Sunday 23rd July, third running of the Bristol Harbourside Triathlon and my third time around the course. Probably my favorite location for a race - right on the doorstep with a supportive home crowed and significant competition, especially since the Sprint race has become an age group qualifier.
The swim is one lap in the Harbour (2 laps for Olympic distance), before heading out on a 2 lap bike course along the Portway, then an out and back run along the towpath. I was pleased to swim a 9.46 and exit the water third. I made the decision not to latch onto the two feet in front and take a more direct route - in hindsight - i probably should have followed the bubbles. A disastrous T1 saw me run straight past my bike, once I found it it was out onto the bike, where I lost a few places to stronger cyclists - most of whom were on TT bikes. The run I felt really strong - having realized from races so far this season that my run has suffered over the winter to work on my swim in order to race at elite level - my times are not where they have been in the past/should ideally be at an elite level. Hopefully this winter, now having established a swim base - I will be able to dedicate more time to running and bringing it back and above to where it has been in the past. Overall, I was happy to win my age group (20-24) and finish 2nd overall to fellow superseries competitor Katie Henderson (30-34)
Dad was the first family member to set off at 10.40 in the Olympic Distance wave. He was aiming to go sub 3 hrs and was delighted to take 8mins off last years time to finish just over 2hrs50, not bad for 50! Matt had registered his intent for age group worlds and grabbed top spot in his age group as well as 5th overall. Fellow Bath Uni friend Brian Glynn finished 2nd to Matt in the age-group and also took his spot for age group worlds. The Triathlon Shop team had a good day with PB's smashed left, right and center and dominant support on the course. Owners Jon and Holly also compiled a large photo album of all competitors from the race - click HERE.
The race offered FREE massage to competitors which is a real bonus, provided by one of the race sponsors TRI-PHYSIOTHERAPY. If you missed this treat you missed out! The race itself has a prime location, fantastic venue that offers the potential for great swim, bike and run splits. However, drafting penalties spammed the results list. Drafting was quite rightly picked up on with over 6% of athletes in the sprint waves being penalised/DQ'd. Comments have been made about the course making it hard to 'avoid drafting', but there's a difference between getting caught behind someone mid-overtake, and forming packs of 8+ athletes.... Drafting in this type of racing cheating. Using another competitors skill to your advantage not only on the bike leg - but also to save legs and energy for the run. This cheat is not 'equalised' with a 2 minute penalty - more so over longer distances, the benefits of drafting equates to more than 120 seconds. Please think again before you sit on someone's wheel...! Your win/qualification/time IS NOT justified and its REALLY annoying for your fellow competitors, organizers and the majority of athletes who DO want to play fair. My primary criticism of this race is the inability for the out and back run not to be the correct distance. Qualifier or not - the venue for this run course with a turnaround point along a footpath - there is really no excuse for the distance to be incorrect.
A short video put together by The Triathlon Shop (you can see my swim and run to T1 from 0.32-1.03) Next race is Liverpool Sprint, the third race of the British Superseries. Last night I read the briefing pack which drew my attention to jellyfish in the water which has led me to question both my sanity and commitment to this sport. Maybe see you there.