Last weekend I took part in the Xtra Mile Events Llandudno Sea Triathlon. This was my first Triathlon since April as I have been recovering from a running injury. Since then I feel my recovery and return to running has gone as well as I could have hoped, so I was keen to see where my fitness is currently at. After probably my most consistent block of training I’ve completed so far I was hoping for a relatively good time and position at the end of it...fingers crossed!
The forecast on the day was for a pretty calm, overcast day. Bang on what you want! The sprint distance was off first at around 9 and it was great to watch these guys getting the job done. Butterflies started fluttering in my stomach just thinking of the pain I would be going through in a couple of hours!
With the Sea looking as calm as a pond from the moment I got there, it gave me hope for a half decent time. Since working off a training plan provided by Paul Savage of Manchester Triathlon for the past 10 weeks, I have really knuckled down with my swim sets. Dare I say I’m becoming a half decent swimmer?! I no longer dread the first discipline but welcome it with open arms! Calm and fairly warm (17 degrees) conditions in Llandudnos Bay meant we were being set up for a perfect start.
It was a deep water start so we all headed out to the first buoy and from there I managed to get a good position at the front. The foghorn went and we were off! I got a good start and found some space just behind the lead pack - I might have improved my swimming but there were still some proper fish out there! The lead pack pulled away from me and one other guy so I stuck with him for a while until pushing past him.
As I passed the last buoy I was thought it was a pretty uneventful and routine start to the race, and then BAM! I put my hand right through a jelly! I got off pretty lucky and only had some minor stinging going on for a few hours. I exited the water in around 13th place.
Leaving transition on the bike I was heading out into the unknown. I had no experience of the course but had spoke to others about it’s tough climb out and it’s hairy technical descent on the return. The course is 4 laps around The Great Orme Country Park on closed roads. I planned to take the first lap pretty conservative to get a feel for the course. Even while taking it easy-ish I managed to gain 2 places on the first climb But the first time on the descents I realised just how tricky this section of the course was - maybe should have brought the road bike, no place for TT bars here!
The second lap got underway and it was now time to put the hammer down. The only problem was that at this point, the weather took a turn and we were greeted with an almighty downpour. I began the climb on the second lap and as I switched the small ring which made my chain slip off. Yet another unlucky BAM! Luckily I kept my calm, hopped off, put it back on and carried on. Only lost just over a minute but a minute is a minute. Ruddy chain.
As the rain got heavier, the course got ever more testing. I began passing more and more people on the ground having decked it. This made me back off descending on the last 2 laps just to make sure I get round it in one piece.
Coming into transition I see my sister and she informs me I’m the 5th male to enter T2, so I made up a few more places somewhere! Turns out I got the 3rd fastest bike split of the day, BOOM.
Another relatively well executed transition and onto the run we go. With not much running training behind me this year due to injury I knew I would suffer on this so I just kept plodding along. The first mile felt dreadful. I also got past instantly by a guy who absolutely stormed past me which didn’t give me much faith - turns out he finished 3rd by putting in the fastest run of the day. I controlled my breathing, ridded myself of the stitch and settled on a managable pace. The run is an out and back (Jay’s favourite) and has a pretty tough climb up Penrhyn Hill from both ways. I was passed by another guy on the way back but after that my position was safe.
I crossed the line 7th overall and 2nd in my Age Group. This is my best result yet and am absolutely stoked with it. A great sign for things to come in the next few races.
As I am writing this I am having a super duper lazy day before putting the hammer down at another Xtra Mile Event, this time at Chatsworth House in the Peak District. Another super tough course - I recce’ed the bike course last weekend, take a look at on Strava.
Wish me luck!