so).  And so it was, my wave was about the same number of people and I was happy as that meant not too many punches on the massive swim start.
Transition was small compared with other events.
We get to the edge of the water to get our briefing and off we go to the start.  There were a few brave souls with no wet suit and one guy even swam with no wet suit and no goggles! Anyway, My swim, as always, was the slowest of all three and where I got the worst overall and age group result.


Transition was crap, but at least I was under the 3:00 mark.  It was a short run from the swim to the transition area.


The bike leg was a bit tougher than I had expected, but I suppose my legs were still a bit tired from the 105Km from a few days ago.  Nevertheless, I went for it hard right out of T1 and was going to push it all the way, or at least my legs failed me.  Happily they didn't and I was able to push hard.  Like I said at the start, cross winds were tough to battle with but luckily I am now getting really low on my aero bars which made my life much easier.  I must have passed about 20 people and only got passed by 4 guys with pretty cool bikes.  The cherry on the top for the bike leg was me passing a guy with an Argon18 bike and another one with a Specialized Expert, one of my two options for my next bike (along with the Planet X Exocet). Soon the bike leg was over and it was time for T2.


T2 was smooth and quick. Best T2 time ever.


The run was a two lap out and back course along the lake.  I had a bit of cramping on my left calf but I shook it off before too long.  I only got passed by a guy wearing full Ironman gear so I was not too upset about that (I assumed he had done a few Ironmans).

I must have passed about 10 people and soon it was over.


Now im going to take some time off and go on a cruise with my wife and daughters.  Im sure there will be some running and riding on the ship, but I will do my best to spend more time in the pool than in the gym.

Here are some standings compared to my age group and to the whole pool or participants.

LEG             TIME                MALE AGE GROUP                 OVERALL
Swim           18m:00s                      18/34                                      140/202
Bike             36m:38s                      15/34                                       74/202
Run              22m:12s                      15/34                                      61/202

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summary Week August 15th - August 21st

Summary Week August 8th - August 14th.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

105Kms Ride - Redhill, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, East Grinstead, Crawley, Redhill

Hell of a ride today.  It really was 105Kms but I stopped my forerunner watch after stopping for some more drinks, but either way, it was my longest ride ever.
I woke up at about 8ish and had a bit of breakfast as I knew it was going to be a loooong ride.  Tights on, helmet on and off went. It was a hilly ride but I already made my mind up on not training on flat courses anymore.  

Not much to say here really other than it was a great ride.  I stopped three times to get more Lucozade.  Getting to Crawley my aerobars came loose as I was holding them and I lost control of the bike so I fell to the grass on my side at about 40Km/h.  Nothing broken and no blood... just a loose aerobar on my hand.

Good thing I had my tool kit under the saddle and I was quickly able to get it on.  I had about 20Kms to go to get home. Last ride before my next race.

I tried a a new  iPhone App for my phone today and I loved it.  Cyclemeter gives you plenty of details about your ride and automatically synchs with various social media accounts.  Not only that, but it talks your friends comments while you are riding. Pretty cool!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Great Sunday Ride - 72Kms

Great ride today. I took the day off yesterday as I was not feeling too well and really just wanted to stay home and do a bit of washing up and cleaning.  Today I had two options, I could do the fartlek run (today's workout) or do the long 2h:45m ride (yesterday's workout).  I decided to do the long ride early, and hopefully I will be able to do the fartlek run later on today.  Now it's time for a nice bowl of pasta for lunch!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

London Triathlon '11 - Race Report

What an amazing event this was. Let's forget about my results and experience for a moment so I can tell you a bit about the event itself in order for you to visualize it for a second.

There were about 14,000 participants, that means 14,000 participants AND bikes at Transition.

If each of these participants brought along an average of 2 supporters that means 28,000 supporters throughout the course.  The Management and organization of this event was 5 stars and I am sure each and every one of my fellow participants will agree with me.  The Expo area was superb with great stores having large stands, tempting each and every one of us to pull out those credit cards and... damn it, I pulled mine out!

Congratulations to Challenge World and Sir Richard Branson's team.


I arrived at the Excel Exhibition Center with plenty of time to spare since the bike had already been racked already racked the day before.  I then spent a bit of time wondering around the Expo and watching some of the previous waves.  I couldn't believe it when I heard the briefing on one of the waves and the race coordinator said that particular wave had 365 participants! That was just mad! I was starting to get a bit scared of the swim just hearing what that guy was saying, so I thought I better get on with my warming up!

Massive wave of leaving before ours.

