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Monday, 20 April 2015

Challenge Five - Weymouth Triathlon - Sunday 12 April 2015

Two weeks had past since I lost my 'triathlon virginity' and now it was time to do it all over again. The Weymouth Triathlon, organised by the folks at Bustinskin, was upon me and with it Challenge 5 of my Charity Challenge Year.  From never doing a triathlon in my life I was now about to do my second in two weeks and I was ready and feeling great.
TriathlonBox and my Bike ready for the journey
The whole Challenge started a day earlier this time.  As the event registration was 0630hrs to 0730hrs on race day it would have meant leaving home about 0400hrs in the morning, which to be honest didn't fill me with joy!  Therefore the command decision was made that we would make a family weekend of it.  So Saturday morning me, Georgie (my wife), Freddie (my little boy) and Lucy (my mother in law) packed the car and set of for Weymouth.

Freddie and Georgie enjoying the donkey rides

With everything I needed for the race packed away in my TriathlonBox and my bike on the rack there was plenty of room for the bags in the boot too.  We trundled through the Dorset countryside and made our way to the hotel in Weymouth.  The staff at the Crown Hotel where incredibly helpful.  Letting me lock my bike and TriathlonBox in one of there store rooms and also organising an earlier than advertised breakfast for me and the family.  The rest of the day was spent watching Freddie running around on the beach, riding donkey's eating ice cream, building sandcastles and riding on as many fairground rides as possible.  In my eyes it was the perfect way to relax before a race.  

We all headed back to the hotel after an amazing day at the beach had evening meal (a big fish pasta dish) and went to bed ready for an early start on race day.

Although the venue was only 15 minutes drive from the hotel my alarm was set for 0500hrs which would give me time to get up, dressed and have breakfast ready to leave for the race at 0630hrs.  The family were up and ready too and the day was looking beautiful.  The weather report was dry and warm with a slight coastal breeze.  I was excited for this one!

When we arrived at the race many people had already there sorting bikes and stuffing kit into plastic boxes struggling up the little hill up to the leisure centre.  I grabbed my bike of the rack and fitted my TriathlonBox onto the top tube and strolled up to registration.  

Transition was already bustling with racers sorting their kit and placing helmets on bikes etc.  I went down to registration and picked up my numbers and swim cap.  I headed back out to the transition and found my place on the rack.  On when the bike and out of my TriathlonBox came my helmet, shoes, trainers and towels.  I placed them in order and checked and double checked.  Now I was ready to race all that was left was a quick race brief and I'd be on pool side.

The Swim

Waving to the support
The swim was a little different than at Bicester.  Each wave waited on pool side in number order.  Each racer would get in the pool and start their swim then every 20 seconds the next person would start.  After each 50m the swimmer would then enter the next lane and swim another 50m.  So 6 lanes, 12 lengths would be 300m.  As I was stood on pool side I was feeling good.  I looked up to the viewing gallery above and could see my family waving to me with little Freddie waving his hands off.  I was more than ready now and had real motivation to go!  I was number 42 but after a few changes in the line up I probably wasn't 42nd in the pool.  However my time had come.  I got in the pool and waited for the count.  The marshal counted me down from 5 and I was off! 

In what felt like the blink of an eye I was already entering lane 2 and starting my second 50.  By the end of length 3 I had caught the swimmer in front and passed him at the turn.  The first 100 was done and it had flown by.  By the end of length 5 I had caught another 2 swimmers and passed them at the turn too.  Half way down lane 6 and I got stuck behind another swimmer.  This wasn't a bad thing it actually gave me a breather for a few seconds because at the turn I passed them and was away.  Half way done and the lanes in front were now pretty clear all the way to the finish.  I just kept my stroke steady and efficient and the ladders at the end of length 12 approached very quickly.  The swim was done.  I climbed out of the pool and ran out the back door as I hit the transition carpet I hit the lap button on my Garmin - 00:06:14.

Transition 1

Making my way out of T1

From the carpet out of the back of the pool to my bike was about 50/60m I was feeling strong and headed towards my bike.  As I got there, Georgie was waiting right by my bike taking photos and cheering me on.  I could here Freddie and Lucy cheering in the background too.  On went the helmet and number belt followed quickly by my shoes.  The bike came of the rack and I ran out to the mount line. I hit the line jumped on the bike and hit the lap button on the Garmin - 00:01:57.

The Bike

Now although the race was advertised as the Weymouth Triathlon it was actually on Portland.  For those of you that don't know the island is essentially a hill and an extremely steep one too.

