Tatton Park Olympic Triathlon Report 09/09/2012
Despite being just a short drive away the day began with a 0430 breakfast complete with the aroma of stale lager from a friend’s birthday BBQ the night before. After mixing a drink for the race from the sacks of Gatorade won at Nantwich, things didn’t look promising when I found one of my tyres had gone flat overnight. I pumped it up and drove to the park in which time it seemed to be fine so decided to leave it be.
The deers (looking bemused by the hundreds of competitors) and the mist covering the lake makes for a great race venue, and as the sun rose you could tell the conditions were going to be perfect.
I was in the first wave at 0730 and found myself swimming in plenty of space about 30 seconds from the front group. I came out the water in 21:06, about 2 minutes quicker than I normally do that distance so questions about the exact swim distance. The 30m to the edge of the lake was too shallow to swim in so required a Baywatch style run/wade through the water.
Out onto the x4 lap bike out through the course, down to Knutsford and then back up through the park. I found myself in a group of 3 and we rode together, keeping the legal distance of course, for the first lap before one guy pulled away. The course is fast and pretty much pan flat, the only struggle being riding into a headwind on a poor road surface down to Knutsford. I and the other rider stayed together throughout the bike course, passing each other every now and again and helping to keep the pace up.
We came into T2 together and figured we were in about 6/7th. I quickly dropped him in transition and quickly began to build a gap between us. The run is essentially an x2 lap cross country course running through the park along uneven tracks. As the course began to turn back on itself I was happy to see someone 500m ahead of me who I could target on chasing down. I passed him about 4 minutes later and then saw the next person ahead so carried on pushing to chase him down. This continued until other competitors began the run course and it was harder to tell if you were gaining a position when passing someone. I pushed the last section as hard as possible, encouraged by shouts of “third Brownlee” but simply ran out of course, coming in 6 seconds after the winner.
Overall very pleased with how the race went and coming in under 2 hours is great for an Olympic distance race (although I’m sure the swim and bike courses were a bit short), but sometimes it’s more frustrating to be 6 seconds off the win than 6 minutes! One thing I’ve learned in the last couple of weeks is just how important every second and the minor details are in these races. I’m confident though that a solid winters training and a TT bike for next season will see these 2nd places turn into firsts.