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Bristol Harbourside Triathlon - Race Report
My thoughts of the Olympic race in 2014

Bristol Harbourside Triathlon 2014 (Olympic Distance)

JamesHesterby JamesHesterAug 13th 2014
Bristol Triathlon 2014

29th June 2014

I now know what the term ‘keeping a weather eye’ means. I have probably downloaded four different apps with long range forecasts so I could see what was in store for this years Bristol Harbourside Triathlon â€" early indications weren’t good though and I resigned myself to yet another windy, rainy event like most have been this year.

I’ve trained incredibly hard for this race â€" it’s my first A Race this year. I enjoyed last years Bristol Tri so much that it became the center point for my goals for this season:

1: Swim sub 30min (I swam 31 mins for the 1500m in ’13)
2: Sub 1:15 bike (I did 40k bike in 1:15 in ’13)
3: Sub 50 min run (I ran 53 mins for the 10k in ’13)

I’ve mainly focussed on my swim but also done as much as I can with the run and bike â€" if I’m honest, I didn’t really know what the upshot was but those were my goals. Someone I’ve been training with (Valentino Oriolo â€" great runner) couldn’t make the race and as he was in my wave, I was looking forward to him breathing down my neck on the run â€" wasn’t to be..!

On arriving at the race, I got my race pack, sorted out my numbers and got myself to a very organised transition area. Bike are racked on marked numbers in this race â€" my bike was right by the bike mount line, meaning quite a long run from the swim exit to the bike â€" fine by me, the less distance pushing the bike the better. I found my mate (and GB Duathlete) Robbie Stewart had left me a good luck message on my bike number when he had been setting up. Nice touch â€" thanks mate! On walking the transition after setting my bike up and chatting to the other guys, I was looking for a marker for my bike â€" luckily (!!) someone had sprayed the ‘bike out’ arrow on the floor right by my wheel â€" perfect! With everything set up, I then bumped into Maria Powell (GB Triathlete â€" European Champion) who gave me some last minute advise and motivation. So far so good.

Wetsuit on, into the water; ready to go. Water was warm â€" I could hear a few people talking about their prospective times in the water and judging by that I decided to go to the front, I knew I had a good start and my sighting is good. I’m glad I did â€" on the ‘Go’ I put in a hard 300m and we were in a small pack quickly at the front. Then there was a problem â€" I noticed a little water coming in the right side of my goggles and then more, and more â€" I emptied it and pulled the tabs harder but no matter what I did, it was incessant. It turns out that my goggles were buggered â€" the lens seal had gone and I essentially just had a hole in my goggles â€" so now when people say ‘nothing new on race day’ there’s also an element of ‘nothing old either’ â€" one season per goggles from now on. Lesson learned. The upshot of this was two fold and horrendous â€" firstly it meant I spent the rest of the swim with a massive headache (that took two days to go) from the tight goggle straps and secondly; that I also did most of the swim with my eyes shut (due to the goggle-water and headache) â€" only opening them for sighting. Ouch. Still, I had a good swim â€" 23:46 was my time â€" around 8th or 9th out of the water in my wave. This is all down to Jackie King â€" all I do is turn up to her sessions willing to work. I do what she says as best I can. In 6 months (since I started to drive my swimming) I’ve knocked nearly 7 mins off my 1500m swim. Sub 22 mins next year and new goggles.