I headed out to transition and IT WAS PACKED! There was barely any space for me to squeeze in my towel and shoes, but transition always leads to good conversation with your fellow "neighbours" so thats what we all did...we chatted about the course, wind conditions and temperature.  Soon enough a marshal came around ushering us to the Swim Assembly where, this time, the race coordinator told our wave we were 404 participants. I have been in triathlons that dont have that many people in the whole event, let alone in one wave!!  Anyway, After a couple of GI Joe and Spartacus type yells led by the coordinator, we get our endorphins and adrenaline levels up and head out to the water in two internal waves as we were too many to leave at the same time.  We get in the water and the quicker swimmers go ahead on the first of our waves, and I stand behind to go on the second one. My plan was to not run out of breath too quick so I was planning on stopping for a 20 second breather every 40 strokes or so. 

Over 14,000 bikes in Transition

The horn goes off and off we go.  I was expecting lots of slaps, kicks and elbows as with every mass start, but I was pleasantly surprised with the low number of hits I got (and gave).  I was feeling really good during the swim and just kept on going without feeling the need to stop for a breather.  I really  surprised myself as I only stopped three times and they were all because I was either climbing over someone (not literally, come on!) or because I could feel someone on my legs.  I seriously could not believe it as I stopped counting strokes when I got to over 350 without stopping for some air.  This may not be anything special for most triathletes, but swimming is my weakest discipline and I was really overwhelmed with my performance. It must have been the adrenaline.

Swim exit, struggling to get the wetsuit off
On a negative side, well, VERY negative side, my wedding band got knocked off my finger during the mayhem of the very first strokes.  Not only that, but my lucky bracelet which my oldest daughter Sofia made for me at school also got knocked off my wrist :( I have a lot of sucking up to do for this...and my wife will also need an explanation :(

Official Swim Time: 37m:00s

I get up the ramp as quick as I could, got some help form one of the marshals on getting my wetsuit off and got up to transition as quick as I could, but not quick enough :(

Official T1 Time: 05m:36s

I hit the bike and I knew I was gonna see many TT bikes go by me, but I was not going to let that ruin my day.  It was supposed to be a nice and flat course, or pretty flat at least I had been told.  And so it was, but there were a couple of rolling hills into and out of some London tunnels and the uphills made me slow down. I won't complain too much about this as I am a victim of my own mistakes since I train mostly on flat courses around my house in Surrey, but not anymore! I vow to no longer train on pancake courses, and, instead, I will hit the lovely Surrey hills to get these old legs into better shape. This was the first race I did using the aero bars, even though I have had them for over a year. Yeah, I know...don't ask! I suppose it took me this long to feel confident enough to fully hit the road with them.

My legs felt OK for most of the bike course but I really did feel them on the few hills out of the tunnels.  Also, to make things worst, I ran out of my drinks (2 bottles) at during my bike leg so I suppose I wanted to save myself before my body started dehydrating over the ride.

Official Bike Tike: 1h:06m:48s

T2 was quick and smooth. Got the gels down my throat, shoes off, shoes on and hit the road.

Official T2 Time: 02m:23s

As I hit the road for the 10km I felt good and my legs were reacting appropriately.  I must say, ever since I got the compression guards I have not had cramps once, so Im not sure if thats just my form improving or these 2XU calf guards are really this good.  Check them out if you can.

The run course was absolutely crowded which, if anything, was the only negative point about the event. It was really hard to pass people and, at time, even dangerous to do so. Nonetheless, as I mentioned in the initial paragraph, the atmosphere was second to none! Thousands of people made the course really easy to go through and marshals and volunteers were great with all their support throughout.

The first two laps were easy enough but my legs started complaining towards the middle of the third lap. With all the people on the course it was even hard concentrating on any particular runner as a target to chase and catch.  I was passed by an age grouper with the GB kit on and I wanted to just stay with him for as long as possible, but that only lasted half a lap.  The fourth and final lap was the toughest one but I was able to keep it together to the end.

This picture realy captures the sheer number of participants on the course
As soon as I had the Excel center in sight I tried to speed up and pass a few more people before I entered the hall.  As soon as I entered I got a bit of a rush and sprinted all the way to the finish line. I was dead tired but the rush held me up, and the ice the marshals handed out at the finish line was great, believe me.

My time was 2h:39m:31s


OVERALL:   570/1397    MALE AGE GROUP OPEN   - TOP 40%
SWIM :         1020/1397  MALE AGE GROUP OPEN   - BOTTOM  27%
BIKE :           626/1397    MALE AGE GROUP OPEN   - TOP 44%
RUN:            334/1397   MALE AGE GROUP OPEN   - TOP 24%

I will be back for more in 2012 :)