Almost a triathlon

Since I started swimming a year or so ago and even more so since I bought a road bike, people have been asking if I’m going to do a triathlon. This was never my intention, however when one was organised on my doorstep, the temptation was too great. As it turns out, I didn’t actually finished the race, so I still haven’t truly ‘done’ one … however the story is still worth telling as I did the best bits 🙂

The triathlon was organised by BRAT (Birmingham Running, Athletics and Triathlon Club) at the West Midlands Water Sports Centre just south of Tamworth. I entered the standard distance triathlon, which comprises a 1500 m swim, 40 k bike ride and 10 k run … and which started at 0720! Despite the start being so early, Mark from the Peel Road Runners came down to cheer on Andy (another Peel Road Runner) and I, and be our official photographer; thanks Mark!

So, it was a very early morning…. and assembling all the kit you need for three sports that early in the morning is somewhat taxing. Thankfully I’d got the lowdown on what to wear and what to do at the transitions from Andy, so I felt prepared if a little disorganised.

Ready for the swim, it was essentially to the end of that lake and back.

At 0720, we entered the water and set off swimming the 750 m to a huge yellow buoy at the other end of a long thin water skiing lake, which marked the halfway point of the swim. I veered off into the centre of the lake at one point, but thankfully noticed before I went too far out of the way. After a while the male competitors caught up with us, but thankfully they had pink hats on, which was better than the lady sprinters who wore yellow hats, and who impersonated yellow (moving) buoys all over the place! I enjoyed the swim and was pretty happy that it had only taken me about 35 minutes. I ran out of the water trying to get my wetsuit zip to move. I always have problems getting out of the wetsuit, and today was no different. In the end I enlisted the help of the transition gate keeper. I threw on a top and cycling shoes, grabbed the bike and headed off to the mount line. After failing to get on the bike the first time (and nearly falling off), I managed the second time, and zoomed off onto the road course. It was good fun racing on the bike. I’ve not quite worked out how fast I can go on the bike without getting tired yet, neither have I worked out how fast the bike will go round corners…. so I worked hard but was a little careful. I was particularly careful when it rained as I wasn’t sure again how the bike would perform. In the end it was fine, so it can probably go faster.

Trying to get my wetsuit off (and doing a Morecambe and Wise impression)
On the bike
Transition from cycle to run

Then it was the run. I knew my calf was a bit dodgy and was hoping that the race would have loosened it up, but alas it didn’t and about 1 k into the race I knew it was going to complain. After wondering whether I could limp onwards and perservering for another 300 m, I decided to pull out, and it was a good job I did because it hurts now. On the up side, the running course was the least inspiring section of the race and I’m more than happy to have come away with the experience of the transitions, the fab swim and a good outing on the bike.

Starting the run
Andy finishing the Sprint Triathlon
After the race

Well done to BRAT on a great event, thanks to Mark for the pictures and thanks to Richard for letting me borrow his cycling top.