New Forest Middle Distance Tri

Race day dawned clear and cold. I awoke in Victor parked slap bang next to transition. How convenient.

Porridge and a cuppa later I was racking my bike on the dewy grass of the Moyles Court school playing field.

Entered fairly last minute, this was a training race – an opportunity to practice racing in the run up to Kona.

The forest looked beautiful. The lake however, where we were to swim, looked less inviting. Nevertheless, a confusing 1.9km later, during which the field of triathletes were sent in different directions by the swim marshals, and I was running the kilometre back to transition 1. Perhaps the longest swim to T1 run I’ve ever done but a good warm up before the bike I suppose.

After all the confusion of the swim I had no idea where I was in relation to any other women. I set off on the three lap bike course. The weather was pleasant. Not too cold, not too windy. Remarkably lucky.

The bike course was an undulating affair, where you had to keep your wits about you to avoid potholes, wild forest animals and bad drivers. I felt a bit weak on the bike, perhaps after the previous weeks hard training, and although I passed some female riders (and some male ones too) I was overtaken by a few girls also.

So it came down to the run to really see where I was in the field.

A two lap, off road half marathon with some long drags of climbs. My first few strides off the bike felt strong and I was glad to be running. Looking out for my fellow RaceCheck Visor Club member, Nick de Bouillane, I got into my stride. I started to look for the girls ahead, on the switch backs. One, two, three, four, five…. that put me sixth.

I counted the time gaps between me and fifth. Then, as I overtook, me and fourth.

Then I saw the visor of Nick – he was running well. Really well.

I kept my pace up trying and managing to close the gap on fourth and overtake. The terrain was tough. Gravelly, hilly and uneven, but I was enjoying the run.

The final sharp climb was painful, and I knew there was a girl not that far behind so no room to relax. I worked hard up it knowing that when I got to the top it would be all downhill from there and I’d have time to recover my breath. I wasn’t caught.

In the end I finished 5th lady (I’d missed one on my watch-out for girls somehow…) which was a pleasing place to be for a training race.

Nick won the whole race outright and on meeting him in transition, was so modest about it you’d never have known! Well done Nick.

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