Kendal Sprint Tri
My first ever win in a triathlon!
But back to the beginning …
After the Tranent triathlon was cancelled, this was my only ‘warm up’ before the Slateman in May, which is one of my target races this year.
I wanted to practice transitions, clothing, coping with race nerves and also to get a confidence boost, if possible :-). It’s easy to get carried away thinking I’m a great biker when I race triathlon, but doing the Tour of the Meldons a couple of weeks ago was a pertinent reminder that up against cyclists I have my limitations!
So, I set off to Kendal on Friday evening, thinking how simple all the packing had been compared to an adventure race. What, no first aid kit or foil blanket?! Things got a bit epic just heading into town to catch my train. I set off in sunshine but was pelted with pea-sized hailstones halfway there. I leapt under a bus stop, but too late to entirely save my bare legs, still bearing little bruise marks 3 days later!
Saturday was warm and sunny. I had met up with Andy and we went and rode round the course. It was good to practice a couple of bumpy sections, awkward bends and a tricky fast, narrow descent with gravel all over the road. I did that bit twice! After a fab lunch at the Waterside Café, we practiced transition a few times in our hostel room. Time well spent.
The race was large with 200 competitors, plus a kid’s event straight afterwards. Because it was a pool swim, everyone was going off in waves. The first was at 8am, mine was at 09:15, Andy wasn’t on until 11:00. After a basic poolside warm up it was time to go. I started much too fast and felt sick. I had to tell myself to calm down and get into a rhythm. After 500m / 7 minutes and 53 seconds (not amazing, but respectable enough), I jumped out of the pool and exited through a side door into a wet, cold, drizzly, windy day.
Before the race I had worried about whether to put on an extra top for the bike leg, and had laid one out in transition. In the event I decided to stop being a wuss and just get on with it. A big relative improvement in my transition time compared to some races (even with putting socks and gloves on) and I was off again. I soon flew past the few girls who were ahead of me from my swim heat and was racing round the hilly bike course.
I was a bit disappointed with my time coming back to transition – way off target (38:11 for 18km). But afterwards, I realised my target had been faster even than the best men’s times. I think I had been a bit optimistic and not taken full account of the 27mph headwinds, the ups, steep downs, twisty roads and the couple of minutes spent on the grassy run in and out of transition!
I had started to catch a few people from the previous heat out on the road, and heading out on the run there were a few more. But it was still quite a solitary affair, just passing a few people here and there. I had to mentally tell myself to keep working and run fast (it was only 5km after all). I was back in just under 22 minutes – pleasing given there had been a big hill in the middle of the run. It’s not like doing the Cramond Parkrun!
With a race like this, you don’t exactly know where you’ve placed. I sprinted under the banner with no ceremony and then waited. By the time Andy had started I was changed, warm and dry. After his swim I checked the computer screen for the latest results. Darn! It said I was second. But wait … had first place really been 12 minutes faster on the bike? The bike course went out, did two shorter laps and came back in again. I suspected she had accidentally missed one of the bike laps out, so I put in a query, later backed up by Andy.
Andy had a good race. At least, he finished, which was better than his last event in the rain! And he had a good run, though he didn’t manage to get within 60 seconds of me over the 5km as promised – being 60.3 seconds slower :D.
Later in the afternoon, we got an email with the final results. But I was still second, with another girl ahead whose bike time was 6 or 7 minutes faster than the winning men. I felt unsporting making another query, but it was important to me that it was right. I eventually found out at about 9:30 at night that I had won! The potential immediate excitement had worn off, but I was still chuffed to bits to do so well.