Jam Ambassador, Ben Wickham’s A race is fast approaching, but he’s been racing recently to assess where he’s at. Check out his race report from The Dambuster triathlon.
My last couple of races have shown glimpses of some decent form, but as ever with triathlon, hooking up all three disciplines has been tricky. The Dambuster standard distance triathlon is not exactly well timed for me, coming just two weeks before my A race of Challenge Roth (Iron-Distance). I should really be putting in the bike miles and I very rarely go into the red on any of my workouts at the moment. Coach told me just to enjoy it, but race it, and crucially don't come back with any excuses. So, this was going to hurt.
The start is as tricky as they come. One wave, on the beach, with a run into Rutland Water and a long straight shot to the first buoy. Normally I'd sit in a pack, but today I got my elbows out and muscled through the melee. Swimming back to shore I decided not to draft and bridged up to some swimmers up the course. I managed to get to them just as we hit the back of the female wave, so I got some shelter. As I climbed back on dry land I saw my watch hadn't ticked over 23mins yet, making that the fastest 1500m time I've ever swum. Good start.
Jumping on the bike it started to rain, which made some of the descents a little terrifying (staying upright was a priority here), but I was pleased to catch anyone who tore past me on the accompanying ups of the Rutland Ripples. These days I'm pretty keyed in to what power I can hold over an 80-150km effort, but today was about racing, and I had no idea of power levels over 40km, so I ignored the row of red lights that flashed at me from my Wahoo as I got up those hills. I'd forgotten just how stressful racing was. Making an effort to get past people also means an uptick in effort to stay away, but for once I was steadily making my way through the field on the bike. 1:08 isn't going to trouble any national records, but my Strava lit up with
PRs, so I know I'm improving here.
I smashed through T2 in less than a minute, and despite not quite getting a shoe on for ages, I went after people all the way. It's an out and back so you can see exactly how far everyone is from you, and I managed to reel it back to 7th position overall before I lost a place near the end. A time of 35:25 for the 10k is again the fastest on that course I've ever run. I managed to not only win my age group, but checking back on years past, I was a full 15mins faster than the last time I ran this race, when I was definitely in far batter running shape, so that’s all down to work on the swim/bike. Hopefully it bodes well for Challenge Roth, when I'll just have to complete this distance four times over ...