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Hever Castle Race Report by theprawn aged 32 3/4

 
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theprawn




Joined: 28 Jan 2009
Posts: 7917
Location: ldn

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:34 am    Post subject: Hever Castle Race Report by theprawn aged 32 3/4 Reply with quote

It's 3am and I can't sleep anymore. This is mildly upsetting as my son has kept me awake for the past couple of weeks having coughing fits at night. Tonight he's been silent, on the mend, letting Daddy have some sleep before his big race. I've felt like I've been coming down with a cold for the last week, perhaps this is in my head though, I don't want to take this racing business so seriously but I want to do well, to do my best and a cold would seriously hamper that.

Most of my kit is prepared so I mooch about till 5am and then load the car, Hever Castle is only around 45 minutes away and I have an 8am start in the first wave. "The FIRST WAVE! What have I done!" Predict your finish time it said, so I did, but now it says in brackets next to my wave 'fastest predicted times'. Oops.

This will be my second race and I chose the sprint distance (400m / 20k / 4k), longer distances can wait till next year, it's been 8 weeks since London and I wanted to give myself a chance to improve rather than just aim to complete the longer course. My training was hampered somewhat by breaking the frame of my only road bike 2 weeks out. Condor to the rescue, they warrantied the Italia frame but they would be out of stock in my size for 10 weeks. So they gave me an upgrade to a Squadra and as I was skint, let me take the bike to race on my word that I would pay.

As I get close to the venue I see some blue signs marking the bike route, nice big markers each kilometre and I decide to follow them to check things out a little. i am disturbed to find there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of flat in it. Nothing major hill-wise but very up and down, my time prediction is starting to feel optimistic.

As I pull into the car park, I see part of the run course, going up a hill on a path that can only be described as cross country. A cross country run, great, it'll be like being back at school, as that was the last time I did one. I didn't do very well at it either.

I relax a little as some friendly chat starts in the car park, lots of comments about how cold and misty it is and how you'd have to be slightly unhinged not to use a wetsuit after they were declared optional. In general I like triathletes, they are friendly and genuinely supportive of the other competitors which makes the atmosphere just feel right.
After registering and racking, all very efficient and well organised I check out all the in's and out's at transition, one of the many tips I picked up on tritalk.co.uk that have made me feel a lot more relaxed about the event, like I have been let in on lots of little secrets that most people take years to learn. I walk down to the lake which is stunning, simply stunning.



Wetsuit on, plenty of baby oil this time round and I'm down at the start, there's some nervous chatter and a jovial race briefing. Wait for the canon the starter says... 1..2..3.. nothing... BOOM a distant thundercrack sounds and we go. I've chosen the middle front as a starting position but after completly forgetting to sight and breathe for the first 20 metres I'm soon on the outside left! I calm myself and realise that I'm near the front, the water is pretty cold and I'm thankful of my wetsuit although my arms are feeling quite restricted in it today. I settle in to a reasonable stroke and before I know it we're at the turn around buoy. I feel great, I've got plenty left in me so I kick hard (not literally, I just don't know the equivalent swimming term) and make up a few places.

A few metres out from the shore the water gets really shallow and I eventually stand up and wade the last bit. As I get out the water into the cold air I feel dizzy, there's a 100m run (walk for me) up a grass bank to T1. The zip on my wetsuit is completely stuck, in the end I have to ask the marshall at the entrance to loosen it for me. I must have looked a strange sight I was at the pointy end of the race but seemed so amateur compared to the other racers who all ran up to T1 with their top halves out their wetsuits. I was about 8th out of the water and maybe 12th into T1.

After the wetsuit incident T1 went fairly well, socks and trainers on (no spds, they weren't in the budget for this season). As soon as I take the swim cap off, I'll be honest I only remembered it was there when I went to put my helmet on, the dizzyness went. Number belt on... gloves on... I have a condition with my hands that means I have no choice about this part unless I fancy a bit of wind / cold induced agony for the next hour or so. I get out on the bike and I have absolutley no idea where I am placed.

