James Emery is the Manager of TORQ's Triathlon team. He's a keen triathlete having raced all distances from sprint to Ironman.
Highley Sprint Triathlon
The first race of the season always delivers heightened excitement; has the hard work done during the cold and dark winter been worthwhile? Has enough speed work been completed to get back up to race fitness? Who of my opponents has made significant gains since last year?
So the alarm awakes me from my slumber and then I remember its race day. The bike is immaculate, the kit is neatly packed into my transition bag and after a quick breakfast I’m off driving down quiet country roads with not so quiet pre-race pumping music. I remind myself that I’ve not got any musical genes, still if it is loud enough I can’t hear myself!
As I arrive at the race HQ, the butterflies increase. After walking the transition and the bike exit, I warm up and position the bike into the transition area. After lingering a bit, I managed to get the bike racked into a good position; seconds count.
It’s always hard waiting around until I can get into the water; everything was checked numerous times. Finally 30 seconds to start and I’m allowed to get in. 10 sec count down and then I’m off for a 400m swim in an open air pool. On the first length, I catch another competitor from a different wave and soon dispatch with him and get stuck in. Initially my stroke is nice and smooth with bilateral breathing, but as I get further into the event I started becoming more hypoxic and had to resort to breathing every 2nd strokes to maintain the same speed.
Exiting the pool I’m running to transition with another competitor. I purposely take the racing line and he duly drops behind allowing me to grab my bike and exit ahead of him. A flying leap and I’ve mounted the bike and I’m off down the road whilst slipping into my cycle shoes on the move.
'Head down bum up' as they say, it’s time to get aero, powering down the course. In no time at all I’m suddenly in the inner chain ring grinding up a hill. I read the race brief and it said 'hilly', well they weren’t lying, the course was very rolling with some wicked descents. The course definitely favoured the bikers who had good power output on the climbs and rapid descending skills.
Whilst tired from the bike; I wish it had gone on longer though, it is time for the run. It starts nicely, then descends and then descends some more and guess what it goes down further. Then realisation strikes that I would have to re-climb to finish and that's not a nice thought! At the bottom a strong runner from Derby tri club comes past, whilst he was 4mins behind (due to swim start) I really don't want to be pasted, so I try to run with him and only lose him in the last section of the run (thanks Mr Derby Tri for pushing me).
2nd place overall, so a good start to the season.
Highely Sprint Triathlon is one of hardest sprint triathlons I have done, yet very enjoyable and a brilliant belated start to the season. Next up is Nottingham National Champs, see you there…
Thanks yet again to our fantastic sponsors:
www.huubdesign.com - Wetsuits
www.limarhelmets.com - Helmets & Glasses
www.lakecycling.co.uk - Cycling Footwear
www.jagwireusa.com - Cables & Housing
www.shimano.com - Groupsets
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk - Team PR
www.amphibia-sport.com - Transition Bags
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.lezyne.com - Pumps, Tools, Bottle Cages
www.juicelubes.co.uk - Lubrication
Thanks to www.uksportpictures.com for the images