Getting out of the water meant I could get my goggles off â€" bloody hell, the relief… A sharpish big U shaped run got me to my bike by which stage I had the top half of my suit off â€" but somehow I’d managed to get the zip strap caught around my left leg. Sitting down to take my wetsuit off is not good but I had to prise it off with both hands. Heading to the mount line, Robbie Stewart and my friend Rob Hambly (thanks for the pics, you two) shouting encouragement â€" it dawned on me that most of the bikes were still racked â€" I was doing ok here. I still need to work on my flying mount but to be honest, I’ve had enough dramas today so just get the rest of the race done without hassle. So, on the bike, head down and go. The four-lap course is ace â€" a tiny little headwind in places, minimal rises and being that there was only one wave in front wave and I was at the head of the second meant there was little in regards to traffic. NEG riders were out in force Draft Busting (and actually on occasion riding directly in front of me on a narrow section so I ended up having to drop back in case they did me for drafting THEM!) â€" there’s not much to report on this section of the race â€" I felt consistent and solid â€" I’ve been working on my TT and I know my riding well â€" I was aiming for an even ride, which I more or less did. I did notice that the Harbourside turnaround (which is a bit technical) slowed a lot of riders down but I seemed to fly through it each time. My mum and stepdad were hollering there each time and on the last lap â€" my wife and kids were under the flyover shouting â€" so cool! Makes such a massive difference! Disc wheels sound amazing and I need to save up for one..! I also think I can go faster anf more evenly working with a power meter â€" next steps â€" it should allow me to push as hard as I can and still run fast… From 2013 I remembered on the last lap how quickly the dismount line was after the steep/fast ramp down â€" it came as a shock last year so this year I did as I planned â€" feet out of shoes on the bridge before the ramp â€" perfect dismount, despite some dead-spots on braking surface of the rented wheels (I was aware of it from some Friday T2 practice with them) during the ‘postie dismount’. Time was 1:07:38. 7 and a bit minutes faster and 15th fastest in my age group. Smashing. I averaged 36kmph/22.3mph for the 40k â€" faster next year. My fastest 10 mile TT this year has averaged 38kmph over some bridges and tricky corners so I reckon sub 1:05 next year.

T2 was seamless. Bike racked, shoes and visor on (purely to induce piss taking from my wife) and gel grabbed for kilometre 5 . There were only a few bikes racked when I left so being that my run is my weakest, I knew this was going to be hard. I felt great when I left the transition area and I could see my pace edging sub 4:30 per kilometre. That would be ace if I could maintain that, but I know I can’t â€" I would have blown up so it took all the will power I had to slow it down to 4:50ish. I just needed to keep it there, at least until the last 2/3k and see what I had left â€" a section I knew was uphill and a little technical. I managed to get my splits pretty even (4:49, 4:48, 4:53, 4:52, 4:58, 5:12, 4:48, 4:57, 5:02, 5:03). I saw my team mate from the wave in front, Jeremy Piggott 3 times I think on the out and back (x2) course and managed a beautiful ‘hi 5’ each time â€" stuff like that makes such a difference. This year the steep little rises didn't bother me and I felt so much stronger than last year. It’s a mainly flat course on gravel and tarmac â€" fast, except when you get a stitch (as I did in kilometre 6 â€" hence the 5:12) â€" water station manned by a brilliant group of Army/RAF cadets at the turn around â€" good effort you lot â€" signalled the start of the people I had dropped in the swim/run catching me â€" I don't like the feeling of this â€" all that hard work going down the pan because my run is not up to scratch. I had given up trying to work out a time and consigned myself to ‘head down and go for it’ after turning from the lap sections and into the final upward part around the main road. This bit always feels long and hard work…! But there was the finish and my family cheering â€" perfect. Run was 47:58 â€" just over a minute faster than I’d hoped for but 4+ minutes faster than last year â€" good but next year it needs to be sub 45mins. I bumped into my running mate Jeremy right after the finish line, two bottles of water later and a greeting from two very excited sons and it was off for a massage before heading off to Monmouth for a party (where incidentally we overtook the Team Sky bus returning from the British Championships in Abergavenny â€" Pete Kennaugh and Ben Swift had come 1st and 2nd). I finished 55th overall (out of 273) and 32nd in my age group (out of 138) with an overall time of 2:22:53. It’s my goal to complete the Olympic distance in sub 2:20 so considering last years time of 2:45:17 â€" knocking 23 minutes and change off. Let’s start looking at that run…!

The race was brilliantly organised. It will remain a high point of my season each year â€" a fantastic A race and I can’t wait to better my performance again in 2015. Thanks to DB Max and BADTri for an amazing time.
Bristol Harbourside Triathlon 2014 (Olympic Distance)
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