The Welsh Middle Distance Championships
This was to be my fourth time at The Welsh Middle Distance Triathlon in Bala, North Wales. I’d decided to include the event as part of my training schedule for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee in September.
This triathlon is organised by the Wrexham Triathlon Club and it has been held at Bala in North Wales for many years. You can often experience strong, gusting winds and changeable weather at Bala, so choosing the right kit is critical if you’re going to perform at your best but more of that in a minute.
Having had a shoulder injury, which after an MRI scan, had been diagnosed as a possible SLAP tear and advice that surgery may be needed, I’d spent hours improving the joint’s mobility and strength in the hope that I would not be too disadvantaged in the early stages of the race. Surgery at this stage of the season is not an option. I exited the water in just over 36 minutes and instantly became disappointed knowing I was well off the pace after a tough choppy swim.
As everyone knows, triathlons longest, arguably most important, stage is the bike and I soon settled into the testing and by now, familiar course. Marshalled junctions gave me the confidence to maintain my smoothness throughout the route which includes the twisty, undulating A4212 and the more predictable A470. I set my cadence and wattage and settled into the wind and showers, concentrating hard so that I stayed within eight Watts of my target. Hours of gym work over the winter paid off and helped me to maintain my TT posture which enabled me to reduce drag and the effects of the wind.
I wasn’t at all phased as others ground out the climbs in big gears, It still amazes me how triathletes try to fight the climbs. I kept cadence high throughout the bike which meant I didn’t have the heavy leg feel you can get from grinding big gears. I followed the nutrition plan set from Vision in Performance using Stealth Secret training and It paid off and as I started the run (despite really needing to pee), I’d moved from 38th, my shoulder was never going to make it easy, to 10th overall.
I dropped to 12th place on the run, which is a tough, mind-numbing out and back course adjacent to the lake (Llyn Tegryd). Due to a foot problem from not letting it recover from a break last year, training hasn’t been what it should be. The atmosphere amongst competitors is friendly, although it is disappointing the number of athletes is dropping year on year so you feel on your own for most of it. With 2km to go I saw a target in front and locked on with tunnel vision, at 1km to go I had over taken the target and ran myself in to 11th overall and 10th male senior.
I crossed the line 15 minutes faster than last year, and recorded a new half marathon and middle distance PB. Despite the poor swim a big boost for the bike and run.
Tri-suit – Castelli
Wetsuit – ZeroD Vanguard
Bike – Trek Speed Concept
Wheels – Mavic CXR 80 rear and 60 front
Tyres – Continental Pro Ltd Tubs
Transmission – Ultegra Di2
Saddle – Adamo TT
Shoes – Mavic cosmic
Running shoes – Adidas Takumi Sen