Rutland Water 22.6.13
Report by Ann Maskell
As part of my plan to qualify for the World Championships Age Group team, I’d entered this race months ago. It’s always good competing in a big event despite the hassle of travelling up country. However, Darrin and I have travelling cracked, unlike JFD. We knew to avoid the mistakes he had made to ensure a relaxing, argument free journey
- Leave early in the morning to miss the traffic
- Take a sat nav to prevent map reading rows
- Don’t travel with your spouse – avoids any sort of row
We drove up on Friday with no problems whatsoever and arrived at our nice B+B on the shores of Rutland water. Clean rooms, lovely view, comfy sofa, nice toilet facilities, full of other triathletes who also needed to be faffing with bikes, shaving legs, eating breakfast at 5am while looking slightly wild and gaunt.
We drove round the bike course on Friday afternoon which had been described as “hilly”. Hmmmm, the organisers should live in Cornwall. The biggest hill made St Clements look like Everest!
The swim was a triangular course in Rutland Water, a lake roughly the size of Carrick Roads. I’d been terrified by my brother (a semi-pro fisherman) who had told me it was world famous for the size of its pike, yielding the biggest one in the UK at 46lb! On the morning of the race, it was quite windy and the organiser announced the swim course had been shortened by 100m to 1.4km due to terrible conditions on the lake. Those of us used to surviving near-drowning experiences in the sea here on a regular basis thought it looked like Perranporth on a very flat day. I was in the final wave to start and was feeling very sick beforehand, watching everyone else setting off. I was still blaming the pasty after the Max (I only ever eat one every few years and always regret it!) but I think it was nerves. Once the whistle went I was fine and joined in the usual fist fight of the mass start enthusiastically. My swimming has definitely improved this year, largely due to Darrin and Dave making me swim miles in hideous conditions.
After 25 min and a bit of fighting I staggered out of the water and overtook a few people on the run into transition. I was all prepared to do a slick flying mount but it wasn’t to be. I was obstructed by a load of women dithering on the mount line, and as I leapt on my bike I had to swerve to avoid them, couldn’t get my feet into my shoes, hit a traffic cone and had to dismount again to get myself together. Disaster, many seconds lost! I’d just got going when I hit a speed bump very hard and lost my water bottle so then I didn’t have a drink for the rest of the race. The bike course was all on A roads and despite dire warnings about penalties for drafting it was impossible to stay away from other competitors. It was very windy too and it felt like a real struggle. I played cat and mouse all the way round with Mrs Stressy who swore at all the other competitors so I tried not to get into her way.
My flying dismount went a lot better and but I set off on the run a bit demoralised and worrying about dehydration. I attempted to pick up a drink at the 2km mark but aspirated most of it. The route went along the side of the lake so was completely flat (no good for us from Cornwall again) and into a strong wind. It was out and back so I could see who was ahead of me. I got very depressed as there seemed to be a lot, but in fact I hadn’t realised the younger age group were also in my wave. Once we turned to run back, my gel had obviously kicked in and together with the following wind, this made me feel much livelier so I overtook loads of people.
I was delighted to finish 2nd in my age group – nice bottle of wine, silver plate and a medal to take home. I was only beaten by 6 seconds –I blame the transition disaster! Hana definitely wouldn’t have rated the Portaloos at the end.
Now I’m looking forward to wearing my GB tri suit in London in September after a couple of months serious bike training and transition practice. Here is an ethical question – would it be politically correct for my supporters to be waving the Cornish flag??