Ricky’s Blenheim Triathlon Race Report
750m swim, 19.8km bike, 5.4km run
Going in to this triathlon I hadn’t trained or prepared properly like previous years, so it was never going to be the quickest race and I even had a few doubts that I would complete it. With no swim training to speak of and a little bike work done over the year, I wasn’t prepared to do it really.
Taking a quote used in Ashleys’ report the other month: “Swim till you feel ready to puke, Bike till you feel ready to puke and then Run till you puke“, this seemed to sum up my efforts on Sunday.
I was off at 1pm so managed to have a bit of a chilled morning, and go through a mental checklist. The butterflies however started quite early and it was a bit of a struggle to get the porridge down and relax. Once at the venue and through check in, it was a little busy getting over to transition as the main bridge over the cycle route was closed due to a coach driver taking it out on the Friday night! This meant that everyone had to cross over the cycle route on foot. More on that later!
Once I managed to get in to transition, everything fell into place; bike racked, laid out all my gear and had a bit more room than previous years, which was a bonus.
35 minutes to go, so time to get down to the swim start and get suited up. No dramas with the suit not fitting, so I haven’t put to much weight on since using it last year! The nerves kicked in again and I had to stop myself from being sick! Before I knew it, we were getting called up for the briefing so a quick bye to the family and friends and off I went in to the pen.
The standard briefing and “I AM SPARTACUS” shout from the welsh MC and we were lead in to the 16 degree lake.
It wasn’t as cold as I was expecting and I settled the heart rate and composed myself within the 5 minutes to go. I positioned myself at the back in clear water to start off with but as everyone pushed/floated up to the line I found myself closer to middle but still in clear water.
Hooter sounds and we are off. Planned to take it very easy as mentioned earlier, I hadn’t swam this year so it was just survival for me. 300-350m in and it was going well, spotting well and a little drafting until the guy decided he was going left! Let him go and I kept on my course of keeping it steady and keeping to the right, as the course swung to the right.
I was starting to tire after 500m or so and had to work hard to keep positive and not slow down to much. Around the turn buoy and I have my first blip! A guy to my left decided to make a massive splash, bump me and stop, just as I was taking a mouthful of air. The air never had a chance to get in but a gob full of lake water did, here’s where I had my second ‘ready to puke’ moment!
Out of the lake in 16:34 so a couple of minutes down of last year but I had expected that. Took it easy up the 400m hill to T1 and was looking forward to a drink to wash the lake water away. What, no drink station? Where is has that gone? Oh well, I’ll be fine I hope. In T1, suit off, gear on and out on the bike. I didn’t fill my bottle up before putting it in T1 so I had no drink for the bike leg. (School boy error 1) Oh well, there is a drink stop after the exit of T2 so I will wait.
On the bike and I felt quick, passing lots of riders on the descents and flats and even on the hills in the aero position. A few road bike riders challenged me on the hill but as soon as I was over the top, it was kick on time and I didn’t look back. Over the three laps, only a couple of stealth like machines came past me with guys with calf’s the size of my quads, so I let them go. The wind was a bit of an issue on a couple of sections as I was being blown right-to-left quite often on the bike.
I took the TT bike and kept on the aero bars for the entire bike leg and it was the right choice to use it (thanks Martin for the words of wisdom). The last time up the hill took its’ toll and I was slowing up and ready to puke. Decided to keep my head down and push on, take a gel and hope it kicks in for the run. Average pace was 19.3mph so not to shabby, would of liked it up in the 20’s but that comes with training.
The only downside to the bike leg was the closed bridge I mentioned at the start. This meant all cyclists had to dismount 3 times a few yards short, and run about 10 yards to the other side, and then remount. This as you can imagine was a pain and added time to everyone. It was marshaled quite well but lots of riders came a cropper to SPD’s! I nearly stacked it on the second lap but just saved it at the last minute.
Off the bike and in to T2 in 38:01. Rack and dash as fast as my legs will allow, not very with a T2 time of 1:43! I was gagging for a drink so was shocked again not to see the water station on the exit to T2! I then spent half a lap having a mental rant to myself on why there is no water stations at such a big event? I grabbed a gel from the Maximuscle guys and regretted it ever since! Instant stich, and no water for another K to wash it down with (School boy error 2).
A very slow first lap, undoing all my hard work on the bike until I had a drink, rehydrated a bit, then I managed to kick on for the second lap. 100m to go and found another gear to push on, heart rate tipped out at 95% and the finish line got a bit blurry. Over the line and my first thought was what a relief to finish, and then, puke!
With a 30:11 5.4KM, I’m pretty disappointed with that. I know I can run quicker but with the lack of training and lack of drink prep by me, it didn’t work out to bad I guess.
Overall, I can’t be to hard on myself with my finish time as I haven’t put the training time in to make it quicker. I have registered my interest for next year and will have a proper crack at it and aim to knock at least 10 minutes off.
Positives taken form this race
Swim was quicker than I thought it would be (17-18mins in my head) and I felt quite comfortable back in the water.
Need to get the aero set up more aggressive I feel. (Your services may be required Martin)
Bike split data:
More brick sessions required!! Have to start some interval training as well I think.
Final notes – I will keep this brief
Great support from my family and friends, lots of spectators cheering everyone on, marshals where very good, especially dealing with the change of bike course area.
Not sure what was going on with the lack of drink stations. I think this is a massive oversight by the organisers as this is geared towards newbies and is one of the biggest triathlons in the country. As it’s also one of the most expensive ones around, I think this may put people off re-entering next year? Even with this, I would recommend the tri to any of the members to put in the calendar. Great atmosphere, nice clean lake, closed roads and a joy to complete. I hopefully will see some members there next year tearing around Blenheim.