Yesterday morning I got up quite early and set out on my own to head to the VOTWO Eton Dorney Olympic Distance Triathlon. This company also run an evening triathlon series in the summer so I was looking forward to seeing how the events were run with a view to maybe participating in some evening ones next year.
I chose this triathlon in part because no one else I knew was going. This sounds weird, but with it being pretty much the last triathlon of the season (I am struggling to find any later in the year of you know of any please let me know!) I wanted one that wouldn’t scare me and should be a good experience. Having only done one Olympic distance Tri ever before this I am far from an expert!
So I set off on my own, bike racked on the roof as usual and began the 70mile drive to Eton Dorney. 50miles in to my journey my bike decided it didn’t want to come to the event with me and made a bid for freedom on the M25… This was one of the most frightening experiences ever! Driving along concentrating on the road then all of a sudden a massive noise and I can see the handle bars of my bike through my back windscreen… They should be above my head!!! I shrieked, pulled into the slow lane, and panicked!! Called my friend Brett (although I’m not sure what I expected him to do about it) was hysterically crying when his wife my friend Lisa answered the phone, I was convinced my forks had snapped in the rack! Blubbing about my broken bike and being stuck on the M25, poor Brett and Lisa I’m sure that’s not what they wanted to hear at 8am on a Sunday morning! Lisa told me to calm down, pull off the motorway when I could and Brett would come to me. It was 6 miles to the next services so I drove slowly, called Adam, and he said he would come to me with a different bike.
Eventually I pulled off the motorway into the services, as I slowed the loss of momentum obviously meant the bike was less stable, and then rolled sideways round the car when I could see my forks were indeed still attached! As I came to a stop the plastic fastening holding my back wheel to the roof gave up and snapped dumping the bike unceremoniously on the ground, but it was ok, I was stopped and safe!!! After an initial inspection the bike looked OK… I called Brett and Adam to let them know I may not need rescuing, popped the front wheel on my bike and rode round the car park… All ok! (Although I am still planning to put it into Giant Docklands for a check!) So, bike into the back of the car now and I carried on with my journey, albeit now a little behind time!
Registration was quick, easy and well organised, so soon I was in transition setting up. Bike safely racked, shoes laid out, this bit scares me, I’m always convinced il have forgotten something!
I was just about done in time although was still putting on my wetsuit when they called us for the race briefing! Not really the calmest or most organised start to a day but hey ho! The briefing explained the swim route and the transition entrances and exits, then we were on our way into the water… This is my worst bit ever! Although I managed not to cry this time (unlike the London Tri) I was really nervous walking into the water! The water felt really cold, there were a lot of plants near the edge so it was like swimming through serpents to get to the start line! Then we were off! And I made my oh too familiar mistake of panicking as I started swimming, swallowing gulps of air and struggling to get my breathing right, cue being full of air, really uncomfortable and unable to breathe! I ended up doing breastroke for a few minutes to get my breathing back to normal and it was about 300meters before I had settled into a rhythm and was back to freestyle. This had lost me a few minutes of time but I was just happy to be surviving! The issue with gulping air initially in the swim is I then spend the rest of the swim burping uncomfortably!! Yuk!!
Swim over, short run into transition, feet dry, shoes and helmet on, bike ready and out of transition I trotted! I was in a bit of a tizz here and it took me a few moments to get on my bike and get clipped in, then I was off! The bike was 8 laps of the same route which turned out to be a bit soul destroying due to a headwind on the outward side, this meant riding away from transition was slower than I would have liked, also the road surface on this side wasn’t great, the way back towards transition had smoother surface and no headwind so was better but every time you turned onto the next lap you knew the next 5minutes or so were going to be tough.
8 laps done, back in transition, trainers on and off out for the run. I was determined to be a bit more organised in my run as when I did the London Tri my pace was a bit eratic so I started off quite steady at a pace I was sure I could maintain! 2 laps of a 5km course, nice and flat alongside the lake, the run was pretty pleasant as far as running when you are tired goes! I was pleased to take 6mins off my London Tri run time!
Through the finish and it was all over! I was 2mins slower than the London Tri as my swim and my bike sections had been slower than I would have liked but overall all things considered with the trama of the drive etc I don’t think it was that bad! Reasonably happy I headed back to collect my kit from transition! Yes it was that windy even my hair tried to leave me!!