I'm the one in the fancy Orca wetsuit next to the geese or whatever they are
I'd like to do a detailed review but I just haven't the time and this is being typed at 2am so it's going to be a little brief.
Awoke 5am to eat a scrambled egg butty and caramel slices washed down with 2 mugs of super strong coffee, that would be all the food and drink I'd have' til more or less the end of the race. The race was due to kick off at 8am and we arrived at about 6.30am as my missus needed a briefing and her marshalling kit. She would monitor transition 1 and make sure everyones numbers matched the bikes and no one without a number was let in. Nice and easy but very important. When I arrived I found out that my original runner had pulled out due to injury and A 12th hour replacement had to be found. He seemed very nervous and apologetic for not being as good as my first choice, I told him just to enjoy it and do his best....no pressure :P I had brought my running shoes and thought I would do the run too and see how far I could get before I'd have to pull out or I might even complete it but for timing purposes I would hand over the timing chip to Chris, my runner. The temperature was COLD, roughly 6-7 degrees and getting quite windy. The water was measured at 15 degrees so no problems there.
After registration The first wave of swimmers were called for a race brief and wet suits put on. I was going in the first, faster wave with about 35 other swimmers. I had my eye on the ones I knew were good so that I could draft them. They were disappearing and moving a lot to disorientate me but managed to find them when the starting whistle went....everyone was jostling for position but I kept my line and found myself with the front group. It was 1.4km around Cowm reservoir. Kieron, Rochdale Triclub's fastest guy was just infront and he was my 'paceman' as I never let him out of my sight. He was following another guy and the pace seemed very slow as I didn't seem to be using alot of energy which was ideal. On the last stretch home the pace was picked up and I came out of the water 5th but we were altogether really, right next to Kieron but then there was a 400m run to transition 1 which is where I lost time to the leaders.
I managed to get out of my wetsuit and into my helmet and shoes and race number in 1min 14 secs, the fastest guy doing it in 50 secs. The bike leg was 42km (26miles) of tough hills and this is where I thought I would do well. At Rossendale Tri I didn't pace the hills as well as I think I could have but today I paced all the climbs perfectly. I stood up all the way up the climbs and noticed I was the only one who did this of the faster lot. The others choosing aero but I find its the only way I can get my power to the road most effectively. I overtook a couple and found myself in 3rd position overall - Only Martin Cain, the super athlete, was ahead of us I could see Kieron, 100m infront of me on his Cervelo P3 with deep wheels and he used his kit very well as he tended to pull away very quickly on the flat or descents and I caught back up on the climbs but even though I could see him there for the taking, I kept to my race plan of not blowing up and keeping my heart rate in a specific zone.
I entered transition in 3rd place overall, I must have had a very quick bike run and I felt full of running so after handing over my timing chip to my designated runner and I put on my trainers and had every intention of completing the 9.5km run. The marshalls were fantastic and kept on giving me encouragement. I just went out to enjoy the run and get round the course and for the first 5km I was going fine and dandy. At the feed station I took a water and splashed it over my head and drank some pepsi......the bubbles felt sooo good! From about 6km my right knee started giving me the symptoms that my dodgy left knee usually experiences. Maybe it was because i'm subconsciously protecting my left knee but today the left was fine. After 8km I was really feeling it in the knee even though my body was quite fresh and I reverted to a slow jog. I completed the run without stopping and without walking but as usual I had a stitch for most of the course, could have been for all of it.
That was my first 'Olympic distance' open water triathlon and it was the best racing experience I have ever had. My swim time was 20mins 54 for 1.4km which isn't majorly fast but I achieved my target of keeping up with the leaders and conserving energy
The Bike Route as you can see is hilly and I completed the 42km/26mile course, 3rd fastest in 1hr 16mins 47 secs and was unbelievably pleased but still think there is alot more to come with better positioning as I still can't get the power down on the flats/descents. Average speed was 20.4mph. WOW. I bet if it was a flat time trial my speed wouldn't be much faster :(
My runner completed the run in 42mins which earned us 4th place overall in a time if 2hrs 22mins ! Great result but only 2nd in the relay group by seconds. I managed to complete the run in 54mins 30 seconds which would have put me, individually, at 12th in a time of 2hrs 35 mins!!! But officially we were 4th :)
We won a crate of beer and some spot prizes which I gave away. The wonderful weather topped the day off, as did a massage, the first I have ever had but boy did I need it.
Monday came and Im still feeling the high from Sunday, even managed to get in 35miles of recovery riding....fast.