Distance: 1500m swim, 27.1 mile bike, 10k run. Result: 8th overall, 2nd 35-39 AG.
Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire is only 40 miles from my home in Lincolnshire, and having raced this event previously I was looking forward to seeing whether I have got any fitter over the last couple of years. Conditions on the day were fairly tough with lots of rainfall overnight and a stiff breeze blowing across the course, with air temp about 11 degrees. Lt. Adam Newns, another RN Triathlete was also racing. We had both raced in the RN Sprint Champs on the Wednesday. I had had a bad race on the Wednesday due to mechanical issues, and other shoddy excuses. Having resolved the bike chain problem and generally feeling much better by the Sunday I was looking forward to hopefully putting on a better show at the weekend!
The Beaver, the Middle Distance event had taken place the day before in atrocious weather conditions. With the rain continuing to fall overnight the Transition area was somewhat muddy. Clear advantage was to be gained by choosing a spot in transition as close as possible to the Bike Exit meaning as short a distance as possible to drag the bike through the mud. The race was delayed by 10 mins due to a largish queue for registration. I decided to opt for arm warmers and placed them on my tri bars with elastic bands around the, to put on whilst on the bike leg.
The Beaver swim is in a shallow murky lake- depth just above waist height for the most part. I lined up on the front row intending to make the lead group up to the first buoy (300m away). Despite my intentions and best efforts I did not quite make the lead group of 8 or so swimmers and found myself swimming on my own until the last 400m when I crept back onto a couple of swimmers who had fallen off the pace. The water depth was so shallow that I was actually able to stand up at one of the turn buoys to take a quick look around to see for myself how the race was panning out!
On exiting the swim, there is a 400m uphill run to transition- I ran up the hill with a group of 4 others, exiting T2 2nd in that group, behind a Bike Science Derby sponsored rider. Happy to have someone to try to keep with, I stayed behind him (legally!) for the first 7 miles or so upto the hill at Stathern. The pace felt about right but I was quicker downhill and in the technical sections and so I was able to go past him at the end of the first lap, only to have to slam on the brakes as a slower rider in the Sprint Distance race was taking up the whole road, and oncoming traffic meant overtaking at that point was not such a good idea. The Bike Science Rider and I continued our battle until he pulled away towards the end and took 30 secs from me before we entered T2. Note to self for future races: putting arm warmers on whilst racing on a TT bike is not that easy. I eventually managed to get them both on by the end of the first of two laps.
The Little Beaver run is two laps, in the grounds of the Estate up a fairly long hill. I held it together for the run, gaining back one place, but not gaining on the guys ahead and under no real threat from behind. I enjoyed the support of my family, the sun was now out and the children were happy to splash around in the mud bath. The Little Beaver is a good event, recommended, sponsored by Erdinger and USN, it meant a pint of Erdinger Alkoholfrei at the finish and some USN recovery products to pick you up and to take home.