Round the roundabout
As I left transition there was a little roundabout to navigate on which one of the marshals shouted to me that I was to follow the road to the left and that there were two riders ahead of me.  Round the roundabout I went and I followed the road to the left.  Up ahead I could see the two riders as well as the aforementioned mega climb.  Now like any cyclist I like a hill but this wasn't a Grand Tour, this was a triathlon and I was still recovering my legs from the swim.  The hill was upon me and it lasted for about 3km from bottom to top.  The road snaked up the hill too so it wasn't a straight road to the top.  I'd caught the first of the two riders by the first hairpin about 1km in then the second very soon after.  I was going alright.  Although the hill was steep and long I was managing to keep my pace steady.  I was out the saddle for a lot of it but my legs kept pumping and in the distance more riders were being reeled in. 

Returning to Transition
Thankfully at the top it leveled out nicely and I was able to really open up staying steady at around 35-40kph on the flats.  There were still a few lumps to contend with which slowed me down a little but nothing to straining.  I was passing people frequently and each time I did I set my sights on the next one ahead.  The road was now flat and the sights were amazing.  The sea to my left looked calm and steady with the sun bouncing off the water.  I kept hammering on and in the distance I could see Portland Bill which I knew was the turning point.  

After the turn the route headed back towards the leisure centre on the same road back.  About 13km in another little bump in the road reared its ugly head slowing me down to around 20kph.  It didn't last very long however, about 1km, then the rapid decent started.  The narrow winding roads of Portland were flying past me at nearly 60kph! It was quick which was good as it meant little peddling allowing me time to recover ready for the run!  Around the last roundabout and up to transition I went and onto the dismount line. I clipped out of my peddles and ran down the side of transition and across the timing line where I hit the lap button on my Garmin again - 00:39:29.

Freddie cheering me on in T2
Transition 2

As I approached my racking area once again I was greeted by Georgie taking more photos and cheering me on.  Off came the helmet and shoes.  I spun my number round and slipped on my trainers and headed back out of transition.  Across the mat I hit the button again - 00:01:43.

The Run

Sprint Finish
As I headed out on the run my legs felt strong and I was feeling good.  Ahead I could see two other runners up the road, about 800m ahead of me.  I made the decision that I was going to catch them!  I kept my stride long and pace steady at around 5min/km.  There was a slight downhill out onto a flat section all the way out to the half way point.  The run was totally flat and was an out and back route.  The flag which indicated the half way point was along a coastal path right next to the harbour front.  

The flag was at 2.5km there was a drinks station about 600m from the flag.  It was just before here that I caught the second of the two runners.  I caught him and decided that I wasn't going past him and that I would run with him to the half way marker.  We had a little chat and both decided to run together to the end!  We kept each others pace high sticking around the 5min/km mark. The coastal path was almost like a trail route, jagged rocks and holes, ankle turners I call them, so the pace slowed slightly just to stay safe.  

The run was going extremely well so far.  As we approached the end of the race it was decided between us that when we reached the top of the little hill just outside the leisure centre we would 'give it the beans' to the finish line.  As we hit the top I opened up my stride and give it everything I had left into the finish.  I was sprinting in, well as best I could at the end of a triathlon.  In the background noise around me I could here more voices cheering me on.  The voices I heard I recognised too!  Georgie, Freddie and Lucy were there as well as Steph and Lee with their girls, friends of ours who had come up to Portland to cheer me on!  I kept going hard to the finish and crossed the line - 00:24:02!

At the finish line I was greeted with a medal and some freebies, to be honest right now I was to busy trying to get my breath back. I walked back to my racking point were I was met by my support.  I took a seat on my TriathlonBox and knocked back a bottle of water. I'd done it my second ever triathlon complete!  Challenge 5 complete.   Now for the time.  At Bicester I'd gone 01:23:47 had I gone better?  Well in a word YES!! I'd smashed in fact 01:13:03 official!!  I was delighted! I was 10 minutes quicker over a much tougher course.  I couldn't have asked for more! Having my family and friends there to see me in was just the best feeling in the world and now I'd taken 10 minutes off my PB!  To top it all off it was now only 1030hrs and we all had the rest of the day on the beach to recover.  Nothing could be better!

Challenge 5 done and who would have believed it! Please remember that all of this is for a charity close to my heart and because of the amazing generosity of many of the readers of this blog as well as family and friends I have so far managed to raise £925! Which is just incredible!! Its completely overwhelming that so many people care and have made the effort to text or visit the JustGiving  page!  But obviously as with all charity work I would love to make more so you can text the word KOMS99 followed by your donation to 70070 (i.e. KOMS99 £5 to 70070) or visit my JustGiving page! 

I cant thank you all individually but want you all to know that I am eternally grateful for all your support and hope that you will all stick with me over the next 7 challenges to come!  Next up is the Southampton Triathlon 26 April 2015!

Thank you!

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