The 400m pool swim was steady if not a little slow ... but I was soon joined by a human torpedo forcing the pace as he chased me down. My son watched it unfold and he said it was comedic how I was so easily caught. He actually asked me if I was "trying very hard".
Then came the bike. 20km at race pace normally presents no problem, but my legs were still tired from Saturdays 96km ride in the Chiltern Hills. It was a pre-race ride I regretted with each turn of the pedal crank, I had so little fizz left in my tanks. My average pace was little more than a training ride with friends, Doh!
The transition from bike to run was by far the worst I have ever done. My feet & hands were so cold I couldn't easily tie my laces (I forgot to fit elastic ones), or open an energy gel or re-attached my GPS watch which fell off.
The run was a 5.5km mud-tastic cross country dash across fields and through a stream (which was surprisingly deep, I had to be helped out. Not cool). Thankfully my legs seemed re-energised from the gel and I actually enjoyed this leg of the race.
All in all I got round in 1:12:15 (56th) but a full 1 minute slower than 4 years ago. I also learnt some top lessons:
- Don't do a long, hilly ride just before a race.
- Bad transitions cost hard won minutes.
- I love racing even when it hasn't gone well as I hoped.