Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Cotswold 113 Middle Distance Triathlon

Sunday 24th June 2012.

My second attempt at this great race, and coming only 5 weeks after my outing in Lanzarote.
This year had me taking an different slant on the event as I was not only racing, but my business was proudly sponsoring the race by supplying all the aid station foodstuffs, and bottled water. Please visit the link!

So, shameless plug out of the way, here is the tale of day.

The only thing I do not enjoy at this race is the 6am kick off. And due to my home location not being so far away, it's a 03.30am wake up call. Yak.
As this year's race had pretty much doubled in size from last year, there was a slight delay in getting everyone parked up, so this led to a 30 min. delay to the start.

On arriving at transition, there was someone already set up on my bike rack space, so I ended up parking the bike up against the fence, quite close to bike exit.
The ground was grass, so extremely soft underfoot, and as time went on, it got muddy, and slippery.

All set up, I left for the race briefing at lake side.
New for this year was a wave start, and I was in the third wave of four. I hung out with Richard, Phil, and also bumped into my coach Ade, before we set off at approx 6.50am.

Ade & Phil were in the last wave, with me & Rich starting off together. 
Not a huge group in the wave start, but still a little bumpy out to the first buoy, then plenty of clear water was there for the taking. I only had one single contact with someone, and it seems my 'graceful' swim stroke had slapped Rich in the chops!!.......... Sorry bud.
Since my open water training had started this season, I had been strongly favouring breathing only to the left, and this, again, was very much the case on this day. I did however make the effort to pop in a couple of sections breathing to the right, to ensure I did not suffer with the same dizzy spell I had encountered in T1 last year.
It was great to have a one lap swim this year too, (such was the water level in the lake due to all the rain!)
On completion, the 'regulation' swim ended uneventfully with a time of 35.18 (166th out of 466 finishers), & beating my 38.14 time from last year.

So, into T1, and I had actually previously decided to really try and speed things up here, what with my dismal previous transition efforts. I managed to make a nice improvement with a 1.49, vs a sluggish, and nauseous 4.04 of last year.

Due to the silly amount of rain we had seen before the race, the run out of T1 was not good. Wet and very muddy.

The bike was something I was looking forward too, and this was the first race that I had the chance to really see what the new 404 wheels had in store.
The conditions at the outset were actually pretty good, although I knew immediately when I started cruising quite rapidly along the Spine Road, that the return leg was going to be wind affected.
Nutrition on board were x 5 Gu Gels, including x 1 Roctane & only x1 fluid bottle (the aero bar bottle), with the plan to pick x 2 up on the aid station on the first lap back in. This worked well.
I was racing 'free', with no HRM, so it was all about feel, rather than chasing the numbers. 
As last year, my bike goal was to go off hard, maintain, and hang on.
Conditions were pretty good throughout, but there were a couple of sections that became fairly windy.
We were spared any rain, and my decision to go with a tri-suit only paid off nicely.

I logged a first lap of 1.14.48, and noticeably I was not overtaken by anyone, and managed to pass quite a lot of riders. This was a great boost, with so many people out there.
There was some great support at the turn for the second lap, with quite a bit of noise too! 
Back out, and conditions were identical to lap 1, and I logged a 1.16.25. 
This time I was passed by just 2 riders, and one of them was Ade (on his way to finishing 6th overall on the bike), so I didn't mind!
My official bike split was 2.31.14 (51st out of 466).
I was really happy with this, and it goes to show the approach Ade has been getting me to take with the bike work is coming along nicely. Still, much to work on for the future.
As regards to last year's much more favourable, wind-free, less 'crowded' bike conditions, it was a great PB, as last time out it was 2.34.35 (102nd out of 275).

However, as I am still clearly in the game of dropping at least one 'schoolboy error' into my races, and it was in T2 that I noticed I had only consumed x2 of the x5 GU gels I had planned to eat.
I'm convinced this went on to play a major part in affecting my run performance.

After a slightly better T2 of 1.22 (15 seconds quicker than last year), I was away on the 3 lap run.

I was feeling good at this point, and my usual strong runs legs straight off a swift bike were working nicely. The run conditions (temperature), were favourable, and quite cool, in stark contrast to the very hot run temp of last year. 
However the conditions underfoot around the lake were really quite heavy, muddy, and fairly slippery. Trail shoes may have helped here.
The run was going nicely, and I was soon onto the second lap, having logged a time of 37.05 mins. for lap 1.
I had seen Jamie towards the end of the first lap, who was up spectating/training for his upcoming 100 mile ultra run. He ran alongside me for a while, and I saw him a couple more times along the way.
At exiting the lake complex mid-way through the second lap, it became apparent that the earlier nutrition error had come back to kick my backside. I was slowing quite badly, and Jamie had actually questioned my nutrition intake.
My thoughts turned to the non-eaten gels, and it was now that I was realising I had under done it. Seeing Phil hare passed me on this lap did little to cheer me up either! Awesome run bud!

So, not as planned, I decide to stop running at the food station on lap 2, to take on board some well needed calories. I decided it was a sh*t or bust situation, so I quickly eat x2 large chunks of cake, half a banana, 3 cups of fluid, and I also ran off with the equivalent of 1.5 Power Bars! I have never eaten so much at an aid station, and I felt rather ropey for the next 10-15 mins. That lap finished in a disastrous 41.31 mins. Another lesson learnt! 
As it turned out the calories taken on worked nicely, as I was able to go on and almost match lap 1 with a 37.57 minute lap, and a fast last half mile to finish.
Final run time of 1.56.33 (198th out of 466) - This was vs a time of 1.51.31 last year (122nd out of 275).
Over 5 mins slower!! I firmly believe this was a nutrition error, as I clearly still had the legs to go faster towards the end of the race.
I managed to finish that last half mile at a great pace, and had a little 'smackdown' with a chap who was on my shoulder for that last half mile (and who had started in my swim wave), but managed to hold on and pip him at the post by less than 1 second!

I will always recommend this race to anyone who wants to enjoy a very friendly, fast and well organised event. My hat goes off to Graeme, Nicci & all the 113 crew. The marshals at this event are so enthusiastic too! -always offering much needed verbal motivation, especially given the very early start!

Ade, Andrew(Ade's brother) & me.

Finish time of 5.06.18. - 96th out of 466 finishers, and 23rd in my age group.
I was very happy to finish inside the top 100, but, if I had managed to even just match my run time of last year, I would have gained another 16 places, and broke into top 20 of my age group.
If's and but's eh?



  1. Nice time J! I can only dream about times like that!

    I agree its a cracking race and I'll see you next year!

    Few more Twitter runs and you could have met that run time :)

  2. I suppose I better start writing my report now!

    Another cracking read. Thanks for giving me a smack in the swim, if my swimming was bad enough being concussed wasn't going to help

    Thoroughly enjoyed this race, made only better with your feedback and advice

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