Having ridden down a service road I get out on to the country lanes and can see that it's straight into a hill. This has caught a couple of people out and they seem to be struggling up it so I nip past and hope I can keep them there. It takes me a few kilometres to get into my flow on the bike. I love bikes and riding but I feel dreadful after the swim, I think I may have pushed a bit to hard. I spray some water in my face which I forgot had SIS GO in it. I now have a refreshed but sticky face. At the top of the first hill I catch up with another rider and decide to stay behind him for a little while, I check with a marshall at a turn that I'm far enough back from him they say I am and well done. It wasn't the usual sort of well done, there was a tone to it that implied I was actually doing really well.

After some rolling ups and downs we hit a downhill, payback for the up at last. I see the rider two in front and he's putting some distance between us so deicde to attack the rider in front of me. I put my hands to the middle of my flat bars and get as aero as I can, I meant to get some aero bars for the race but having only got the new frame a few days before the race and with an ill baby at home time had not been on my side. Still I pushed on past him, at the bottom I rounded a corner and had the next rider in my sights. We would stay like this for the rest of the bike leg. He would pull away occassionally and then I would start to reel him in, I got close enough to see the Zipp 808 logo on his rear disc at one point and then he was off again. I decided to hold my position I couldn't see or hear anyone behind. I asked a marshall at the next turn if there were many people in front and she said no, just two. I swore and then apologised, quite a lot to do in those few snatched seconds.

I quickly brought myself back down to earth with the realisation that there were plenty of other waves (people racing with their mates etc.) and that 3rd on the road did not mean 3rd overall but I didn't want to lose that place anyway, I was determined. Easy enough on the bike but the run, oh the run, I am not a runner, I never have been. The rest of the ride is uneventful, I just made sure I kept the rider in front in my sights and it seems we closed down the leader near end, this fella had an aero lid. As I came into T2 the crowd were really cheering, I heard someone shout, "Look he's wearing trainers" and realised the other two must have struggled either barefoot or in road shoes on the run in. T2 was quick and for approximately 5 metres I lead the race. The original race leader came flying past me as I still tried to find my running legs.

The run went uphill from the start and was dusty and rooty, this would be a lovely place for a jog but I was so tired I couldn't really take any of it in. At the top of the hill Zipp 808 guy went past me too although we managed a little chat and he wasn't that much faster than me. I stayed with him for the first 2k. As we hit some flat ground, the Zipp 808 guy, I'm pretty sure he wasn't christened this, kicked a little and put a bigger gap between us. I've seen Brownlee and co. do this on the telly so tried to follow. No chance, my mind willed me to go faster but my legs couldn't, I decided to relax a little and make sure I held onto my place on the road and not do anything silly.

I passed a water station and took nothing, I could barely drink on the bike, just a few sips and I knew that my stomach couldn't take anything in it at the moment. About 10 metres past I realised I should have emptied the bottle on my head to cool down, I nearly turned back the thought of that was so appealing. It had turned into quite a warm day since the cold start in the lake, briefly I took in my surroundings, there were manicured gardens, a fountain and an ornate bridge. Lovely, I felt sick.

The run, came and went in a blur of pain and dizzyness, I really did have nothing left to give. I was briefly woken from daze by nearly running into a bike as the courses crossed, I think the marshall was looking the other way. Through a graveyard, and then finally a 400m to go sign that signalled an opportunity for me to have a nice big retch and spit something or other that came up into the bushes. I didn't feel better. At 200m to go I heard the announcer and the crowd, he was talking about the guy in front and at the thought of getting my name read out I sped up, i was definately wearing an O face until about 50m to go when I perked up and realised that no one was coming past me.

I crossed the line and collapsed to my knees, a little girl ran over and put a finishers medal over my neck and then the adrenaline rush hit. My second triathlon and I'd finished in 1h10 and a bit. 3rd in my wave and 9th overall. From the provisional timings I saw it looks like I got 3rd fastest bike split. Thank you to my wife for letting me barge in on her new sport and for giving me the confidence to try (tri)... and thanks to all the people who have answered my stupid questions on here and given me pointers on what to expect. I'm proud today, I feel 10 feet tall, I want to tell everyone what I've done. Well done to the organisers and marshalls for putting on a great event and coming up with a challenging course.

