Saturday started with the normal few hours at work making sure everything was done so I could get up to Norfolk for late Saturday afternoon, I headed straight off to Whitlingham lake to meet the Tri Harder guys there to set up the stand. Setting up the stand I was very conscious about staying in the shade! It appeared that summer had landed in England finally! But no getting sun burnt or heat stroke the day before a race, and of course staying hydrated, Ben assigned himself to make sure I was drinking enough water (He has his uses).
Being at Whitlingham the night before I got to register and had a quick look at the start list, I saw that fellow TriHarder team member Toby Morrell and local fast man Matt Ellis were racing, so now I knew it was going to be a tough race. I try not to think about anybody else too much as I try to race my own race. 6pm arrived and it was time to head back to dads for dinner and hopefully some of Louise’s carrot cake!!
Back at dads a quick spin on the Boardman Air 9.8 to make sure everything was running smoothly after its regular service from Mr In A Spin (Of course it was riding like a dream). After some dinner (No carrot cake) and TDF highlights it was bed time!!
Sunday morning dawned with the usual 4.30am alarm! A quick bagel and a banana and we headed off to Whitlingham. A quick set up of the stand with the new addition of some shinny Raleigh bikes. Once the stand had been set up I went off to transition to get set up so I didn’t have to worry about it. The only problem with the transition at Norwich was that in previous years it favoured racking at the top as the bike in/out and run out were at the top of the hill but this year the bike in came down the side so it was a fair transition wherever the bike was racked this year.
It was soon time to make our way over to the race start, it became apparent walking over to the visitor centre where the swim started that it was going to be a hot race! 20+ degrease and it was only 7.45!! Wetsuit on, briefing then get into the lake before you melted in your wetsuit! A little dip to cool off then back to the water’s edge for the start, we were off! It was a hectic start with arms, bodies and feet everywhere. It soon became apparent that the guy next to me didn’t seem to like swimming in a straight line. The only way I was going to have a quick swim was get away from him, I decided a quick roll over the top was in order. Roll over the top done and I was in clear water and heading in the right direction. I knew I was 3rd in the water and once again I saw Toby pull in behind me, I think he may have a little obsession with my feet…
Exiting the water into T1 still in 3rd place, with Toby hot on my heals I was hoping for a quick and slick transition, I was in and out before I knew it, as for Toby he was running around transition picking up his swimming hat and goggles that he decided to drop on the way to his bike! I needed every second I could get on Toby going onto the bike, I knew he was quicker than me on the bike, I think it’s because of his lack of height, more aerodynamic ;).
As I suspected at 12km Toby came past me, although I will admit not as early or as fast as I thought he might, I kept him in my sights till about 30km, The bike course isn’t as easy as you think there’s no real climbs but there’s no rolling roads either so your pushing pretty hard for the whole 38km! Coming into T2 I was still in 3rd, Toby had taken me but I had overtaken ‘The Fish’ who we later would find out to be Andy Bourne. I was about a minute down on Toby.
A quick T2 although somehow the timing system had me down as a 1.17!! No way, was more of a 40 second T2. Onto the run, feeling ok but not great, I pushed on, taking on water at the stations. At the 4k mark it all went wrong, stomach cramps hit me! Walking was an issue let alone running. This went on for about 800m-1k then all of a sudden they went, I gradually built up the pace being cautious not to get cramps again, after a few minutes and I could tell the cramps were gone for good I pushed up the pace and felt good, In the back of my mind I knew the race for 2nd place and catching Toby were over, my aim for the last 4k was to hold position. That I did and came home in 3rd.
A great race albeit from the stomach cramps, Matt was off and didn’t really get challenged for the race lead, looking at mine and Toby’s splits with a decent run I think I could of given him a bit more of a race on the run.
Away from the TriHarder success of 2nd and 3rd in the Olympic Distance, Team TriHarder members Iain Robertson and Becky Schofield picked up two 1st places in the Sprint distance race.
A great race, fantastic organisation from race director Mark Philo, and of course thank you to all marshals who cheered us on in the hot conditions!
My splits were:
Swim – 22.11
T1 – 0.38
Bike – 1.00.16
T2 – 1.17 (Questionable)
Run – 40.26
Finish Time – 2.04.50