Virgin Active London Triathlon, UK
Sunday 23rd September, 2012
Weather: Windy & Rain
55F / 13C
Total Time = 02:21:39
Overall Rank = 81/263
2 weeks after my first triathlon I found myself in London at the London Virgin Triathlon. It was my third attempt at starting there, with my previous two attempts having being deferred due to injuries. This race was a complete different experience to my local race, with the London Virgin Triathlon being the largest triathlon race in the UK, with one of the largest numbers of first-timers and a first class setup to make everything as easy as possible. Unfortunately I had the bad luck that on race day the weather turned to rain and windy condition, which meant that my race strategy of going faster than my last triathlon was thrown out of the window, and I was hoping for a safe race with no accident on the course. This made my setup in the Transition Zone even more important, with the Zone itself being massive and each starting block having there own space within the Bike Racking Zone. Planning ahead to the bike section meant putting in place Neoprene Toe Covers on my Cycling Shoes, and placing a Castelli Gabba WS Jersey with Arm-warmers ready to put on after the Swim.
The London Triathlon is quite unique with one getting to swim in the River Thames, and yes I have survived in with no bacterial infections. Only negative was that our swim was cut in half to 750m, as the water conditions turned to be to choppy, with the organizers not wanting to risk endangering the competitors.
Although still very nervous about open water swimming, the first half of the swim went almost without a hitch for me. Only issue was that my googles were leaking which meant that every two minutes I had to stop and release the water out of my eye socket. Yet on the way back to the, as the swim was a near out and back course, the water became more and more choppy with swimming in consistent and straight line almost impossible. I was happy to have my feet back on the ground in a time of 00:15:31.
Transition was quick although tip for future races; if you want to put arm-sleeves on, just put them on either before the swim section, as they would not slow you down underneath a wetsuit or wait until your arms are dry on the bike. I struggled to put arm sleeves on wet arms, and this probably cost me a good minute extra. The Bike Course itself was a delight even with the weather conditions involving rain and wind. It was quick and fast cycling through London on a two loops of 20km each. Nutrition strategy of two gels in the bike section worked spot on this time, and the Castelli Gabba Jersey with Arm-sleeves kept my upper body perfectly warm and dry. Best investment I have done to date and can only highly recommend it for cyclists who are looking for a Jersey that is warm and very water resistant. My Bike time was 01:09:18, which was 8 minutes faster than 2 weeks before, but my Garmin 910xt showed a bike course length of just 36km. Not impressed by the short bike course.
The transition to the run course was faultless, quick and easy. This was down to simply not rushing anything. The run course itself was a 4 Lap course of 2.5km each, but with one little incline, a water obstacle and in my opinion a too narrow course in some section, which meant faster runners were held up by slower ones with no space to get by. I promised myself that I would pace myself and simply enjoy myself, and luckily I got talking on the run course to Matt who was running for a charity and we ended up pacing each other around the course. Best finishing style goes to Matt for robbing across the finishing line like a seal. Final run time was 00:53:21, which was 10 Minutes quicker than before, so I can be very happy about the result.
Total Time was 02:21:39, which in the conditions I thought was great, and something I can definitely build on.