What a great start to the triathlon season it’s been! The time I was longing for during the deep dark December months looking at the calendar, picking races to enter, and looking forward to getting stuck in has come around. Last weekend’s Wilmslow triathlon was the second of the season after Horwich the weekend before. Both races had some top competitors in so achieving 1st place in both has been fantastic.
Horwich (500m swim/40k bike/ 8.2k run) was a great event in general with the sun even making an appearance as well as fellow Team JMCers Nick Isherwood and Chris Hayes, with Budge and family members providing the support. There is typically a lot of waiting around before triathlons, including sizing up the competition, unfortunately 99% of this competition happens to be men in Lycra.
After the 500m pool swim it was out onto the undulating bike course and a quick chance to reminisce back to 2011 as we passed through sections of the Ironman UK course. The conditions made for a good ride on the bike and apart from a few potholes (one of which caused my drinks bottle to pop out of the cage and fortunately straight into my hands) I felt like a quick time was on the cards. A compulsory traffic light stop before transition saw a group of 3 enter transition together.
This is where the fun bit starts, an 8k run after a tough 40k bike always hurts, but when the run involves 1000ft ascent to top of Rivington Pike things can get bit more interesting. The run started as it meant to go on with a long climb, the staggered wave starts meant I didn’t know my position but I thought I must be doing ok when I passed Pro Paul Hawkins! When you don’t know your position the only option in these races is to push as hard as you can until the end and feel content knowing that you could not have pushed any harder, and on this day it was enough to come home in 1st.
Just 7 days later and it was time to line up for the Wilmslow sprint tri (400m swim/23k bike/ 6k run) along with many other Manchester Tri Club members and a strong field with 700 odd competitors. I raced this course last September and despite the wet conditions managed to improve on my time by the best part of 3 minutes. I even managed to stay calm after coming out the swim to find my helmet fastening had come off the strap and needed threading back on! Last weekend’s race left the legs feeling a bit heavier then normal but I managed to post a decent bike time and solid run. It was then a case of waiting for the racers in the final swim wave to finish up before the results could be confirmed. It wasn’t too long before I found that I’d done enough to take the win ahead of Pro Paul Hawkins and fellow Man Tri member Rob Bridges.
All in all a great start with x2 wins plus the NW Duathlon Championship title and XC league showing that a lot of hard working is bringing some rewards. The help of some great coaches at the club have even seen my considerably poor swimming show some improvement. Nothing to get carried away with though! I can’t get used to this because as the season goes on and the competition steps up it’s only going to get tougher!