Cardiff Carnage!

I decided to do this event, (sprint distance triathlon) for the second year in a row because it was so much fun the first time. Hmmm, however they changed it to non-drafting on the bike for some reason, but it remained a qualifier for the World Championships taking place in Edmonton next year.

Strangely, as I move up an age group next year, I was competing to qualify in the age group above but on the day in the age group I am currently in! So, the oldest and youngest but the focus clearly on next year’s event.

The day before was scorching hot around Cardiff Bay, a really nice place after what has clearly seen significant investment over recent years. Race day was a little cooler but dry which was about perfect for racing.

All racked and into the wetsuit to keep warm, an announcement was made that the bike course would now only be half the distance but twice as many laps, this was due to an ongoing Police incident, I later found out that this was due to an incident involving a ‘threat to jump’ from a building onto the course, so understandable and hopefully everything ended safely. The significance of this change was only fully realised once I got on the bike. Firstly though the swim, as I jumped in, the cold water was a bit of a shock! Cardiff Bay is not as toasty as the Maldives that’s for sure!!! Taking a place on the front row at the start I was hoping nobody would swim over the top of me!

Away we went and fortunately I managed to stay out with the leaders to have a clean and relatively combat free swim. Coming out in a time of 12:33 I was in 4th in my category but at the time I didn’t know this. In fact, as I ran into transition to get out of my wetsuit and onto my bike, I was shocked to see most bikes either side of mine all gone! What this usually means is that you are towards the end of the swim wave! Darn, I thought I had a great swim, what’s happening!! Anyway, can’t change anything, out onto the bike. The amended course was 4 laps with the first 1 reasonably trouble free. By the time I had started the second lap many more athletes had joined the course. Unfortunately, the mix of ability was significant, and part of the course saw cyclists going almost head to head in opposite directions due to the amount of people on the course and no division on the road.

What this meant in reality was a very dangerous course with the slower riders not staying to the left and the faster riders having to go wide to get past, this was happening on both sides so you can imagine the scene!

It resulted in a lot of shouting to keep people right and let them know you were there. The inevitable did happen though and several athletes did end up coming off which no one ever wants to see. So, with bodies strewn across the course like a scene from World War 2, I weaved my way around and came into T2 safely. Again, all the bikes around me were already racked giving me the impression I was towards the back even though I thought I was racing well.

Out quickly onto the 5km run and as an out and back course you are able to see your competitors are different points which keeps the mind focussed and the legs pumping. I maintaine

d a good pace throughout and aware I was being chased down I managed to put in a sprint finish to hold my position over the line. Pleased with an overall time of 1hr 4mins in 3rd place in my category and qualifying in 1st for next years World Championships in the age group above. They had mixed the age groups in the racking area which was why I thought I was at the back but clearly they set off well before me, phew! How’s that for a finishing face!

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