Yesterday as you may have read by now Alastair, Mark and myself did the Little Woody, and oh how the results burn and sting, read on!
Swim: The swim leg was great, the National Dive Centre is an abandoned and flooded quarry and is used for the Little Woody swim. The water is a beautiful turquoise colour, unfortunately the water was not clear as 2012 when I was last there and the submerged wrecks of helicopters etc were not visible (makes the swim seem like scene from Tomb Raider). Strategically placed running shoes and not sandals or flip flops are needed for the long run out of the quarry (steep!). My swim was pretty painless, I didn’t work too hard and hit T1 on the pointy end of the field.
Bike: Yes the bike ride is pretty varied with technical elements, boring parts, wooded legs and a lot of hills to tire your legs out; possibly a course you would not necessarily consider an ideal race course. BUT the part that BURNS so bad and is etched in my minds eye is a follows. I had kept my position on the bike fairly well by being a fair bit more honest than I had been in the Cotswold Tri two weeks ago. Unfortunately I found myself off the course with several other riders who had followed some arrows for what I think may have been another event. While I did not end up in Portsmouth (ref Big Wheel) this detour cost me in the region of at least 12’30!! One of the athletes I was with said in an American accent philosophically “It is what it is”, aargh! On the way back to the course we redirected many athletes back who were on the same bad leg. I had to put the pass down on several riders again (Big Woody competitors), I was pretty sure Mark would be ahead by now.
Run: Your bike is taken from you kindly since this is a split transition, Mark’s bike was in the rack already. So I started the run mentally stinging, I saw both Mark and Alastair out on the course who both looked in great shape. We cheered each other on, it is nice to race with club mates and friends. The run is a torturous leg burning climb up-and-up to a turn point, and then a rapid run back down. Myself and another athlete tagged together for the run right to the end with a great sprint finish, I really enjoyed the camaraderie, low key events are good for that.
Take aways: Stay on the bike course, but do enjoy the race if the race fates decide your time is up. The bird poo on your bike that was collected while driving to the race is NOT LUCKY, wash it off. Disappointingly because of the mix up I didn’t get to crush my time from last year, but I do think I have improved beyond all of my own expectations. I have discovered I really really love racing, and I can’t wait for my next race.