It was with a bit of a sigh that I set my alarm clock on Saturday evening. A wake up call starting with a 4 is never my best start to a day. My third weekend of racing in a row after an exceptionally busy work week which saw me missing the majority of my planned training sessions – poor planning on my part – but I was looking forward to another sprint race. Being as I had just done a middle distance race the weekend before I told myself not to think about this weekend as a competitive race but to have a fun race with my squad mates.
We had a team of 6 racing at the event – Cameron, Gerry, Dan, Myself, Lucy and Pippa. In addition to the athletes we had quite a big support squad with wives, children, non-racing squad members, squad sponsors, and 2 canine cheerleaders!
The swim was a 1 lap 750m swim in Stanborough Lake – my local lake being only 4 miles from home, but I’ve never been there before the race as they don’t hold regular swim sessions anymore. It was cold but I managed a couple of minutes warm up whilst waiting for the start. I seemed to get off on the gun quite quickly from the front row but was quickly swamped and in the middle of a crazy mix of arms, legs and fists again. Luckily I don’t mind getting into the thick of it and until my swimming improves its something I have to stick with, as I like starting at the front. I got out of the swim in decent time and a quick glance behind me made me realize I was quite near the front (13:51).
Onto the bike – and because of the gravel path run out to the mount line and the incident I had with shoes on the bike last weekend I decided to do an old fashioned mount, putting bike my shoes on in transition and just running with my bike in my shoes (51s). The mount area was a bit of a mess, the mount line was at the bottom of a 5m hill with a 90degree left hand turn at the top of the if so the marshals’ were all shouting to make people push bikes to the top then mount, this then meant there was around 10 people trying to mount a bike, on a single bike width section of road – it was chaos! Anyway, away we went and all went smoothly for a round 2mins before I heard a very worrying sound on my bike – I couldn’t work out was it was but it was very clanky and felt like my rear brake was binding again….. As it was a 20km ride only I decided to ignore it. Part way in to the bike Gerry went cruising on by at a point where I was sitting upright trying to work out what was about to fall off my bike, he did say afterwards it was making quite a noise! About ¾ way around the bike the noises all seem to stop and the bike seemed to have settle in so I smashed the last 5km or so overtaking quite a few woman. After finishing the race I realised what the noise has been, one of my brake blocks had been loose and then had fallen of meaning I wasn’t braking pad on disc, I was braking brake fixing on tyre – needless to say my tyre is now ruined. I was pleased that on the bike course I was only over taken for about 4 or 5 people – all of them men! There is a short out and back turnaround at the end of the bike course and so I saw Cameron and Gerry on this so I gave them both a shout of encouragement (42:51).
Into T2 and I quickly dumped my bike, got my shoes on and off I went on the run (35s).
The run is a 2.5km lap, which you do 2 laps of, mostly on grass and mainly flat with the exception of one big hill at the end of each lap. I felt like I was going strong on the first lap and passed lots of people but then it was hard to tell if the people were from the sprint race or the Olympic distance athletes that had set off earlier, on the second lap I kept going strong and finished with a hard sprint – it hurt but it wasn’t anything near as tough as the St. Neots sprint where I literally was doubled up in pain afterwards. Run time was 21:48 – not a PB but happy with that considering it was my third race in 3 weeks, last weeks being a hilly middle distance. Overall time was1:19:58 and I was 5th female and 1st in my AG. The results sheets however didn’t tell you your position so I was really surprised when they called my name out as AG winner to pick up a medal and even more surprised when they then called my name out as Hertfordshire 35-39 Champion, and I got a lovely trophy for that. Overall a great race but I am glad that I’m not racing for a couple weekends now – lie in’s beckon!