Race Report: Wales Triathlon 2021

So back in July 2019 I arrived in Tenby for the LCW but I was only entered into the 112m bike and the Marathon, I had only ever ridden 100m once before and that was the week before and the week before that I had spent 5 days in a field at the Isle Of Wight Festival slightly worse for wear, on the Friday in Tenby I went to watch the swim for the first time and it looked spectacular and right then I thought to myself if I can recover a rubber brick from the bottom of the pool when I was in Junior school surely I can swim a few miles in the sea! So on the Monday morning legs still aching I was sat on the step of my caravan in Tenby I booked the full LCW as soon as registration opened, for myself this is the best way to get some motivation by committing to something your not sure you can do, later that year I joined Torfaen-Triathlon and realized that swimming was harder than it looked and for the first time ever I came out of a swimming pool with a sweat on, A few months later and the Pandemic hits, I’m sure we are all in agreement that it has changed everyone’s lives, priorities and made us more aware and thankful for all the key workers we took for granted previously, so racing stopped and throughout 2020 we had limited access to water.

Back to my first ever Triathlon so after 6mths wet weather training in Wales race day was a scorcher 26c I believe, but before I talk you through my day I need to mention the night before in our hotel not in name but if you ask me I will tell you, it was advertised as a 4 star establishment but was anything but, I was with my wife and Lee also stayed in the hotel with his son and we both had rooms in the front of the hotel above a seated area where people were enjoying the nice weather and a drink or two, and around 10pm the free to air fighting started on the street below and It was all kicking off, eventually it was broken up but not much sleep was had that night partially from the noise of the drinkers, I also expect it was nerves, 5am I’m sat up in bed reading my book which is a great read by the way Damien Hall’s “In It For The Long Run” by 6am I had showered had my porridge and was chomping at the bit to get started.

I was lucky enough to have Lee and Iestyn down there and both of them were in my wave, due to the pandemic there were 4 waves and 2 swimmers starting at the same time with 10 second intervals, so they both helped me get ready to enter transition because once you had entered transition you couldn’t leave you had to be ready to start the race and you also only had 5mins to set up your transition area, this also panicked me but a few days later after having time to reflect it was probably the best thing otherwise I’d have been overthinking and complicating things, this was in out and that was that no time to faff about, then we waited around for 10mins or so the we had about 3mins to acclimatize to the sea temperature, which was freezing but beautifully calm and then straight off to the start and like I said there wasn’t a mass start, that also probably helped me as this was my first proper sea swim, by this point the butterflies in my stomach had turned in to large birds but having Lee and Iestyn there to talk to helped me massively and before I knew it fireworks were going off everywhere and I was in the sea, the sea water quality was absolutely stunning and you could see the sea floor, which also meant you could see the massive jellyfish as this was my first encounter with these spectacular creatures I think that made me swim a little faster, the course wasn’t the normal 2 laps where they get you out of the water for the spectators due to the Pandemic spectators were asked to stay away which is understandable so it was just 1 lap and it was absolutely freezing, my official time 41:35 followed by a 4:34 transition I know this is slow but I couldn’t feel my hands or feet as they were so cold and struggled to get my socks on, apart from that it all went smoothly.

On to the bike, living in wonderful Wales your either going up or down a hill so I thought I would be ok on the hills but forgot to tell myself that I’d neglected to train properly on my bike this year due to other race commitments and spent most of 2021 running and the climb out of Fishgaurd it suddenly dawned on me and my thighs that this was going to hurt and it didn’t let me it hurt for the majority of the ride, my watch only shows 980m of elevation that can’t be right can it! So after hours of being overtaken and sometimes shouted at by the TT bike riders it was finally over and when I normally go out on my bike I average just over 15mph on the race I averaged 17.6mph and a top speed of 39mph and I was over the moon to have completed the race in 3:03 followed by a transition 2:04 I was slightly warmer by then so changed my shoes with ease.

I was looking forward to the run knowing this was my strongest discipline but by now the sun was beating down on us with vengeance and using all the energy it hadn’t used in May plus it was my first proper run in a Tri- Suit and I did feel a little self-conscious and thinking back to when I bought it well over a year ago I cant remember for the life of me what was going through my head and why I bought a bright orange one, probably in the sale! I have never run a race with laps around a town before and I have to say I enjoyed it, there were spectators and they always make a race but the support from the locals was also fantastic and in the street at the highest point everyone was out in their gardens supporting the runners and 2 of them even had their hoses out for us to run through and this was a much welcome cool down, so 1:48 later I was crossing the finish line and as normal after an epic event I always feel emotional my wife Jane was there to greet me with a smile after hanging around for me all day as normal and 154mins later I had a cold can of well earned Cider in my hand, well earned in my opinion.

So my first Triathlon was completed in 5hrs 40mins 32sec and I couldn’t stop smiling, I enjoyed it so much I signed up for the Gower Triathlon in July this morning!