Richard Craddock: New Forest Triathlon Race report 23/08/20

This was my first event of the year and first post-lockdown event!

The start was run TT-style for distancing purposes, with a deep water start at 15 seconds interval which worked out fine from a competitor standpoint, but I imagine it was an extra burden on the organisers, trying to get everyone to the right place at the right time. The event HQ area was pretty spread out – the lake and transition are on different sides of a road, about 500m apart. Add to that the extra spacing for social distancing, multiple distances being raced at once, and the start of the bike and run courses all up and down the same road and the opportunity for getting confused was high. I didn’t see anyone have any troubles though, and there were plenty of friendly marshals.

The routes themselves were all a fraction short for a standard, but very pretty and generally quiet. The bike especially was great, and I only had to slow once or twice to avoid wandering ponies, donkeys and cattle! There was one fast downhill section where the surface was sketchy to keep you focussed.

As for my performance – on reflection I swam a bit too much within myself, but seemed to just about hold position in the long snake of swimmers. Could do better there! The bike leg was  pretty solid for me, a couple of flyers on TT machines went past, but I seemed to be making up places in general. Why is there always a headwind on the most exposed section of every route? I found the run hard even though it was almost pancake flat – need a bit more practice at running off the bike - apparently one brick session in one year is not enough! Some serious improvements to be made in that department.

The finish was also slightly subdued due to covid – no spectators, collect your own medal, and everyone encouraged to leave the site as soon as possible, meaning less chance to exchange tales of woe with that woman who I’d been passed by in the swim, and then I overtook on the bike, and who overtook me again on the run. Super medal and T-shirt!

Overall an enjoyable event, and great just to be out there. I’ll take some lessons away for my next event in 3 weeks time! Cotswolds End of Season Tri here I come.

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