One of my aims for this year is to compete in the World Age Group triathlon championships in Hyde Park in September. In order to compete there, its necessary to be selected from one of the three qualification races: Deva Triathlon, Liverpool Triathlon and Dambuster Triathlon. I managed to get a place in two of these, with the first one being Deva.
Having had a decent month of running and racing in March, I've since battled with a leg injury that has stopped me from running until about 2 weeks ago. Though what this has meant is that I've been able to put more miles in on the bike and, given this has been my weakest discipline out of the three, its been really worthwhile.
The Deva Triathlon takes place in Chester with the swim up and down the River Dee. The 30-34 age group was off at 7:15, so it meant a nice early start to get ready and fuelled up. The River Dee was absolutely freezing at 14 degrees! Despite not having done a triathlon for a couple of years, you don't forget that the start can be quite manic and so I chose to position myself in the middle of the river and well away from the bulk of the swimmers closer to the shore. I started steady and after about 600m began to move through the field. I landed up swimming pretty much the whole discipline solo, obviously missing out on any of the benefits of swimming in someone else's wake but getting out of the water fairly relaxed......and VERY cold!
This is one reason why my first transition was a bit slow and I still need to learn how to do the whole mounting the bike with the cleets already clipped in. Anyway, I got out on the bike and started to head south out of Chester and towards the Welsh boarder. The course was mostly flat, but had undulations now and again and I managed to keep between 23-25mph most of the way round. However my 64:57 clocking for the cycle course was a little under par relative to the other athletes finishing towards the front of the field. I know it's not great form to point the finger at your equipment, but my road bike without time-trial bars is potentially as unaerodynamic as you can get and this obviously impacts your time over 40k. I was initially surprised that 95% of the bikes racked in transition where TT bikes, but clearly having the best equipment is one way to make valuable gains on the cycle. I took a gel at 35k to give me an extra boost for the run before heading into second transition feeling relatively good.
My second transition was far better than my first and I was soon out on the run. The run is by far my strongest discipline and it keeps me motivated chasing down the other competitors. It took the first 2-3k before I completely found my rhythm, but that's no bad thing as it helps to keep it controlled straight off the bike. My pace was understandably quite a bit slower compared to what I ran at Bupa 10,000 the week before however it was all about finishing in the top 5 to get a qualification place for Hyde Park.
I landed up coming in 9th in my age group in a time of 2:08:12, so no place in Hyde Park guaranteed, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a roll down place. Next stop is Liverpool on July 14th and in the meantime I should work on my transition and the bike.
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