It seems an age since entering back in December waiting for this one to come along. It had been logged in my training program as the main race of the season, the focus of all the training and races leading up to it. No pressure then!! Coming into the race off some very good training (229 hours up till this week since Jan 1st, average of 7.6 hours a week) I was feeling good, sub 1.30 the goal having gone 1.39 in 2010. A fair few ventured across the border in what is like an annual pilgrimage by now (my 4th year, Neil & Kyles 8th?). The week had been easy sessions but still around 8 hours with the Aquathon thrown in & another pb ?
Having to wait all day was a killer as I was in the last Sprint wave of the day, 4.30pm! Tried to stay off my feet all day but difficult when supporting others, Blaine (Kyles brother) & Stan went off before me and watching their swim it was becoming clear this maybe a tad long. Got suited & last minute checks of the bike and down to swim assembly, same mad Welshman doing the briefing every year, same hugging and shouting oggie oggie oggie!. He asked for those who thought they were faster swimmers to lead the group down and out onto the dock, I stepped forward without about 10 others to more than several double checks and looks of what the heck is he doing, they were about to find out ;-)
I lined up at the front dead over to the right on the straightest line again only to get pushed around by others thinking what is he doing up here. They shortly found out they should of gone behind me as the air horn sounded and they may have swallowed a little too much of the lovely brown Thames water somehow?! (Harry Wiltshere gave me some tips). An uneventful swim, slightly boring as around 4 or 5 sprinted off, I drafted to the first turn but got caught up and lost them swimming the remainder on my own ahead of the large pack behind, out water in 6th/300 in wave pleased with position but the watch said 13.45?! was aiming for 12 minutes as swam 12.04 twice this year already at previous races. Through the customary gigantic London transitions, 7.10 over both transitions! And out onto the bike.
A good bike leg although busy with traffic from sprint waves earlier and novices everywhere. Obviously do not read the info pack or listen as people were riding in the middle of the road on the right everywhere, which made you stay alert! The bike leg is pretty flat apart from a few slight inclines over flyovers, but the road surface this year was horrific. Managed to swerve several crazy cyclists on narrow parts & got off the bike in 40.11 for the 20k so around 18.5mph.
After another giant transition went out on the run into the heat. The run course was same as last year up and out of the excel building towards the end of the dock, which they now published at 5.4km. Didn?t feel good at all but passed a few runners (walkers!) which felt better. Managed the first lap in just over 16 minutes that didn?t feel good at all when looking at the watch. Gave myself a good talking to and slowly started to ramp it up, just one more lap. Crossed over the run ramps/mats, which were awful to run on and then drowned myself in 2 cups of water to cool down. The showers at the side of the course were amazing and I could of just stood there all day but though I better get on with it, up the ramp to the excel one last time and into the building, nearly there and with a group of around 10 managed to conjure up a sprint finish to negative split the run with a little over 13 minute lap to burn them off & finish in 1.31.29 around 8 minutes improvement on my 2010 time. A very pleased, thirsty and hot mess at the finish and glad to find out today placed 343rd out of 1211 male sprint competitors.
Others ? Kyles Brother Blaine Kearey came 14th overall in 1.16 & Jamie Hollow & Daniel Harvey from Penzance came in at 1.20 & 1.26. Zoe Regan came 8th in the Female Super Sprint in a time of 50 minutes.
Awaiting final results still but first up was Kyle. A good swim placed him 4th again swim time down on usual, but sped through transition to overtake the 2 just in front. Kyle faced heavy traffic on the bike and had to weave around a lot but came in just over the hour. Out onto the run Kyle was moving well and buoyed by our new found toy the cowbell, Kyle came home in a time of 2.07 which must place him high in the 25-29 age group & a new PB.
Charlotte Hurst excited the swim in 8th position although all the women?s age groups were in one wave and looked to be in good position in the 17-24 group. A good bike where she made up some placing & came out onto the run in we think around 5/6 overall. After a hard hot run finished in around 2.30 & hopefully defending her age group title from last year. Awaiting results.
Neil Eddy had a great Elite race (Look out for him on the TV) coming out 9th in the swim, a large lead pack of around 20 formed and Neil was prominent in this, on the last lap a 2 man breakaway got a gap of around 30 seconds into transition but Neil was toward the front of the group to get off the bike in a good position. The leaders came flying out of the Excel building onto the run and Neil had dropped to around 18th on the first section but in a few minutes was up to 13th as some good running and a few drop outs occurred. Some of the weaker cyclists but good runners were now making ground and Neil held onto around 18th place in 1.52 taking 3 minutes off his 2010 time.