Last night I learned a lesson, one that I already knew, and should have been mindful of over the last few months. But one that I’ve neglected, and I paid the price for it. Let me explain.
I took part in the Capenwray Sprint Triathlon, it’s less than 10 miles from my house, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Em and Charlotte were out, so I had a free night. It would have been rude not to race. The race kicked off at 7pm, so it was a bit of a mad dash to get home from work, get my stuff together and get through rush hour traffic in the car park that is Lancaster’s awful one way system. I made it then with half an hour to spare, quickly said hello to fellow COLTs Ian and Danny as I joined the big queue at registration.
Ten minutes till kick off and I was still not ready, quickly rack the bike, set up transition and get the wetsuit on. I couldn’t get my bloody number to attach to my number belt ( press stud version ) and in the end I think Danny saw how frustrated and panicky ( not like me ) I was getting, and did it for me easily. I felt such a muppet.
We all got into the water for the deep water start in the crystal clear waters of the disused quarry that now serves as a dive centre . I don’t think I’ve EVER experienced cold like that, not even in our club lake in the middle of a storm. But it was wonderful and the most enjoyable swim I’ve ever had in a race. I quite simply loved the fact that I could see underwater for miles ( well not literally but you know what I mean! ), I was surrounded by fish, I could see the scuba divers below us and the famous sunken plane. Before I knew it the 500m swim was over and I emerged from the water, stride for stride with Danny. The stoney run to transition hurt like hell, I need to harden my feet up I guess, but I was soon on my bike and that was where my night took a nose dive.
I felt like I was pedalling in squares, I just didn’t get into any rhythm the whole way round the 18km route. People passed me, I had no response. My frustration just grew and grew, and in my head I figured “Just enjoy the rest of the race, it’s not an important one.” And you know what I probably cycled better after that.
It was a hilly course, and that was my downfall. I’ve just not done enough time on the bike this year, or enough hills, and I was found severely wanting. At least I know what I have to work on over the next couple of months as I prepare for a half ironman. I need to get my bike legs back.
surprisingly I flew out of transition onto the run, my legs felt fresh as I focused on the person in front, about 100m away. I would eventually catch and pass them as I ran along the canal tow path. Shouts of encouragement from clubmates as they passed me coming back spurred me on and I ran with a smile on my face. The 5km flew by and pretty soon I crossed the finish line in 1:22:37.
I was knackered, frustrated, relieved and happy. The race had been a useful one in keeping me in a racing mindset, it had been fun ( especially the swim – did I really just type that!? ) and it had been a learning experience, in that it reminded me that it’s all about the bike. Quite simply if I was bike fit I would have been a lot higher up, several minutes faster, and probably would have enjoyed it more. All this week I have been contemplating entering Ironman Lanzarote 2012 but if I can’t cope with the hills of Capenwray how the hell would I cope with Lanza? One dream too far maybe?