Following a surprisingly good run at Cheadle 4 last week, I should have felt confident going into this race, but I didn’t. This was the first time since the World Championships in 2013 that I have raced an Olympic Distance Triathlon; 1500m swim, 40km bike and a 10k run.
Treading water at the start line, everyone singing happy birthday to a fellow competitor, (another first) which helped take my mind off the two or so (hopefully) hours of racing ahead of me. A lead pack quickly formed about 40m ahead of me but I maintained sight of them for the remainder of the 1500m, heading out a second smaller group of swimmers ahead of the main pack. Exiting the swim in a little over 28 minutes, and in the top 10, I hoped to get into a nice rhythm and make up some positions on the bike.
I’d not done this course before, and hadn’t recced it either, so naturally took my TT bike, and at first I thought it was the wrong choice, but it was fine, I was really strong on the sharp climbs, passing some lightweight looking people on lightweight road bikes, and on the descents my MTB experience coming in handy on the uneven descents and tight corners.
I managed to pass a lots of fellow competitors on the first lap; on the following 7 laps it was difficult to tell who I was racing or just lapping, so I just passed everyone, and did my best to avoid some cows that decided they wanted to get a closer look at the racing.
Unbeknown to me I came into T2 in 2nd position overall, and completed the fastest bike split of the day in just over 1hr 2 minutes on the very technical course. The spectators and marshals were giving me a huge cheer, something which always encourages you to go faster.
I headed out on the off road run (again, course unknown), still not knowing my position, the sharp climb at the start soon warmed my legs up for running. I approached another runner who had a marshal alongside him on a Mountain Bike (…oh please give me your MTB). I passed this runner, seeing he was also in the same race wave as me, and then the marshal on the bike came with me – I thought, the marshal on the bike usually shadows the leader – he will go on any moment now. But no, 2km later I asked the marshal what position he thought I was in and he said well, when you overtook that last person, you took the lead as far as I’m aware – no pressure then!
Being a 4 lap run course I was able to gauge the distance to the person behind me as I exited the start/finish area and he entered it, and this remained the same until the start of the last lap, which gave me confidence that I could stay in front.
Nearly twisting my ankle, and fighting off cramp, the last lap wasn’t all plain sailing, but I did it, over the finish line in 1st place to WIN the City of Birmingham Olympic Distance Triathlon 2017!!! The commentator shouting my name and Velorunner out on the Mic several times was such an amazing feeling and the best end to a race I could ever hope for.
At the presentation I received my age group trophy and a nice overall winner glass trophy, and I quickly overcame my fear of heights on the top step!
I’m now looking forward to more races at this distance.
#velorunner #argon #newbalance #believe