Capernwray Mid Week Sprint
A report from a newbie….
After a few years of supporting Karen (Archer) in triathlon and coming up with various reasons not to enter one such as: “I’d rather just go mountain biking”, “I’m not really competitive”, “The world isn’t ready to see my hairy legs/shoulders in lycra”, “I can’t swim” etc. etc, I went to support Tom Jones in IMUK Bolton. After witnessing the heroics of Tom and the rest of the COLTs, a few days later and I’d signed up for Bassenthwaite standard distance, joined COLT and purchased a selection of clothes that leave little to the imagination. Capernwray sprint seemed like the perfect preparation and looked a great event for my first try at a tri. A good one for Karen too after a rubbish year nursing her slipped discs back to triathlon fitness.
I thought I should be ok with the sprint distance bike and run so preparation mainly involved swimming, with a couple of trips to the pool which seemed to go ok. However I needed to try open water for the first time, so borrowed a badly fitting ladies wetsuit (thanks Nicky Jones) and took a dip in Coniston after the mother of all fry-ups and a couple of beers. Not clever – I quickly got some respect for open water swimming. I managed a few hundred metres but knew that with better prep and a wet suit that fitted properly I’d be able to have a better crack at it. Thanks to Ian Bailey for the bargain wetsuit – The safety team should have no problems finding me with the bright yellow arms! Open water training was a steep learning curve. I seemed to have good days and bad days, but generally the first 500m was really bad, then I seem to get into a nice rhythm. Not great if only doing a sprint. Thanks also to Danny Rogerson for buddying up with me at the South Lakeland Leisure swim during one of these tougher warm-ups. A couple of dips in Capernwray plus a quick recce of the bike route with Karen and we were good to go.
Race day: Going into the water, I felt ok and had a wriggle around trying to warm up to avoid the breathlessness I’d experienced in training swims. As the race started, I tried to stay near the back but still ended up in the mix, getting whacked about. My breathing was awful, my goggles were leaking and I thought I’d lost a contact lens. I pretty much doggie paddled all the way round, but I’d survived though, and was actually ahead of a couple of people. I staggered up the stairs to T1 and after way too much faffing was on the bike and feeling much more comfortable, other than the fact I felt pretty much naked and glad my mountain bike friends weren’t around to see me cycling in a leotard!
I passed a lot of people on the bike. This felt good, I was actually racing not just surviving! I caught up with Karen and Nicky Jones who’d both wiped the floor with me on the swim and both seemed to be doing well following injuries. I managed to get round the bike course without being passed and felt pretty good for the run.
Another faffy transition and there was just a 5k run down the canal left. I had no watch on so had no idea of pace, but I just cracked on at a reasonable effort and picked it up a bit on the return, managing a couple of high fives as Karen and Nicky came passed the other way. Just the hill up to the finish left (this didn’t feel like a hill on the way down!) and I was a triathlete.
I think I’ve got the bug now and look forward to meeting more COLTS at Bassenthwaite on 19th August.
Oh yeah and 24 hours after Capernwray, I decided to enter Bolton Ironman! As Danny put it “Well that escalated!”