Saffron Walden Triathlon – 1st May 2016 by Trevor


Much has been said already but I will add my two penneth.

My trusty transportation service arrived shortly after 5:30 and an uneventful journey meant we were in registration by 6:15ish. Transition was in an enclosed tennis court area and being relatively early meant we were allocated positions in the first rack. No boxes allowed and it was pretty cosy, your shoes etc being under the back wheel of the neighbouring bike that faced the opposite direction.
Race brief a little delayed about 7:10 and then the long wait!

My niece was in the very first relay wave at 7:30, so that created a bit of excitement for me, impressively she was 21st fastest swimmer overall. Mat was the first Time Bandit in and then we had swimmers at fairly regular intervals to encourage. Claire was at 9:55, me at 10:00 and Chris at 10:05, so we were milling around the changing area together. Sorry Josh, forgot most of the warm up regime…….managed a bit of running on the spot and some arm swings! In the water 30 secs before allocated start time, which I thought worked well, meant I could sort my goggles etc. Then I was off. One other chap in my lane but he soon finished and I had a lane to myself. Another swimmer joined me after 5 mins and quickly caught me after two lengths. I must have done 10 or 12 lengths at this stage and he didn’t catch me again. My niece timed me at 7:57……happy with that!

I had being contemplating what layers to wear for the cycling all week depending on the originally depressing weather forecast. Initially frosty but rapidly improved as the morning progressed, still went with socks but abandoned my plan for arm warmers, so just a Club cycling shirt to wrestle with……..pick up……gel and glasses fly out the pockets…..arms and head in and then firmly stuck under armpits……lots of jigging about, flailing arms to grab and tug and eventually sort of on. Reload pockets and then out of T1.
Straight into what seemed like a massive hill. Perhaps too much effort in the swim but more likely the T1 fiasco, meant I was not comfortable at all going up, really struggled. Finally at the top and a bit of respite, sorted my top out and got into more of a stable pace. Got caught in traffic at the foot down junction, which meant I had a proper stop and inevitably in the wrong gear to restart and tackle yet another hill. Finally got to Thaxted, having previously done a recce, in my head it was all down hill from here… wasn’t, although not as hilly, the road surface much better and definitely the faster half. Haven’t used the Club shirt much but I found it very difficult to get the gel out of the pocket and rubbish back in…..I need to get this smoother, I must of lost some time sitting up and flapping about. Messed up the dismount, one foot out of shoe and one shoe still on but managed to nail T2.

Vaguely recall some encouragement from my sister and Steve …..someone shouted something about a hill……holy cow, it was awful, I promise you I did not walk, but I suspect it was walking pace, knackered not sure I can do another 4.5k. Friendly face of Graham at the top……no idea what you said and apologies for not being capable of any sort of acknowledgment! Flat section and hi fives with Simon and shortly after Claire, compared to me surprisingly strong and happy. Downhill section and a water station and an encouraging “not long to the turnaround”. This was a lie! A number of passing runners said the same thing but the turnaround took an age. Eventually I was on the way back, hi five with Chris, bugger, he set off 5 mins after me and was now much closer. Steep unwelcome hill and the flat section and then the last 300m downhill……no excuses now, good strong finish for the supporters, now including wife and son.

Swim and T2 good, everything else a bit frustrating. 6th in age group (out of 18) which on reflection I am very happy with.

Very well run Triathlon, great marshalling that shouted your name etc and on balance I think the swim worked well and was worth the long wait.

Finally, exceptional Club support and very impressive three age group wins.

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