This is why I love triathlon. A great venue, an interesting course, well organised, quick transitions and I finished nice and early to enjoy the rest of the day.
If you have ever considered a triathlon or thought of taking on the course at Leeds castle, you will not be disappointed. It is not the easiest you can do. The bike section is undulating and the run is pretty tough due to the hills. I completed Leeds last year and suffered badly on the run. It was very hot and I experienced cramps like never before due to the torturing hills. I felt I had unfinished business here so wanted to return.
Again we traveled up the evening before and stayed in a hotel 5 mins away. It certainly makes the incredibly early starts easier. Who knows what time I would have to leave if I travelled from home. My race was due to start at 7:37. This year Leeds had been made a National Sprint Championship and you could tell there were some serious athletes about!
So how did the swim go?
I was really happy with my swim. It was a rough one, meaning each turn at the buoys saw fists and feet flying everywhere. I got kicked in the face which took my goggles off but luckily managed to sort them out quickly. I nearly lost my wedding ring as well. Don’t ask how that happened! It is another reason why I think Leeds is not the easiest triathlon to do if you are a beginner. The map below shows my swim course and as you can see there are a lot of turns. One of the highlights is swimming under the archway of the castle.
They also dredged the moat this year which was noticeable as it was a lot clearer but also less weedy. My swim time was 15min 17 sec for 830m so not too bad considering all the fisticuffs. Last year my swim was 15:38, so a little faster. After entering transition I noticed very few bikes had left around me so I knew I had a good swim.
I felt good out on the bike and the one area this year I know I have improved is my hill climbing. I am faster going up hill and my Strava stats are evidence to this. Every segment on a hill was a PB today. In fact, I rode the course 2mins faster than last year…not loads quicker but it was on those hills where I made up the time.
The run, the bloody run!
It is a cross country run…there are hills…lots of them…plus they are steep. It is certainly a leg sapping slog but this year I did not suffer from the dreaded cramps and felt more conditioned. I got through the run (5K) in 26 mins 21 secs…4 mins quicker than last year. It still hurt but felt good to finish the triathlon in a time of 1hr 42 mins, just over 6 mins quicker than last year. An improvement certainly.
I had big gains in the overall placements as well. I finished 50 in my age category which was quite large ranging from 20-39. I was 87th overall and there were just under 500 athletes. Last year I had finished 112th in my age group.
I hope to get another triathlon before our family holiday in July, although I’m not sure which one yet. I will go into a bigger block of training again over the next two weeks as all the racing recently has meant quite a bit of recovery and seen me reduce it slightly. I’ve also just received my Ceepo frame for my tri-bike build that I imported from the states. I’ll blog about this at a later date.
Hope you enjoy the read!