Triathlon race report from To Thorne
After Friday’s crash during the Garmin Ride Out in the New Forest, I was slightly nervous about this triathlon, and the heavy downpours of the Saturday did little to ease my doubts. Was it worth travelling three hours up the country for a super sprint race? The resounding answer: YES!
Kit packed with the help of my superb Triathlonbox, and both racing bikes crammed precariously in the back of the car we arrived at our hotel for the night (my grandmothers’ house) at gone ten, the rain and wind still lashing down.
An early start revealed that the previous nights’ storm had blown over, and the roads had started to dry out, and despite a few showers on route to race HQ, everything was set to be a good day!
Registration was seamless, amongst the best I have experienced! As transition racking was ordered by number, I was positioned right next to ‘Swim In’ and ‘Run Out’: a mixed blessing as I would usually choose to be as close to ‘Bike In/Out’ as possible.
My ‘Novice’ wave was the last start, but as we only had a 400m swim compared to the 750m of the previous waves’ we started to catch the tail end of previous waves towards the end of the swim. With the swim being my weakest section of the sport, I had jokingly said to dad that I would be last out of the water, so I was pleasantly surprised with my swim time of 08:06.4, the sixth fastest swim split of the super sprint race. My swim is the main focus for the coming winter, so hopefully I will be able to knock minutes off this time.
I’ve always said that if I can stay within touch of the leaders the during the swim then I have a very good chance of reeling them back in on the bike and run. With the leader, Oliver Jones, nearly three minutes up on me from the swim and my mischievous wetsuit in transition not wanting to detach itself from my arm, the chase was on.
The mostly pan flat course produced some blistering bike splits, and it felt good moving through the field with race numbers gradually becoming smaller and smaller. The long flat straights gave the perfect opportunity to open the legs and put down some power. With the bike being my strongest discipline, I was pleased to post the fastest bike split of the race, with a time of 32:33.9.
Arriving back in transition, I didn’t know the time gap to the leader, but I knew I had made up four places into second, as his was the only bike on the rack!
The 2.5km run around the lake was very quick, being relatively flat, and I found myself moving past many of the sprint distance racers, on their second lap. I knew I was chasing Oliver down, but had no idea of the gap between us. Crossing the finish line, I knew he had had the better of me but I didn’t know by how much. I knew the run was quick, but I was surprised to post the fastest run time of the day in 9:37.5.
The official timings showed that the gap was only 22 seconds. If only that swim was stronger!
As Oliver was a youth athlete, it transpired that I had won the novice race, despite being the second finisher from the wave. After a reasonable wait for the presentation ceremony, I picked up take first place trophy, and a Specialized cycle jersey, although it was three sizes too large!
I must add my special congratulations to the organisers Tri Ferris Promotions for the superb organisation of the event. Everything was as expected, from ample swim support to brilliant route marshalling and signage! No wonder it was awarded the honour of British Triathlon South West Sprint Championships.
Read more from Tom Thorne triathlete