Out towards the quaint little town of Knutsford is the Boundary water park which marked the venue of the Boundary Breeze Triathlon. Hosted by Manchester Triathlon Club, Sunday 13th July started off rather wet from the early morning rain.
My drive over was roughly 50 minutes and having prepared my bits and pieces the night before, I was all set for an early dart. This particular race fell at a nice time in the grand scheme of things, as I have been targeting the British National Standard Triathlon Championships in Liverpool this August. As this particular week was a heavy, high intensity training week, the boundary breeze has helped with my preparations for Liverpool. This meant, no carbohydrate loading, no tapering, and no easy saturday resting my legs.
The day started at 7am where I attacked a large bowl of Dorsets fruit muesli. With my wave starting at 11:10am, eating this high carb breakfast 4 hours before the race helps provide carbohydrates of two kinds; fast and slow releasing. This begins the task of filling my muscles with the required amount of glycogen for the race. I also took my regular supplements of vitamin B, C and D, folic acid, beta alanine, l-glutamine and omega 3 oil in a glass of beet-it beetroot juice (I will do the whats and whys of these supplements another time).
A keen eye for organisation – The president of Triathlon England
I filled up my water bottle with 50g of SIS GO energy and 500ml of water and made sure I sipped it regularly on the drive over leading up to the race. Having arrived and parked up at the local village hall, I collected my race numbers (245) and timing chip, and then set my bike up before I went to equip my transition areas (there were two at this triathlon, T1 and T2). Before leaving the car park I ate half a High5 caramel energy bar at around 8:30am to kept the glycogen topped up. It did feel odd just leaving my running shoes in T2 because it gave me the sense that I had forgotten something. The walk over to T1 was about 1km and this was also next to the Boundary lake where the swim was to take place.
Nice and warm at 21 degrees.
I kept sipping my energy drink and placed my bike, helmet and sunglasses on the bike racks. At around 10:30 I downed a beet-it shot and took some more beta alanine and a caffeine tablet. Only 40 minutes to go and a few waves had set off already and it appeared as the though it was optional to wear a wetsuit as some people swam in just a trisuit. Having heard about the density of the reeds in the water I opted to go with the wetsuit and practice taking it off for the the British Champs. With 10 mins to go I necked an SIS gel (more glycogen and muscle fuel) and headed to the waters edge. I spotted plenty of Team GB age groupers and figured I could be in for a tough swim.
Im top right of the picture
My plan was to go at 90% and just relax into it, which I did, but the reeds were exceptionally tough to fight through, and the water had kicked up the sludge from the previous waves of triathletes. Around the 3 bouys we go to complete 750m of swimming and the worst of the reeds were at the end before we ran out of the water. Instead of pulling the water, I had to grab the reeds to propel myself forward (some could call this cheating!!!).
I came out of the water in 13th place (just under 12 minutes) and my first transition went great. The wetsuit slipped off and I hit the bike in no time. I relaxed pretty quickly but soon spotted a few people to chase down and started to push myself. I held myself as best I could at about 40km/hr, but the wind and the odd rolling hills wavered my speed. I was happy that I was overtaking people and even threw out some encouragement as I passed a team mate from Tri Preston.
Wetsuit off and sprint out of T1 – I practiced folding my sunglasses in the wires of the bike in order to put them on once I was into a rhythm on the bike…it worked ok and probably shaved a second or two.
I got my feet out of my shoes in time to dismount my bike and ran over some pretty stoney road to rack the bike and get my trainers on. I finished the bike leg in little over 37 minutes The run was a simple 2 laps of an out and back dirt track on private land. Another little aim of mine to try and not get overtaken on the run, and today was the first time I managed to go without being overtaken :-). I had aimed to stay at 4min/km on the run but in fact went a touch faster overall to finish the run in 19:19.
50 metres to go!!!
I managed 3rd in my age group, but the 2 lads above me were well oiled triathletes with plenty more laps, miles and experience in the bag than me. Nevertheless, I have 1 year until the European Sprint Triathlon Champs in Geneva where I can get in a solid winter of training before I go and put on my GB kit.
A huge thanks to Royles for the goodie bag, and also to Manchester Triathlon Club for the organisation. Thanks to Wallis cycles for cycling equipment and also a big thanks to the volunteer marshals and Triathlon England officials. Oh and don’t forget the wife for taking the pictures 🙂