Last Triathlon of the season and Em and I decided to make a weekend of it even if it was just south of London. Booked a lovely pub room (http://www.thewiremill.co.uk/) and headed down on the Friday night. Food, rooms, and setting were lovely - overlooking a lake.
Saturday morning and it was a reasonable rise to head to Hever for Em's Sprint Tri. The mists were down for the swim, giving it an atmospheric start. A great race from Em (11:26, 47:48, 20:04 = 01:23:59) meant 16th in her category and 25th female overall. Whilst cheering I also came to appreciate how hard it is to be a good supporter and be at the right place at the right time, shout words of encouragement and take good photos. So big kudos to Em and all those who have ever watched and supported me in a tri.
The water was freezing and the cold, weeds and washing machine start made for one of the more difficult swim starts I have had. The cold was making it hard to breath and the water was very muddy to begin with. I settled into a rhythm of sorts after a while, but I can't have had my wetsuit on properly as the burn in my left arm was far more than the right. The two lap out and back course meant that I could see the leaders swimming back the other side in the mists (very cool). The sun then burnt the mist off to leave a great view back to the castle. The second wave hard started now so there was added incentive on the second lap not to get caught by the leaders. Overall a very good swim in terms of memories and initial challenge. In terms of time, a very poor swim (c36mins).
Helped out of the water and off up to transition. Up a grassy knoll and bang I was down. . .damn it, did anyone see??. . .picked myself up and continued into transition.
The bike was a two lap hilly loop. This meant I couldn't get settled into a rhythm but did mean I constantly had new hills to push up which meant unlike other cycles, I felt like I was pushing hard for the whole race. The mantra was from Rob Brundish's report 'last race of the season, give it your all' . . . difference being the guy I chased down on the bike was some random from Tunbridge Wells Tri club and not the leader.
Came in to T2 after c1hr23m on the bike and really felt like I had put a good effort in. A quick transition and off on to the run. I felt sluggish (potentially due to the bike, potentially last nights stellas) and got smashed as soon as I started (but then realised the guy must have been on of the leaders on his second lap). Problem with being in the first wave when they are on avg much better is that you have no-one to chase and when you do they are much stronger. My friend from TW Tri came past me towards the end of the first lap. I couldn't believe it. I had put in a massive effort to catch and then drop him on the bike and then here he is again! My run was not going well.
On to the second lap and I felt like I was getting back into the groove. The second wave were now on the course which meant people to sight, chase down and pass. I slowly reeled in my 'friend' and then pushed past. He latched on to me and I was unsure whether I had passed him too early. But in the end as I kept increasing my pace as the KMs passed I turned with 1.5km to go and he was long gone. Up the hill just before the end and wound up the pace on the grass and put in a big sprint to take a couple of people in the finish straight. Unfortunately I later found out the time stopped at the first mat and the second one with the arch was just for show . . . Doh. My slowest ever 10k at c48mins.
Overall a disappointing time, but I was satisfied with my level of effort and had a very good weekend all in. Back to the pub for a celebratory drink, a succesful weekend of races and in general and a successful end to my first proper season of Triathlon.
Thanks to the TriLondon cheerers on the course. Not usre who you were there with but thanks for the cheers (same goes to someone at Dorney Lake last week too).