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Fritton Triathlon Weekend

posted 22 Jun 2015, 14:41 by Jon Beverley


5am alarm call, Cook porridge, cup of black coffee and the into the pre loaded car for the hour plus drive to Fritton.
We were registered by just after 7, had the bikes racked and a fresh coffee before 8.
Back in the winter attempting my first ever Olympic distance triathlon (1500m swim, 36km bike, 10km run) the day after a sprint distance (750m swim, 18km bike, 5km run) and a super sprint (only 400m swim, 12km bike and 2.5km run) seemed like a great idea, mid summer not so sure....All three were the Fritton triathlon challenge and some 46 people, including myself, signed up to attempt it. Tessa had sensibly opted to just do one.
Fritton Lake is an excellent facility for open water swimming. The first triathlon of the weekend, the sprint, was my second competitive open water swim, my first had been awful, I forgot how to breath, my chest was tight... And as I got in the water this time it all came back to me, but I focussed on doing a few breast strokes, breathing out in the water and then I switched to crawl and started to feel ok.
I had been advised to hold back a bit on the Saturday Tri's so that I could survive Sunday as well, so I intended not to have a finishing sprint ( if one were at all possible).
The sprint tri started and I went for the inside line, the washing machine as it is known in tri circles. Sure enough I got an elbow in the mouth and kept finding bodies in the way of my stroke. Exit the water and on to the bike....this is my strongest element and I was pleased that I was able to average over 21mph in all three Tri's. Despite trying to fall off as I mounted the bike there were no issues or close calls. Off the bike and then you run, for both Saturday Tri's I felt quite comfortable running sub 7 minute miles, just goes to show that cycling helps your running, it does not work the other way tho, at least not for me.
Thankfully I was on my own coming into the finish so there was no temptation to try and get past anyone. 
To my surprise and delight I won my age group in both the Saturday triathlons, making top twenty overall in the sprint and top ten in the super sprint.
So it was back home and then the main event on Sunday - the Olympic distance.

There were more people competing in the Olympic, the massed ranks of Trianglia were much in evidence as it was also their annual championships. There was also more Reepham Runners representation, Dominic Blake, keen to get in the water and on his bike, well actually he was in a relay team and for some reason was doing the run leg.

Much manic activity on the swim, there were two waves with women and relay teams in the first and then the men 10 minutes later. You might thinking you are swimming straight in your own bit of water, the guy next to you will be thinking the same, but no one swims in a straight line, at least not without a nice line on the pool bottom to follow, so you find yourself bumping into people at least for the first part and then again at the buoys.  The swim took me 28 minutes, from the halfway point I noticed I was overtaking some of the women, they had different coloured swim caps. I actually found the second half of the swim much more comfortable than the first and felt I could keep going but it was time to get out and hit transition. I like to think I am quite fast in transition, even taking the wet suit off. On the bike and after a couple of fast boys got past me I spent the next hour gradually over hauling more and more people. On a time trial of this distance I would not normally worry about a drink or food, but this is not a normal time trial, you have done the swim and will be running 10k afterwards, so I had loaded the bike with drink and nutrition. But there are tactics to this, if it is a nice straight road you do not want to waste the opportunity in taking on food, so save it for junctions and the slow points. 
Off the bike and into the run, Dominic cheered me on as his team had not yet passed him the baton, I had no illusions that I would see him again as he shot past me, which he duely did towards the end of the first of my three laps. I might have been running sub 7 minute miles on the Saturday but I certainly wasn't on the Sunday, lap two was especially hard but with the final lap I upped the pace and buried myself. The crowd was great and surprisingly a lot realised that competitors with numbers below 46 were doing all three triathlons, so we seemed to merit extra cheers.

Crossing that finish line was brilliant. The Olympic distance took me 2 hours and 15 minutes, I came 35th over all and 4th in my age group. I have worked out that I cover just over 52 miles that weekend in 4 hours and 5 minutes of competition. Now I just need to work out if I can fit July's Norwich Triathlon into my schedule.
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