I was coerced into entering this sprint by Greg. I forget the reasoning. Even without the coercion I would probably have entered it as it’s at Dorney, which is all of 20 minutes’ drive from me, it’s in the evening, and… Why not?
There’s nothing terribly spectacular about this particular Dorney Sprint Tri to differentiate it from the myriad of others that happen there almost every weekend – other than it starts at the other end of the lake to all the tris I’ve done at Dorney in the past, and is in a different body of water.
Sloping off from work a bit early didn’t present any problems, and I was there in plenty of time to meet up with the coercive Gerp, Glenners and Madame Eleanor. The sun was out, it was a beautiful evening. Although I thought I’d got there in plenty of time the “wave 1 rack” was full by the time I got to it so I had to “rack” against the fence. No real hardship. The race village and toilets were about average for a pop-up event. After some pre-race faffing and banter, slipped into the wet-suit and then off for a pre-race briefing. Briefing was an odd affair – held at swim out it covered only the bike and run portions as the swim was in the other lake a short swim away but not visible from where I was.
Post briefing we were counted into the water – a balmy 20C (there as at least one non-wetsuit-wearer) and swam under the bridge to the wrong lake, to then have the swim briefing.
Swim (750m – 00:15:19)
Without too much ado we were off. The swim was four sides of an irregular rhomboid, followed by getting back to swim out by going back under the bridge. The usual friendly / violent fun of a mass start ensued – managed to actually draft someone for the first two buoys and stay out of trouble.
I think I need new goggles as the right lens has lost some of its adhesion and leaks unless it’s sealed just right, which lost me some seconds.
I think I should probably count this race as a D.N.F. / disqualification as on the way back down I sighted on the wrong buoy and shaved a bit of corner off. I did wonder why there wasn’t anyone on my line. Stopped pondered going back, thought ‘sod it I’m not going to win’, joined up the rest of the pack under the bridge and up the exit into transition.
T1 – (00:01:07)
Up out of the water, wetsuit off, no socks, shoes on, race belt worn under wet-suit, helmet on, off we go.
Bike (19.2km – 00:34:18)
This is a Dorney 4 lapper. One of my co-triathletes had commented earlier that it could be utter calm everywhere else but it would always be windy at Dorney. I didn’t think it was as bad as any of the other races I’ve done there. Certainly I didn’t think one direction was massively into a headwind. There is a bit of variation on this tri as it uses the road dividing the two halves of the lake rather than circumnavigating the entire site. I suspect this makes it much easier to police.
Over took more than I was over-taken. The usual PKWs shot past of course, both at the start (if they’re rubbish swimmers) and again at the end (as they lapped me). Every 9:12-22 my watch beeped the 5k timing so I knew I was roughly on course. Although I could and should have pushed harder. For the first time in a race situation I managed to get down onto the tri bars for a considerable stretch. Highlighted that the turbo should be utilised to practice this position as the perceived power dropped off in the aero position.
Four laps passed reasonably quickly and Garmin recons the average speed was just north of 20mph which pleases.
Near the end I was passed by green calf guards who had a minute or so lead into the run.
T2 – (00:00:51)
Bike racked (or leant, at least), helmet off, shoes off, run shoes on, number belt backwards, head to run out. One of the best T2 this year I think.
Run (5k – 00:21:42)
A two lap there & back along the ‘right’ lake allowed some banter and high fives with fellow competitors including one very short bloke in East Essex Tri gear who I greeted with aplomb. I must have missed Glenners in all the excitement.
Feeling really good I attacked the run at borderline failure pace. Paid for it at the first turn with a stitch that slowed me a bit and gradually went away by itself.
Overtaken on the run by the leaders on their second laps, but did more overtaking than being left behind, and caught up with green calf guards by the final turn and left him behind.
Crossed the line to be given a tepid plastic cup of coke.
Ruminations / Overall 74th – (01:13:17)
A fun evening on a decent closed course with some good people.
I like the closed course, I’m not sure I’d want to start in the later waves as it was getting dusky by the time we’d finished.
Free tee-shirt seemed okay until I tried to go running in it later on – there is a large logo directly over the left nipple that chafes something awful. Have to be saved for use over a tri suit.
I would do another one of these. There aren’t enough evening triathlons and this one deserves to be patronised.
I would have added an unknown amount of time to the swim if I hadn’t shaved the corner, so I can’t claim this as sub-75. Sighting therefore needs work.
I need to get a power meter if I’m really going to dial in how hard I can push on the bike, I wasn’t going anywhere near hard enough.