Victory Triathlon, North Walsham Super Sprint

Like the race, I’ll try and keep this short.

I had a few days off after Gosfield, somewhat voluntarily, but I did also managed to lose my chain link while cleaning my bike and a replacement didn’t arrive till lunchtime Saturday, which kept me out of the saddle a little longer than anticipated! Still, with this my last Triathlon for the foreseeable future I just wanted to be well rested and sharp for Sunday.

As multi-sport events go this is as local as they get, with the bike course literally running past my front door, so it’s the one race I can guarantee some spectator support from the other half! I raced it last year in its first outing and this year Active Outdoor Sport have improved the event adding chip timing and attracting around 50% more entrants.

Online entry for the race was available at two different sites, one requesting an estimated swim time for 250m, the other for 300m. I’d entered with a 250m swim estimation, along with a handful of others and, as the projected times hadn’t been adjusted, found myself starting the male swimmers off at 9am, due to climb out of the pool at 9:03: 20, rather hopeful I thought! Still, all the female athletes had finished swimming so I had the rare luxury of swimming in a completely empty, flat-calm pool.

With all the other competitors lining up poolside I got a bit carried away and started a tad hard clearing the first 50m in under 35seconds. Needless to say the pace slowed a little from there! I didn’t quite hit 3.20, but it felt like a decent swim and transition was as smooth as I could have hoped for.

The bike leg involves a number of sharp bends and a few little rises the most notable running through Skeyton, past my gaff. I’d been aiming to average 24mph for the bike leg, with it being only 17km, but the stop-start nature of it and undulating course meant I fell just short and had to work hard to keep the same speed as I did in the rain on an Olympic course the week before. To me super sprint races are as hard as any, as from the gun you’re working at your lactate threshold constantly and never really get a chance to catch your breath.

T2 was fairly quick as well, taking no risks through the car park and into my adapted runners for the bike leg. I’ve attached a couple of pics of my “aero”-puncture repair kit holder and my doctored trainers that have helped me through the last few races while my foot injuries heal. The run consists of 3 laps around the playing field and paths around the leisure centre. Long grass, slight gradients and half an hour of hammering yourself before you get there make it seem like a tough 3km. I had to fight to keep at 6 min/mile pace, helped by the guys placed just behind me starting their run as I hit the second lap so giving me something to chase.

I crossed the line in 43.03, so only a little more than the run leg of a standard distance race, but it hurt substantially more. I’d like to think that’s because I pushed myself, but maybe I’m just cut out for slightly longer stuff, I definitely struggle to find a rhythm in these short races.

Fortunately it was enough to defend last year’s win, despite some other strong performances and an improved time from last year was a nice way to sign off for the time being.

A few fire-fighting friends from Green Watch Sprowston had picked the event as one for the whole station, which added even more support to an already great turnout, so I should probably add that Stu Barker won that particular race!

So the plan now is for an easy week, followed by a week of night shifts, which itself usually results in reduced training volume! I thought I’d then try and run The Worstead 5, which is a race with a great atmosphere and then possibly swim the Sea Palling reef swim the following week. Both are on my doorstep and both great local events. In between times I want to get out for a few decent rides, hopefully with The Tri-Harder boys and put in my challenge for the KOM jersey!