A bit of a last minute decision saw me enter my first Olympic distance event at Dorney Lake on Sunday.
It was a monster trip to Wales last weekend to watch Ironman Wales taking an extra day and the cost of another night in a hotel to get back because of the atrocious weather, but it was well worth it. Watching Mario and all the other entrants giving their all got me back over the post Vichy slump and wanting a bit competition! I hadn’t trained for the three weeks following Vichy but put in a couple sessions the week prior and headed up in the morning for a very sociable 12.40 start time.
The swim was hard work. I had only swum about 600m since Vichy and the water was definitely not warm enough for another non-wetsuit swim. I started off pretty hard and settled down after the first turn buoy but began to hurt more on the second lap. I could feel myself fighting the water but despite making a conscious effort to slow down my stroke and keep it smooth it was a struggle. I exited the water in 28:30 (118/393) a couple of minutes slower than I had hoped for.
T2 was a nightmare! For some reason I couldn’t undo the velcro on the back of the wetsuit. I just couldn’t get my fingers under the top piece to pull it apart. It felt like an age before I got them apart and the poor T1 time showed – 2:54 (273/393). More practice needed I think!
Out onto the bike I felt pretty good though and was pushing a decent pace (for me!). The roads were pretty good – although I did find a large tear in the sidewall of the tyre after the race with a large section of inner tube poking out like an enormous hernia! I’ve not had too much luck with punctures recently. It was fairly congested on the roads initially as we merged with the previous wave also doing the Olympic distance. It took a couple of laps to settle things down and for the most part the non drafting rule was observed.
On the last lap however I was overtaken by a group of about 10 clearly working together to whom I shouted some abuse! It was a evenly paced ride in the end finishing in 1:08:13 (54/393) with an average speed of 36.3kpm. Unfortunately the Powertap stopped working about 2/3rds of the way round but to that point I was averaging 194W. Given I am not the strongest cyclist in the world I was pleased with the time.
T2 was uneventful and it was onto the run. Four loops of 2.5k started feeling good and strong and although I didn’t feel too good on the second and third loops it didn’t show in the splits which were remarkably even. I averaged 4:20/km for the first two loops, 4:21 for the third and 4:19 for the last for a run time of 42:36 (62/393).
My overall time for my first Olympic distance race 2:23:36 (52/393). Interestingly higher than all my placings in the swim, bike and run. Maybe I’m a better rounded athlete than some of those competing. It would be nice to think so anyway!!
Overall it was OK. It was hard work though and I was marginally disappointed with my swim and run splits. 42:36 is not a bad 10k time but to have a higher placing in the bike times than the run is very unusual for me.
One last surprise of the day was the loud bang from the back of the car as the bike tube went pop halfway home. Maybe I was just lucky to finish.