Olympic distance next year, I'll probably be the one without spd's as I'm starting to enjoy the psychological advantage. Wink

Jon
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pieandrun




Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 141
Location: Bert's Pie & Mash Shop - Peckham

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic result Jon; really impressive and I'm not surprised you're feeling ten feet tall. Well done.

A total contrast with my own race as my swim saw a return to the panic attacks that I'd banished last year and of course mine was a planned duathlon anyway as I'm still running injured. Withdrawing after two disciplines is awful; I ran up and over the bridge to a quiet spot so that no one would see me stop - felt really shameful.

Hoping I still get timing splits though as I really went for it on the bike. Certainly the hilliest time trial course I've ever experienced, not fun but it plays into the hands of us cyclists.

So what are your plans for next year; big distance, big events? Not sure I'll go with Hever again, unless they can convince me they'll improve a few things but I'll discuss them on the other thread.

Well done again. Great race.

Francis
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London Olympic 2:25:40; Thames Turbo IV 1:09:55; Hever Henry VIII

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theprawn




Joined: 28 Jan 2009
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Location: ldn

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear you had a nightmare on the swim. I have to say it felt a bit weird in there, it was pretty cold and the silt at the bottom felt really strange on my feet, I'm sure that won't have helped you.

Don't feel low about not doing the run, you had to pull out or you'd do some bad damage. I got a text to say the results will be up by 5pm today so you should get your splits then.

Next year I'm going to up the distances, signed up for London Oly Open already so I can race some mates. One is sub 2.30 and the other is sub 2.45 so got a challenge on my hands to stick with them.
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Badger
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Location: St Leonards, East Sussex

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, Jon - sounds like you've got the hang of it!

Nice report too. Cracking stuff.

B Cool
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antbliss




Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 67
Location: Sussex

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You looked more chuffed than chundered at the finish Jon !
well done and a great race report...



Still going through the photies here, current ETA for all of them is wednesday due to some large off road triathlon thing on Saturday being first out of the blocks Rolling Eyes

Going through the finish photos I've found a few gaps in the results and will let the organiers know tomorrow - seems to be wave 7 related between 13th and 14th - some 13 in total (but might be from a different wave)

The photos will be here when we're all done:
http://gallery.sussexsportphotography.com/a.tlx?k=15bzeti

TTFN !
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theprawn




Joined: 28 Jan 2009
Posts: 7917
Location: ldn

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks a lot, did you take that pic? i think it was the guy on the camera who told me to get up so i didn't cramp.

nice photo but i think my body shape proves that i really shouldn't be that far up the field! Laughing
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Scoobers




Joined: 04 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice report John, and great result!
Good to meet you on Sunday.
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Not appearing at a tri near you any time in the foreseeable future.
Hopefully will get the motivation to do something this year as the sofa is wearing out!
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antbliss




Joined: 09 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jon,
Yep, 'twas me, just wanted to make sure you didn't seize up and after that finish you were really going to suffer with lactic so you needed to keep moving...
The other pics show a slightly better body shape - lifting arms up never helped anyone run ! (still got a load more to catalogue before we can put them online.)

Cheers
Ant
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theprawn




Joined: 28 Jan 2009
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Location: ldn

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

scoobers! sorry if i was talking drivel, i was in a bit of a daze until well into my 4000th calorie that evening. good to put a face to the name, that's not really you in your avatar.

cheers ant, it worked, looking forward to the rest of the pics I'll have to invest I think. Very Happy
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Bainsy




Joined: 11 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice report - ii fancy this race (longer one) next year..............

God help us though if you do an IM - an epic report for a sprint - what will it be like if you go for a report on an IM ??????
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2015 ?
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Big Ted




Joined: 03 May 2009
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Location: On a motorcycle, in the distance.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prawn

good report and great racing.

Funnily enough i rode my condor to work yesterday and it got several admiring glances - they are superb bikes!!

Well done again

BT
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Scoobers




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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bainsy wrote:
Nice report - ii fancy this race (longer one) next year..............

I would recommend it, it can only get better with time.
Lake was cold murky and shallow but great bike and run (especially through the graveyard).
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Hopefully will get the motivation to do something this year as the sofa is wearing out!
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