Swashbuckler Triathlon 22nd May 2011

Swashbuckler Triathlon 22nd May 2011

May 22nd was the New Forrest Swashbuckler 1.9k / 80k / 22k (half-ish Ironman). It was my first tri at this distance, and good training for the full IM in Bolton in July. It did however raise more questions than I had the answers to, and lessons were learnt.

Lesson / Question No.1

We had to be ready to enter the water by 05.00. That meant going to bed at 7.30 Saturday evening in an attempt to get up at 02.00. I didn’t know that 02.00 even existed! I arrived at the windy and rainy venue at 3.30 a.m. It’s the middle of the night, so unless you have a torch strapped to your head its hopeless trying to sort out your bike and kit at T1. As I used the light from my mobile phone I imagine that the ‘proper’ athletes (who all had torches) were quietly laughing. Still, I was warm and dry being the only one with an umbrella and woolly Deer-Stalker hat! So come to think of it, I looked doubly stupid.

Lesson learnt – stick a torch in my tri box.

Lesson / Question No.2

Right then, Bike ready, kit ready (both cycling and running shoes kept nice ‘n’ dry in tesco bags), Wet-suit on and we’re are away. Because I forgot to buy Bodyglide, how do I explain to my wife where all the K-Y Jelly went, especially after a weekend away on my own?

Lesson learnt – remember to purchase you own personal lubricant.

Lesson / Question No.3

The swim start was in two waves, males first, females starting 5 minutes later. We spent 5-10 minutes in the water waiting for the horn (there’s a gag there somewhere) which was great to get acclimatised to the cold. I was splashing water on my face, and hyperventilating uncontrollably during this time, but had settled down ready for the start. Question – at the start of the swim, do I get in a few early punches, or wait till I’ve warmed up?  I think I hit one of the guys who earlier that morning had torches’ on their heads. I’m wasn’t too sure as we all looked the same in orange swim caps, so hit a few other swimmers relying on the Law of Averages that I’d get one of them. I had also wondered if swallowing sea water better for me than swallowing Huntspill water?

Lesson learnt – spit, not swallow.

Lesson / Question No.4

At the end of the swim there was a 400m up hill run to T1, and then another 100m run to my bike. I had put a yellow fluorescent bag over my saddle, so could easily spot my bike. My dry cycle shoes and (talc’d) socks slid on nicely. Out of T1, mount bike and off. 100 yards up the road the guy in front had forgot to zip up his saddle bag, and his spare inner tube fell out, wrapping around his back wheel. There were lots of Cattle Grids, and at every one there was a collection of lost water bottles, having been shaken out of their holders.

Perhaps it’s just the cycle group that I usually train with, but I though it was common-place to call every guy that passes you a ‘tosser’? Apparently not.

Lesson learnt – make sure everything on the bike is secure.

Back into T2, I had my gels, computer (for pacing), shades all wrapped up in a cap, so trainers on, cap in hand and away – no messing. My quads started to cramp within a couple of minutes of running. I had held back on the bike, so knew it wouldn’t last long. 14 miles later I still had the cramp I started with, it never went. I had a painful run, which really impacted on my time. During the bike and run I had plenty of gels, electrolyte drinks so should had been ok (training that distance is no problem).

I finished with a time of 5 hours and 41 seconds. Disappointed with my run, annoyed to so close to sub 5 hrs, but I guess it doesn’t matter how hard you try, or how well you do, as you will always want more from yourself. And it is this that drives you on the becoming better I guess.

Overall, the day was really good, even at silly o’clock in the morning. The organisation was good, the marshals were good – lots of encouragement from them to all the competitors. The bike and run course were undulating, but fine, so if you are thinking of doing a Half IM distance race this is well worth considering..

Garrad Bailey