Saffron Walden Triathlon – 1st May 2016 by Caroline

This wasn’t due to be my first tri of the season..that is in two weeks time, but I got swept away but the enthusiasm of other club members and thought I would give it a go. I then realised it ticked all the boxes of things I don’t like – 400m pool swim (not done that in a triathlon for 4 years as I avoid them), hilly bike ride and off road run’ve guessed it…more hills. I rode the bike route a few weeks ago and found it tough so was not looking forward to it after the swim.

Anyway, woke up at 4am (stupid body clock) dozed for an hour. Got up, breakfast and then off on a very quiet drive to Saffron Walden – surprisingly (!) the roads weren’t busy at 5.30am on a Sunday morning.

Got to the leisure centre, picked up number, looked at the pool (eek!) and then set up stuff in transition. Other club members turned up and it was so nice having so many familiar faces around. Special mention to Anna who turned up looking like death warmed up with a hangover (rock n roll!) and it took a fair bit of persuading to actually get her to do the blimming thing (and a lot of caffeine)

Swimmers set off at 7.30 and my swim time was 9am so quite a long wait. It actually went quite fast in reflection – we sat and watched swimmers and soon it was Matt’s turn. I don’t think he quite knew what hit him as the Meridian wall of vocal support made its way across the pool! We got some bemused looks from others but it was very funny and each club swimmer got the same support when they were in the pool.

My time came around and my heart was banging with nerves….calm woman! Got in and off I went. I am happy with how my swim went and it seemed to fly by. A glance at my watch when I got out and I saw did at 9:44 (and I started it a bit early as well). Very happy with that (last 400m pool triathlons were in 2012 and they were over 11 minutes …a number of years ago but nice to see a number beginning with 9). Maybe I can stop avoiding pool triathlons now.

Out of the pool quickly and then run (well..not really running..slow jogging. Could of gone faster) to transition which went well. Been practicing keeping it simple and for once I didn’t run past my bike and didn’t fluff anything. To be fair, not having a wetsuit thrown into the mix does help.

So off onto the bike…all 14 miles of up and down. I am SO glad I had ridden the route the other week so I knew what to expect. I did go slightly faster today which was good considering I had come out of the pool but still work to be done if I am going to do a “hilly/undulating” triathlon again.

Enjoyed the downhill back towards the leisure centre and managed to do the whole “taking feet out of shoes whilst riding” thing….I am pro! Made a big difference and T2 was again, very straight forward and I am soon off to the run.

Now the run…..hmmmm…it’s OK…I didn’t fall apart but who decided to put a big beeping hill right at the start…it was like this /

Ok…Not that bad but it was grim…people were walking it and looking peeved but I DID NOT WALK (ROOOOOAAAAARRRR!). All those hilly runs at Royston Heath are working. It was great seeing Anna and Stephen on the run course and sharing high fives and also hearing the announcer calling out the club name. I was slower than a slow thing on the run (not helped by a stitch for the first half) but I did manage to pick the pace up and practically stormed across the line for a sprint finish.

The good thing about triathlon is that people are coming and going all the time so then it was time to spectate and cheer club members on at every opportunity. Alice coming out of the pool, Simon coming in from the bike, and everyone starting off on the run and we heckled…I mean..gave encouraging words.

So all in all a cracking morning. I would do the event again…wouldn’t of thought I would be saying that but it is easy to get to, very well organized and fantastic marshaling – such a good touch that all the marshals had access to the names of competitors so you’d go past one on the run in the middle of no-where and there would be a “go on Caroline!”. Couldn’t work it out at first…did I have my name on my top!?

Roll on 2 weeks time when I do it all again at Newmarket (flat flat flat….breathes a sigh of relief).

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