Cotswold 51.5 Olympic Distance Triathlon

Cotswold 51.5 Olympic Distance Triathlon
28 June 2015 Janine

Cotswold 51.5 (olympic triathlon) a very rainy race!

Finish time: 02:44:53
Overall position: 106 / 162 (last year 132/160)
Gender pos: 20/51
Cat: 17/28 (LY 14/17) (20% improvement on position YOY)

I knocked 2 minutes off my swim time and 2 minutes off my run time in those two fairly like-for-like parts of the the race. Unfortunately the weather made for slower race conditions on the bike this year and my bike split was almost 3 minutes longer! I did far better in the overall rankings this time though. Very glad to see that there were 15 more women competing this year.I had a dream that I took fifteen minutes off my time from last year’s race. (I know, I have wildly exciting dreams.) ALAS! I took just under 2 minutes off my time. By that same note however hopefully this means that I also won’t accidentally leave my bike in a cafe 2 weeks before the big day…

There was a notable difference in my fitness today however. Last year I started hallucinating, vomited a little on the bike, and had a stitch all the way through the run. The weather this year was horrid – major head winds on the bike and cold rain dribbling into my tri suit. Nevertheless, I got a PB and did not hallucinate nor did I vomit. Actually I took it relatively steadily. I just didn’t feel like manically pushing it, and so I went as fast as my body would take me in a relatively comfortable low zone 3.
1.5km Swim (26:36)
The swim was good fun*. As I set off, I knew I was panicking a little and my breathing was unsteady, I eventually settled in once I saw the kayaks to the right. I kept these guys in sight until I was feeling settled, and after that, buoy spotting took over. Oh I do love that buoy spot feeling, get the buoy in sight and just relax into the stroke heading for it. I’m not too bad at going in a straight line so this tends to work. 2 laps and 1.5km later, I was headed for the swim exit, those last few metres headed for the exit are always such fun because you know it’s nearly over and in your head you’re saying yipee yippee! And soon enough you are finding your feet again amid the squidgley weeds, and a hand and then another hand is offered to help yank you out of the water.*Once I had got over the usual pack panic that awaits in every open water race.

It always feels rather dramatic, being hoisted from the weeds by helping hands. Up the ramp I ran, unzipping my wetsuit as I  went, headed into T1 where I saw fellow Ironman to be and co-SRC buddy, Mark Ducker, who I thought would be long gone…

T1 – 01:55 Turns out Mark had spent 5 minutes in T1 blow drying his hair and boiling eggs, and with glee I shouted ‘Ducker!’ I had to try to complete this joyful moment by beating him out of T1 and onto the bike, and so I slipped my cold wet weed-ridden feet into my bike shoes whispering come-on come-on come-on to myself, grabbed some sustenance which I slipped into the pockets in my tri suit, grabbed my gloves and ran towards the mount line with my bike.

At the mount line I put my gloves on, just as Ducker sailed past saying ‘your race number is inside out.’ And with that, whoosh! He was long gone, averaging 21.9mph on the bike to my 18.3mph which I was jolly pleased with.



40km Bike – 1:21:57 ‘Rain-face’
As soon as I set off on the 40k bike course (which was promoted as flat but ha de ha this is the Cotswolds) cold dripping rain set in, dribbling cold splats down my shoulders and into my tri suit. I squinted with ‘rain-face’ for one hour and twenty minutes. I thought such things as ‘squint less, for this will surely age you’ which only served to aid my furrowing further.
At 5 minutes I started hydrating myself diligently with Osmo and Nuun, and at 10 mins I begun munching on sticky sweet energy bars made by Torq. At 15 km I reached for my Clif bar only to knock out my brand new tube of Clif shots onto the road – damn! I LOVE those things, and they aren’t exactly the cost of a mars bar. The ride was uneventful and dare I say it a little boring. I thought about making up a poem as I did on the hurricane Audax that had me in hedges but that thought soon faded away with my attention drawing back to the task at hand which was far more quad-crunching than a merry yet windy Audax.
At precisely 10 miles I sat up and looked around me which immediately brightened my ride. It was like I had emerged from a cocoon in the drops, a little world of road staring, rain grimacing, and finding my legs by playing big cog little cog after the swim. Legs were warmer now; I had finished my ’90 Circles’. There was some brightness in the surrounding fields, some tweeting of birds, and in that 10 mile moment where I stretched out, I breathed into my belly and remembered why I was here (aside from getting a PB). At this moment I also saw a freshly squashed squirrel to add to the squashed hedgehog I had seen that morning, this sad little sight reminded me to feel lucky to be alive enjoying the rainy Cotswold race.

DB Max were eager beavers with their mile markers, which had me excited that the course was over when this was actually just a big lie. ‘Bike In’ was announced about 3 miles from the dismount line, and in my excitement I was playing cat and mouse with a lady called Erica for a while. In a no draft race you have to cat and mouse if you want to push on, because you can’t sit behind someone. But this pushed us both on i think, and edged up the speed for the last 5 miles. We overtook a line of girls, and as we did I said ‘come on Erica, let’s do it!’ or something equally as cheesy. It felt like we were a helping each other at that point, and even though it was brief and I didn’t see Erica again, (she had an excellent 41 minute run!) it’s moments like these that are great fun in tri races.
T2 –  01:55 – A DQ is not for a shoeBike In arrived eventually, and my stupid shimano shoe got stuck on the ratchet again in T2! I had to ask (ok shout) a steward to yank my shoe off for me. After profaning wildy and later announcing ‘is this a DQ’ and a lady said ‘no not for a shoe!’ ha ha.

Still, I made it out in under 2 mins and before I knew it I was running. I had a strange notion that just 2 mins prior I had been riding a bike?

I don’t get the ‘jelly legs’ that people talk about in triathlon, but my body had some distinct strange feeling that it was still riding a bike whilst I was out there running around 2 lakes.

10k Run – 52:24 – must try harder
My aim for the run was to stay sub 9 mins. On the last lap I was running 7.30 and at that point I realised that my aim should have been to have run sub 8 mins. Slapped wrist. No Jelly legs or stitches for me this time, I generally run straight off the bike feeling great and straight into a good pace. But I did get the achey plantar fascia in both feet that I got on the half iron, it fades away after a few miles, which is fine over long distance, but over this short distance race it was quite a hindrance. Pah.
As I headed in for my 3rd lap, I shouted Ducker! again. However this time he was not in the race, but racking his bike to his car with a medal slung around his neck…
The winning lady passed me on my first lap (her 3rd). I can always spot the winning lady on a lap-run-course tri because they usually have a long plait and a hot tri suit. Today was no exception and this amazing woman came not just first but second overall. Ducker said he got ‘chicked’ three times. Hmm. This Chrissie Wellington coined phrase is catching on…
F Winner and overall 2nd place Nicole Walters
Overall the race was very well organised, lovely marshals, race captain was as concise (barky) as last year, but this year I found that endearing rather than terrifying. 9bar were terrific sponsors. It was most pleasant to be told ‘help yourself’ when asking whether I could have a bar, as opposed to the Clif bar response of ‘no’ at the Endurace Life Classic Quarter.
Big thanks to the man who pulled off my shoe. It was a fun rainy race! I find the run very dull, but who knows.. maybe I’ll go back for a third next year.
So, that’s five medals down… just one to go!

From girl to boy in just three simple disciplines

Comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Inspiration in your inbox - sign up