Sunday, 27 May 2012

BUCS Olympic Triathlon

Today was BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) standard distance triathlon in Nottingham. The Bath Uni team of 10 athletes and 1 supporter headed up to a hotel in Loughborough the night before where we stayed the night and had a club meal out.

Andy, Alex, Jansen, Boydy, Toby, Matt, Matt, Rob, Michela & me after a hard & hot day of racing 

Race day was swelteringly hot. Probably well over 27degrees Celsius, the course was based around the county's purpose built rowing lake where there was no shade. The elite women were off at 9am, supersprint athletes at 12 and elite men at 2pm. In hindsight I was quite lucky setting off earlier in the morning, though I still finished with some superb triathlon suit tan (burn) lines.

Elite women entering the water to start the 1500m swim

The wetsuit swim was two laps of a 750m course, with a short run in between before we jumped in to start our second lap. I exited the water in 8th place and then transition led us out onto an 8lap 40km bike course. In total there were 28 elite women racing, so the course (each lap is 5km) was not too crowded. The bike leg for me was even more exciting, as The Triathlon Shop had very kindly lent me a carbon fibre Scott bike to race for the day, which was a great opportunity and a great support. As a consequence, I biked a non-draft 1hr12 for the 40km bike leg, which considering this was a training race and I had clocked up 300km of bike training that week, I was delighted with!

A hot 40km bike ride
(here is the lovely SCOTT bike loaned from THE TRIATHLON SHOP)

I wasn't the only one who suffered on the bike with hydration. Many athletes only had one bottle cage on their bike and there were no water stops allowed on the bike leg, nor were athletes allowed friends/spectators to pass them water as this would qualify as "outside assistance" which would result in DQ. This rule is understandable under many circumstances, but in these conditions, with the heat and athletes dropping out, it may have been a rule worth tweaking or reconsidering for an amateur race.

The run was no less warm, a 10km run which was two 5km laps of the lake, following the path of the bike course. 2 water stations on each lap, which was a godsend! I came of the bike in 6th place and ran down 3minutes to finish the race in 3rd place :) Strict orders from coach to take the run easy-ish, as Blenheim elite triathlon in two weeks in the main focus, and running hard would only delay recovery and training for that race. Therefore the run was taken as a tempo rather than at race pace, I was delighted therefore to put in the  fastest run split of the race.

The Bath team put in a sterling effort, many top ten finishers, pb's broken and new race distances covered. It was a really hot day for everyone, unusual conditions for Britain with only the day before the news revealing it was hotter than Lanzarote or certain areas of France! Well done Bath!

1st Loughborough, 2nd Birmingham, 3rd Bath

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