A chilly ‘autumnal’ morning confirmed that the end of the tri season was well and truly here and after a run of 2nd places I was hoping to go one better.

Despite the swim being indoor most of the pre-race talk was of whether people were going to put on an extra layer for the bike or not. The race was staggered meaning you can never really be sure what position you are in during the race. The faster swimmers started later in the morning and I was in the penultimate wave. I finished the 400m swim close to my predicted 6 minutes despite feeling pretty ropey at the start.

A quick transition and it was out onto the 24km bike course, out to Ashley and then back down to Wilmslow via Knolls Green Village. The course mainly ran along small country lanes with a less than ideal road surface and some short little climbs. This combined with a strong headwind made it a bit of a slog in places. I was passed by someone after about 15km but recognised him from my swim wave so knew I wasn’t too far down and would probably catch him on the run.

The 5-10 minutes at the end of the bike to the start of the run were a bit of a mess really. I pretty much came to a complete standstill as I struggled to unclip my shoes before getting into T2. For some reason I then decided to unclip my helmet before racking my bike, probably trying to claw back a few seconds, prompting a shout from the referee to stop and do it back up before continuing.

Out onto the 6.3km run and the path soon diverged left up some steps, or right down a track. I’d read that the run passes over a footbridge near the start so took this option. Luckily someone from an earlier wave was coming back this way and soon pointed me in the right direction.

This confusion seemed to take my mind off the standard jelly legs at the start of the run and soon got into a good rhythm and passed the person who had overtaken me on the bike. As the run looped back on itself I could see some of the swimmers from the earlier waves out on the run but was impossible to tell how much time was between us.

Without any awareness of your position the only choice is to push as hard as you can, and then some more. I was confident of a top 3 place and crossed the line in 01:09:45, putting me into 1st place. It was then a case of waiting to see the times of the later starters. Turned out that despite the mishaps I’d done enough for the win and some decent prizes too!

Swim (400m) 00:06:18

T1: 00:00:42

Bike (24km) 00:40:39

T2: 00:00:33

Run (6.3km): 00:21:34

The recent weather is confirming that summer is truly over and that it’s time for winter training to begin! Looks like this year will be slightly different from last year where I ran away to South Africa for their summertime. Hopefully the aims of a good performance at the ETU age group champs in June and qualifying for the ITU worlds in London will keep me motivated!