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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Norwich Olympic Distance Triathlon 2011

Pre Race

The race car park was 1.2 miles (1.5km) away from the start. So we put my kit bag on the shuttle bus which the spectators also used. I then cycled to the start/transition area, wearing my trainers instead of cycle shoes which was a bit interesting, got half way and realised that my cycle shoes were in the back pack I had on.
After I registered I racked my bike up which was a pick your own space in certain rows for each race distance. So I picked my sport on the second row level with the barn (cafe) doors so this would be easy to spot in T1 and T2.

It was starting to feel warm in transition despite it being just 7:30am, so I decided to put my cycling short sleeve on my kit box as a backup kit if I felt cold at T1 and help speed up my transitions.


Getting to the swim start required walking on a stone path which I was thinking why I went barefoot there. The swim was 1,500m in a U shape with a longer start section until the turn around point with the exit 3/4 way along the other lake side. Luckily the blue green algae was below the safety limits so the swim could go ahead.
From the starting point it was hard to see the 3 buoys perhaps not helped by being in the suns direction and reflection on the water with yellow buoys. The tip from one of the other triathletes was to head to the tallest tree on straight ahead.

For the start I started on the left side and was only a few people deep at the start due to being at the lakeside.
For the first few minutes I was getting hit a bit while swimming which I was more annoying than affecting my swim. There was a couple of times which I hit and slow down the person in front of me. I felt I was going fairly straight on target on this section. When I reached the third buoy I took my time to get my bearings for the sharp right turn to the next buoy. After 100m there was another right turn for the last section along the lake side to the finish. Half way down this section when sighting I noticed that swim a few meters ahead of me had stopped, this was due to about 5 swans decided to swim from one side of the lake to the other. I decided to slow down a bit to let them past before picking up my speed for the last section. At this point I was overtaking a few people as I had taken a slightly wider angle on the last turn than most people, this allowed me to see the swim exit banner from further out and stay aligned with it.

When I got to the swim exit I took my swim caps and googles off, the googles fell in to the murky water and somehow I found them on my first attempt.

My Swim time was 33:04 for the 1,500m lake swim.


From the swim exit at lakeside there was a 100m to the transition area which they had mats to this areas which was starting to get slippery. I gave a few meters to get my thoughts together and then got the top of my wetsuit down to waist and started to run in to transition.

I got my wetsuit off fairly quick for me. Then as it was warm I decided against putting on my cycling top and just using arm warmers which I could take off if I got too warm. As I had got my kit laid out in the order I was putting them on I was fairly quick for me. Leaving T1 a quickly drunk a fun size can of coke to get some quick energy after the swim.

My T1 time was 4:00 which includes time leaving swim to the far end of T1.


The cycle was 39km (24 Miles) of a single loop which had one stop point at a right hand turn. I decided to put a big effort in to the cycle section.

The section out of the transition was flat but had a few speed bumps in the road, that was Worthing noting for the inbound section to T2. The next few miles surprisingly there was a few gentle undulations, which I was overtaking a few people along this section with less people over taking me. When I got to the far end of the cycle course loop it was starting to get warm and flattened out but this meant the slight side wind had nothing to step it so required some bike skills to stay on the bike. I was also trying to stay on the aero bars as much as possible. When I got to about 3/4 way round there was a longer hill which there was a few people starting to overtake me.

However in the first 1 hour I noticed on my GPS device I had completed 19.2 miles!! My normal average speed is about 15 mph.

I knew there were only a few miles left on the bike so I would see if I could maintain the pace but accepting the run will hurt.

There was a right hand turn where you had to stop and put a foot down (else disqualified), I was gutted this slowed my time down. On the way back to the transition area I was maintain a fast pace down the country park road and made a note where the speed bumps were. After which I got my feet out of my shoes and peddled on top of them to have a quick transition.

My time was 1:12:36 which is an average speed of 19.6 mph !!


Once I got to my spot which I easily remembered the location, I was pleasantly surprised that there was still lots of gaps for bikes still on the cycle course. I took of the cycle specific kit and put my running shoes on. To aid a quick transition I took my watch and hat with me and put on while running along.

My T2 time was 1:26.


The run was a 11km off road run through the woodland and lakeside which was made up of two laps. It was starting to get quite warm now, so I was glad I decided just having my trisuit on. The first part of the run went through a different section of the park then I had ran there, I was glad it went through some woods to get some shade but had to watch out my footing more carefully than on a road surface. I was to glad of the hills in the woods which I decided to walk up the top half as my legs did not have much power in them after the cycle.
There was a few water stops on the route but I had taken a gel and sports drink me to enable to me to more regular drinks which ideal in these conditions. After the woods section you then ran along the lake side which was so tempting to take a dip to cool off. I got to near the start end of the lap before the first women over took me, not sure how far head start I had but normally they would have overtaken me on the bike. You then went on the path behind the finish area which you could hear people were finishing.

I then knew what was coming on the second loop, so I was prepared for the uneven ground, loose wood chipped paths and steps which I could then take in my stride. Once I got to the far side of the lake there was less than 2km to go I decided to pick up my pace a bit more until the finish. The last 100m you had to watch your footing on the paths and grass but I made it round.

My run time was 57:23 this is an average pace of 8:15 minutes per mile (5:44 per km).


My overall time was 2:48:29 and I was 91st overall, out of the 159 finishers in the Olympic distance. Which I was 114th (72%) in the swim, 82nd (52%) in the bike and 75th (47%) in the run.

Post race performance

Pre race

I spent a bit more time pre race in transition getting my kit ready with optional kit easily available if I need them due to weather conditions. I also spend time familiarising myself with my position in transition and the various in and out sections and the distances.


The swim I was glad I could sight better when in the lake than when stand on the lake side waiting to get in. I started in the faster end of the start which did not freak me out that much so was a good test. On the way back I did not feel as tired as I normally would and it felt like my swim technique was not affected. The swim time was about average for me.


This was about half the time I normally spend in T1 even with the longer swim exit to T1. I had minimised the amount of kit to add and had laid out my kit in order to enable a quick change over.


I don’t know what happened on the bike as I averaged 19.6 mph which was over 4mph faster than my normal speed. The only notable difference I made was having less food and drink due to it being a shorter ride.


This must have been affected by the fast bike ride as I was about a sixth of the time I normally spend in T2. It was helped by not adding extra layers of clothes and put some things on while running out.


The run I went of fast and was able to maintain a similar pace (except the hills) all the way round on a hot day. It was good to run on multi terrain as I had to ensure I maintained my focus on the path conditions.


The bike nutrition I had my food early on the ride to give time to digest before the run and then switched to a sport drink. On the run I had a gel which I had before half way and a sports drink I took with me which I was taking regular sips and only had a couple of cups of water from their aid stations. This was enough for this distance race.

I was pleased with all my times on this race in particular T1, T2 and the cycle. The nutrition and kit choices will be different on longer races but provided a good test of different options on a shorter and hot race.

Below is the medal you got, I like the cog shaped.

Norwich Olympic Distance Triathlon Medal 2011

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