Thursday, 4 October 2012

Other New Forest Tri reviews & results

It seems that others found the course hard this year......

Official Results:

New Forest Middle Distance Tri - 2012

The New Forest
Middle Distance 
Triathlon - 2012

Since the last Half Ironman (Mallorca 70.3 in May), I have progressively built up ride and run distance & intensity with no real aim other than maintaining fitness for the NFMDT.

I have, on the whole, been free other than the re-occurring metatarsal problem and a couple of annoying neck strains (both kids trampoline related - I've still got the moves you know). Knee niggles have more or less subsided and going into this event I felt pretty good.

The NFMDT has a lake swim 1.9K, an undulating 90k cycle and a hilly off road run 13.9 miles (bit longer than a half marathon). The plan was to have a solid race and to use it as a training experience and to not expect to get anywhere near the 5:20 PB (Mallorca).

The weather was always going to be a factor!

Pre Race
Camping at Sandy Balls wasn't the relaxing experience needed but it was close to the registration and briefing and Elliot and Eve loved it. On race morning, I realised I didn't need an alarm clock as the local fox's gave me a wake up call at 4:30. I scoffed down peanut butter bagel, muesli and a banana and got dressed. I joined Rich (Triathlon Wales Coach, and fellow camper) and we boarded a coach that was going to take us to Ellingham Lakes for the swim (Note: split transition, T1 at the lake, T2 in a field near sandy Balls).

The bike was prepared by head torch light and it started raining (as forecast) just as we got our last minute briefing. It was a 3 wave start and I was in the first.

My wave was about 100 strong and I managed to stealthily get to the front for the start gun. There was about 100m of scrum and then the wave spread out for the 2 lap swim. I didn't really push it or swim off a faster swimmers feet, in fact by taking a slightly longer line, I opted for a clear water swim. I exited in about 10th position. The official swim time looks slow but includes the T1 time.

What a mess! Despite having racked the bike in a great position (1st bike through the gate), I really hadn't paid enough attention to equipment/clothing layout. The wetsuit was taken off quick enough and placed in the T1 bag but putting the 2 cycle tops on was clumsy (snagged zips) and took forever. The biggest f*#! up was the fastener of my helmet getting jammed under the arm pad of the Tri bars. I managed to throw the bike around a lot in an attempt to free it and undid all the good preparation of securing bike shoes to the pedals. I had to re-adjust the helmet as well before I could fir it. Add to this, it was obvious that sun glasses were going to play no part in the days events, so I had to put these in my jacket pocket and they ended up bashing on my knees on every leg revolution when cycling in the aero position.

The T1 calamity continued as I mounted the bike, I couldn't manage to slip my feet into the shoes and hence had a comical and painfully slow first 100m.

Things improved quickly and I was able to pick the pace up as I entered the forest. I slowly took back some of the positions that I had lost in T1 and settled into a good fairly comfortable pace.

The rain was chucking it down and the air temp had dropped considerably. The two jacket combo didn't keep me dry and probably increased my weight by a few pounds. About 30 mins into the ride I slowed for a left turn. I could see a man hole cover ahead on the bend and tried to scub as much speed as possible before I approached it. Man hole cover 1 Stupid cyclist 0.

I picked myself and the bike up, surveyed the damage (wheels needed re-centring and jettisoned tool kit needed recovering). I had a hole in the left knee cap and through the ripped layers of my jackets I could see that my elbow had also offered some decelleration assistance. Only blood, no breaks. I had a few offers of help from those who had witnessed the crash but I reckoned if I could go hard for the next 20 mins I could test the knee and have a good idea if it was wise to continue, I might be able to make up a bit of time too! This plan seemed to work and I was soon back on the pace.

The cold temperature on my un-gloved hands took its toll, gear changes were getting harder and selecting a gel, opening it, eating it and putting the wrapper back in jersey pocket was proving to be a lot harder than the actual cycling.

I'm pretty pleased with the cycle time. If I hadn't have had such a lousy start and fallen (down for a coupe of minutes) it would have been faster than Mallorca!

This was extremely slow, as I couldn't put my trainers on and tie the laces with no feeling in my fingers. It took about 3 minutes to defrost them by putting them under armpits, between legs and in my mouth (not in that order of course). Looking around, these seemed to be a pretty common occurrence and in actual fact, others seemed to be suffering a bit more.

I opted to keep one of the wet jackets on (heavy but warmer than a vest). My feet were numb for the first few miles that saw the 25% climb and the return to the forest. The run was all trails with short steep hills and quite exposed to the deteriorating weather (in fact the race director stopped the slower 100 athletes starting the run due to a few cases of hypothermia that were being treated). In all I overtook 3 runners and was taken by one. I had to stop to answer a call of nature (of the 1st variety).

I was able to keep a steady pace throughout. At times, it was so quiet that I was doubting I was still on the course, but the occasional marker and marshal kept that in check. The last mile is the road run back down to Sandy Balls and was relatively easy so I was able to finish with a good sprint.

During the bike, I drank 500ml of Powerade (couldn't get Gatorade at last minute) and took a gel every 30 mins. The powerage was so gassy that it brought on a lot of burping and with this, several full mouth chuck-ups. Peanut butter bagels are not as pleasant on the way out!

I also had 500ml of electrolyte replacement drink which was a welcome relief as it was 'flat' and it stayed down.

On the run I took a gel every 4 miles and drank water at each of the 4 aid stations. The wee required after the first 30 mins of running may have been due to too much drink pre- race?


Swim & T1 38:07
Bike 2:53:32
Run & T2. 1:57:14
Total 5:28:54

Position overall. 8th
Position in (M40) age group. 2nd

Lessons learned

  • Dress for the New Forest not Mallorca (Gloves & rain proof jacket... gloves would have saved me minutes!)

  • Stick with drinks that I am familiar (and have trained) with - Powerade is very gassy.
  • Better preparation of the bike in T1 a lot better - lessen the chance of delays
  • 'Go for it' a bit more in the swim.... Just to see what happens.
  • Realise the limitations of a TT bike in the rain (man hole covers) - it doesn't turn & stop as well as the road bike!
  • Numb bum - my current saddle is just about tolerable for the 56 mile rides in the aero position. The under carriage gets a bit numb and would probably disappear altogether after 112 miles! The search is on for an alternative. I will also look to get a professional bike fit for both bikes as an increase in mileage will increase the risk of injury.
  • As crude as it sounds, I must learn the art of 'free wheel weeing'. It's will save 30s having to pull over on the run.
So now time for a post race recovery (2 weeks) and on with the base period training for Ironman!

Ironman Booked

Ironman Sweden (Kalmar)

It's booked and paid for.

August 17th 2013

Family Weeks are starting their summer road trip by taking the ferry from Harwich to Denmark and then driving to Kalmar in Sweden for the Ironman. After this we are driving back to Denmark to go to the original Legoland. We will then take a week travelling home through Northern Europe.

So I have just under a year to prepare by increasing my distances, endurance and most importantly staying injury free!