Midlands Ultra-Mike Grant
Nice to do a mass start for a middle distance events again, the WTC rolling starts—while nice—do remove that competitive edge because you don’t really know if you’re beating someone in terms of time. First turn was a right shoulder so I placed myself on the leading edge, but way off to the left. This way I could avoid the washing machine and put in some really strong strokes in clean water. The course was a simple triangle and sighting was pretty straight forward. A little scrummage around the second-last buoy, but if you’re going to grab my ankle I’m going to kick you loose. I came out of the water in the top 20 of my AG.
It was quick. Official timing says less than 2 min, but I recorded 2:30 on my watch (probably because I lapped it as I got out of the water. I’m always coached that transitions are free time and I’ve been working hard on making the change. I was in my AG top 10 leaving transition.
Getting onto the bike was a little uncomfortable; my stabilizers were hurting big time which is odd. I’ve been super comfortable on my bike for some time and this pain right at the start was not so good. First turn onto the main road was into this damn headwind which persisted for the entire ride. If it was downhill it was windy and well… uphills. I was probably hunkering out zone 5a watts for far too long and given this damn hilly course I certainly paid the price—too long in the VO2 region just burns matches too quickly. My legs were sore and my hamstrings started hurting. I managed to reel in the power and lower the HR but I was loosing speed and the gap just kept building. At some stage I went from racing on the bike to just wanting to finish; and given how hard and long I had been pushing on the bike I was at risk of blowing up on the run.
Another great transition, a sub 2 min change over and I managed to hold my position through this. I forgot sun block and I’m paying dearly for that today. ouch
Started the run on pace and on plan (first 3km @ 4:30/km). But the matches were burnt and I had to dig in really deep to make the first half on split. I had a Gu and then some really nasty tummy cramps. These slowed me down considerably, and I took on much watered coke at the next few aid stations to try and balance out the pH in my stomach. The sun really started to bake and temperatures went up to the early 30s. My stomach issues eased a bit towards the end and I managed to pick my pace back up to planned pace, but it was too late to make much of a dent into the pack.
Finishing was great and I was really grumpy with myself over posting such a slow time—but when the results came out and I saw that everyone suffered equally I felt much much better. Great opportunity to learn how to adapt a race plan to unfavourable conditions.