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Monday, May 17, 2010

Salisbury Sprint Triathlon

This weekend I did the Salisbury Sprint Triathlon which was 400m pool swim, 19 mile cycle ride and a 4 mile run. The day did not start of well as I had to be up really early!!

Once over that shock it took a while I was on the way to venue, surprisingly there was only a few cars on the road that early on a Sunday morning. Instead of following my satnav on the quickest route I decided to take a different route further along the road which I thought was part of the cycle route.When I was driving it I hoped it would not be as it was quite hilly.

Once I got their it started to rain, luckily I had brought various extra layers with me. However in my haste in leaving I only had one of the thicker "winter" cycle socks with me, so I had to use my running socks and hoped they did not get too wet on the cycle.

The swim was 16 lengths of the 25m pool (400m), with all eight lanes in use so that meant there was only two others in my lane in the wave start time. They staggered the start within the lane by 10 seconds to avoid any clashes, I was the last to start in our lane. To my shock within 8 lengths I had overtaken them both. I was going fast but I did not feel a massive effort to maintain the pace, perhaps I should have gone faster.

According to my stopwatch I did the swim in 7:58 which was a minute quicker than expected.

However it must have taken me a minute to get out of the pool. At the end of the lane the ledge was higher up and I could not get enough force or grip to lift myself out (must have gone faster than thought with my arms), so I had to go to the edge of the pool and crawl out there as they had taken the steps off as well!!

It was a bit of a run to the transition area on the grass next to the athletics track which at first I went past my bike. I had laid out a thicker long sleeve cycle top, however as I was still wet from the pool and light rain it was hard to get on as was getting caught up. I then put on base layer skull cap and buff scarf, which I was glad I had with me, plus sunglasses even tough it was raining. The cycling shoes I had already put the covers on them before I started the race which made it quicker in T1. Once I had my race number belt on and helmet I started to run to the T1 exit while putting on my winter cycle gloves. My T1 time from my watch was 5:51 which was longer than normal but was from when I reach the end of the swim and the various attempts to get out of the pool, the run to T1, getting ready and exiting T1.

The cycle did not start off good as my cadence sensor was not working and one of my cycle shoe covers was not done up properly. So within the first mile stopped to try and sort them out, however the cadence was still not working so I decided not to waste any more time and just use my own effort and judgement on my cadence. I still had time, distance and speed information on my GPS device plus temperature on my other cycle computer. To my shock the out leg was the section I drove along on the way in, so there was plenty of undulations in the wet and cold 9c (not count the windchill). Going through one of town's I thought the mayor was out to cheer people on or could have been waiting to go somewhere else in his mayoral robe and chains.

Then on the far section of the course we went past Stonehenge, with yet more hills. Then we turned back to Salisbury with another hilly 7 or so miles. It was about 1 or 2 miles from the end when you could see Salisbury Cathedral Spire. I tried some solid food on the bike in the fast half with an isotonic drink but no gels and nutritionally I felt ok. I managed the 18.5 miles in 65 minutes which was a but under 17 mph average. I was pleased with this due to the cold and undulating course, I think the speed was helped by the occasionally downhill but not as much as normally as they were too wet for me to go fast.

T2 we had to take our bike around the edge of transition (to even out the distance for everybody) and rack the bike before getting ready for the run. When I got there I changed my mind about what to wear, as my cycling top was not that wet I decided to keep that on instead putting a long sleeve running top on but I did my Meningitis Trust top on, as well as a Ironman cap and gloves. As there was no drinks stations on the route I took an isotonic sports drink with me, I decided to try without any gels. My T2 time including run round with the bike to leaving was 3:45.

Then run was a single loop with some of it being the Salisbury 10 mile in reverse that I had done earlier in the year. I went off at a fast but maintable pace and thought I would see how long that would last.
The first mile was on the out bound section of the bike course so I knew about the hills on that section. We then turn off the road across a field where their was a marshal directing us. What they did not say that the field was full of sheep, they where too busy in the grass to notice. At the end we had to go up a turnstile which was a bit interesting on tired legs. The next few miles where the same as the 10 mile race until we carried on a bit further before turning back towards the track and the finish. There was about 100m around the edge of the track before there was 300m on the track. At the point I had enough energy left for a sprint and caught up about 100m on the person ahead of me but he still finished 50m ahead of me.

My run time was a bit over 32 minutes so for the 4 and bit mile average out at just under 8 minute/mile pace. I was suprised that I was able to maintain this pace after the cycle. I was glad I head the sports drink with me but did not need any gels.

Overall my time was 1:55 which I was pleased with due to the conditions and the course.

However things that could be improved are pool exit and transition times. The pool exit should not be a problem for lake swims but means I should check out before starting the event.

Check my kit and gadgets are working when I get on site and not wait until the race. I had just checked they had got a satellite signal not checked for the cadence sensor.

Transition times in general could be improved by drying myself a bit if putting another layer on, it was not helped by being wet so cut wet grass was all over my feet which I dried as did not want to get a blister on the run and the towel I laid out was already wet.

After I had got all my kit back in my car I tried a new powder version of For Goodness Shakes. They are easier to carry around in kit and just require water to be added. I added slightly more water (50ml extra) then they suggested but tasted ok but not as creamy as their bottled version that uses a type of milk.

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