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My Vitruvian Report

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Jonathan Hotchkiss

Joined: 15 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:42 pm    Post subject: My Vitruvian Report Reply with quote

Vitruvian 2008
Funny how this report is starting in a similar fashion to last years – After a pretty unsuccessful year so far this year, I was ready to rescue something of worth from the season and win my second National title over the “Middle Distance” (pretty much Half Ironman) at The Vitruvian. It’s a race I love, great value, great course, GREAT organisers, great support! All round a good day out normally so I was hopeful of keeping this going in 2008.

I drove up with my parents and younger brother Geoffrey (who was doing his 2nd “half” as well, to make for a complete family outing!) the day before and camped out over night praying for as little rain as possible. It was about the MOST rested I’ve ever been leading into a race and armed with a new perspective on my swimming and training/ racing in general I had NO idea how I was going to go come the race….

The hooter went for the swim start of my wave at 6:20am and I set off going hard and still intrigued to see what would happen in the swim. To my surprise come the first turn I was sitting in about 5th and still with the other leaders…. This is like a centre-half finding himself in the opposing penalty area and getting a “nose bleed”- I wasn’t used to it. What was even better was how EASY it was feeling. The Orca Apex 2 wet suit was its normal sport-on perfect fitting self and the new technique was working like a dream. I settled onto some feet and for the rest of the first lap felt the most comfortable I’ve EVER felt. I actually really enjoyed the whole swim, and effort wise was going so easy it was worrying me. By the end of the swim I knew I was still in the top 5 in my wave and got a split to the front 2 of about 60seconds. I didn’t look at my split but knew it had been a GREAT swim for me.

Through T1 and I grabbed my Sigma Sport Cervelo P3C; helmet on, glasses on and off I went. After the swim I was feeling SO fresh and was really looking forward to seeing how this would help me on the bike. The first downhill section on the main road is normally a great place to open up the legs and really build up some speed so I settled into my Oval Carbon TT bars and got my head down. But today I just couldn’t get going! I listened for brakes rubbing, released both front and back to see if it helped, but no change… it was either really windy or my legs were still back in T1. As I turned left at the first round-about the great helpers from the local Army Cadets informed me I was already in 2nd. I could see 1st place just a few hundred meters up the road so I was feeling far happier about my lack of speed. Taking 1st place I just put my head down, focussed on keeping my cadence at about 80 on the flats and undulating sections. With no SRM or HRM for this race it was effort and cadence only to determine my bike pacing. Thankfully once over the “Ripple” and past the great supporters (who had clearly had WAY too much coffee already judging by the energy they had at 7am) and turning at the next junction I realised that my “speed” issue, HAD been wind related (though no of my own making – the wind that is ha ha!). the P3C was suddenly flying along nicely and I was starting to feel really comfortable. By the end of the first lap I knew my split time meant I would be putting time into most of the guys behind me and I was on course to ride slightly quicker than last year.

The second lap seamed to FLY by, with only a few hair-raising moments with traffic becoming a little backed up in certain sections. I had no idea how far in front I was, but decided that I’d simply ride as hard as possible to ensure that the lead was as big as I could make it. After the health problems I’ve suffered with this year, my previously dependable run was no longer a “banker” so I wanted to give as much room for self-implosions as possible. Not exactly a race tactic as such, more trying to ensure maximum chances of survival.

I came off the bike and was informed (by my parents) that after lap one of the bike I’d been ahead by 3minutes. With this in mind I left my bike, slipped into my Saucony super light trainers and headed off out of transition. For the first 5 or so minutes I was within earshot of the awesome PaceSetter Race crew announcers and listened for anything indicating 2nd place arriving, but I heard nothing. My legs felt good though… this was warmly welcomed like an old friend who had been thought lost. With the words “tempo” and “solid” ringing in my ear I settled in to see how long this good old feeling would hang around for. This year, largely due to the British summer (otherwise known as monsoon season) there was far less sheep pooh on the run circuit, but the wind whipping across the lake more than made up for this and the run across the dam felt much longer than it should have. Thankfully though, my pace seamed to be holding and my legs certainly showed no signs of disappearing or cramping as I’d started to grow used to this year. Just before the turn around I swallowed a High5 gel and took a split on my thus far ignored watch to measure the gap to 2nd place. Focussing on the bike leading me around the run course I took the split as Joel Jameson went past and doubled it to give me the gap…. a very satisfying and comforting (as Joel is a GREAT runner) 6 minutes. I shut that out immediately and focussed back on my running. I’d re-analyse things after the next turn at the end of lap 1. Taking this split I worked out I’d run 37 minutes for the first 10.5k, a confidence boost that was long overdue. The gap to Joel had closed, but only by 10 seconds. I could tell my energy was beginning to run down but set my target on the final turn around point at the far end of the run course. I tried to hold the same pace till then and knew if I did, I could allow myself to back off slightly and “enjoy” the rest of the run. By the time I was on my way home, I’d slowed but only a little and the gap to second had only reduced by another 20 seconds. Still concentrating on holding the run together through the pain, I was able to ease off enough to ensure that any hidden surprises my body planned on springing were prevented.

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I passed my brother Geoffrey heading out onto the run and he looked strong and happy. A nice cliché “high 5” and before I knew it I was heading up the small hill from the lakeside, past the supporters on the run course and the finish shoot was in sight. Realising I could break 3h50 if I put a little burst in, I picked up my pace and crossed the line in 3h49.39 – breaking my course record from last year and to my delight defending my National Title.

The finish area was stocked with fantastic treats and sweats which I desperately wanted to dive into, but after a couple of black-jacks and a Cadbury’s fudge bar, couldn’t stomach… must have been the lentils I ate the night before in the café (causing half the other athletes to nearly throw up at the sight of the stuff ha ha)

My brother crossed the line for the second time over the middle distance, having given everything and in a fantastic time of 5h19!!! So all in all, a decent day for the Hotchkiss household.

As ever, and particularly after the year I’ve had, a HUGE thanks to my sponsors for supporting me so fantastically – Sigma Sport, Orca, High5, Oval and Lanson Running. And also to Revolution Images for supplying the great race photo’s and PaceSetter Events for putting on such a great race yet again.

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Jonathan Hotchkiss
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cracking result Jonathon - really given me a time to aim for next year!
5.52 to 3.48 is possible in a year isn't it?! Very Happy

Glad to hear that it all went smoothly for you and that the swim & run fell into place so successfully!.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's always good to read what the view is like at the front of the course ... it's the only way some of us will ever experience it! Laughing

Congrats on an impressive win!
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Slacko says, great to read a good report from the front of the course. You were already finished by the time I started my run. Great race and well done again.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done! How great it is to start off a race by nailing the swim.
Congrats to your brother, too.
It *is* about the bike.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


You were setting out on your run as I was just finishing my first bike lap, my jaw dropped! I tried to shout some support but it was either that or pick up a water bottle, two things at once would have been too much like multi tasking!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice. Great result man and your brother too!!

Congratulations. Smile
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