Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

- T.S. Eliot -

Box End Park Evening Off Road Triathlon Series: Race 4

Box End Lake

Part 4 of 2

Getting back to racing and achieving my goals for the year of breaking into the top ten at my local evening triathlon series. I found myself heading back to Box End Park for an off road triathlon, the fourth and final event of the series. I missed the first two races of the series, but I was ready to make amend of at end of series race 4.

As described previously, the Box End Park Evening off road triathlon series follows as simple format – turn up, pay £10, and swim, ride and run as fast as you can for as long as possible. I’ve been out training pretty hard this week so I wasn’t expecting much, but the prospect of getting in the mix at a race motivated me to make it happen.  I occasionally find it difficult to train at an intensity that will lead to performance improvements so the opportunity to race and my inherent male competitiveness results in a good work out.

Fortunately, my Dad was happy to help out with childcare for daughter number 1 (thanks Dad) whilst I raced, having collected him from the train station we hot-stepped it to Box End, grabbed a race number, chucked my bike in one of the few available spaces, went for a wee, struggled into my wetsuit, had a chat with my buddy Steve and listened to the pre-race briefing (basically, be sensible and enjoy yourself) it was time to jump in the lake and wait for the count down.  This month there was no hooter and it was a matter of listening for the shouting man to give us the signal…GO!!

Off we go

As is now tradition, I got in the middle of the swim with the aim of getting dragged along by the faster swimmers. I was determined not to end up swimming into the bank this time so having reached the turn I set my sights on the event organiser’s vehicle which was parked near the swim exit.  During the swim I noticed two things, the first being that I felt exhausted with it being a real struggle to turn my arms over, secondly how dark it was getting with a low sun in the sky. the swim felt like it lasted forever, I clambered out of the water, shouted my number and headed for transition. Not really aware of where I was, I forgot to undo my wetsuit which resulted in a slower than normal transition. For some strange reason, I also tried to get on my bike in transition. Luckily I got the bike mount all wrong and the realisation that I shouldn’t be trying to get on my bike dawned on me and I headed for the ‘bike out’ section.

Pedal time bad boy

Having made a total mess of transition, I was on my bike and reality came back to me. After a quick swig of water I was feeling a bit better and got my head down and pedaled like hell.  I spotted a lady I knew would be near the top ten and set about catching her on the bike.  If I could get passed, I would be heading towards the top ten.  The bike leg of a triathlon is easily my strongest discipline but I occasionally have a tendency to over do it and not leave enough in my legs for the run. As usual the bike leg was over too quickly but I had passed my lady target, so it came down to a run.

Top ten?

From my perspective, triathlon run discipline if often a case of holding on for as long as possible before my legs disappear into a jelly like state, it therefore becomes a matter of trying to keep the jelly away for as long as possible.  As previously, I was passed by three people on the run, but I did pass one chap so on aggregate I lost two places.  The official results are not published yet, but if my Dad’s counting is correct I finished 13th. The top ten target has been missed this year, I better get some training in over the winter and try again next year!