This past weekend I completed the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon 2013 (JBTT) down at the beautiful Luton Hoo and ace time was had so thought I’d share a few of my thoughts about the event, the course and the mistakes of mine to avoid.
Being fairly new to open water swimming (I’ve done it twice at 750 meters and 1800 meters) I decided the 300 meter swim distance was a good opportunity to experiment doing the swim without the aid of a wetsuit (I think technically the water to too warm to legally use a wetsuit but most people did.) It felt really good actually, weeds in the water were fairly problematic but other than that it was pretty easy going. I had lots in the tank and felt I could have pushed it much harder without tons more effort.
Position : 67 out of 120
All in all a bit of a disaster really. Wasted about 1 minute trying to get a pair of flipping socks on, another minute untangling my tri belt and couldn’t find where I’d racked my bike. My first ever T1 was about 10 times smoother.
Position: 77 (I lost 10 places and didn’t even have to remove a wetsuit, poor)
I have to admit I have done very little cycling this year but I had done the 80km Great Manchester Cycle a few weeks with an average pace of 30 km/h so naively thought I would have zero issues blasting out a quick 9km on the bike… Wrong wrong wrong. The bike course was hillier than I was expecting (the Manchester ride was basically flat) and one in particular badly showed up my lack of bike training this year. I just couldn’t get any sort of momentum going on the larger of the two hills and it was very draining. Hill aside my pace was decent but less than I’d like.
Position: 85 (going backwards baby)
Went well other than I’d loaned my Mrs my run cap earlier in the week and forgot to adjust it so wasted time messing about with that.
Position: 77 (moving on up)
My strongest event didn’t go to plan. After my complete lack of hill work was exposed on the bike my legs felt very flat for the first 1.5km or so but then I got back in the groove. Brick sessions earlier in the week had my run at 10-11 minutes for 2.5km which I was aiming for. The run course was long at nearer 3km according to my Garmin and I finished much stronger than I had started. The sun was very hot and there was little shade on the run route but I had done much longer runs in training in similar heat so can’t use that as much of an excuse.
Position: 75 out of 120
Race 1 Conclusions
After the end of race 1, physically I felt pretty good. Once I’d stopped moaning about about what I’d done wrong (otherwise known as excuses) I was pretty happy with how it all went. The swim was a big win for me because I had much more in the tank and it was the first time I’d ever swam in open water without a wetsuit (other than splashing about at the beach.) I think I have finally conquered the ‘swim fear’ although it appears I have concentrated too much on swimming and neglected the bike. Needs to be worked on.
I’d missed out on a place in the men’s final by about 2 minutes (probably for the best) which meant I had 2 hours to recharge my batteries and tidy up my spot in transition before competing in the ‘Wooden Spoon’ race. I took on board a chunk of water, a banana, a yogurt and a wholemeal bagel (I ate too much) and sat about in the shade and relaxed. Thankfully I didn’t feel too bad physically but mentally it was harder to get motivated for the next race. A beer in the sun was calling.
Feeling confident after my mornings swim I decided to start nearer the front and it was going smoothly until I took a blow to the goggles at the first buoy and had to stop to adjust the little beauties (another first for me.)
Position : 97 out of 180
Ditched the socks after my first poor showing in T1 so was marginally quicker but still could have done better.
Position: 103 (backwards again)
Took the bike easier because of the hill issues I had and managed to overtake a few people although it was because they were walking their bikes up the hill. Felt better second time round but that was down to the fact I took it easier.
Position: 100 (moving on up)
Fairly good again although was a touch slower than my first effort.
Position: 97 (moving on up)
I felt good on the run but held back far more than I’d like. My mentality was about finishing rather than finishing in a good time but I did overtake a clutch of other runners it should have been more
Position: 83 (moving on up)
Position: 83 out of 180
Race 2 Conclusions
Felt much better during race 2 and thought I must have been quicker but that clearly shows my lack of experience at these things. Practice makes perfect though so at least I have things to work on.
I have to say overall the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon was fantastically well put together and a great experience. The setting was beautiful, weather was fantastic and race atmosphere was great. The race swag bag was the best I’ve had (nice cap, t-shirt etc) and the food stalls and general amenities were very good. I have to give a couple of the sponsors credit as well both Chobani and SNO were ace, I was never more than 40 meters away from a fresh bottle of water or yogurt the entire day, very generous and very tasty. The post race BBQ was great fun and it was great to see so much money being raised for Help for Heros. I’ll definitely be back next year and I think my wife fancies making it her triathlon debut.