inspired by craig and erin, i decided pretty late to enter knockburn. i discussed it with diana and she very nicely said i could enter it as it is my rest week! out on a ride with the gang on saturday, james told me it was his favourite triathlon and proceeded to give me a brilliant insight into what sounded like an extremely hard event, obviously the reason james loves it. i was slightly put off by the distance to the race and the fact that i was travelling up, racing and driving back the same day, but decided to man up and just rrrrraaaace.
up at 6am, left at 7am, thought it would take me 2.5hrs but decided to allow 3hrs, holiday traffic etc. i needn’t have bothered it only takes just over 2hrs from edinburgh and it was a sunday morning too so made good time even in the wee smarty.
arrived at the event nice n early haha, absolutely stunning! beautiful man-made loch to swim in and fantastic organisation. everything ran really smoothly, registration, setting up in transition and all the volunteers and marshalls really helpful and very friendly.
the race briefing went really well, we could hear the guy really well, unfortunately during it craig got stung by a bee – something to take your mind off the pre-race nerves! speaking of which, considering diana had told me to use this event as race practice, i was very nervous beforehand (an annoying waste of energy), maybe because it was the scottish championships? or maybe its just me?
the swim was 2.5 loops of the loch around the island twice, i had been told the water was a bit murky and full of weeds, but we must have been lucky, whilst some of it was weedy it was only at the edges and the water quality was brilliant. i tried to concentrate on my technique and also chased fast feet, but i think the reason i had such a good swim was my sighting. it was easy to see the buoys and take a line on the way back on the boathouse. exited the swim, assisted by the marshalls standing in the water and wheekin you out, and into t1, not a bad transition (but not as fast as either craig or erin) and off on the bike. initially a small uphill, then a fast twisty descent to the start of the 3 laps, a fantastic bike route a few wee hills, but the main issue was the headwind, it was pretty relentless! keep low, keep aero! i had decided to race with deep rim front and disc, it worked well, except on a couple of occasions where i was almost blown off catching strong crosswinds (keeps you on your toes tho). i felt very strong on the bike and passed some really good triathletes, for a while i was thinking perhaps i was biking too hard and would burn out – after all it was a standard not a sprint… stuff it… just race hard! as it was i had a fantastic bike leg, even managing to race uphill on the now twisty fast uphill to t2. good transition there (still humped by craig and erin – again) out onto the run. james had warned me that the run was almost uphill straight from the start and he reckoned it was longer than 11km. got into my rhythm fairly quickly, it was really hot and still windy (always a headwind). i was just behind alice hector, she was maintaining a good 20 metres in front, head down i wanted to try and stay with her pace, really strong running style and much better to run behind than richard gradually on the long uphill to the woods i began to catch her. into the trees steep wee climb onto the wooded path i passed her and kept pushing on. the rest of the run was all downhill, so i tried not to put the brakes on and run more like a fell runner (i wish). i had checked out the end of the run and knew around the loch it felt longer than you think, finished really strongly, over the line in 10th position overall.
found out later with craig and erin that i had won my age group, felt absolutely fantastic, worth every ounce of effort, 1st time i have held both scottish championship distance titles woo hoo!
craig had a battle royale in the swim, a strong bike and good run, erin suggesting it was his now un-aero hairdo that held him back, plus the bee sting! an inspirational effort from craig considering he is still battling with his foot injury AND still racing!!! erin too had a great race, i can’t believe its only her 1st year of triathlon, she has amazing talent and a true grit and determination, definitely a triathlete to watch out for. all in all a fantastic event, what a course, next year anyone?
ps: a great day for the newhaveners, what a club, just wait till we all get to the worlds in london KAAAAAAMMMAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!