I thought I’d stick with the format Ricky introduced in his last report…
Where: Bradford on Avon
When: 20 May 2012 – 8.30am Start
Organiser: DBMax Multisport Events
Course: River swim, technical and scenic hilly cycle route, out-&-back riverside run
Distance(s): 1000m swim, 36km Bike, 10km Run
Marshalling: Marshalls all junctions (almost)
Technical: Chip Timing, event photography (some)
Freebies: 9Bar energy bars and finishers medal
Photography: Sporty Snaps
In brief…the event is very well organised, well supported with a strong turnout. Currently in it’s 2nd year and certain to become a must on the calendar. Some nasty hills towards the end.
There were concerns about the both the weather and water conditions by the organisers. Thankfully the earlier mandatory long sleeve cycle jersey and gloves requirement was dropped (still need to get my club LS jersey). Unfortunately the waterflow was still very strong as a result of the recent rains in the Avon which lead to a reduction in the swim distance from 1500m to 1000m, the water temperature had thankfully risen to a tropical 12.5C.
At the start the majority of the pack headed for the mid stream as advised by the race director and at the last buoy turned against the current heading back hugging as close to the bank as possible. For my part after settling down from from the shock to the system I found myself happily catching and pushing along with the rest of the pack. It was a surprise when I caught the 2nd place and then 1st place man. I ended up out the water first for my wave with no one in sight at the time – happy days. The rest of the day would just be about damage control.
Transition was quick I opted to forgo any cycle jersey or gloves. Out on the cycle I didn’t regret this decision and felt comfortable throughout the duration. I relinquished my lead to a much better cyclist at 10Km and then P2 at 15Km, after that I started to drift back. Although I cheekily stole two places back into P2 along a straight and modest uphill at one point! A couple of nasty hills towards the end amongst the worst I’ve seen were the price to pay for the rapid downhills that had a aerobar ban (instant DQ). The hills really hurt and took the wind out the sails (mine certainly!), with switchback after switchback.
Back into transition and out quicker than others (ziplock laces!) meant I picked a few places back. But here is a lesson, I hadn’t expected my feet to be completely numb from the cycle. Typically I forgo socks in a race, and the crisp morning had worked it’s magic, left with no feeling at all in the feet. This didn’t work well for me at all, since my running style relies on minimalist footwear and the feedback from the road is pretty essential. I was effectively left clumping along trying to get feeling back in my feet for the first 3Km. Not good for running!
My end time 2h29, not too bad overall for the start to the season I suppose, more work on the bike is needed. I enjoyed feeling competitive for a time, and learn’t to have healthy respect for the early races of the season. I’d definitely do the same event again, hopefully there will be full 1500m next time for those who need all the time they can get out of the swim!