The night before I had cleaned 'Scottie' and went on a hilly 7mile sprint just to keep the muscles ticking over and to make sure the bike was in tip top condition. She was a dream to ride. Woke up nice and early, about 6.45am so that I could have a slice of toast and some fresh filter coffee. My start time wasn't until 11.18am but I knew how bad parking was so got there early. As I was due to pack the bike I saw the rear tyre had deflated. It was the latex innertube that I had patched a few months ago and managed to do around 500 miles on. Managed to change tube very quickly which was good news and set off.
Turned up around 8.20am but all the Marl Pits Sport Centre parking places were taken up but we managed a premium spot outside someones house. I didn't want too much to eat so that the risk of getting a stitch was minimised. I have a nice big box to put all my tri gear in and after registration where I picked up my numbers and 'free' cycling jersey, set to work arranging my stuff and bikes so it was easy to change into. Met quite a lot of people I knew like from Rochdale Tri club, school previous races and even Pantani turned up to cheer me on! About 10am I grabbed my bike for a 25min warmup and accidentally picked the hardest hill in the area, got me nice and warm and the blood pumping. Afterwards I had a double espresso. The weather had gone from overcast to pissing it down in a matter of minutes and all my gear was wet so my socks with talc in was a waste of time.
11am came and I was ready by the 4 lane, 25 metre pool. I got my number written on my leg and arm, put on the annoying orange swim hat then cleared and attached goggles. As I have mentioned before I put my swim time as 6.30minutes on the application form as I didn't like finishing near the end and wanted a time earlier but everyone had the same idea so I was roughly setting off the same time as last year. 400m/16lengths later I was out of the pool, feeling fresh and satisfied with my efforts. No one got in my way and any overtakes were clean and crisp. Ripped the cap off and tip toed across the slippy floor to transition area 1.
It was the first time I had used my 2XU trisuit in competition and it proved to be invaluable as I just needed to put on my shoes, number belt, helmet and I was away in seconds. No point in using my towel as I was drenched, as were my shoes and my poor bike..'.Scottie' I ran down to the main road with cleats on ( I can't see how attatching shoes to pedals help?) , I had the right gear for the hill start and I was away for the lumpy bike leg. Up, Up and more Up until a set of lights on a downhill section where the marshalls were lying in wait to count our 'sitting time'. There was another short downhill to Burnley Rd East but since the roads were very slippy most people took it easy but there were reports of numerous people skidding off with lovely open wounds to show off for their efforts. The first 7 miles was more or less all uphill to Crown Point where Pantani was waiting for me. He tried to chase after me but said after I was going way too fast. With 5 miles left, with 4.5 downhill, a bloody Sunday driver in a crappy white van pulled out in front of me and travelled 26.5mph all the way to the set of lights where I was to dismount and run on the pavement to cut the lights out and mount again. This lost me quite a lot of time I think as I never pedalled hardly and kept having to use the brakes and had to keep my distance as there were marshalls dotted about to catch drafters. It was impossible to overtake safely and my missus said whatever you do out there, think about your new baby first. I was really irate at the holdup but life goes on. I sprinted up the last hill which was lined with spectators shouting encouragement then the dismount and run into transition2. (21km)
As soon as the time was taken for my bike I thought I could relax now as the hard stuff that I wanted to excel at was done and since my running is abysmal at best I just figured Ill go as hard/fast as my dodgy knee will take me. I had a little trouble putting on my trainers as I forgot to loosen the laces but didn't lose too much time. Another lumpy course which had me gasping after a few strides. I was at my limit all the way around. The legs felt fine but I just couldn't get enough oxygen. 3 laps it was and during the 2nd I started to get the 'stitch of death' which worried me slightly. I had run all the way so far and if it persisted I was going to run through the pain. As it happens it disappeared quickly and I carried on, shouting out strange grunting noises now and again. I had miraculously overtaken quite a few but not been overtaken yet myself until number 219 re took me after I had done so on the bike. I crossed the line with my arms aloft and a massive smile on my face as I had RAN all the course unlike last year when I walked most of it. No sign of knee pain either. There were oranges available at the line and I must have had about 6 slices and a bottle of water. The father in law kinda timed me on his watch and said I had done around 1 hr 12 mins. It was within my target zone but left me slightly disappointed.
We retired to the club house after a shower to watch the prize presentation and hopefully to get the split times and overall position. The organisers kept us waiting for ages as they had to work out the temporary traffic light standing times. It was about 2pm when it was all wrapped up and still no times. Suddenly there were groups gathering with pieces of paper..............
Nah, That can't be right? I had to wrestle the papers from the others to get a closeer look. OMG I had gone under 1hr 10mins. Last years time was 1hr 24mins. Delighted and chuffed with 13th place. I do think I could have done a 38-39 on the bike quite easily to give me the second/third fastest bike but it wasn't to be, definitley on another day without that van driver,I had no tri bars either. Why is my running so bad? Very pleased with that too. Paul Jibson from Middleton Cycling club and keen triathlete also competed and he came 21st.
Celebrated with KFC, Vindaloo and choccy.