Back in the saddle again

Thumbs up gurning. A new sporting endeavour.

Sunday 20th June was the Fritton Lake Olympic (or “Standard”) distance Triathlon which was very well attended, particularly by Tri-Anglia.

This is a race that I very impulsively entered on Monday 13th June when my apparent lack of training towards my Holkham “A” race in early July had me thinking bad thoughts. Not really bad thoughts you understand. It was not heinous crimes, gruesome deeds or anything dark and sinister. Instead it was the sort niggly self critical thoughts that the evil self doubt monster brings when he visits in the dead of night. If you’ve never met the evil self doubt monster, he sneaks up on you when you least expect it and whispers poison in your ear – “you won’t be able to do it”; “you’ve not trained hard enough”; “you’ll be slow and technically inept – as usual”.

If you’re really lucky, the self doubt monster might come up with my personal favourite: “you’re going to show yourself up and everyone will laugh at you”.

Well not this time self doubt monster. I entered Fritton to get shot of that nonsense and anyway, the Tri community just doesn’t seem to work like that. No one laughs at each other here. Everyone’s in it together and we all have our own challenges to resolve. I finished in a time of 2 hrs 47 mins. It was a tough one for sure, but I did it. This time is by no means earth shattering but let’s pull out some positives and keep that beastie at bay:

  1. One of the goals of the day was to beat last year’s time of 2 hrs 43 mins. On the face of it, I missed that goal by four minutes, but in actual fact the bike course was longer this year (it was shortened last year due to roadworks) so with the extra distance included I was actually quicker.
  2. I was pleased with my bike split and averaged 19.2 mph over the course. I had one five mile sector at 19.9mph according to my Garmin. That is my quickest ride to date and it was on my bog standard road bike. No tri bars, aero lid, fancy wheels or special gearing here. Just a plain old road steed with me (an infrequent cyclist) on board. I also did more overtaking than I was overtaken. Yes, I was slower than the guys on their Time Trial missiles, but likening myself to them is akin to  comparing apples and the large hadron collider.
  3. I had a quicker swim than last year and felt fresher coming out of the water than last year too. And Bully’s Special Prize was NO CRAMP!!! Folk who swim with me on a Wednesday night will have witnessed week after week the comedy sketch show of me getting cramp. Again. My weekly cramp experiences have become something to behold and generally involve me stopping suddenly in my lane causing my lane buddies to take evasive action to avoid swimming headfirst into my wildly contorting body. Meanwhile there will be a bit of swearing (mostly from me) followed by some wild thrashing designed to extract myself from the pool. There is then the invariable “stretch and try and look as cool as possible” routine, which of course is actually a veneer so thin it could be used as MFI “real wood” furniture. There was none of that at Fritton I’m happy to say.
  4. Better organised transitions. I still have work to do, but I felt slicker than last year, so that’s good. And I didn’t lose my shoes, goggles or any other piece of important kit.

The down side is that I felt absolutely shattered at the end of this race. I pushed hard on the bike and made the run pretty heavy going for myself. That perhaps does not bode too well.

Holkham Outlaw Half is going to be double the distance of this race and without submitting to the evil self doubt monster, it’s true to say that I have NOT trained properly for a 70.3 mile endurance event. Good intentions on the training front have fallen foul of colds and the fact that I love spending time with my family. I also have to go to work every once in a while. What I’m going to need to do is recalibrate my expectations and not go at the Outlaw Half course like a rampaging bull running the streets at Pamplona.

Only two weeks to go…

On July 3rd I will be running Holkham Outlaw Half for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. If you’d like to make a donation, please click HERE

Photo from Rob Lines.










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