With the World Championship only a few weeks away now, my training is starting to step up.
Things are looking good, training is going really well and I am feeling good for the big race ahead!
One area that is going well is my cycling. I had a lovely ride with my Whittys team-mates yesterday around the local country roads with a great drafting session included.
It was a tough ride and I felt knackered (pretty much self inflicted tho as I spent all day at V Festival and didnt get into bed until the early hours and up at 6.30. But training has to take priority over my sleep!!) , and it was just what I needed!
The weather wasn't great, quite windy and a little cold, but of course, Richardsons Cycle's jacket kept me warm throughout the whole ride, and also helped me store some of my snacks for the ride. A girl can never have enough food on a long bike ride!!
Yesterday was the Chalkwell Redcaps 'Fish and Chip Swim'. You may be asking yourself, 'why is it called the Fish and Chip Swim?' I'll explain that in a minute, but the swim starts in Westcliff-on-Sea near a row of cafes called the Arches. From there, you swim parallel with the shore to a huge memorial stone in the water called the Crowstone. After meeting with a few other people, we swam the rest of the way to a place called Leigh Old Town. It is roughly 2.8km of swimming, but it sure felt like a lot more than that!
Although the weather was really nice, the sea was quite choppy, so it made it extra hard to a) see the rest of the group, and b) swim in a straight line! After about 1800m of swimming, I actually felt sea-sick from all the waves! I eventually had to get out 100m before the finish as I threw up (disgusting, I know!) At least I now know that I get sea-sick!
Once you finish, the whole team sits at the local pub and has a few pints (or diet cola for me as I don't drink) and a portion of their local fish and chips. I have to admit, after that swim, it was the best fish and chips I had ever tasted!
So yesterday probably wasn't my best race ever.
Ask any sports person, they will always say that there is sometimes that one race that just doesn't feel right from the very beginning. Whether it is something mechanically or mentally that doesn't go right, like you lose some equipment or miss the start, or you just don't feel right physically, it is horrible to go through the whole race knowing that it is not really your day.
Lets start with the swim: I have swam at Grafham Water a few times for open water swim races but never for a triathlon. So when they announced that each wave would be set off 5 minutes apart, I knew that this could only end badly. Nevertheless, I continued concentrating on my race and going as hard as I could. I had a good start and got myself in a good position Once we had started (and after being battered by 100 other swimmers) we were off and going at a good pace. But only about 600m in, we had caught up with the back of the pack of slower male swimmers from the previous heat, so now there was about 200 people swimming in the same area and some of these doing breast stroke. I couldn't get around people to overtake as they were well spread out and I was constantly getting pushed down, so the swim didn't go too well and my time already down.
Once I was out of the lake, I told myself to forget about the swim and concentrate on the rest of the race.
The bike ride was a lovely course, mostly open straight country lanes with hardly any cars on them as it was very early still. There weren't many hills or turns, so it should have been a fast section, but like I said, sometimes it just isn't your day. My legs did not want to cooperate with me! However, my times seemed to differ from how I felt as I finished the bike section in about the same time I always do - it must be the new wheels from Richardsons Cycles!! Thanks guys, heaven knows what my time would have been with my old wheels but even better imagine what my time will be when my legs are working properly with the new wheels from Richardsons!!
The final section, the run, wasn't too bad. By this time, I had excepted that it wasn't going to be a PB race, but I don't like to give up, so I ran as hard as I could. It was a bit of a multi terrain route with a few hills, so not my favourite type of run course, but seeing my fellow Whittys Tri Team member, Jenny, helped spur me on to the finish.
Overall it was a really nice race and would love to do it again, but hopefully on a better day. Still I suppose at least I can expect a great PB next time! Just goes to show that everyone has their bad days and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for it your body just doesn't want to play ball.
Just want to say a huge thank you to :
Sovereign Play Equipment , for your continued support and the Dry Robe you got me helped hugely before and after the race, as I was freezing at 6am!!!
Chalkwell Redcaps, the HUUB wetsuit made that horrible swim slightly easier!
Pedal Potential, as always, I wouldn't be able to do what I do without your support!
and Rippleside Metal Works, thank you for believing in me and helping me continue on this journey!
Yesterday I visited my new sponsors Richardsons Cycles to meet all the team - and also to pick up my new wheels.
As I said before, it is a family-run business, and you can tell that they pride themselves on this fact, because the owner's daughter, her husband, and some close family friends all work in the shop! I think its amazing how a shop that was founded almost 100 years ago is still being run by the same family and thriving. Its great how well respected this little shop is in the area and I think it is because of the personal service and attention to detail that they can give their customers being a family business. They certainly know their stuff.
They are all so welcoming, and even when I said that I have had a problem with my bike for a while (the derailleur had shifted and was slightly hitting my wheels when I pedalled) they instantly offered to fix it for me. Once they had finished, they told me that they had basically done a whole service on the bike whilst it was there!
Not being from a cycling background and learning as I go, I never realised how a slightly lighter wheel could effect your speed so much, but I think I do now after chatting to the team about the benefits! The wheels Erik (the owner) gave me are so much lighter than my old ones that overall, my bike feels a lot lighter. For people who don't know, a lighter bike means that there is less resistance being pushed down through the floor, which results in a faster and smoother ride. Although it doesn't seem like much having lighter wheels, every component that you can lighten adds up to an overall big difference in time saved especially on longer cycling miles, so having lighter wheels compared to my old aluminium rims, will help me hugely over the 40k bike section of a triathlon.
Thank you so much to Eric and the team at Richardsons Cycles, cannot wait to try the new wheels in my race this weekend and I am very much looking forward to my new bike and kit in January ! Happy Triathlete :)