So we are getting back into the swing of things, kicking lumps out of one another!!!
Normally at this time of year I can't wait to get into it. To be blunt though this year it was a little early for me. The off season has been mad to say the least. Work has been crazy, I seem to be on some course or other every other week, and the work on station has been testing to say the least. My Club Chorley AC & Tri has kindly put me through my BTF Level 2 coaching badge, so I am helping with the junior coaching (the exams are the week prior to IMUK). Add to this the family commitments which now include walking Charley the Springer Spaniel twice a day and Mr Murphy putting me through my paces in a big way, I have realised that something had to give at some point. A lot of evaluation has been required to ensure that I don't start the season at best totally not ready to race and at worse in a state of chronic fatigue. Thankfully, I think I have enough experience and a good support network to ensure if I don't see it coming, one of them will and will have no problems giving to to me straight. Something that can't be underestimated!!!
So to Parbold and what a line up as always. This race always has a quality field with everyone looking to see if they can get off to a flyer for the new season. Looking at the starting line up, top 15 would have been a good start. As always some of the Hubsters set off like race horses in an attempt to get thier faces all over the race photos (Steve Hilton)!! then as always it settled down. I decided to stick to young Tom Rigby for as long as possible to get round the run in a respectable time, something that lasted to the first downhill, where Tom vanished. I asked Tom how he did this after the race, 'you just let your leg go mate' was his answer. If I'm still knocking about I'm gonna ask him the same question when he's 45!!! it's not that easy young Tom!! So there I was on my own running at about 6 minute mile pace and feeling pretty good. I arrived into T1 in a time of 18:12, 40 seconds quicker than 2015, solid start.
So onto the bike and the first cock up of the new season. About 2 miles in I decided to give the chasing athletes a chance as I threw my Garmin 920 into the grass at the side of the road whilst transfering it from my wrist to bike. The air turned blue which being catholic and the day being sunday I'm still awaiting the repercussions!!! To stop or not to stop that was the question (bit of culture for the clever folk). Since I was given this by Dave Tomlinson as part of my Lantec sponsorship and as this was an early season race I decided to pick it up. Thankfully looking back it didn't cost me, literally!! if anything it made the day a little more exciting as I ended up in a right old tear up with three other guys on the bike, as anyone who knows me well will tell you, I love this aspect of racing, toe to toe is where it is at for me. There was a lot of changing of position for two laps but on the third I made a decision to have a crack at breaking away, mainly to see if all the time in the gym over winter had paid off. Two of the guys fell back but the third passed me on on the last descent of Hunters Hill, however I felt I had the better run as he was behind me prior to the bike leg. Bike time 51:31 over 1:30 quicker than 2015, add to this the quickest T2 of the day at 27 seconds and I had a gap on my shadow from the bike leg.
I have to be honest, the old legs responded a lot better than I thought they would out of T2 and I opened a gap to end up running alone for the whole of the second run. My intention was to run as close to the time of the first run as possible, not so easy as you will all know. However, I came in with a second split of 18:53, over 30 seconds quicker than 2015.
And that was Parbold. A couple of cock ups, but a lot of positives as well!! I finished 7th overall in a time of 1:29:53, three minutes quicker than 2015, (and I'm 45 y know) a saying you may hear a lot this season!! Added bonus was that Tony Cullen won the race for the 40 somethings so I picked up the V40 price by default, winning a pair of goggles and a swim cap, which turned out to be handy as my goggle snapped the day after in the pool.
All of this isn't possible without the love and support of my girls, the continued support from my sponsors Lantec, Team GB3 and the First Rate Credit Union and the of course the training dished out by Ian Murphy who has had more calls from me than ever this off season due to me being a 'Time Pressed Triathlete'.
Well done to everyone who took part and to Marc and his team at Epic Events for putting on an outstanding event as always. Next Blog will be a report on the 2UP Duathlon with my great friend Andy Turner
Untill then Take it easy